Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dressed in Hyperbole

Let’s say, your friend uploads a picture on social media. After her 1226 friends are ‘blown away’ by the ‘eye popping awsomeness’, what can you possibly say that stands out? After all, you have to create an impact. Seek acceptance. Remember, all your friends will read what you’ve written with deep interest as if they are studying English adjectives for school exams. Simply liking the picture means little, unless your friend is vain enough to check all the 742 likes. Also remember that ‘Beautiful’ is boring, ‘Lovely’ lame, ‘Awesome’ passé, ‘Stunning’ done-to-death and ‘Gorgeous’ clichéd. 

You can shout in capitals. YOU. LOOK. STUNNING. Or add extra alphabets - Sexxxxxxy. If that’s done, you can say Super Sexy. And if that’s done too, you can be a little hatke and say OMG Maar Hi Daloge Kya. Don’t forget to add half a dozen exclamation marks for that eye popping effect. 
The most dramatic outpouring is a tribute to originality even if it means an orgasmic ‘Yes, Yes, Yes’. So much for a lame exercise, because the odds are that whatever you write will have little effect on your friendship. Unless, of course, you call her a wild Babboon.

Welcome to the social media hyperbole, where simple is boring and superlative cool. Which is why I like Whatsapp where one emoticon 👌can pretty much convey the Absototofantabulosomeness of it all. 

So, I’m watching this video sent by a friend whose son is dabbling with stand-up comedy. After I say it’s hilarious, even though it’s pretty ‘meh’, I scroll down the comments. One lady who is who is ‘Literally Splitting at the Seams’ hasn’t smiled in the past one week. Another who is ‘Literally Dying’ is devoid of a funny bone. Silly me. If folks can ROFL, they can literally die. That’s the way a internet cookie crumbles. But for a generation that has recently learnt to ROFL, it’s tough. How do you process ‘Donkeys Balls’ which basically is an expression of disgust? 

It’s strange, but we never felt short of adjectives before the onslaught of social media. My heart goes out to food bloggers who cannot describe their labour of love as ‘Delicious’ because it is so un-appetizingly old-fashioned that their dish runs the odds of turning sour. ‘Tasty’ doesn’t work either because it amounts to saying nothing. And now that ‘Yummy’ is going the tiresome ‘Awesome’ route, how does one describe the lip-smacking scrumptious dish? Never mind. Don’t sweat it. We’ll find a way. Till then, make do with Yummilicious and Tastyyy!!!!
The easy way out of this hyperbole mess is to wear a funny cap. If you can say something witty, you don’t need to dress in hyperbole, add extra alphabets or unload a bagful of exclamation marks. 

The trigger for writing this post is a short story I read on a blog. It’s an emotional story with an innovative twist towards the end. And I’m wondering how to praise and seek acceptance on a public platform. Given that there are fifty odd comments and being repetitive is not an option, I scroll down the comments. One lady says that her heart is pounding, eyes are watering, and that her brain is literally exploding after the unexpected climax. Literally exploding, really? I give up.

In an article, writer Charlie Brooker says that the online world has subconsciously converted everyday conversation into a form of exaggerated entertainment. Nothing wrong at all. But you have to, “Perform, entertain, exaggerate. Oversteer and oversell, all the time. And of course in this increasingly binary world, if good equals amazing, bad equals catastrophic. Any disappointment, any setback, anyone who steps out of line – all instantly labelled the Worst Thing Ever.” 

Indeed, if exaggeration is the official language of the internet, innovation is an inherent need. Go ahead and add an extra ‘s’ in Yesss or convert it into an Yasss for that feeling of wholesome agreement. Pre-fixing a ‘Super’ will do too. As will adding an ‘iest’ to whatever you are feeling. Just don’t say shittiest blog post ever. And no Donkeys Balls either. 
I might die, like literally.

Image Courtesy:


  1. OMG, OMG, I'm dying, like literally! Where's my ventilator, dammit!

    Did I do okay, Alka?

  2. Your writing is stunning literally! When words flow from your keyboard, they intoxicate and completely mesmerize the reader. You are the queen of the written word, Alka. And you look drop dead gorgeous. Those tresses, your eyes and whole look is reminiscent of Madhubala.

    That was so tiring, I tell you. :)

  3. Hmm... looks like my comments don't come through! :(

  4. As it is,my vocabulary is pitiful and if I don't use the adjectives mentioned above how do I tell you that it is always a delight to read you?

  5. haha! I'm off social media and seems I have missed the scene loads. The world of social media and its awesomeness should never cease to surprise us. Isn't it? ROFL post.

  6. I suspect our lives as viewed through the prism of social media has moved beyond Hyperbole. You have captured the dystopia brilliantly —there is hardly anything left to say.

  7. Like Purba said, how many OMGs should one see in a day? Even for my own uploads 'OMG so cute' is so fake !

  8. This was simply diaphragm-bobbing and kapalbhati-inducing post :) Hope I was able to outdo some of the adjectives. Amazingly written !

    1. hahahaha I am still laughing at the Kapalbhati inducing comment :D That's gold :D

  9. This is so true :D Sometimes I have to do with a like because all the other commentators have literally died at the sight of the awesomeness of the picture. I thought I was creative until social media hit like a hurricane. Never have I struggled so much contemplating on whether to add extra s or extra o to make 'Fantabulous' sound even more hatke and creative.