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Hyperbole is not easily dealt with. Usually, it collapses under its own weight. - Gwen Ifill
Today we’re going to learn about some times things that are a bit over-the-top …
The Daily Rabbit Hole: The Hyperbolic Time Chamber from Dragon Ball Z, explained.
For those of you who, like me, couldn’t wait to get home from school to watch a 30 minute episode of a show that only covers 2 minutes of plot development.
Hyperbole has led to many fake-truths about our understanding of history:
This list could go on and on but I want to call out that on the 5th one, this is what Ulysses had to say about the notion he honored Robert on that day by refusing to take his sword …
The much talked of surrendering of Lee's sword and my handing it back, this and much more that has been said about it is the purest romance … I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.
Emphasis mine, of course, but what an evisceration.
“Their original names were la Santa Clara, la Pinta, and la Santa Gallega.”
The power of hyperbole …
If you’ve grown up in the US, you’re likely at least vaguely familiar with Paul Bunyan, and perhaps even with his pal Babe the blue ox. What’s amazing about Paul Bunyan isn’t just his epitomization of the “Tall Tale” (some stories go so far as to say his head cleared the canopies in forests), it’s that campfire stories amongst northern loggers generated a character coated in Americana.
For as many as thirty years, nothing was ever written about Paul Bunyan, but oral tradition eventually became canon when in 1904 a series of tales was printed in the Duluth News Tribune.
As the 20th century progressed, the character inspired many an author to utilize hyperbole in their stories about him:
Well now, one winter it was so cold that all the geese flew backward and all the fish moved south and even the snow turned blue. Late at night, it got so frigid that all spoken words froze solid afore they could be heard. People had to wait until sunup to find out what folks were talking about the night before,
Why yes, I did create the theme of this newsletter just so I could express how gobsmacked I was by how visceral - and hyperbolic - this description is.
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