Thursday, 25 September 2014

Like a rat up a drainpipe...

Similes. Editors love them, and you can never use enough weird ones. (I am kidding, just in case you missed the tone, there.) But the internet is awash with examples of bad similes produced by modern students, as if there's something new about dodgy analogies. A bit of 'research' (i.e. Googling stuff) should convince anyone that there's nothing new about silly similes and so forth. 

But first, some examples that popped up on Facebook and are supposedly down to modern students:

'She was like a magnet - attractive from the back, repulsive from the front.' (Basic physics.)
'Her eyes twinkled, like the moustache of a man with a cold.' (Smooth.)
'The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object.' (Have to admit, this one's hard to beat as deadpan humour.) 
'She had him like a toenail stuck in a shag carpet.' (Ouch.) 
'It was as easy as taking a candy from a diabetic man who no longer wishes to eat candy.' 

But let's be fair, it isn't easy to find an apt simile, and the stranger the thing you're trying to compare, the harder it gets. 

Which might explain why the Victorian poet Swinburne kept falling back on the word strange to describe all the big things in life, and indeed life itself. Other things Swinburne declared to be strange include sleep, heaven, fate, 'night and morning, stars and sun'; 'chance or doom', and 'hope's green blossom touched with time's harsh rust'. 

But that's poets for you - they play by different rules. 

1 comment:

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