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Hilarious Hyperboles

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

By Catherine Nguyen Nov. 9, 2023


The spotlight shines brightly on comedian Hasan Minhaj—he jokes about his familial background and, quips about stories that fellow Muslim communities can relate to. The untruth that he masquerades his story in cannot hold longer, as an exposée by the New Yorker brings to light his anecdotes’ falsifications, resulting in controversy. Comedians commonly exaggerate stories to accentuate their point, but a line must be drawn to prevent harmful misinformation.

Caitlynn Sue art

“Comedians do a great job of engaging with a crowd and allowing them to briefly forget their worries during their performance. Acting out weird or unusual situations that would normally be unpleasant makes others feel better about themselves and laugh,” Freshman Apurva Tadimeti said.

In his response to the exposée, Minhaj detailes his alternating roles as both a political and storytelling comedian: with political comedy, he is rigorous with the facts, while in personal stories, he prioritizes emotional impact. Minhaj claimed his stories were “emotional truths” built on true persecutions as a Muslim American, and it was his artistic choice to exaggerate the truth in order to express himself. For example, one of his stories involved a letter containing a white powder resembling anthrax that was mailed to his house, detailing his and his wife’s panic as they rushed their daughter to the hospital after the powder fell on her, only to find out that it was not actually anthrax. However, a majority of this story was untrue: while he did receive a letter he suspected had anthrax due to previous threats he received, it never fell on his daughter, and the hospital scene was completely made up. Minhaj claims that he created that scene to put the audience into the same shock and fear he and his wife felt that night.


Minhaj fails to recognize that his rise to fame was because his experiences appeared sincere, and his falsifications could lead to people losing trust in other Muslim experiences due to the fact that Minhaj, a prominent figure in their community, lied. Likewise, the community is impacted as the figure who appeared to understand and share their grievances seemed like an illusion. While it is understandable to want to emphasize the stress of the situation, lying about the hospitalization makes it seem as though the feelings were less real than they actually are. Misleading audiences should be avoided if possible, especially through having clearer limits to exaggerations of stories to respect the real stories they were based on.


This issue extends to other forms of media; true crime shows such as “Dahmer—– Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” have several inconsistencies with the real events that inspired them. Analyzing these discrepancies has become tougher, as it has been speculated that “facts” presented in films can reshape society’s wider beliefs due to the fact that people tend to forget the source of their memories: new research has discovered a link between the media one consumes and their political beliefs and attitudes towards real-world issues, blurring the line between entertainment and education.

“TV shows and movies often indirectly spread misinformation, such as a common misrepresentation of Muslim women. The hijab is depicted as a tool of oppression, creating a dangerous stereotype. In reality, Muslim women choose to wear the hijab;: it is not forced upon them,” Sophomore Yusairah Asif said.

Misinformation spread through the media—whether intentional or not—can impact the perception of the reality it originated from. As such, the tale of Hasan Minhaj and shows like the Dahmer show should push audiences to question the intent behind the media: the “emotional truths” told, and feelings provoked may pale in comparison to the intricacy of the real truth.

 

About the contributors


Catherine Nguyen

staff writer/artist


Both a writer and an artist for The Charger Account, Catherine Nguyen is a freshman who likes drawing, baking, and taekwondo!








Caitlynn Sue

artist


Caitlynn Sue is a sophomore at Leland High school and an artist for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys drawing, playing violin, and dancing.

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