Thursday, December 20, 2012

In Reply: Rolling Heads Stuck on Sticks (Erik Loomis, metaphor, partisanship; National Review)

In reply to: Poor Erik Loomis - By George Leef - Phi Beta Cons - National Review Online, and the following piece, in particular:

"Some academics are mounting a defense of Loomis, as if he had transgressed no boundary of civility. I think he did. It’s bad enough to blow your lid and blame someone you dislike for a tragedy he had nothing to do with, but unacceptable for a professor to suggest, even rhetorically, that violence is warranted."

Dr. Loomis "blew his lid?"

No, I'm pretty sure Dr. Loomis doesn't even have a lid.

See, that's a metaphor for something else; being very angry and reacting inappropriately. Generally it's only non-native speakers who take a metaphors literally, and when they do, miscommunication runs rampant. (Well... not literally rampant.)

Wanting someone's head on a stick? A metaphor for wanting that person to be publicly punished for something they did, thus made an example of. To (willfully or otherwise) misunderstand that fairly common idiom as a call to violence and “eliminationist rhetoric” is, well, kind of transparent.

I would think having too many writers at National Review who consistently took metaphorical statements literally would cause heads to roll. (though not literally, one hopes.)

Submitted for moderator approval Posted (for real, this time) 12/20/12, 5:20 PM (or so)
(Thought I saw that it had posted over there while I was finishing this post here. Either I was mistaken--the guess I'm going with for now--or it was moderated away after the fact.)

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