Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Times reporter on metaphorical spree

It's difficult not to suspect an element of parody in New York Times writer Patrick Healy's article on last night's primaries. Watch the metaphors change from sentence to sentence — and within sentences! George Orwell's comment on dying metaphors (which Stefan Hagemann cited in relation to the so-called "kitchen sink" strategy) is again apposite:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s victories in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday night not only shook off the vapors of impending defeat, but also showed that — in spite of his delegate lead — Senator Barack Obama was still losing to her in the big states.

Those two states were the battlegrounds where Mr. Obama was going to bury the last opponent to his history-making nomination, finally delivering on his message of hope while dashing the hopes of a Clinton presidential dynasty.

Yet then the excited, divided American electorate weighed in once more, throwing Mrs. Clinton the sort of political lifeline that New Hampshire did in early January after her third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

For Mrs. Clinton, the battle ahead is not so much against Mr. Obama as it is against a Democratic Party establishment that had once been ready to coalesce behind her but has been drifting toward Mr. Obama. The party wants a standard-bearer now to wage the war against the newly minted leader of the Republicans, Senator John McCain, who enjoys a head start with every day that the Democrats lack a nominee of their own.
The vapors: Hillary Clinton as 19th-century lady.

Battlegrounds: war.

Burying the last opponent: evidently a war metaphor, but one doesn't bury the enemy dead in wartime. Hit job might be a better metaphor here — killing one's enemy and burying the body.

Finally delivering, while dashing dynastic hopes: a courier service that also delivers violent blows to abstractions. Note that this courier service makes deliveries to battlegrounds.

Weighing in: boxing.

Lifeline: a rescue at sea (after a third-place finish).

Coalescing, drifting: matter in primordial space?

Standard-bearer: war (but a military leader wouldn't be bearing the standard).

Newly minted: coinage.

A head start: it's a race.

Yes, it's still a race after all.

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