Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Metaphor bouillabaisse

Notoriously, George Orwell regarded a mixed metaphor as likely proof that the writer did not care what he was writing about. Today's column from the 2001 Orwell Prize winner refers to British trade unionists as Bourbon monarchs, Cro-Magnons and lepers (and possibly marooned pirates, thanks CapCab) within the space of a single paragraph [1] - the mental picture is really quite confusing. Perhaps more, on the substance of the piece, which is an old Aaro theme - "relentless change and globalisation" - later.

[1] and as antiques, flirts, shiv-sinking criminals, acolytes, Wicker Man cultists, mammoth-skin wearers and drunks, through the rest of the piece. You can take the man out of the CPGB, but glimmers of the finest Soviet prose will always occasionally shine through.

8 Comments:

Blogger ejh said...

God, I don't think I'll click on that one if you don't mind.

Still, might not be Soviet prose so much as "what very well-off people with connections usually think about trades unionists". I mean what sort of sentiments are normally voiced in the Times in relation to such people?

9/23/2008 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

And you omitted to say that the lepers had been marooned!

9/23/2008 08:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only you could write half so well.

9/23/2008 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

hmmm, I think Aaro might possibly believe that "marooned" just means "living on an island", like Molokai, and is thus consistent with the leper metaphor. But he's wrong, surely, it means abandoning someone for reasons of pirate mutiny, and given that the broader context is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, I'm going to make a correction, thanks.

9/23/2008 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Jon said...

Well paid Murdoch men like Aaro don't have much need for unions. I guess the sight of workers organising, and those general secretaries with thick regional accents, might seem almost quaint to him, a throw back.

So the usual false dichotomies are thrown in: anyone who - shock horror - criticises those responsible for the latest financial crisis etc is accused of wanting to go back to the 1970s. The very modest proposal of a windfall tax is scorned - why on earth is it "dangerous" to assume that this may be popular?

9/23/2008 09:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although Aaro was a member of the CPGB, has he ever been a member of a trade union - even the NUJ?

9/23/2008 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was hoping he'd go the whole Cap'n Haddock, and call then 'ectoplasm' and/or 'Basi-bazouks'. I suppose there's always next week.

Chris Williams

9/23/2008 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Has Aaro been reading the papers the last week?

Does he realise the scale of the economic meltdown we're actually facing?

The economic and political project closest to his heart, the Third Way, and the economy it spawned, heavily dependent on financial services, the housing market and easy credit has been revealed as a foundation built on sand. And the tide is coming in.

Reading this tripe I was reminded of a recent article by the truly terrifying Ruth Lea arguing that the last thing the financial sector needed was further regulation.

The world has changed David. Time to wake up and smell the coffee because the claim that 'Labour's cohabitation with capitalism has brought huge benefits to working people' looks very silly indeed right now.

9/23/2008 02:21:00 PM  

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