The New StatesmanThe New Statesman

We must resist the hype machine

By Sarah Manavis

02 Aug 2023 · 3 min read

informed Summary

  1. Internet culture is increasingly characterized by extreme overreactions and hyperbole, where anything popular (including movies, music, books, and TV shows) is automatically labeled as the best, regardless of its actual quality.

If I had to pick one phrase to define our culture, I’d choose: “I’m screaming, crying, throwing up.” Over the past few years, this meme has been applied as a reaction to romance novels, blockbusters, pop music, monologues from TV characters – even to people saying goodbye to friends they made only a few weeks before on a reality show. And while the phrase is hyperbolically used to convey both positive and negative emotion, one thing is certain if you see this phrase in action: the sentiment will be wildly disproportionate to whatever it is commenting on.

The internet has always traded on hyperbole, but that hype is growing exponentially louder, always needing to one-up the last round of over-excitement. The latest example of this is the response to Barbie: a film built to promote a doll with some nice sets and a handful of good jokes, underpinned by feminist platitudes. Not only has it become the biggest box-office success of the past decade, the reaction online has reached a screeching fever pitch, with thousands (if not millions) of people suggesting it's one of the best films that has ever – ever – been made.

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