My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hyperbolic Rhetoric is Self-Defeating

In an era in which cognitive dissonance has become a national epidemic, news programs, public figures, corporations and some individuals have increasingly turned to hyperbolic conjecture to catch the attention of the public at large. While the policy of ever escalating rhetoric works in the short term, it is ultimately doomed to failure. Everything in the cosmos has a breaking point, and most people’s tolerance for increasingly inflammatory dialog is, while on a stretching scale of acceptability, finite. So when you see someone rise to that level of incendiary discourse, know that you are fully in your right to discount anything that they say from there on out.

To prove this theory, simply flip on your TV and tune into one of the latest pundit shows (it doesn’t matter what side, they’re all the same) and take a look at what is believed to be acceptable banter. Outrage is normal, loud conflict is routine and vulgarity is expected. People choose sides and virulently attack each other in the spirit of absolute reckless abandon. Inevitably, someone will compare someone else to Hitler and the whole thing becomes a who-is-worse-than-who argument. Being that this is TV, we should expect it to be filled to the brim with the flashy, substance-lacking, pseudo-intellectuals that can pass for free-thinking as long as they stick to their script. This type of televised conversation is nothing new and only seems to ooze into more of the media as the years go by.

What bothers me the most about this ever-increasing trend of focused verbal degradation is the fact that it is spilling over into our daily lives at an alarming rate. Otherwise normal people, not being paid to make an ass of themselves, are now comparing others to Hitler, telling jokes about their political adversaries dying and generally being horrible examples of the simplest forms of civility. Sure it’s easy to get sucked into a heated discussion, but we all need to have a line that we will not cross for the simple reason that no argument won through that much hatred is worth winning.

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