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I was going to try to tie the election into today’s post, but after twelve out of fourteen ads during Jeopardy were campaign ads, I realized that I have no desire to give either of the candidates that satisfaction. Just make sure you go vote today.

And now, on to more important things, like bathos.

Santa Smoking

Bathos is a Greek term that refers to an abrupt shift in style from a place of grandeur to the realm of the mundane. When it’s accidental, it’s a little awkward, but when it’s done intentionally, well-executed bathos is a great source of surreal or absurdist humor.

If you’ve got a scene in your gangster story where, in a tense moment, the mob don picks up his pistol and pulls the trigger, only for a flame to lick up because he needs to light his cigarette and discuss the breakfast burrito that he’s dreaming about, that’s an example of bathos.

Alexander Pope was a champion of bathos use, and there are some great examples of bathos in this well-known blog post that cites winners of a Washington Post humor contest for analogies.

Let’s just hope that after the past few months of being inundated by political ads that we can return to our lives and then the political bathos can begin again. Or something.


Well, this should be fun. Let’s get political, shall we? Use bathos to describe an undecided/frustrated/impassioned voter walking up to the polls. Write for fifteen minutes, and post your practice in the comments. Leave notes for your fellow writers, but let’s keep it civil, shall we?

Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. You can follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
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