Superlatives are the absolute worst

I’m pretty generous with liking things on Facebook. Because Facebook measures “interaction” in order to decide whether people should see things in their newsfeeds I feel like if I am one of those chosen few who sees your post the least I can do is click a little button to encourage Mr. Zuckerberg to allow others to see it too. However, there are times when my liking finger hesitates to click even though I find the post generally worth sharing.

When someone declares something the “best” (a city, a pizza place, cell phone operating system) and that city, pizza place, or cell phone operating system is not my own I don’t want to click. After all, isn’t “liking” usually viewed as a form of agreement? If I “like” that someone has the “BEST HUSBAND EV-AH!” as demonstrated by a photo of flowers on a desk isn’t that like declaring that my own husband is not the best?

"What is the best" Google Auto Complete results
Stuff people care about the best of

Similarly, I’m not likely to feel very sympathetic when you post about having the worst job, worst haircut, or worst luck if I feel like my job, haircut, or luck are actually worse than yours.

what is the worst
Stuff people care about the worst of

The crowning of something as the best or the worst or the most or some other extreme tends to be highly subjective. Even if the title has been bestowed based on some specific criteria there are tons of caveats. All it takes is a little time and a new best or new worst emerges. Your “World’s Best Kid” who got straight As and gave you a handmade Mother’s Day card might spill milk on the rug tomorrow and not fess up until it stinks.

Superlatives Best Worst
[image credit Stuart Miles via

Despite Google Auto Complete telling me that people only care to know the “worst neighborhood in Chicago,” Chicago Magazine recently declared my neighborhood one of the 12 best neighborhoods in the Chicago. I admit that my first reaction to seeing that we made the list was, “Woo-hoo! Edgewater! Damn straight! Take that you loser neighborhoods full of losers! (Except, of course, the other 11 neighborhoods that are somehow also the best.)” Then I reminded myself that had Edgewater not made the list I would have quickly dismissed the article as “bullshit.”

Besides, unless a neighborhood can defeat all of Cobra Kai it can’t be the best.

Superlatives turn everything into a competition. If something is the best something else must not be the best. If something is the worst something else can’t be that bad.

Your idea of the “best day ever” is probably quite different than mine, so let’s just agree that we had good days and stop pissing up the proverbial flagpole about it. Can’t we all just say we had a really great day? Or conversely that we had really bad days with no one’s have to be declared the absolute worst? Those are the kind of non-comparative assertions my like-clicking finger can really get behind. Can we all agree that superlatives are the worst?

Now, don’t get me started on the epic abomination that is hyperbole. What I think about that is so amazingly awesome it would blow your mind! Literally!*

*No, not really

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You can also find Kim Z. Dale on Twitter and Google+ and like Listing Toward Forty on Facebook.

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