In this article, we explore what happens in qualitative terms when a social phenomenon accelerates in quantitative terms. We do so by introducing escalation as an analytical concept through which to understand sudden processes of accelerating change. Using the Danish cartoon controversy as the ethnographic prism, we show that accelerating dynamics may not only imply the quantitative growth of “things” but also that the qualitative scales underpinning and measuring change are themselves changed in the process of growth. We take escalation to refer to this “change of change” within processes of sudden accelerating growth. By introducing a new theoretical concept, we aim to contribute to discussions of social and cultural change in anthropology and elsewhere and to enable and encourage future comparison between different ethnographies of accelerating change.