x = wit ÷ 2

Originally posted on July 15, 2005. The author has taken liberties to edit his work. He has also taken the Statue of Liberty.

The topic of today's rant is the letter R, the number 9 and the word "extreme." The letter R and the number 9 are great. Moving on...

The word "extreme" has come into ridiculously common usage. I'm not an etymologist, so I'm not going to go on about some drivel about the origin of the word, or what the Latins were having for lunch on the Sunday after they created said word. What I do know is that the word has become synonymous with the more dangerous sports. For example, CanWest (I believe that is the parent company of television stations like Global and Prime and such) has a channel which they call "Extreme." On this channel they show "extreme" sports such as skateboarding, snowboarding, street luge and perhaps knife juggling. Now, skateboarding and snowboarding have become very mainstream over the last decade or so, and I doubt many teenagers would put either activity in the "extreme" category. I think that because these activities have become so commonplace (one is a recognized Olympic sport, the other is found in a plethora of parks and public places) that they can hardly still be defined as "extreme." They no longer warrant such an adjective.

Presently, "the cool thing to do" is to label things "extreme" for greater market value. For example, I believe that it is Burger King that is advertising a new burger with bacon. Bacon which they are labelling as "extreme." Now, I don't really intend on contacting the Burger King himself (I'm sure his security is rather tight, being royalty and all), but I assume that this bacon is "extreme" for a good reason. My guess is that they slaughtered street-luging swine. Thus they can rightly label their bacon "extreme."

Now, while I might not be struggling to reach the King for comment, I was able to ask a McDonald's employee (I believe he was a manager actually) about their "Extreme Rolo McFlurry" this past Canada Day. As an aside, the Rolo McFlurry is easily the best one they have put out, as the syrup flavours the ice cream (or gum-based gelatinous frozen treat) quite nicely and the mini-rolos are quite tasty as well. Anyways, I asked the manager "What is so extreme about the Extreme Rolo McFlurry?" He actually had a quite clever response by saying something similar to "How much of a pain in the ass it is to make?" This answer pleased me and laugh heartily, I did. I was really just expecting him to roll his eyes and perhaps mumble a few choice words when my back was turned. His response actually gave me an answer I was both looking for, and one that actually defines why it is extreme. I'm not sure the King would have as clever or correct of a response. Although, I don't think I would use "pain in the ass" to determine what is "extreme." Certainly algebra, while a pain in the ass, will not likely grace the X-games.

Basically what I am saying is that I think people should stop haphazardly adding words to their products just because its something the cool kids will like. Its just dumb. Next thing you know there is "Extreme Hedgeclippers," with extra spikes and blades to make it more extreme, and "Extreme Painting", done with stilts with rollerblades as feet. The overuse of the word in marketing is extremely ridiculous.

No comments: