Props to benevolent billionaire investor and former chemical engineer Robert F. Smith who took time out of his busy schedule this week to do a solid for the graduating class of Morehouse College by demonstrating the rhetorical convention of how to speak in metaphor to make a point by using heightened or exaggerated language for emphasis.
The successful businessman flexed his oratorical chops to broaden the minds of his audience: “knowing these young men and women were about to embark on the journey of a lifetime, I thought what better way to send them off than to show them how to use a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance.”
“For instance, when I said ‘my family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans’,” the 56-year-old father of five continued, “I was using hyperbole to show how much I cared for the students – which plain speaking could not convey.”
“The impact of exaggeration engenders in the mind of the listener a sense of wonder as they consider whether these irrational statements could perhaps be true,” Mr. Smith said, “which they are, of course, 100% not.”
Although many students in the audience did not understand the point of the lecture, and believed the billionaire was promising to pay off their seven-figure student loans, the lesson in the power of language will long outlast the 30 to 40 years that it will take them to actually pay the loans off themselves.
“I’ll admit I was excited when I thought he was offering to release me from a suffocating debt that I know will follow me the rest of my life,” said Kenesha Taylor, one of the graduates who heard the speech, “but learning about the power of metaphorical speaking was also pretty neat.”
Having caught the teaching bug after his successful speech, Mr. Smith was already planning his next commencement address, and as of press time was weighing whether to perform his one-act play based on a the diary of a schizophrenic alcoholic, or to teach the students how to load and fire an AK-47.
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