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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Double Bogie

When the financial crisis hit last year, the metaphors and similes were really flying in news coverage -- the economy was a patient in cardiac arrest, etc., etc. -- and I thought about starting a blog covering the good, bad, and interesting use of figurative language in the media. I didn't do it, in part because I wasn't sure I would want to write entries often enough to make it worthwhile, but I've been paying more attention to the metaphors in the news since then. In a New York Times article today about people taking steps to increase the energy efficiency of older urban buildings, I read one of the least effective similes I've seen in a while, from a guy describing the importance of energy efficiency in his ($5.95 million) brownstone:
Waste reduction should be part of the purpose of good design,” Mr. Mcdonald said. “It’s like in golf: you don’t want to waste any energy at all. It’s a long sport, and anything you waste ends up coming back and working against you.”

Maybe the problem is that I don't play golf, but the fact that games of golf are long and so you don't want to waste any energy seems mostly inapplicable to golf (don't you ride in a cart? how does wasted energy "come back and work against you?") and not at all related to the energy efficiency of this dude's brownstone.


lj said...

That is a bit odd. Why not compare it to an obvious endurance sport, like a marathon?

But the worst part of the article, to me, was the opening:

"NEW YORKERS get to feel smug about a lot of things. We have great food, arts and culture, the Yankees. [...] But sometimes — sometimes — we fail to notice where there’s room for improvement."

Sometimes -- sometimes -- New Yorkers need to just #*$&!%@ get over themselves.

teague said...

Well, I took that opening as a joke. But probably not 100% a joke, yeah...