Thursday, 7 May 2009

Metaphor of the month

Everyone's favourite metaphor this week has been Senator Nick Xenophon's comment on the Government's new policy on carbon emissions. "If you give a lame duck a haircut, its still a lame duck", Senator Xenophon said in announcing that he would be opposing the Government's plans.

The Economist used a curious metaphor to describe Canberra, in a piece on Australia and China described Canberra as "a capital whose eerily empty streets and subterranean parliament suggests a Pyongyang without the dystopia."

And a third, from this morning's (Thursday) copy of The Australian. The front page headline is "PM's Robin Hood smokescreen." I guess that's two metaphors in a single headline - well done to the Australian. Commonwealth budgets and other hackneyed political routines are always rich mines of metaphors.

According to the Wikipedia, "Metaphor (from the Greek: μεταφορά - metaphora, meaning "transfer") is language that directly compares seemingly unrelated subjects. In the simplest case, this takes the form: "The [first subject] is a [second subject]. ..." Interestingly, having looked that up via Google and then checked it on the Wikipedia site, I see that the current Wikipedia has moved on a little from that definition.

Readers of this blog may well wish to argue that one or more of the above metaphors are in fact some other form of speech. I welcome your comments.

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