The resident faculty left a coupon for natural fertilizer, sold by the ton, outside the mail room door. It had to be a clue. (More)

First our thanks to last week’s writers:

On Monday, the Squirrel sent a Memo to Men: “Get It” in Furthermore!, addisnana looked at The Stars in Midday Matinee, Lake Toba had a Conversation with Regions Bank in Evening Focus, and winterbanyan presented the Department of Interior’s Roadmap for Solar Energy Development in Our Earth.

On Tuesday, we looked at Nate Silver’s 2012 Outlook in Morning Feature, the Squirrel discussed The “Silent” Generation in Furthermore!, Lake Toba shared Stories of American Heartache in Evening Focus, and winterbanyan reported on Climate Change “Escape Routes” in Our Earth.

On Wednesday, we reviewed the Blue Resurgence in 2011 Elections? in Morning Feature, winterbanyan flummoxed us with So I Talked With My Mortgage Company in Furthermore!, addisnana sniffled I Hab a Code in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan found evidence of Brains Wired for Cooperation in Our Earth.

On Thursday, we began our series on Compared to What? with Keystone XL and Greenhouse Gases in Morning Feature, addisnana noted that Cain Allegations Cause Flashbacks in Furthermore!, winterbanyan shared stories of Ordinary Heroes in Midday Matinee, Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly shared The Blame Game, Redux in Evening Focus, and winterbanyan revealed Cyclones Strengthened by Pollution in Our Earth.

On Friday, we continued our series on Compared to What? with Keystone XL and Jobs in Morning Feature, MKSinSA offered a Veterans’ Day Memoriam in Furthermore!, and winterbanyan asked What’s Causing Ice Loss in Antarctica in Our Earth.

On the weekend, we concluded our series on Compared to What? with Keystone XL and Spills in Saturday’s Morning Feature, Ms. Crissie was asked about De Guppy Bait in Sunday’s Morning Feature, Winning Progressive shared Weekend Reading in Furthermore!, and winterbanyan brought our weekly Eco News Roundup in Our Earth.

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Also: Please share your stories of offline activism in Things We Did This Week.

Thus we return to the coupon for natural fertilizer left by the resident faculty as they made their way from the wine cellar library where they spent the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”) to the hot tub faculty lounge for their weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference. As the Official BPI Garden of Envy is on our Neararchistan satellite campus, and as the coupon lists only a price per ton, and as we have no need for even one ton of natural fertilizer at the main campus in South Blogistan, the staff concluded this must be a clue.

The Squirrel pulled out his Blewberry and typed in the website address on the coupon. He found this:

It wasn’t quite an advertisement for natural fertilizer, sold by the ton. It was, however, a song that seemed to allude to a kind of natural fertilizer that might be sold by the ton. As there was no other evidence that the resident faculty had completely lost their minds, we dismissed the possibility they planned to discuss vengeful Western gunfighters riding mopeds.

Thus we began sniffing out the other possible meaning of “cow patty,” and the scent trail led to a book by moral philosopher Harry Frankfurt. As BPI is a family-friendly forum, we shall reference the title as On Fertilizer. From the publisher’s synopsis:

Frankfurt, one of the world’s most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how [fertilizer] and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that [fertilizer shovelers] misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, [fertilizer] need not be untrue at all.

Rather, [fertilizer shovelers] seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although [fertilizer] can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner’s capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, [fertilizer] is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are. [Emphasis added.]

As Frankfurt’s book addresses so much of our national political dialogue, we think that’s what the resident faculty will discuss this week. But if you hear the buzz of a moped coming into town, you’ll know we were wrong.

Either way, it’s BYOS: Bring Your Own Shovel.


Happy Monday!