Hyperbole is considered a total turn-off to persuasive writing. Once you break out the vivid imagery and the dire consequences, the writer loses any chance of persuading the reader. However, when a situation is genuinely terrible and the consequences could be apocalyptic, then the language is no longer hyperbolic, because it is not an exaggeration if it is true. Unfortunately, in the current media setting, all ‘hot’ talk is written off as hyperbolic. You say “vampire squid,” and I say, “you’re off the reservation.” In other words, the logical argument that vivid language is not hyperbolic if it is true is not going to get far in the big-time media unless you are talking about underwear bombs or edited talking points.
David Atkins is a very good writer and his hair is on fire when he says the following (linked here):
One day the climate deniers will be as universally scorned as the Ku Klux Klan and the wealthy conservatives who defended the practice of child labor.
The above quote is from Atkins’ post, “There is no debate over anthropogenic climate change,” which quotes and links to this article, which says the following about a recent study:
Ninety-seven percent of scientific papers that take a position on anthropogenic climate change say it exists, and of authors of those papers, 97 percent endorse the idea of human-caused warming.
In 2013, here in the U.S., we live in a world where climate change involves a two-sided argument where it is one against 30. The opinions of the 3% are held in equal regard and esteem to the opinions of the 97%. Who would you pick in a match-up of 32-to-1? It isn’t hard to imagine that David Atkins has lost a slot on the next climate debate by putting climate deniers in the same box as the Ku Klux Klan or child labor proponents, but it isn’t hyperbole. Climate change is that serious.