Friday, 7 October 2005

Hyperbole rules

We are accustomed to the inappropriate use of powerful words, and we recognise that nowadays when there is talk of someone being crucified by the press it usually means merely that there have been some unfavourable comments about him in the papers.
There was a shameful example in my local paper this week: “CARNAGE!” shrieked the two-inch headline on the front page. Even the best dictionaries are often deficient in covering figurative usage, and we all knew at once that the story was not about great slaughter, esp. of human beings because the illustrations featured a nice-looking chap smiling gently and a crane lying on its side. Happily no-one had been hurt, but a fisherman’s hut was completely destroyed.

P.S. 5th November: Five teenagers were killed here this week in a smash with a stolen car. The local paper gave it the front page and ten other pages and may have regretted that they'd already wasted the appropriate headline.

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