Tuesday 3 June 2014

Hyperbole, Overstatement, Catastrophising 4

Using condoms to prevent AIDS "seems profoundly damaging to the dignity of the human being". (John Paul II)

Iain Duncan Smith says claiming benefit takes away dignity and self-reliance.

Iran’s new drone bomb is essentially a peaceful device. “This jet, before it heralds death for enemies, is a messenger of salvation and dignity for humanity.” (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad)

When you deny God, you deny human dignity. Whoever defends God is defending the human person. (@pontifex)

What’s behind this ban obsession? = People have called for a few things to be banned, like sweets at supermarket checkouts, or fireworks for home use. (Libertarians would prefer individuals to acquire a sense of responsibility. Good luck with that.)

We’ve never been a more shallow society, totally focused on the superficial and ignoring what is really important… We are all obsessed with the trivial now. (Julia Blackburn, writing to the Daily Express July 2013)

Gambling pollutes your desires to be one with your community. (Said somebody in 2013.)

spittle-flecked outrage: Someone I disagree with is complaining about something.

Women can't drive because it damages the ovaries and gives their children birth defects. (Saudi cleric)

Coercing people into relationships with tax breaks is a sure fire way to increase rates of domestic violence. (@Asher_Wolf)

Newspapers are full of porn! (Translation: The Daily Mail sidebar is a bit racy.)

Just like you to ruin Christmas! (Translation: The Christmas tree you bought is a bit too tall/short.)

Young people worship technology! (Young people check their phones mid-conversation.)
Young people live in a different world! (Young people use social media.)

We have nothing to fear but fear itself. (And man-eating tigers.)

I've lost count how many times it's been suggested that we'd like to see an aisle full of boring beige boxes. (Let Toys Be Toys, campaigners against pink/blue segregation of toy shops)

Lord Reith thought ITV was like “the bubonic plague”.

To subject either the fully fledged readers, or those who are well on their way, to a rigid diet of intensive phonics is an affront to their emerging identities as persons. "To require this of students who have already gained some maturity in the rich and nourishing human activity of reading is almost a form of abuse." (Andrew Davis of Durham University quoted on bbc.com 2014)

In 1877 the New York Times warned that the telephone (invented 1876) would cause “an immediate end to all privacy” – because any “telephonic miscreant” could connect a telephone to the wires strung overhead and listen in.

The Time Team special on Lutyens was absolutely terrible. Dissolved into Gove-like celebration of WWI. (Tweeted architect Charles Holland. When challenged, he pointed to the lists of the fallen, gazing into the distance, and Tony Robinson’s shorts. “Think it’s mainly a tonal thing.” Which doesn’t translate as “absolutely terrible Gove-like celebration of WWI”.)

When I mentioned that I was hopeless at arithmetic, I was accused of “revelling in ignorance”.

Christians accuse atheists of “missionising for converts” when they’re just putting a point of view – or existing.

As for the rapidly advancing era of illiteracy, sometimes it's funny to laugh and gaffe about, but other times it feels positively grievous, as though a huge chunk of literary and historical culture is dying. The specific incident which occasioned my writing today is a faux pas in today's Chronicle . . . The penultimate paragraph [of a certain story] states that Barbara Jeffers told police "her son had been acting strangely recently and had threatened her safety." (Letter to thestraightdope.com. The age of illiteracy is advancing, and culture is dying because a newspaper used the phrase “acting strangely”. Correctly. Did she think it should be "acting strange"? And I think she means "chaff" rather than "gaffe".)

Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference and an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage and abortion, said that the government’s anti-bullying education programme and "gender equality" was turning schools into “re-education camps”.  “In reality they seek to instill in children preconceived ideas against the family, parenting, religious faith, the difference between father and mother,” said the cardinal, likening Italy’s efforts to root out discrimination to “indoctrination”. The government’s social programme prompted the cardinal to ask whether Italian parents were being “deprived of their authority” and right to educate their children. (March 2014)

People are illiterate!
(They confuse its/it’s and your/you’re. Truly illiterate people can't read or write.)

Christians are being marginalized and persecuted! (Translation: We Christians no longer make the laws and control everybody’s lives. Other points of view are allowed.)

Gay supremacy is becoming worse than white supremacy! (Tea Partyer April 2014)

To look backwards is to be spiritually dead! (Pundit complaining about… the Early Music Movement in the early 70s.)

London is Hell! (Oxford Street is a bit crowded.)

More here, and links to the rest.


  1. When the Harry Potter books were at their most popular, there were rather ill-natured complaints that 'other authors couldn't get published' because of Rowling's omnipresence, which seems rather unlikely. Meanwhile other people were claiming that she had single-handedly 'saved reading' - equally over-reacting.