Good Christ, 2016 has amped up the Rhetorical Hyperbole. I've witnessed the phenomenon before - equating actions and people to wildly overstated claims in order to garner attention in the information-saturated consciousness of the public - but, for crying out loud, this year has become downright Orwellian (see how that works?)
"Grabbing some pussy" equals hate speech.
"Rape Culture" equals rape
"Indifference" equals guilt.
"Inequality and police brutality" equals slavery.
“This election will determine whether we remain a free country in the truest sense of the word or we become a corrupt banana republic controlled by large donors and foreign governments,” Trump said. “The election of Hillary Clinton would lead to the destruction of our country — believe me.” -- The Trump
Adding this histrionic series of inflated false equivalencies to the daily clickbait promises of "Seven Things About Kanye That Will BLOW YOUR MIND!" and the overblown sense of manufactured urgency feels like an entire society of Chicken Littles running around screaming that the Sky is Falling every second of every day. Is it any wonder we're all on edge and ready to bash in the skulls of the neighbor kids because, GODDAMN! THEY'RE SO LOUD!?
Seth Godin wrote recently:
"Which came first, the news or the news cycle?
We seem to accept the hegemony of bottom-feeding media as some natural outgrowth of the world we live in. In fact, it's more likely an artifact of the post-spectrum cable news complex in which bleeding and leading became business goals."
The 'hegemony of bottom-feeding media' is simple to understand. As soon as the News had to make money, the quality of the News became salacious. No longer existing to inform the public, it became necessary to entertain and scare the public before informing us. This tainted the way we received the information. This tainted the way we provide information.
We learned it from them. In our online discourse, we now behave like advertisers and propagandists on the regular. In the effort to be seen and heard, we equate being called a name we don't like to being assaulted and catcalling as in the same category as sexual abuse. Those we disagree with are completely stupid or EVIL.
Just as I dismiss the Trumpian statements that all Mexicans are rapists and all Muslims are terrorists, I dismiss the statements of hyperbole with the same skepticism and disregard as I do the claims that a pill can make me lose 30 lbs in ten days. Horseshit is horseshit even if it is (as so much horseshit is) well intended.