Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chronicle of Cliche: Peter King

Perhaps you think I'm lazy (no doubt). Perhaps I've been busy with other things (sure). Maybe I've just been uninspired (this blog is always uninspired, you say). Perhaps you thought I had a crisis of faith after reading in Guy Deutscher's The Unfolding of Language how all language is built on metaphor (not really--language built on metaphor is not the same thing as paid writers using cliched language). Maybe I've even been working on extending my religious pacifism toward being kind rather than insulting (that's sort of true, but I can still be a critic, right?). But for whatever reason, I haven't written about overused metaphors much here lately. But I'm back, baby! Let's chronicle some of the cliches found in Peter King's MMQB this week. Once again, a cliche is an overused metaphor; King also uses some relatively fresh and original metaphors that I don't call cliches, and also many metaphors that are now simply a part of basic English.

This is your chance to remember how pretentious I can be and how much you should hate me.

(By the way, those interested in observing the prevalence of cliche might enjoy this Boston Globe piece on "drinking the Kool-Aid.")

"there definitely will be more electricity in this year's draft."

Last year there were power outages--they need the extra electricity this year.

"I expect to be working hard to play Let's Make a Deal."

Shouldn't they play Deal or No Deal instead?

"Both hate to stand pat."

Do you know what "pat" even means in this context?

"Tannenbaum knows he's got holes to fill at..."

It's a tough job being a hole digger. It's even tougher being the guy that has to go back and fill those holes. With something.

"Jerry Jones is itching to make a big deal. Just itching."

I wanted to include an example of a word that is a metaphor, but is now just a part of English rather than being a cliche. I think "itching" works for that--it's a good word that conveys meaning well.

"I expect only the Jets and Patriots to steer clear of each other"

Me too--I wouldn't want them bumping into each other.

"T-minus 33 days 'til Draft Day..."

I'm guessing it's T-minus four sentences before I see another cliche.

"If Bill Parcells is going to guarantee anyone $33 million, it's going to be a 24/7 football player who he'd trust to marry one of his daughters."

Two cliches in one sentence! King is a pro, folks. An absolute pro. By the way, the word "whom" is dying a slow but meaningless death.

" and Gholston is tailor-made to..."

Do you know Dostoevsky slipped advertisements for his tailor into some of his great novels? Talk about product placement.

"...with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed jumping down his throat if he screws up."

Don't screw up, man: I don't want to see that.

"I think the jury will be out on DeAngelo Hall until..."

What did he do?

"Giant beat writers, you might sniff around this one..."

I really dislike the "sniffing around" metaphor: somehow it seems like a really tacky, lowbrow expression. I told you I'm pretentious.

"How could you not love the Western Kentucky-Drake first-round game? One for the ages, and a finish even better than that."

"One for the ages:" a round game between two colleges I've barely heard of. What ages?

Thanks, Peter King--that's always fun. I'll try not to let the "Chronicle of Cliche" gimmick sit on the sidelines for so long again. Wait a minute...sidelines? What sidelines?

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