Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Greatest and Best Blog Ever in the Whole Wide World

Ever notice how some people tend to overstate things? Me too. "I'm starving to death!", is an example of this. Funny, I've never been with someone in Ethiopia when they said that to me.

Many times when I hear someone talking about something and inserting grandiose phrases or words, I find myself becoming skeptical. Politicians are masters of the overstatement. A while back President Bush vetoed a bill. I am not even sure what it was about, because to be quite honest for once I wasn't paying attention. The one thing I did take note of was his opponents reaction to his veto. "President Bush wants children to die!" was the popular sentiment. Wow. I'm thinking if there was a line in that bill that said, "Children will die if this bill is not signed into law." then I am all for the line item veto. Just saying.

If you must exaggerate facts, make over the top statements, or use scare tactics that blow things out of proportion (yeah, I know, I said the same thing three times) then just how secure is the position you are taking? Or how solid is the story you are telling? Convince me of your ideas or positions with simple facts. Don't overstate yourself in a faulty attempt to sell your story. When you do this, you become like a child who really, really, really really, really, really, really wants you to believe their story. See what I mean?

Steering clear of what I like to call all encompassing words like "always" or "never", is key to making sure you don't overstate things. We've all (all encompassing?) been guilty of it at some point I am sure. I've heard people say, so and so is, "never on time" for example. Well, I seriously doubt that is true. If it were, how does he hold down a job? For that matter, how did he ever finish school? I'd say he's been on time a few times in his life. I'm just saying.

You probably think I am being nit picky about this, and in some ways I am. However, I do think it is very important to beware of the overstatement. When it is being used on you, and especially if you tend to use it. Overstating your case will sometimes harm your case more than help it, because many people won't buy it.

So what to do when you're pretty sure you're being inundated by a blatant overstatement? We should take a cue from Joe Friday when he would remind the occasional witness in Dragnet, "Just the facts, ma'am."

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