Monday, November 24, 2008

Chronicle of Cliche: Don Banks

Two years ago Peter King made fun of Andre Ware's use of cliches; in that same column, I counted 22 cliches used by King himself. This inspired the Chronicle of Cliche.

In his latest "Snap Judgments," Don Banks writes:

"For good measure, ESPN's Chris Berman, never missing the chance for another cliché, warned Eagles fans, 'Be careful what you wish for Philadelphia. Don't be stupid.'"

In the very sentence Banks makes fun of Berman's use of cliches, Banks writes "for good measure," an idiom so widely used it nets over 1.6 million Google hits.

In the column in which Banks makes fun of Chris Berman for using cliches, you can also find the following phrases:

"down to just a handful"

"kicked up a notch"

"For what's it worth"

"looking like the wheels are coming off."

"Cassel is playing lights out"

"running the table"

"much ado about nothing."

Those are just some of the obvious cliches; there were several other recognizable expressions, worn-out metaphors, and uncreative phrases in Banks' article.

I think I heard something once about a pot calling a, that's not it. It was something about people in glass houses and stones...hmm, that doesn't seem right.

To be honest, I've softened my stance on worn-out metaphors a bit; Guy Deutcher's The Unfolding of Language: an Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention showed me that all language, even the most basic, develops from metaphor. Still, I can't pretend not to be amused when a writer prone to cliche (as I've noted here, here, and here) makes fun of somebody else for overusing cliches.

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