It began with extreme sports. They were just like regular sports, except they were a little faster, higher, more dangerous or in inhospitable locations. The extreme sports were kind of cool in a “something new” sort of way. Extreme snowboarding, extreme skiing, extreme kayaking and even extreme BMX became Saturday afternoon fare on channels like ESPN and Fox Sports. They even led to the X Games, a sort-of Olympics for extreme sports.
After extreme sports, we had Extreme Makeover and Extreme Home Makeover. These television programs stayed true to the word “extreme,” in that they were “removed from the ordinary or average” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/extreme?s=t). Little did we know that, after that, everything would become extreme. Marketers and commercial-makers have used the word to death. They have come up with extreme sales, extreme deals, extreme shopping, extreme Christmas, extreme holiday blowout and extreme discounts. The word extreme is thrown around so much that people have begun to think of things that are “extreme” as normal. They are looking for something bigger and better…..the “extreme” extreme!
Aside from the marketers, people use the word extreme to mean anything these days. There are extreme Scrabble tournaments and instructional videos on extreme couponing. There are extreme Dexter marathons and extreme hair designing. Extreme tourism takes people to places like Afghanistan and extreme eating makes people like Takeru Kobayashi famous. If we keep calling things “extreme,” then nothing will be extreme. After all, if everything is extreme, then extreme is normal. And “normal” is not that exciting!