Cost Analysis

The best defense for hyperbole is to ignore it

December 24, 2013 

It seems like much of the time, we actively look for ways to be offended or to take offense. In doing that, we often miss the message being sent or the point being made.

N.C. State Sen. Bob Rucho, posted a ridiculous tweet the other day that said “Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA than the swords of the Nazis, Soviets & terrorists combined.”

Look, I don’t want to defend this statement, with all of its grammatical and punctuation issues, but it appears to me that this is somebody using hyperbole and exaggeration to get his point across – the point being that universal health care is a terrible idea.

There are a litany of reasons to complain about this message, from the way Twitter lets people put out micro-blurbs without expounding on their thoughts (not that we really want this guy to expound on his), to the way the medium gets immediately put in front of people for scrutiny, and to the text-like spelling and grammatical train wreck it becomes.

If you want to take offense, take offense that this is a man representing a portion of his state and he should know better than to make statements like this. If you want to be aggrieved, do so because he’s blaming Chief Justice Roberts, but don’t take offense at his exaggeration.

Hyperbole exists everywhere. Listen to an athlete after a tough game talk about it being a “war” or a “battle to the death.” Think people who have actually been in wars find those statements appropriate?

When people get fed up about a situation, they often say they are going “to blow their brains out.” After a rough day, somebody might say they are going home “and kick the dog” or that they’ve “been through Hell.” It is a way to communicate the degree of what has happened.

If you want to call Rucho an idiot, that’s perfectly plausible. But to take offense just seems like overkill. Frankly, I think it is because he mentioned Nazis, which is one of the bogeymen to always avoid. Use “Hitler” or “Nazis” is a sentence and people immediately tune out everything else and usually give the old “never forget” mantra. Of course, these are probably subsets of people who didn’t really lose sleep over atrocities in Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, or the ongoing situation in North Korea.

People say stupid things all the time. There’s no need to get offended over it. Being offended doesn’t really accomplish anything other than shining a spotlight on a moronic statement.

You can reach Scott at c ostanalysiscolum@gmail.com to be faux outraged.

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