Three or four days ago, Mr. Brad Woodhouse, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, said of The Great Helmsman, Mr. Barack Obama, that “The truth is that the American people know, we were literally a plane, the trajectory was toward the ground. He got the stick and pulled us out of that decline.”
But the fact is that we were never literally a plane.
Yet another Obama campaign lie.
But I’m not going to pick on poor Mr. Woodhouse. (Being afflicted with his apparent political beliefs should be punishment enough for the wretched man. How must it feel to be the sworn enemy of all that is good and true?) The fact is that the error he committed is extraordinarily common:
“I was literally starving to death.”
“I could literally eat a horse.”
“She was literally eight feet tall.”
“He was literally green with envy.”
“It literally turned my life upside down.”
“He literally devours books.”
And so on, and so forth.
Isn’t it strange how often we use the word literally in contexts where it absolutely cannot possibly really mean “literally”?
Very odd, or so it seems to me. I hear it literally every five minutes. Poor Mr. Brad Woodhouse is one of the literally bazillions of people who says such things literally all the time.
Well, that’s it. I was trapped in a small and very crowded elevator this evening for something on the order of forty-five minutes. It feels much better to be outside, and to breathe good air. But it set everything back that I had planned to do tonight — I was headed down to a basement meeting room to give a lecture on the Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great and his wife Theodora — and now it’s late, and we’re flying to Cappadocia tomorrow morning, and, yet again, jet lag is hitting me at the end of a long day full of walking and standing. I’m tired. Good night.
Posted from Istanbul.