Sean Hannity is figuratively driving me crazy

Sean Hannity is literally figuratively driving me crazy.  He does it with his misuse of the word "literally."  It's his favorite buzzword.  He doesn't know what the word means, and he literally has no idea how to use it properly.  To him, it's just a word to indicate emphasis.  He has no idea what a powerful word it can be when used properly, and hearing him misuse it is literally figuratively like hearing Quint the shark-hunter drag his fingernails down a chalkboard, as depicted in the movie Jaws.

Because Hannity has no idea how to use "literally" properly, he sounds like a country doofus.  He is every bit reminiscent of a person with little education trying to dazzle his intellectual superiors by trying to sound profound by using an erudite-sounding word.  Whenever he doesn't pull it off – which is most of the time – he sounds like a pseudo-intellectual prig.  He is capable of misusing the word as often as twenty times in an hour, and three times within the same minute.  Every time he misuses the word, I switch channels in frustration and exasperation.

Here are a few Hannityisms involving misuse of the word "literally":

  • "Putin literally kicked sand in Obama's face."
  • "The Democrats are accusing the Republicans of literally throwing Granny off a cliff."
  • "The Mueller investigation is literally spinning its wheels."
  • "The Trump witch hunt is literally backfiring in Mueller's face."

No, no, no, no.  None of these things literally happened.  They figuratively did.  Hannity is using metaphors and figures of speech as if they had actually happened.

Putin has never visited a beach with Obama, so he has never literally kicked sand in Obama's face.  No Democrat has ever said someone is literally throwing any granny anywhere.  The only things that literally spin their wheels are automobiles and trucks, whenever they are stuck in snow or sand or mud.  The only things that literally backfire are internal-combustion engines and firearms.

Mr. Hannity, I will now teach you how to use the word "literally" properly.

The word "literally" is properly used whenever the speaker is using a phrase that is usually figurative speech, but which in this case really happened.  Example: Let's take the figure of speech "pound of flesh."  It's from Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice.  An example of how to use it would be: "That boss not only fired my friend; he just had to take his pound of flesh before dismissing him."

Now, does anyone ever literally take a pound of flesh from anybody?  He doesn't.  Nobody ever literally takes a pound of flesh from anybody.  Unless his name is Jeffrey Dahmer or Armin Meiwes.

See what a powerful word "literally" is in this case?  We use a phrase that is usually taken as a poetic figure of speech and make it extraordinarily powerful and vivid by twisting its poetic meaning to depict a horrible crime that actually happened.

Or take the idiom "throw someone under the bus."  This, too, never happens.  But if someone actually does shove a victim in front of a moving bus, then we can say that so-and-so literally pushed someone under the bus.

Sean Hannity is oblivious to all this.  To him, "literally" is just a word to indicate emphasis.  He has no idea what a powerful word it can be, because he literally has no idea how to use it properly.

Hannity, do yourself a favor and stop using the word "literally."  Literally stop using it.

And P.S.: Stop misusing the word "media," too.  You don't know how to use that one properly, either.  It's a plural noun, not a singular noun the way you always use it.  The singular form is "medium" – e.g., "Miss Cleo was a self-styled psychic medium."  "Medium" is a Latin word of neutral gender, and its plural form is "media" – e.g., "The liberal news media are clamoring for Trump's impeachment."  Other Fox News personalities, such as Mark Levin, are capable of using "media" correctly, so why can't you?

The author is an Iowa truck driver known to some AT readers as "Kzintosh."

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