Friday, January 14, 2011

Metaphor madness

Yesterday I jokingly warned that a column I wrote for the Globe and Mail, "may offend leftists as it contains metaphors, similes and military analogies."

Well it turns out it wasn't a joke.

Left leaning journalist Susan Riley did take offence.

In today's Ottawa Citizen, she writes:

"It isn't only for politicians, but for media commentators, partisan bloggers and the anonymous individuals who spew invective on so many online comment boards.

We might start by rethinking our metaphors. This week, for instance, right-leaning pundit Gerry Nicholls, a former colleague of Prime Minister Harper's at the National Citizens Coalition, warned that while Michael Ignatieff is "playing political chess, (Harper) is waging total war."

He continues: "To be blunt, Mr. Harper's ultimate strategic goal really isn't to win a majority -- it's to eradicate the Liberal party as a viable political force." He describes the prime minister as "a hungry predator circling a weakened prey."

Now I suppose Riley believes my words are dangerous, that they will lead Canadian citizens to wage total war and eradicate all Liberals. And who knows, maybe they will inspire Prime Minister Harper to eat Ignatieff!

Who knew I had such awesome power?

OK, so I suppose the next step will be to set up some sort of government agency that will regulate and control metaphors to ensure they don't pose a threat to society.

Under such a regime, my sentences would be mandated to read: "While Michael Ignatieff is playing political chess, (Harper) is playing Risk. To be blunt, Mr. Harper's strategic goal really isn't to win a majority -- it's to make the Liberals really sad. The Prime Minister is like a hungry person circling a cheeseburger."

Anyway just to be on the safe side let's all remember to keep our political rhetoric and writing bland and boring.

That shouldn't be too hard, for guidance just refer to Michael Ignatieff's speeches. 


Anonymous said...

"hungry person circling a cheeseburger"

That's a metaphor that's just so much worse.

Whereas "a hungry predator circling a weakened prey." implies the weakened prey might still have a chance in my book that cheeseburger would be toast (metaphorically speaking).

Martin said...

Riley's own paper in a Wed headline states" Ignatieff tour targets Baird's riding". I believe Riley even has some influence on the editorial board, perhaps she missed this.

potato said...

Well, at least there's still one person reading Susan Riley.

Anonymous said...

This banning of metaphors is not as far fetched as we might think. They just banned the Dire Straits song "Money for Nothing" for offensive language. Things that we never thought would get banned ten years ago, like smoking on a street corner, have now been banned.

Sean M. said...

> let's all remember to keep our
> political rhetoric and writing
> bland and boring

Yeah, just like Susan Riley's writing (well, for that you'd also need to add 'confusing' to the mix).

Anonymous said...

Can we use mixed metaphors? Every commentator will have to employ an English prof to police his/her language. Is "police" (this implies the light hand of the law - lol) allowed or perhaps I should have used chide or gentle "tsking". Think of the possibilities for new words. Cheers. FernStAlbert

Thermblog said...

In a country where the Conservatives went from a majority to 2 seats just like that, there's no chance of the Liberals disappearing.

Witness that despite obvious misdeeds in excess of anything Mulroney's Cons were accused of, the Libs still managed to form a minority government and thereafter prevent a Conservative majority.

As in all traditionally western countries, the left is in control of our universities and by extension, also grade schools and most journalism. Our populations are thus taught that conservatism is bad and/or uncool.

True conservatism where it exists, is hanging on by a bare thread.

Anonymous said...

Does she not know that her target audience are adults?


AToryNoMore said...

The big thing to remember is that the Liberal Party of Canada is the only intact political party from the the time leading up to Confederaton through to the present.

No other polictial party in Canada can say that.