This leap to the extreme is most often seen in local weather reporting. Seeing how weather reporting is a fairly inexact science, you'd think the reporters would be reluctant to use such strong labels. Yet every winter, people in the northern US are sure to encounter at least one "Storm of the Century". This is especially amusing when the storm "took an unexpected turn" and we end up with 2 inches. Regardless, we haven't even gotten through the first decade of the 21st century and there have already been numerous events that were "of the century". That makes me fear for the rest of the century.
The most recent example of this is the hoopla over Hurricane Gustav. This storm has been heading for New Orleans for about a week now and since before it hit Cuba, it was being called the storm of the century. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagrin, reviving an extreme superlative from back during the first Gulf War, called Gustav "the mother of all hurricanes". I guess you can't blame him. New Orleans really messed up after Katrina and he was probably
being overly cautious. Good for him. But now that Gustav is only a category 3 storm, this seems a bit extreme. Katrina was a category 5 just before it hit New Orleans and it could be argued that she was more of a mother than Gustav. Don't hurricanes have enough pressure as it is? Actually, hurricanes have very low pressure and that's what makes them dangerous but don't overthink the point I'm making, whatever it is. The most dangerous Hurricanes have their names retired into a kind of Hall of Infamy. There will never be another Hurricane Andrew, Michelle or Hattie (and that's a shame. Hurricane Hattie? It'd make a great cartoon). So be careful when jumping to the extremes when talking about hurricanes.
Hey I just noticed something. This was one of my longest blog posts ever.