I woke to the radio telling me all about the remarkable world we live in. Far from the drudgery of the daily grind it seems we inhabit a faster-than-light fantasy where everything is so much bigger when seen through the mirror of media – objects are closer than you think… and more full of shit. It’s like an arms race as broadcasters, journalists and presenters raise the lexical stakes in the search for ever more exaggerated forms of expression.
In the narrow field of view of the paparazzi photograph a dozen people seeking a glimpse of a ‘sleb’ becomes a mob and if one of them shouts anything derogatory it turns into a hate mob. Politicians routinely experience car-crash interviews, rather than the dull exchange of incomplete questions and answers they generally turn out to be. And all women in the public eye are variously stunning, fabulous, flawless, or else they are brave, pioneering or striking; it’s as if we can’t be trusted to form an opinion of our own without being spoon-fed superlatives.
News is chilling or concerning – since when did either of those words become proper adjectives anyway? A one percent change in any statistic is billed as ‘soaring’ or ‘plunging’ and a dozen cases of a new strain of flu rapidly becomes an epidemic, in print at least. Television food is never tasty or even delicious – it has to be amazing – even if it does taste like chicken. And the reduction of a council’s pest-control budget can only be heralded as the harbinger of an apocalyptic plague of super rats.
Why is it that budgets are always ‘slashed’ when a more sober appraisal would probably be that the spenders were unnecessarily profligate and could easily cut back? Why are we never simply swindled, but ‘ripped off’? Why is it that every single year the incumbent government is attacked because very old people die from being old when it is also, coincidentally, a bit chilly? And why, oh why, can’t we just have ordinary, seen-it-all-before weather, instead of being sold ‘weather bombs’, super storms, thunder fog, storm surges, with new and more obscure records being fabricated almost every day?
Where does it all end? What new words will they have to come up with in the next decade to out-exceed excess? The search is on for even-more-better superlatives to make the ordinary extraordinary, to make the mundane magical and to elevate reality to the mystical realms of phantasmagoria. I await developments with franticipation and mentalacious gleedom. Now go off and have a simply fabulous day!
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