Sunday, December 18, 2005

LET'S NOT GO OVERBOARD EITHER

Today William Rhoden wrote about the Knicks in the New York Times. The article's content is not my concern. Instead I am channeling Bill Safire today on Rhoden's usage. Specifically, Rhoden writes "New Yorkers do not blow things out of proportion, but we do, at many levels, tend to make mountains out of molehills." Huh?

Admittedly, I am not a New Yorker. However, here in the sticks, making a mountain out of a molehill means something very close to "blow out of proportion." In fact, using my typical lazy-assed-invalid blog research method, I googled "make a mountain out of a molehill" and "defined" together. In part, this is what I got back.

usingenglish.com says: If somebody makes a mountain out of a molehill, they exagerate (sic) the importance or seriousness of a problem.
Sure, the page spelled "exaggerated" incorrectly, but they got the idea right...

Merriam-Webster says: to treat a trifling matter as of great importance.

freedictionary.com says: To exaggerate a minor problem.

Etc. etc.

I did leave open the possibility that Rhoden was being ironic. Frankly, if he was being ironic, I would have expected there to have been a reference to "blowing things out of proportion" in the article. Since there wasn't one, there does not seem to have been an ironic commentary. Thus, I am lefting thinking one of two things. First, neither Rhoden nor his editors knows what these terms mean, or second, that someone removed the reference to which Rhoden meant his ironic comment to refer.

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