Friday, October 10, 2014

2326 Brand Hype

Words is funny. And people use them sometimes in ways that make me think they're not putting a lot of thought behind the process. Or too much.

Like the line I saw in a magazine article recently. The author of the piece was talking about the frenzy investors were working themselves up to around the IPO of the company Alibaba. He said, "But as is so often the case when internet companies go public, hype can quickly become hyperbole."

I know what he meant, I think, but hype and hyperbole are not progressively different terms like better and best. And they are not always entirely separate words with subtle distinctions of meaning. Hype, in this context, is just plain short for hyperbole. It's a slang shortening that over time evolved into a word in its own right. Like perk and perquisite. 

I guess I'd better write another letter to that magazine's editor. I've already told these people a million times not to exaggerate.

Another word gets used a lot in a peculiar fashion. At least according to a guy I know at work named Chris. The other day we were listening to a news story on the radio in the office and the newscaster said something about a criminal "brandishing" a gun.

Chris wondered aloud why it was that you could only seem to brandish a gun. I replied that I'd heard of someone brandishing a knife. We agreed it's only weapons that get brandished. The act of brandishing seems to imply a threat of some sort.

One can not, it appears, innocently brandish a cup of coffee. Or even a bottle of whiskey. Unless the brandisher wants to break that bottle over your head. 

Perhaps because he's hyped up on booze.   

America, ya gotta love it. 

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