Thursday, July 10, 2008

On bullshit and the detection thereof

On bullshit and the detection thereof

As the teller of the odd tale or two, it always amuses me to hear stories of those who cannot separate fiction from reality, who then step too far over the line.

Torygraph: SAS Facebook fantasist quits over lies
Daily Fail: Incredibly long headline that says much the same

This is the story, then, of one such fantasist who claimed to have been at virtually every British military encounter in the last thirty years – mostly as an operative in the (Shhh!) SAS – which tickled me greatly, especially after genuine former soldiers caught onto his bragging on Facebook and set about exposing him as a fraud over a period of several months.

I've met a few Walts in my time (Walter Mitty: One who invents a fake reality about themselves, usually to impress others enough to see their naked bosoooooms), and served a large number of them in my time as a dole office clerk.

"Have you done any work in the last two weeks, Mr Bond?"

"Yeah, had to take out a couple of Libyans for the CIA. Keep it to yourself. Strictly need-to-know."

"Apart from that – any PAID work?"

Members of the forces take a dim view of this kind of bragging, particularly when it involves actions where they have lost friends or relatives, and it was only a matter of time before he was horribly outed.

This particular Walt is a classic – and ultimately hilarious - case.

Virtually every pub in the land has a beer-soaked bullshitter who claims to have fought alongside 'H' Jones at Goose Green, or to have been the legendary "second man on the balcony" at the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege. This bloke was both, and if the British Army was in action anywhere in the world, he was at the front giving Johnny Dago a damn good pasting in the name of Her Majesty.

He also claims to have killed over 100 men. As a former army chef, he's probably understating this number.

I imagine that virtually every army down the years has had to deal with its own bullshitters and hangers-on, giving them the damn good shoeing they deserve.

When the Bayeux Tapestry first went on display, there was some twat pointing to a fatally-injured King Harold saying "See that? I fired that arrow. Special Arrow Service"


"Fuck me, Agincourt. There I was, sticking me fingers up at the Frenchies... all undercover work, mind. Totally hush-hush"

"Of course, when Churchill talked about 'The Few', he was mostly talkin' about me"

"Yeah, they called it D-Day cos I was first up the beach at the head of D Company. Done the Service proud that day, but I don't like to talk about all the Jerries I done in...(for three hours)"

"Actually, that bullet went right through me shoulder before it hit Lord Nelson. I've still got the scar"

"The 300? 301, more like. Them Spartans wouldn't have held Thermopylae without my SAS training"

All of these quotes have one thing in common. The next phrase to fall out of the Walt's mouth is this: "Can I see your tits?"

Anyway, it couldn't have been Walt on the balcony at the Iranian Embassy. Did I tell you about the time I went from 1st Hurst Air Scouts straight to the SAS? They had to do the operation on the Sunday – I had to get to school the next morning.

The truth of my career in the British Armed Forces is sad and extremely short - invalided out before I even joined, for shame... Old war wound you know. Very hush-hush.

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