Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hyperbole Unleashed

There is a great quote from The Simpsons' character news anchorman Kent Brockman that goes:

"Ladies and gentlemen, I've been to Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq and I can say without hyperbole that this is a million times worse than all of them put together."

He said this in reference to a summer camp uprising staged by Bart at Kamp Krusty. The kids took over, ran wild, etc. Anyway, reality imitated art today on espn.com when columnist Jayson Stark made this comment regarding Luis Pujoles game winning home run Monday night.

"But it was a swing, a baseball, a moment that seemed to change the world."

Seemed to change the world? Come on. Revolutions, great discoveries, acts of incredible bravery, these change the world. Not a home run that simply extended the playoffs another game. Now, I'm a pretty big baseball fan. I love the Mets and the 1986 World Series will always stand out in my mind as a great event, but it did not change the world.

I do not intend to denigrate sports, as it is capable of changing the world. Jackie Robinson and Jessie Owens are two cases that come to mind.

But for Stark to equate what is truly an amazing win with a world changing event is foolish and it is part of the reason the media is distrusted by so many people. Journalistic perspective is skewed so far from reality that it losing all meaning.


At 2:26 PM, Blogger iPont said...

I agree with you, but you have to look at this from someone else's perspective. I listened to a lot of sports radio this summer and heard a lot of Yankee-bashing one day followed by Yankee-supporting the next day, based on the team's day-to-day performance. In order to appear non-partisan, the Mets fans were just as schizophrenic throughout the baseball season. Listening to the people calling into the various talk shows, virtually every one of the 162 games in the season contained some kind of world-changing event.

I don't think I would ever call a talk show to gripe about Carlos Beltran (although I am happy enough to gripe to my friends about him). I don't think the world-at-large cares what I think about him, or about anything else for that matter. (The traffic to my blog is proof of that.) However, for a lot of people, the world ends when the baseball (hockey, basketball, football, soccer, etc.) season ends. So from that point of view, a moment like that home run swing could seem like it changed the world.

Sports writers and announcers are just like the fans that call into the radio shows everyday (except for the "getting paid for it" part). They are just as passionate about the subject and just as blind to how (un)important these events are in the grand scheme of things. I can understand all that, and I can get caught up in it sometimes, too. But at least save some hyperbole for the World Series, wouldja?


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