Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Metaphor Material

It came in an email from my son, who was quoting his friend, Nick:

"I'm so glad that Russia invaded Crimea.  Otherwise, I wouldn't have metaphor material to explain how much March totally fucking sucked."

I am not privy to what is happening in Nick's life that invites a comparison to the Russian invasion.  (Or threatened invasion, or planned invasion, or "peace-keeping force" - whatever.  We've seen this movie before.  I think I know how it ends.)  What I find interesting here is the proposed use of current events and - similarly - popular culture as a kind of source material, which is vastly preferable to just getting depressed.

For me, it ushers in a whole new way of looking at the world.  For the last four years, I have tended to regard world events as potential blog posts.  Now I can use them to build my metaphor repertoire, which takes much less time and effort.

A brief review of the grammar involved, from Merriam-Webster Online:

Metaphor - A figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money).

It is, by the way, very important not to use the words "like" or "as" in a metaphor.  If you do, the figure of speech is called a "simile".  I remember that from my 6th grade English class.

Example of a simile:  "That's as redundant as a butt implant on a Kardashian."   

Example of a metaphor:  "The housing market was a media-fueled, ever-increasing Kardashian butt, just waiting to collapse."
Get it?  Although the housing-market/Kardashian-butt metaphor may be a false one, since Kardashians have magic potions and shamans that will forever render them suitable for the cover of People Magazine.

One very famous metaphor is from Shakespeare's "As You Like It":

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances..."

Now let's try it with a (sort of) current event:
"All the world's George Washington Bridge;
And all the men and women drivers merely citizens who sincerely regret ever voting for Chris Christie;
They need to pee, and so search for exits..."
Wow.  What doesn't that describe?
A metaphor can be thought of a way to express universal experiences, without using culture-specific references.  For example, my son (obviously inspired by Nick) texted me:
"Today was a Crimean invasion kind of day."
And I knew exactly what he meant.


Alex Hurst said...

I'm on the fence with that whole bit of using ultra-new, or still concurrent events as material for base stuff. I don't know... I know it's basically harmless, but for me, it seems just a bit too apathetic.

Like on a board I'm on, an author was like "man, my heart goes out to the families, but is anyone else getting story material from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight?"

When is too soon, too soon?

Underemployed1 said...

I'll try to keep it light! Sorry about your author.

PinkCheetahVintage said...

^^ O_O
If you read this and wonder what or where Crimea is then you might be apathetic.

Gloria la borsa di mary poppins said...

beautiful my dear!!


Rosy said...

Oh, Lady, It's so fun to learn more of the language of Shakespeare from your point of view. I was gone, life too busy here. I look forward to blogging and enjoy friends like you.

Martin said...

Could we somehow stop from Crimean invasion (that is currently one of the biggest issues on television every hour besides the search for a missing Malaysian plane and yes you´re right: we have already seen this movie before...) and come back to your amazing, what do I say..brilliant!!!!! Kardashian butt metaphor??? :D more of it plzzzzzzzz!!!!! :)

"Today was a Crimean invasion kind of day." I will keep that in mind..brilliant metaphor!!

And what!! You can remember your 6th grade?? Im happy when I know what I had for lunch yesterday :)

God, finally a new post from you!! You should write a book! I would buy it :)

Besides..I can´t forget the Ninja from one of your last posts... :D


Ines RdP said...

I love read what you had writting <3333333333333333
love it love it love it !


Connie said...

I love read what you had writting, too. You KNOW I am a fan. And no, I did not stay at La Costa. It's near where I live. I sometimes just go over there and wander around when I'm having one of those New Version of the SAT kind of days.

Connie said...

I freakin' Love you, too!

Aida said...

Shakespeare in your words certainly ups the ante, babe!

wish you a great rest of the week sweetie