Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Final Solution: The Age of Hyperbole

Nixon Giving Checkers Speech (Wehwalt)
This is the age of hyperbole. Perhaps it’s an example of the Stockholm Syndrome, but many people appear to be imitating the hyperbolic locutions of their president. Superlatives are ubiquitous. Everyone seems to be bloviating about the wonderfulness of whatever they're doing (even if it involves hating their president). Have you ever noticed that even though someone makes you cringe, you find yourself talking like them? Maybe you don’t pound your shoe or fist like Nikita Khrushchev once purportedly did (accounts differ) or talk in the mawkish tone of Richard Nixon’s Checkers speech, but it’s interesting how strongly held sentiments can be an equal opportunity employer and how a mode of discourse can be extricated from its content so that it achieves a morally neutral status. Such is the case with President Trump’s nomenclature in which the human condition is either the epitome of heaven or hell. Of course, Trump is the classic salesman. He doesn’t qualify the endorsement of his product. It seemed like he was characterizing his meeting with Kim Jong-un as a great success before it even occurred. Nothing had been agreed on (and to this day none of the specifics of any nuclear disarmament have been worked out). However, he was already issuing kudos to both himself and the Korean dictator under the theory, one would guess, that the juggernaut of positive emotions would take on a life of its own and thus enable him to close the deal.

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