Friday, February 15, 2008

Something I recently read triggered off my literary bête noir, the misuse of metaphors and similes. My early morning duties include getting the animals up, fed and, at the moment, thawing their drinking water, followed by the serious business of perusing the BBC’s football website, with a mug of tea, to see what’s new in the absurd world of modern professional football. There, I read how one of my team’s players holds a player from a different team in high regard: "He [Ronaldo] is a player I like to watch," admitted Adebayor. "He has a lot of quality and watching him is like watching something else, it is like playing on the PlayStation sometimes". I was similarly astonished a year of two ago when I read that a young rookie racing driver described his first go in a Formula One car as “just like playing a computer game.”

Nowadays, it would appear, Real Life is like a computer game. Call me old-fashioned but I always thought computer games were meant to simulate real life. This brings to mind an episode in Father Ted (popular 1990’s sitcom) where the wise Father Ted Crilly (middle, top ) is trying to explain the differences between dreams and reality to the feckless Father Dougal (left). Exasperated by Dougal’s inability to understand, he draws a simple diagram of the outline of a head with the word “dreams” written about where the brain should be and “reality” written outside the outline (see my pic at top). Faced with a situation a bit later, Dougal desperately tries to remember what he’s been taught and we, the viewers, see the words transposed in Dougal’s mind (see other pic) with humorous consequences. So where does this all leave us and our confused youth? Stuck, weirdly in some dreams / real life / simulation liminality … and I thought Global Warming was our biggest problem.

To finish, and by way of comparison: what I consider to be a really good example of a simile. From my current bedside book, Scenes From a Smallholding” by Chas Griffin (a title I read about on Melanie’s blog and which I also thoroughly recommend as humorous, informative and easy reading) here’s a description of a fearsome wind.

“I’ve never seen the point of wind. Rain at a pinch: but wind? I’m not talking lambent zephyrs here, but the stuff that hurtles off the Atlantic, like a wringing wet Rottweiler looking for trouble.” (p. 177).