Friday, August 18, 2006

You Say Potato, I Say Hyperbole

I think it fair to say that Dean Mundy, author of the blog Musings of a Thoughtful Conservative, and a part-time community columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is widely respected on both the left and right sides of the cheddarsphere. I know I have appreciated his approach to issues, if not agreeing with them always.

But recently, Dean decided to become involved in comments over at The Xoff Files regarding a piece titled "A tax-exempt GOP rally and hate fest." I suspect the real reason Dean became so upset was because the event targeted by Xoff was one that Dean attended. Maybe not. But the exchange occurred over this portion of an article written by an insider at the event.
Vicki McKenna, conservative radio host at WIBA-AM 1310 in Madison, urged the audience to challenge the "left-ended world view" of the mainstream media "until we kill them," she said, "until they are deader than dead."

A blogger/commenter named George Roberts responded to this.

And such a frustration with the media, Owen, that the audience was called upon to kill them? Would that include Ms. McBride, still a newspaper columnist in the MSM? Or just how many hours a week does one have to be in journalistic employment to merit murder? Do you require an 8-hour workday? Or is one a prorated target if working part-time in the MSM? That kind of talk would get Ms. McKenna hauled away at airport security, I would hope, but it was okay at your convention? So much for the kinder, gentler country brought to us by the conservative revolution.

At this point, Dean intervened.

I attended it also, saw and visited the Libertarian party booth, heard one panel led by Sheriff David Clarke, who, in spite of protestations from the Left, is still a Democrat, and listened to another one which Mikel Holt, a self-confessed independent, sat on. A conservative convention, perhaps, but certainly not a Republican one.

I'm surprised the left takes the phrases about killing so literally. Must never have played sports where killing is mentioned with no one contemplating homicide.

One of the "nuts," I guess.

Aside from the silliness regarding Sheriff Clarke, whom we all know could not win if he ran as a Republican, and Mikel Holt, who is a creation of Charlie Sykes if there ever was one, this was too much … associating threats of murder with sports. So I responded.

There's a heck of a difference between yelling as a team (for example) ... "Let's kill'em, go Tigers" ... and pointing out individuals or groups of individuals for murder.

I would have thought you knew that difference, Dean. Not very thoughtful in this case.

Dean retaliated with this.

Well, let's see, Tim, the writer described it as a "pep rally". Do you really think they were calling for murder?

I would have to question your literary skills, then.

Oh, come on, I thought. Needing to respond, I said:

No need to get snippy.It was the author's decision to use those words. I think Ms. McKenna's phrasing was a little more ominous. Big difference!

My literary skills are fine, thank you.

Dean came right back:

It was hyperbole. Good grief, in a public place, someone is going to call for someone's murder? I can't believe you guys would take that literally. I can't wait for the next time a liberal speaks in hyperbole.

At which point I decided to quit. But only briefly, so I could comment in length here. First of all, a description of the word hyperbole from the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary.

Etymology: Latin, from Greek hyperbolE excess, hyperbole, hyperbola, from hyperballein to exceed, from hyper- + ballein to throw -- more at DEVIL: extravagant exaggeration (as "mile-high ice-cream cones")

Exaggeration ... as in mile-high ice cream cones, or sleeping for a year, or a book weighing a ton … you, know, nasty stuff. Stuff that kids do all the time. I’ve even told my kids a million times not to exaggerate.

THESE are samples of hyperbole. Notice that these samples really couldn’t, wouldn’t happen. Now, check this one out.

"Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized."

Sterilized? My children like to draw. Are they bound to be sterilized for this? Well, of course not, because as Dean would say, "It’s hyperbole. "

The author of that hyperbole was Adolf Hitler. Ach, that Fuhrer, he’s such a kidder.

I do not know if the previous quote was ever said in public, which seems to define a true hyperbole for Dean. But the following were said in public by Adolf.

I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work. (speech in PUBLIC before the Reichstag in 1933)
My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognised these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognise more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice...and if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. (Speech in PUBLIC Munich (12 April 1922)

We all know what happened to the Jews in Europe. Just hyperbole, right?

I’ve only chosen to use Adolf Hitler as a source of refutation. I’m sure that the works of Josef Stalin, Mao, etc. would provide more fodder. Still not convinced that anyone in their right mind would say such “hyperbole” in public?

"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?" (Glenn Beck)
In this recurring nightmare of a presidency, we have a national debate about whether he "did it," even though all sentient people know he did. Otherwise there would be debates only about whether to impeach or assassinate. (Ann Coulter, regarding Bill Clinton)

If a liberal were to say something like this – and I have no doubt some fool has – the conservative media would be all over it, as would legion of liberals. However, a conservative says it and the response from their media and their partisans is, “It’s hyperbole.”

I still have much respect for Dean. But, IT IS NEVER HYPERBOLE WHEN LIVES ARE THREATENED.


  1. I'll bet if a liberal stood up and called for the annihilation of all conservatives, Dean would take total offense.

  2. Impeach Bush yourself! No Joke.
    This is much more than just a petition.

    There's a little known and rarely used clause of the "Jefferson Manual" in the rules for the House of Representatives which sets forth the various ways in which a president can be impeached. Only the House Judiciary Committee puts together the Articles of Impeachment, but before that happens, someone has to initiate the process.

    That's where we come in. In addition to the State-by-State method, one of the ways to get impeachment going is for individual citizens like you and me to submit a memorial., part of the movement to impeach the president, has created a new memorial based on one which was successful in impeaching a federal official in the past. You can find it on their website as a PDF.


    You can initiate the impeachment process yourself by downloading the memorial, filling in the relevant information in the blanks (your name, state, etc.), and sending it in.

    More information on the precedent for submitting an impeachment
    memorial, and the House Rules on this procedure, can also be found at
    the above address.

    If you have any doubts that Bush has committed crimes warranting
    impeachment, read this page:

    If you're concerned that impeachment might not be the best strategy
    at this point, read the bottom of this page:

    "I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
    Bush, June 18, 2002

    "War is Peace."
    Big Brother in George Orwell's 1984

  3. What amazes me is that anyone gives a damn about Vickie McKenna. She got her start in Madison on Z104 playing top 40. She was no bright bulb then and she seems no better now.

  4. Well, I still think there's a figurative use that has nothing to do with murder, and that's the way I understood their remarks. But you're entitled to your opinion.

  5. Finally was able to click over from your link ... weird things happening with my computer.

    Dean, I am astonished that you would equate the title of a post ("Did Clinton Kill Lieberman") with what McKenna spouted.

    But, as you you say, you are entitled to your opinion, too!