Sunday, September 14, 2008

'Tis the Season of Hyperbole

Don't you love how during election season the opponent suddenly becomes the most [something something] in the history of the world? For example, Politico reports:

Sen. Barack Obama's national press secretary, Bill Burton, accused Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) of "cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history."

Other examples:
"The Bush administration is one of the most corrupt administrations in history."

"McCain, the so-called straight-talker, has run one of the dirtiest and meanest presidential campaigns in history."

"Isn't this the most marvelous running mate in the history of this nation?" asked McCain, when he finally got a turn at the microphone."

"It is clear that Mr. McCain is one of the most private individuals to run for president in history."
This rampant overuse of hyperbole devalues the effectiveness of the words. Just like drug dependency, it results in a supposed need to increase the rhetoric and hyperbole over time to have a comparable effect. For a copywriter like myself, where space is at a premium, and saying the most with the fewest words is critical, this trend is particularly annoying. Thankfully, this sort of thing peaks only once every four years.

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