19 Sep Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Extreme events lately have called forth extreme language to describe them: devastating, horrific, outrageous, unbelievable, and incredible. But while the events are not only extreme but also unusual, the words aren’t. These words lose weight when we’ve been hearing them to describe things that are lower on the event-meter.
If we trot out the big words when our flight is cancelled, or the toast is burned, or Congress dithers, we don’t have anywhere to go when the event-meter rockets up. Well-placed and considered exaggeration can make stories entertaining, but over-use can be habit-forming.
And a lot less entertaining.