People who use this expression want you to imagine a Mexican woman in a little boat throwing her own baby overboard and letting it sink to the bottom of the ocean.
It goes like this: One minute you’re listening to a boring speech about immigration law, and the next, you’re helplessly picturing a Mexican lady hurling an infant into the sea.
You haven’t learned anything about immigration law, but you have learned that the professional gasbag giving the speech thinks tons of Mexican women are clamoring to have babies on U.S. soil so they’ll be eligible to clean his house, legally, for minimum wage.
Sometimes people pay heroic levels of attention to the words they hear. We call these people wordpunchers.
Comedian Louis C.K. thinks we should be more careful with the word “amazing.”
“It was amazing? Really? You were amazed? You were amazed by a basket of chicken wings? Really? Amazing. What are you gonna do with the rest of your life now? What if something really happens to you? What if Jesus comes down to you from the sky and makes love to you all night long and leaves the new living lord in your belly? What are you gonna call that? You used ‘amazing’ on a basket of chicken wings! You’ve limited yourself, verbally, to a shit life!”
Oooh, a GARDEN apartment? Is there a secret passage to Narnia in it?
You’re not fooling anyone, landlords. We know you’re trying to convince us to live in your basement. We’re also pretty sure “vintage bathroom fixtures” means “no hot water ever.”
You guys know this means jail, right? Is everyone clear on that point? I guess it’s quicker to say “Department of Corrections” than “Department of Locking People Up In Goddamn Prison” but it’s also completely dishonest.
“Corrections” are good for you. You were wrong, but now you’re right. If you want to find out how good prison is for people — maybe learn something about the ratio of problems it corrects to problems it creates — I recommend starting here.
Oh, Jesus. Metaphors. Okay. First, put away your freshman lit books. We’re not going to do any of that forest-as-death, snow-as-purity, everything-else-as-penis stuff here at Wordmonster. That shit is tedious.*
Metaphors are not just for poets and grouchy shut-in novelists. We all use metaphors all the time.
So here’s your definition: A metaphor is a comparison of one thing to a completely different thing that shows what the two things have in common. Sometimes it’s a direct comparison, like “Dick Cheney is a weasel.” Sometimes it’s more subtle. We say a conversation “derails” and it calls to mind a train careening off the tracks. Or we talk about the “flow” of information and we think of a river, or whatever.
The name of everything on your computer screen is a metaphor. You have a desktop with files and folders on it. If you don’t want a file anymore, you put it in the trash.
Metaphors can helps us organize our thoughts, but they can also turn us into raging assholes. We’ll talk more about that later.
*The only thing more tedious than the aforementioned shit is the small but vocal percentage of you who are thinking, “Those aren’t metaphors! Those are similes.” I have two things to say to this group: 1. They are metaphors. You know how not every woman is a mother, but every mother is a woman? It’s the same thing with metaphors and similes. Not every metaphor is a simile, but every simile is a metaphor. 2. No one likes you.
There is something about this phrase point that feels deeply unnecessary. It’s right under my nose point, but I can’t quite put my finger point on it. Still, saying “price point” definitely makes you sound like an asshole point.
Managers who refer to their employees as “associates” think they are saying, “I have tons of respect for my employees and I want them to know how much I value their contributions to the team.” What they are actually saying is, “I’m looking for a way to feel less shitty about paying these people $11 an hour.”
Hey, do you remember that one time like 900 people drank Kool-Aid (actually it was a Kool-Aid knockoff called Flavor Aid, but this shit happened before some of us were even born, so there’s no need to split hairs) with cyanide in it? You know, because their psychotic cult leader told them to? And then they died horribly? Well, that was extremely similar to what happened to me when I started the new South Atkins Sugar Beach Diet. At first, I didn’t think it would work, but then I completely drank the Kool-Aid, and now I can’t stop talking about it.