artist

As long as there has been art, there have been people fighting about what counts as art. Is abstract expressionism art? Rap music? Video games? How about a urinal in a museum? Some people get really worked up about this stuff.

But one thing every single one of those people (except a few of the marketing executives) have agreed on is that wearing a silly hat and insulting women isn’t an art. Another is: It takes no artistic talent to assemble sandwiches for a giant corporation that pays you next to nothing and makes you wear a dumb uniform.

The guy in the funny hat calls himself an “artist” because he wants you to let him off the hook for being an asshole (he doesn’t hate women — he’s an artist), and the corporation calls its sandwich-assembling employees “artists” because they want you (and maybe also the employees themselves) to think assembling sandwiches for poverty wages is a stimulating way to spend an afternoon.

Where I come from, we have a term for people who co-opt perfectly good words to distract you from how terrible they are. We call these people bullshit artists.