Exploring the Extreme Case


  • Henrik Hvenegaard Mikkelsen University of Copenhagen
  • Mette My Madsen




extreme case, example


There is a saying, ‘do not paint the devil on the wall’, which is commonly taken to mean that one should, for all intents and purposes, avoid portraying something in an overly negative or exaggerated way. The German origin of the proverb is even more interesting. It says: ‘One should not paint the devil on the wall, since he will enter the room anyway’[1]. Rather than referring to a moral virtue (don’t be overly pessimistic, don’t exaggerate), the original proverb is, in itself, a pessimistic view on the world. In short, you don’t need to evoke the devil, since he is already here. Or, perhaps, you don’t need to exaggerate, since the world is already exaggerated. This special issue started out as an attempt to pursue this idea: If the world is exaggerated, wouldn’t this require us to use exaggerated examples to describe it? ... 


[1] Man braucht den Teufel nicht an die Wand zu malen, er kommt auch ohne das herein

Donald Trump street performer https://unsplash.com/photos/GiKkKIaF5C0