Metaphors and Beyond

Herein lies the trail of many a non-literal comparison . . .
Advance at your own risk.

Maybe it’s somewhere else in D.C.
Comparison:
"‘My [Bob Woodson] worry and my fear is that the money and resources will go to the same racial grievance groups, the same members of what I call the poverty Pentagon."
Context:
“But optics and rhetoric notwithstanding, Mr. Woodson is skeptical that much will come of the initiative [Pres. Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper program]. [comparison here] They’ll give it to Al Sharpton and the others to do what they’ve been doing for decades, to do what doesn’t work—what in fact is making things worse.’







Mr. Woodson, who remains fit and energetic at age 76, founded the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise in 1981 after stints at the liberal National Urban League and conservative American Enterprise Institute. He is academically trained but wears his pragmatism on his sleeve. ‘We go around the country like a Geiger counter, looking at high-crime neighborhoods and asking the questions the poverty industry doesn’t.

‘If we see that 70% of households are raising children out of wedlock, that means 30% are not. We want to know what the 30% are doing right. How are they raising kids who aren’t dropping out of school or on drugs or in jail? We seek them out—we call them the antibodies of the community—and put a microphone on them, and say, “tell us how you did this.” ‘
Mr. Woodson says that many poor communities don’t need another government program so much as relief from current policies. ‘For instance, a lot of people coming out of prison have a hard time obtaining occupational licenses,’ he says. Aspiring barbers, cabdrivers, tree-trimmers, locksmiths and the like, he notes, can face burdensome licensing requirements. Proponents of these rules like to cite public-safety concerns, but the reality is that licensure requirements exist mainly to shut out competition. In many black communities, that translates into fewer jobs and less access to quality goods and services.”
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Riley, Jason L. “A Black Conservative’s War on Poverty.” WSJ 19 April 2014. A-11.
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Many thanks to Bob Woodson for the five-sided, alliterative comparison (and to Jason L. Riley for quoting it).

Maybe it’s somewhere else in D.C.

Comparison:

"‘My [Bob Woodson] worry and my fear is that the money and resources will go to the same racial grievance groups, the same members of what I call the poverty Pentagon."

Context:

But optics and rhetoric notwithstanding, Mr. Woodson is skeptical that much will come of the initiative [Pres. Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper program]. [comparison here] They’ll give it to Al Sharpton and the others to do what they’ve been doing for decades, to do what doesn’t work—what in fact is making things worse.’

Mr. Woodson, who remains fit and energetic at age 76, founded the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise in 1981 after stints at the liberal National Urban League and conservative American Enterprise Institute. He is academically trained but wears his pragmatism on his sleeve. ‘We go around the country like a Geiger counter, looking at high-crime neighborhoods and asking the questions the poverty industry doesn’t.

‘If we see that 70% of households are raising children out of wedlock, that means 30% are not. We want to know what the 30% are doing right. How are they raising kids who aren’t dropping out of school or on drugs or in jail? We seek them out—we call them the antibodies of the community—and put a microphone on them, and say, “tell us how you did this.” ‘

Mr. Woodson says that many poor communities don’t need another government program so much as relief from current policies. ‘For instance, a lot of people coming out of prison have a hard time obtaining occupational licenses,’ he says. Aspiring barbers, cabdrivers, tree-trimmers, locksmiths and the like, he notes, can face burdensome licensing requirements. Proponents of these rules like to cite public-safety concerns, but the reality is that licensure requirements exist mainly to shut out competition. In many black communities, that translates into fewer jobs and less access to quality goods and services.”

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Riley, Jason L. “A Black Conservative’s War on Poverty.” WSJ 19 April 2014. A-11.

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Many thanks to Bob Woodson for the five-sided, alliterative comparison (and to Jason L. Riley for quoting it).

Professor Suspended Over "Threatening" Game of Thrones T-Shirt

Psy evaluation, admin leave, thrones, fire, metaphors  .  .  .  . whew!

Thanks to Michael Erard for the link.

Why are Mom and Dad holding their faces?
Comparison:
"It’s [companies with bad news for their investors] a lot like a kid who blows a test. It’s better to tell mom and dad before the report card comes. If your parents are both accounting professors, they would call that giving guidance.
 ‘If my daughter has a test that’s particularly difficult, we hear about it beforehand,’ says James Myers.
 He and his wife Linda Myers study these issues at University of Arkansas. They have two kids and are both quick to say both are good students. But if they ever hit a bump, they say it’s wise to dial down their expectations before the report card arrives.”
Context:
"Goldman Sachs on Thursday told the world its profits fell 11 percent. Yet the bank’s stock rose on the news. It may sound odd, but it’s perfectly logical on Wall Street. The markets expected Goldman to do even worse, so when the news wasn’t as bad as predicted, the stock moved up.
Fine tuning market expectations is important for public companies. [comparison here]
Providing guidance about good or bad times at the company can help keep the stock price under control when the final news comes.

Companies can do the same thing ahead of their own report cards, the quarterly earnings reports.”
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Garrison, Mark. “The Market’s Great Expectations.” Marketplace 17 April 2014. Web.
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Analog reasoning frames the spreadsheet!  Thanks to Professors Meyers for the analogy and to Mark Garrison for passing it along to the rest of us.
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Image by smcgee

Why are Mom and Dad holding their faces?

Comparison:

"It’s [companies with bad news for their investors] a lot like a kid who blows a test. It’s better to tell mom and dad before the report card comes. If your parents are both accounting professors, they would call that giving guidance.

 ‘If my daughter has a test that’s particularly difficult, we hear about it beforehand,’ says James Myers.

 He and his wife Linda Myers study these issues at University of Arkansas. They have two kids and are both quick to say both are good students. But if they ever hit a bump, they say it’s wise to dial down their expectations before the report card arrives.”

Context:

"Goldman Sachs on Thursday told the world its profits fell 11 percent. Yet the bank’s stock rose on the news. It may sound odd, but it’s perfectly logical on Wall Street. The markets expected Goldman to do even worse, so when the news wasn’t as bad as predicted, the stock moved up.

Fine tuning market expectations is important for public companies. [comparison here]

Providing guidance about good or bad times at the company can help keep the stock price under control when the final news comes.

Companies can do the same thing ahead of their own report cards, the quarterly earnings reports.”

.

Garrison, Mark. “The Market’s Great Expectations.” Marketplace 17 April 2014. Web.

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Analog reasoning frames the spreadsheet!  Thanks to Professors Meyers for the analogy and to Mark Garrison for passing it along to the rest of us.

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Image by smcgee

Why does that usher have an earpiece and a glock?

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Comparison:

"This being New York, elation quickly turned to grumbling; it was like being stuck on the subway during a blackout, except with the President of the United States."

Context:

Then, a high-pitched tone pierced through the Barrymore: apparently, a Secret Service member had opened an emergency door and tripped an alarm [as President Obama and his group were seated to watch the Broadway show “A Raisin in the Sun”]. [comparison here] After a few minutes, the announcer returned: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please note: this is not an emergency situation.’ Phew! For about ten minutes, the audience sat in the pitch dark, with little to do but plug their ears and gawk. ‘I guess we’re finding out what happens to a dream deferred,’ one woman deadpanned. A moment later, the screech finally subsided, to relieved applause. At 8:26 P.M., the show began.”

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Schulman, Hichael. “Watching the Obamas Watch ‘A Raisin in the Sun.’” New Yorker 13 April 2014. Web.

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Thanks to Hichael Schulman for the Big Apple-ish comparison and to Ari Shapiro for tweeting this link.

What if she’s in love with the chauffeur?

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Comparison:

"‘You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and say: “I am very rich. Marry me!” That’s direct marketing.

‘You’re at a party with a bunch of friends and see a gorgeous girl. One of your friends goes up to her and pointing at you says: “He’s very rich. Marry him.” That’s advertising.

‘You’re at a party and see gorgeous girl. You get up and straighten your tie, you walk up to her and pour her a drink, you open the door (of the car) for her, pick up her bag after she drops it, offer her ride, and then say: “By the way, I’m rich. Will you Marry Me?” That’s public relations.’”

Context:

"One oft-quoted anecdote about the difference between marketing and PR goes something like this:

[comparison here]

As this unwieldy metaphor demonstrates, ‘traditional’ PR activities are all about emphasizing the interesting aspects of a business and crafting a profile that positions it as a trusted authority in its field and engenders both recognition and trust among target audiences.

Unlike an agency or in-house team focused exclusively on search, social, advertising, or marketing, PR can encompass all of those disciplines, taking a holistic view of a brand’s profile and crafting a multichannel campaign designed to positively influence.”

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Heneghan, Gerald. “Why the Future of Digital Marketing is Pure PR.” MarketingProfs.com 10 April 2014: Web.

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’50s vibe may help (or hurt?) this 3-stack comparison wherein Gerald Heneghan seeks to refine our understanding of commercial persuasive arts. Thanks to the good UK rhetor and to Ms. King of PDX for spotting this story-based set of comparisons.

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image adapted from Dan Machold

When Motown Freezes Over
Comparison:
   "‘She’s [Hillary Clinton] Gladys Knight and all the rest of them are the Pips,’ said Robert Zimmerman, a long-time Democratic donor, comparing Mrs. Clinton with potential opponents from both parties."
Context:
“Hillary Clinton’s phantom presence in the Democratic presidential-nomination stakes—neither in nor out—is freezing the rest of the field, creating formidable obstacles for other candidates needing to raise money and set up organization.”
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   Nicholas, Peter. “Clinton Freezes Rest of ’16 Field.” WSJ 07 April 2014. A-1.
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Hat’s off to page-one journalist Peter Nicholas who manages to invoke Motown, sub-32 degree weather, horse racing, and a hint of Star Wars (all in one sentence about Hillary Clinton).
Whew!

Is a Footprint the Right Metaphor for Ecological Impact? | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network

Very thoughtful consideration of how certain metaphors can become over- (and perhaps) mis-used. Thanks to Laura Jane Martin for the post.

Throw Strikes, the Babe’s (gasp) back??! Just kidding.

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Comparison:

"It [Ron Johnson being hired as CEO of JC Penney] was as if a triple-A team had just signed Babe Ruth."

image

Context:

"With [Bill] Ackman as head cheerleader, Penney’s board offered Johnson the CEO position. When the announcement was made, on June 14, 2011, the retail world was astounded—and thrilled. Although [Ron] Johnson wouldn’t start as CEO until Nov. 1—he said the cancer-stricken Steve Jobs had asked him to stay longer—Penny’s stock rose 17% on the news."[comparison here]

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Reingold, Jennifer. “JCPenney: How to Fail in Business While Really, Really Trying.” Fortune 07 April 2014. 84. [80-90]

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Thanks to Jennifer Reingold for this long-ball comparison.

Comparison:
"Sometimes, overwork gets downright dangerous. We have tough legislation mandating adequate rest periods for truck drivers and airline pilots — not because we think they need their beauty sleep, but because when overtired drivers and pilots make mistakes, people can die. When did we come to believe that crucial national security decisions are best made by people too tired to think straight?"
Context:
"Back in the day, Henry Ford didn’t advocate the eight-hour day for his auto assembly line workers because he was a nice guy. He advocated the eight-hour day because research demonstrated that worker productivity cratered after more than eight hours. As Brigid Schulte documents in her forthcoming book, “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time,” humans can only take so much for so long. When a workplace is full of employees who always lean in and never lean back, it’s full of employees who are exhausted, brittle and incapable of showing much creativity or making good decisions.
[comparison here]
If we truly want gender equality, we need to challenge the assumption that more is always better, and the assumption that men don’t suffer as much as women when they’re exhausted and have no time for family or fun. And we need to challenge those assumptions wherever we find them, both in the workplace and in the family. Whether it’s one more meeting, one more memo, one more conference, one more play date, one more soccer game or one more flute lesson for the kids, sometimes we need to say, ‘Enough!’”
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Brooks, Rosa. “Recline, don’t ‘Lean In’ (Why I hate Sheryl Sandberg).” Washington Post 25 Feb. 2014. Web.
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Deeply important analogy offered by Prof. Brooks; let’s rest while we think about it; thanks to CG from Elmhurst College for the leading tweet to the article.

Comparison:

"Sometimes, overwork gets downright dangerous. We have tough legislation mandating adequate rest periods for truck drivers and airline pilots — not because we think they need their beauty sleep, but because when overtired drivers and pilots make mistakes, people can die. When did we come to believe that crucial national security decisions are best made by people too tired to think straight?"

Context:

"Back in the day, Henry Ford didn’t advocate the eight-hour day for his auto assembly line workers because he was a nice guy. He advocated the eight-hour day because research demonstrated that worker productivity cratered after more than eight hours. As Brigid Schulte documents in her forthcoming book, “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time,” humans can only take so much for so long. When a workplace is full of employees who always lean in and never lean back, it’s full of employees who are exhausted, brittle and incapable of showing much creativity or making good decisions.

[comparison here]

If we truly want gender equality, we need to challenge the assumption that more is always better, and the assumption that men don’t suffer as much as women when they’re exhausted and have no time for family or fun. And we need to challenge those assumptions wherever we find them, both in the workplace and in the family. Whether it’s one more meeting, one more memo, one more conference, one more play date, one more soccer game or one more flute lesson for the kids, sometimes we need to say, ‘Enough!’”

.

Brooks, Rosa. “Recline, don’t ‘Lean In’ (Why I hate Sheryl Sandberg).” Washington Post 25 Feb. 2014. Web.

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Deeply important analogy offered by Prof. Brooks; let’s rest while we think about it; thanks to CG from Elmhurst College for the leading tweet to the article.

The Long Catch On (Or Why Metaphors Take So Long To Become Conventional)

Thanks to Michael Erard (with a Quirk assist) for this thoughtful piece on development and use of a metaphor.