In the DiMele Center for "Getting Control of your Life", professionals took control of something a famous poet has written, rewrote it to suit their ideological and commercial purposes and deleted the bits that they did not like.
The words in caps have been deleted, the words in yellow have been inserted, and I care deeply about the way the DeMiele Center amputated the beautifully harsh and uncompromising words of Cummings to create a smarmy marketing text ... whilst still using his name:
A POET'S ADVICE
A lot of people think or believe or know what they feel---but that's thinking or believing or knowing: not feeling. And
Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but
To be nobody - but -yourself-- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else--means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
Because nothing is quite as easy as
If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you've
And so my advice to all young people who wish to become
On the bright side, these adjustments are a wonderful illustration of both smarm and bullshit, concepts that Tom Scocca describes like this:
What is smarm, exactly? Smarm is a kind of performance—an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves.
Smarm would rather talk about anything other than smarm. Why, smarm asks, can't everyone just be nicer?
Bullshit, Frankfurt wrote, was defined by the bullshitter's indifference to truth:
"The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides...is that the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him; what we are not to understand is that his intention is neither to report the truth nor to conceal it."
"The bullshitter may not deceive us, or even intend to do so, either about the facts or about what he takes the facts to be. What he does necessarily attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to."
Smarm should be understood as a type of bullshit, then—it expresses one agenda, while actually pursuing a different one. It is a kind of moral and ethical misdirection. Its genuine purposes lie beneath the greased-over surface.
Here is the original text: