Manic Monday: Death by adjectival hyperbole

Whispers are heard loudest in a world of shouting. In reflecting on how we speak, I noticed, for whatever reason, our over use of adjectives and hyperbole. In a world of increasing virtual experience, reality needs to get back in vogue. A good number of us, me included are guilty of death by adjectival hyperbole.

Let it be what it is
The best descriptions are honest and clear ones. Describe something for what it is. Conferences often use death by adjectival hyperbole. The nature of selling things is to describe it well. In such, we do things by ascribing radiant, epic, great and awesome adjectives on what may be just normal. There are times when grand adjectives are proper, and hyperbole prudent. All the time or nearly every time is not such a time. Describe things as they are.

Let history be the judge
Death by adjectival hyperbole is a vain attempt to preëmpt history. At a men’s conference I attended the MC stated: “We’re about to continue with some great and wonderful music…” It wasn’t. A few years later I attended a back woods church hymn sing. The musical quality of the group was lacking. However, it was the most profound worship experience I had. People who had little to nothing, no musical talent gathered to worship their most precious relationship, God. History judges by the substance of things.

Lets be who we are
Let your greatest adjective be you. In history, seldom is greatness manufactured or sought. Gettysburg was epic and a mistake. The Boeing 747 was a result of past failure and basically a hail Mary for the company. The Battle of Bastogne was epic, where men did their job despite being overwhelmed and under supplied. Flight 93 was epic. Grandiose adjectives are best used for grandiose events. The substance and character of a person is found, forged and displayed in adversity. An unknown person or event often influences people to do what is epic. Focus on developing who you are and being a blessing to those around you. This is how great epics form.

Musical interlude, an analogy
We live in a world of ‘shouting.’ Alan Bloom in “Closing of the American Mind,” discusses his issues with rock music. Historically, great victories and religious celebrations were the place for the style and energy of rock music. In essence he thought younger generations were celebrating when there is no victory or substance to celebrate. He was not arguing against rock music, rather demonstrating what he viewed as its proper place. Like Ecclesiastes states, there is a time and place for everything.

The bottom line:
Whispers are heard loudest in a world of shouting. When everyone shouts the virtue of shouting is ignored. Our culture is increasingly asking and trying to discern what is real. The buzz words of genuine or authenticity show this point as well. Shouting is a metaphor for death by adjectival hyperbole. We can be colorful and enticing while still being accurate.

Perhaps now more than any other there is a need for more precise speech. Given our capacity for creativity, we can be precise without being droll, boring or bland. In working on developing who we are perhaps God, in his timing, will allow us to form something Epic.

(especially on Monday)

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