I stumbled upon this piece of silliness on LinkedIn, the home of much earnest Internet silliness. (Even the Guardian, which never met a bleeding heart it would not spatter across its pages, thinks this one goes overboard.) I could riff a little on whether “bad idea” should count as violent language (isn’t this “bad” as in apple, not “bad” as in intentions?) or just how silly “feed two birds with one scone” is. But I want to point out something else, something that goes beyond this individual piece of silliness. And that is the war on metaphor.
I find it almost impossible to not see the original post as a joke or parody. Has it been confirmed that the author of the source wasn't simply trolling people who are sensitive to this kind of thing?
Long live metaphors ;)
I agree with the thrust of this (if “thrust” is not too dynamic and forceful). I’m not sure if the original post deserves the intellectual energy spent on “taking it down” but I enjoyed reading it.
Well said! This awful trend seems to be picking up steam. (If you're looking to raise your blood pressure, check out this initiative by Stanford: https://s.wsj.net/public/resources/documents/stanfordlanguage.pdf)
But you're right to point out that metaphors serve a conceptual function literal language simply can't replace. I might start my own initiative and try to use all the forbidden metaphors as creatively as I can :-)
I'll toss my hat in the ring here. As I read through the list, it occurred to me that the language in the left column is what I often heard in my corporate job in a largely male environment (software development). My day-to-day activities are relatively peaceful - dancing, t'ai chi, camping, and graphic design classes. I'm not hearing this nearly as often and don't miss it.
Excellent thoughts. I've written much on this weird tendency to water down language and outright change the definitions of words. I see something nefarious in this.
Whoever made this list is advocating for a cowardly form of writing, devoid of risk-taking and would seemingly love to quash creativity and even art itself.
This makes me want to include more of these "violent metaphors" in my own writing.
Thank you, I believe I will. 😁
Amazing article! It seems that in the cancel culture even the good old metaphors are being sentenced to death (no pun intended 🙄).
This trend, which might have started with noble intentions, is leading us to soften everything we say so as not to offend anyone, but I sometimes worry that we are paving the way to weaker, less profound debates (I admit that I have soften that last sentence…). That would be terrible for our society, as being deprived of meaningful debates limits our ability to evolve our thinking and our understanding of the world around us.
Couldn’t agree with this more—I hate this recent trend of toning down everything around us, this switch to blandness because it shouldn’t offend anyone. “Beige-ing”, I like to call it, ha. I really wish people said what they meant, and meant what they say.