Thursday, February 08, 2007

I Hate Hyperbole

Hyperbole is the most annoying form of rhetoric, ever.

Seriously, I hear so much of it that its meaning has diminished to nearly nothing.

"Bush is the worst president in U.S. history."
"Iraq is the biggest disaster in world history."
"Steve Jobs is the greatest visionary in living memory."

And Ted Turner's latest: Global warming is the "single greatest challenge that humanity has ever faced."

Al Gore: "Never before has all of civilization been threatened..."

As a writer, I'm all for using literary devices to make a point beyond mere statement of fact. But when it comes to hyperbole, consider the source. Rarely will a truly objective, honestly informed observer use it. And when he does, it will be a statement of fact. "Light is the fastest thing known to man." Yeah, that really grabs the headlines, doesn't it?

Instead, hyperbole is used by the politically motivated, the tragically hip and the intellectually lazy.

So, witness the birth of my new pet peeve: hyperbole without substance. Please slap my face if you ever see me using it.

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