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Hyperbole is simply defined as “extravagant exaggeration,” but that simple definition hardly captures the sheer melodrama and hysteria that often encompasses hyperbole. It really is a blight on the potato of humankind and a plague of the internet world and mediated reality.

A headline this morning declared “80 million Americans Threatened.” That sounds rather ominous, so I decided to read the article. What threatens us this morning is “winter.” Well, when did that start happening?? There ought to be a law! This is a great offense indeed. I’m quite annoyed by this winter thing and liable to join some social justice campaign against it, perhaps engage in a bit of anti-winter advocacy. Winter definitely needs to be stopped. 80 million Americans threatened, ban it!

One bit of hyperbole I personally bump into frequently is post traumatic stress disorder over the Emperor Constantine. No, simply no. Call it a pet peeve or whatever, but I simply refuse to listen to any more long screeds about how traumatized you are over the behavior of the Emperor Constantine. No, you are not old enough to have experienced any personal trauma under his regime. No, my faith is not “triggering and offensive” to you because you suffer from Constantine victimization. There are some rabbit holes that are so detached from reality, not even I am interested in jumping down them.

There is another bit of hyperbole that I completely abdicate all responsibility for. I not only cast off and relinquish all responsibility, I’m prone to laugh and ridicule such foolishness. The current crisis is manspreading, a grave social ill, I’m sure, that involves men taking up too much room on public transportation. Men, get of my planet! I mean, “please be courteous of those around you.” Women of course, with all our packages, bags, children, crossed legs, and elegant poses, never take up undue personal space in public. Never! We’re simply entitled to it at all times.

Let me tell you, you know you live in the First World when you have dedicated anti-manspreading advocates who have spent months photographing and documenting men with their legs spread entirely too far apart. Wait, did you say you just spent months collecting evidence of the male pelvis displayed inappropriately in public places?? Now that is uproariously funny! A bit desperate, too. Actually, I’m rather annoyed I didn’t think of it first. All in the name of science, of course.

In all seriousness however, what in the heck are we doing here?? They’ve actually designed very gender specific signs that say “dude!” with a picture of a guy spread out too far on public transportation. There is also a facebook public shaming campaign where you can post pictures of alleged offenders. The movement has now taken on an international flavor and spread itself to Toronto, where they will no doubt hand out a government grant to study the problem.

Something is all wrong here. Public shaming for sitting wrong? For being men? For existing? I mean think about it, we now believe we are entitled to shame complete strangers on the internet because our personal sensibilities are offended. Talk about violating somebody’s personal space.

manspreading

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