Thursday, April 28, 2005

One For Writing Instructors

The Onion, continuing its great tradition of mocking its college-age readership, does a better job of alerting students to the dangers of hyperbole than I ever could. Warning, this link to The Onion's "Amazing New Hyperbolic Chamber Greatest Invention In The History Of Mankind Ever" (Vol. 41, Is. 17, 27 Apr. 2005) will expire in about three weeks. A couple of useful quotes:
"Hyperbole researchers have arrived at, without possibility of argument or refutation, the single greatest moment in all of creation, now and forevermore," said the project's lead scientist, Dr. Lloyd Gustaveson, activating the hyperbolic chamber's gazillion-ultra-watt semantic resonator at a gala launch party Monday. "The divine flame kindled by our new hyperbolic chamber will cast its light down through the centuries, making the Promethean fire that brought forth life on earth seem like a brief and guttering spark. Behold—we recast the cosmos in the image of the ultimate!"

[...]The EHC-1 Alpha survived many rounds of budget cuts, however, in no small part because of the tireless efforts of lobbyists who decried the chamber's congressional detractors as "Philistine Nazi Neanderthals."

"Today, we do not merely silence our critics," Gustaveson said. "We commit them to that newest, foulest level of eternal indignity and unending infamy: the dark, ignorant era before the amazing, incredible hyperbolic chamber!"
[...]

Although it is difficult to find critics of the EHC-1 Alpha, those who oppose the machine do so vocally. The project's most prominent critic is Sandia National Laboratories' Dr. Owen Comstock, who argues that hyperbolic-chamber research has little social value and that federal funds would be better spent on his project, the high-energy, lowest-common-denominator-inductive Supercolloquial Mundane Adjectival And Onomatopoeic Accentuator.

"EHC-1 Alpha?" Comstock said. "Pfft. More like the craptastic crapobolic crapulator of crappity-crap-crap. Blarf. In addition, it is ugly as ugly can get, raises several safety issues, and is so freaking stupid I had to puke at how stupid it is."



Another teaching classic is the 2003 (?) "I'll Try Anything With A Detached Air Of Superiority." A choice excerpt:
A few weeks ago, my friend Curtis organized a bowling party for his birthday. Can you imagine anything more tacky and all-American? But contrary to what you might think, I was more than game for it. I even bought a personalized borling shirt so I could fit in with the common folk. I only bowled a 76, but I loved it. The people there were so into it, some of them actually did little dances when they got a strike. There was this one guy I called "One-Fist," because after every frame, he'd pump his fist in the air like some blue-collar Billy Idol. Never in my life have I had such a great time participating in townie culture while simultaneously sneering at it from a distance.

Some classes can just teach themselves.

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