It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Hyperbole ... credibility's ugly cousin

page: 1

log in


posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 12:34 AM
After spending a little over a year with all of my ATS brethren I cannot help than come to the conclusion that one of the least attractive aspects of the psychology of the conspiracy theorist, and indeed of any intellectual process is Hyperbole

Hyperbole (pronounced /haɪˈpɜrbəliː/ hye-PER-bə-lee[1]) comes from ancient Greek "ὑπερβολή" (meaning excess or exaggeration) and is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is rarely meant to be taken literally.

As we can see hyperbole is meant as a expressional tool which should indicate obvious exaggeration, except that in the context of ATS and the CT, said hyperbole is actually meant to be taken literally.

For example:

Obama is ruining this country
Bush ruined this country
Ron Paul is going to save this country
The NWO is taking over tomorrow
The Illuminati are ...
The Jews are ...
The Christians, the Muslims, the Masons, etc, etc, ...

Now often thread titles are presented that way out of a simple desire for attention, this is a little insecure but mostly harmless.

The issue that I see is, that even within the context of the few examples mentioned above, there are many many folk who actually believe that such statements are not hyperbole but that they are the truth.

Hence why this thread is in this forum.

Hyperbole is lazy, it is insidious, and is in itself a means to manipulate the truth into a lie.
It is most of all, a fear tactic.

For those who's points and presentations of the facts cannot stand on their own merit, it is a way to solicit an emotional response to an otherwise benign set of facts.

It can also be pathological and often dangerous, because often the convictions of "true believers," regardless of subject matter, can only be inwardly sustained by a self-hyperbolized delusion.

I think it is important to stay aware of this dynamic, both on ATS and in respect of the world at large, lest we easily succumb to such statements as:

"If we don't go to war with Iraq such and such will happen"
"If we don't pass the patriot act..."
"If we don't pass the bailout ..."
"If we don't pass the stimulus package..."
"If we don't get nationalized health care..."

And let us all try to keep hyperbole to a minimum in our ATS conversations. They add nothing to any discussion other than contrived hysteria and deflection. Plus, crying wolf at every turn gets a little boring after a while.

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 12:44 AM
reply to post by schrodingers dog

Plus, crying wolf at every turn gets a little boring after a while.

But, I have on good authority (I read it on the Intertubes) that the sky is about to fall!

And, my research indicates a certain Mr. Little (some detractors have cunningly attempted to discredit him by calling him a "chicken", but I know that he is, in fact, very brave! Because, I read it somewhere...) ...where was I? Oh, this Mr. Little is the authority on the sky, and just when and how it will fall.

ERGO...we're doomed!

Is this close to the mark?

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 02:00 AM
While technically I totally agree with the OP - I find hyperbole, rhetoric, cliche' and the entire arsenal of bias and lies to be a required field of mastery for a successful ATS thread.

My reasoning is simple.

Turn on the television for 5 minutes on any US news service. You will see that full arsenal used on a minute by minute basis.

The general population of western countries seem to be almost desensitized to it - if something is presented in a logical and scientific manner I doubt anyone would take it seriously.

Remember - if you are presenting a view contrary to the MSM, then you are working against the juggernaut - being fed with pictures, music and symbology.

Do you think words alone will get the real evidence across to people, and make them change their minds?

Have a look at speeches by ML King, or Ghandi and so on, the symbols and emotive speech they use - more to the point, have a look at how Obama is portrayed - the music, special effects etc.

Leave dry arguments for the science lab - if you want to change peoples minds and enlighten them with evidence - then you need good evidence, good arguments - and appealing on higher and other grounds rather than reason is also necessary.

[edit on 20-6-2009 by Amagnon]

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 02:28 AM
reply to post by schrodingers dog
It's often evident that members who are predisposed to conspiracies also consider themselves as thinking 'out the box' and 'joining the dots.' These two little phrases somehow elevate them above the rest of us and remove the need to use critical thinking

Hyperbole has long been a feature of the ATS thread title and probably dissuades the intelligent from reading. This results in a self-perpetuating bunch of members nodding furiously at one more wild claim that only they can truly see. With role-models like Alex Jones, it will ever be thus...

Politics is a fertile ground for temptations, exploitations and misdeeds. Human nature (particularly the politician's human nature) will often be less than glorious when the levers of power are in our sweaty little hands. So, is a war an outcome of the weaknesses and vagaries of base ego? Or is it an elaborate, orchestrated scheme with a defined outcome that was set in motion two hundred years ago? A CTer will always opt for the tangled elaboration over the obvious.

Conspiracies do occur, but they don't come in bright colors and three exclamation marks!!!

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 02:38 AM
Do people come to ATS to discover truths? or to convince themselves their thought patterns are infallible?

A mixture of both.

But I supect not halved down the middle, rather heavily weighted for the latter.

[edit on 20-6-2009 by zazzafrazz]

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 03:10 AM
Hold up, there is nothing wrong with hyperbole correctly. It is generally an exaggeration in order to make a point. That factor is missing in your examples.

Jesus for example used hyperbole as a way of making a point to the pharisees. The Pharisees claim to be upholding god's laws and such, and Jesus points out - you do not kill the child as it says in the law. And he wasn't doing that because they should be going around killing the child, he was just using hyperbole to make a point. The point being if they actually cared about the things they say, then they would be following all the laws, rather than picking and choose the ones that suited them.

It is no different than when Christians go off about gay because it is an abomination, and someone asks if they should kill the child, or kill the man who plants his crops wrong etc. As it is known they do not want to do that, it's an exaggeration to make a point, a hyperbole. Because once again, if it was actually those laws the people actually cared about, they would follow all. As they do not, it exposes the fact they are only acting on their own biases and don't really care about what is said. It's just used for their convince and as an excuse to cover up their own prejudice.

The examples you give are presented as facts or is someone's opinion being treated as if it was fact, rather than being used to provide an understanding. By exaggerating sometimes, it makes the point of things stick out more, and that is useful.

I'm not really sure if you are making this distinction. I notice you mention that it's a known exaggeration and so forth, and some people aren't treating them as such. But I think the distinction needs to be made just in case.

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 01:16 PM

Originally posted by badmedia
Hold up, there is nothing wrong with hyperbole correctly. It is generally an exaggeration in order to make a point.

Indeed, here's an apt example:

"If we're going to start crucifying people for hyperbole in this society, there's going to be a long line. If I were writing a diet book, I wouldn't say, 'It's going to take a lot of work and it'll be a pain in the butt.' I'd say, 'Thin thighs in 30 days!'" *

The fact though remains that hyperbole is by its very nature deceptive.

It is an intentional deception to emphasize a point.

As such, it has in my opinion no place within the context of serious political or conspiratorial discourse. After all what we are attempting to do here, is peel layer upon layer of lies, half truths, and disinformation. Hyperbole, either intentional or self delusional, has no place in this process.

And should the cold hard truth be less than riveting, then let it be so. By making every subject and every position so blown out of proportion all issues eventually lose their inherent meaning and scope.

[edit on 20 Jun 2009 by schrodingers dog]

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 01:37 PM
Isn't hyperbole just a literary tool to add emphasis, drama...

With out it's use, most fiction writers would be SOL.

And most nonfiction writers too.

But I agree that a lot of Headers on ATS are "out there"
but what do you expect when the number of stars, bars, Applause, etc. is the way to
climb up the status ladder by having your threads read. No flags if you don't get noticed. Everyone wants a nice blue one. I do.....

[edit on 20-6-2009 by whaaa]

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 02:42 PM

Originally posted by whaaa

But I agree that a lot of Headers on ATS are "out there"

True, but the headers are really not that big of an issue. Like I said in the OP and as you also stated they are to garner attention and inherently mostly harmless.

What is however disconcerting is when such hyperbole permeates the discourse.

Perfectly fine for the "writers" forums, counterproductive in the search for truth.

Hyperbole will be the end of ATS and the world as we know it.

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 02:48 PM

Originally posted by schrodingers dog

Hyperbole will be the end of ATS and the world as we know it.

That was without a doubt the funniest thing I have ever read in my entire life.

[edit on 20-6-2009 by whaaa]

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 03:19 PM
Hyperbole and Political Rhetoric go hand in hand because hyperbole takes the message directly to the heart of the listener/reader, rather than to the rational intellect.

The emotionally charged are far more likely to act without forethought and without moral conscience.

Think of the mess that hyperbole has caused in the past 8 years alone...

Iraqi & Afghani Wars:

"America under Attack"
"War on Terror"
"Never Again"

Patriot Act:

"Keeping America Safe and Free"
"Preserving Life and Liberty"

Just about Every Other Act & Law:

"Think of the Children!"

Hyperbole is a spin-cycle, that fans the flames and generates hysteria. Politicians and Apocalyptics alike would be lost without it.

Like it or not, hyperbole is here to stay. "The End is Coming. (Such and Such Happening) is the Proof!" will always be the mainstay of the majority of people anywhere, whereas the dry facts will remain an inconvenient truth that will be overlooked and addressed by only the rare few that are governed by the higher faculties of intellect and reason.

I agree that there should be less hyperbole on ATS, especially. However, the realist in me knows that such will never come to be.

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 04:27 PM

Originally posted by fraterormus

I agree that there should be less hyperbole on ATS, especially. However, the realist in me knows that such will never come to be.

Well, that may be so, but I will link your above excellent post every time I run across hyperbolization.

We'll take 'em down one by one.

[edit on 20 Jun 2009 by schrodingers dog]

new topics

top topics


log in