I have been wanting to write this post forever, or at least the last couple of months. But, I was enslaved to the Alphabet series and something horrible would have happened to me if I wrote it before I finished the alphabet. So, I have been biting at the bit to write this because I want to warn you about the catastrophe that is about to come upon us and I don’t know if we will survive.
Last year I wrote a post titled Hyperbole which featured a man carrying a sign that read – Hyperbole is the worst thing ever. That gave me a chuckle and was the catalyst for the post. Since writing that post I have been keenly aware of how often people exaggerate the truth. I imagine we have all heard people say something is the “Best thing ever” or “Awesome.” We probably don‘t pay too much attention to the exaggeration and interpret what they are saying to mean something holds a lot of appeal to them.
I probably ought to let you know that the catastrophe that threatens our existence is an example of hyperbole. I could have said, I want to share with something that has been irritating me and which causes me some concern for the future. Since we are in an era where people are exaggerating and good becomes great, and great the best thing ever, what happens next? Language evolves. Someone tells you something is killer it means it’s great. Bad has become good. What will best thing ever become?
If the picture of the food on your plate comes with the note that it is the best dish ever what happens when you go out the next day and the meal is better than last night’s dish? Is that now the best meal ever? How many best meals ever can you have in a week before it sounds like crying wolf? Do you move from best thing ever, to very best thing ever to very very best thing ever to what? Since it is hard to top best thing ever, I suspect things will move south. Will best thing ever become worst thing. Bad became good. Maybe good will become bad.
I suspect the evolution of best thing ever has something to do with the short hand that is prompted by having to use 140 characters in a tweet or in our world of short attention spans the need to bottom line things. I know a couple who now mostly communicate with each other with emojis. They have given up on trying to express themselves with words. Why not just send a picture of a cartoon figure celebrating.
Fortunately I am not an English teacher as I suspect they see their world crumbling around them. If people are unwilling to take the time to express how they feel/think with more specific descriptive words where does it lead. Will English teachers be replaced by Emoji teachers? Would that be the worst or best thing ever?
I don’t know what the future will hold, but I know it will be awesome.