I’m always skeptical when I see an event being over-hyped. There are many examples of why added-hype usually means the event itself is going to be a bust, or “nothing burger,” which is the latest slang term for something that doesn’t live up to the billing it gets in the media.
Let’s think back a little to some older examples.
- Geraldo Rivera’s famous reveal of Al Capone’s Vault – Geraldo had hyped up the opening of this newly found vault located in some underground tunnels where Capone had operated much of his organized crime syndicate. This 2 hour special was hyped beyond any standard of decency to the point that medical examiners to determine the identity of any bodies which may be found inside were in attendance. As were IRS agents to seize any assets that were recovered. What was actually found inside was a few empty bottles and dirt. The show was a total flop, but the ratings were sky high.
- Hurricane Irene – Remember the storm in 2011 that was supposed make landfall as a the first ever Category 5 Hurricane, topple skyscrapers in Manhattan and replace Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as the “Storm of the Century?” Right, well none of that actually happened. 4 Million people did lose power for various lengths of time, floodwaters did a lot of damage and there were 21 people who sadly didn’t survive, but the entire Eastern Seaboard wasn’t wiped out in an afternoon, which is what many had predicted. The fascination that major news outlets have with death and destruction caused by natural disasters was so pervasive that afterwards there was an air of disappointment when the storm failed to pack an apocalyptic strength punch.
- Y2K Bug – Remember the Y2K scare? This was the turn of the millennium from December 31st, 1999 to January 1st, 2000. Predictions of doom at the stroke of midnight were rampant for what seemed like years. The fear was that computer programs wouldn’t be able to distinguish the 00 abbreviation, whether 1900 or 2000. A massive collapse of computers and systems around the world was predicted if major action wasn’t taken. Even with the big bucks that were spent to fix these (non)issues, very prominent figures in media were predicting things like planes falling from the sky and power plants shutting off due to the Y2K Bug. January 1st came and went without the global collapse that was feared making it arguably the most over-hyped event of all time.
Despite these embarrassing examples, shameless hype of media and human events is still alive and well. We have not had a good apocalypse scare since the 2012 Mayan Calendar theories were unsurprisingly proven false, so perhaps at least for now the fears about the end of humanity have been dialed back. However, many other events from sports to politics to anything else under the sun are hyped into the stratosphere of our collective conscience. They then inevitably come crashing down to Earth to the embarrassment of many and even the denial by some that the event didn’t live up to the hype. That may be the most amusing part of an overhyped event – watching the apologists come out to try to assure all the disappointed people who watched every moment of it that they actually saw the spectacle take place when it’s obvious that they didn’t.
It’s very possible that the hype itself is really the event. That may sound strange, but take into account a few recent events that fell far short of their billing.
- Michael Phelps vs. A Great White Shark – Did some people believe the greatest Olympic Athlete of all time (by medal count) would swim next to a the most feared animal on land or sea just to prove he was faster? It’s possible they did, but the Discovery Channel could have easily dispelled that myth by explaining the simulation a lot better. And their ratings probably would have been cut in half by doing so. This event was mostly hype and the actual simulation seemed to leave most viewers very disappointed.
- The Comey Hearing in May 2017 – Former FBI Director James Comey is no stranger to hype, as previously witnessed in 2016 with his announcement that Former Secretary of State and current (at the time) Candidate for President would not be charged with anything and she should be ashamed for whatever it was that he was saying she should be ashamed for. Just about two months ago, Comey was at it again to testify against the current President, Donald Trump. This time the hype was off the charts so much so that bars opened at 8 a.m. in Washington D.C. so that people could party away the morning hours getting ready to witness him saying, well, virtually nothing again. And nothing of great impact, to date has really happened as a result of his statements. The hype apologists from both political persuasions may disagree here, but this one is easy to pinpoint as a dud if you take a few steps back and look at the big picture.
- Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor – This fight has seemingly jumped the shark and it hasn’t even happened yet. Over-hyped sporting events are hard to predict until they’ve actually happened, but there are times (such as now) that the hype is so out of control that the event itself could never live up to it. This may well be a great fight, although many boxing matches, for various reasons, become more of a controversy than an actual great sporting event. In this case, we can already say the hype is the event because the event couldn’t possibly live up to the hype.