I called it!

I think one of the odder locutions currently in use is this: “I call bullshit.” “I’m calling bullshit on that.” Aren’t you really just saying, “I disagree” or “I think you’re wrong”? But people act like they’re taking disagreement to some higher level of meaning and truth when they “call bullshit.”

I think this is rooted in the habits of childhood: “I got dibs,” and especially “calling shotgun.” You can’t sit there, I called it! — as though “calling it” establishes some kind of ontological priority, some unbreakable connection between you and the thing you want. Likewise, if you just say “I disagree” it’s an invitation to debate, but if you “call bullshit” the conversation is over. “Why are you talking back to me, man? Don’t you realize that I called bullshit?”