Thursday, February 24, 2005

how a woman can walk into an office like a centipede

I'm taking a creative writing class in college. It is very stimulating, and is a good way to understand some reasons why contemporary American fictions are the way it is now, but it is another matter. (Hopefully I'll come back to that topic sometime soon.) The matter here is the unintentional humor that can kill. In class, we had fun ridiculing some of the winning entries in a Washington Post competition for inadvertently funny metaphors written by high-schoolers.

"John & Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met." Okay, which is a metaphor of which here?

"He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells..." wow, this one's going fine! " if she were a garbage truck backing up." Well, maybe not. He doesn't love her, and you don't love your writing, either, Ms. Author!

This one actually works. "The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work." Ouch. Sorry, Phil...

Someone went too deep into details. "The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton." Okay, I understand you follow the news... I actually didn't know Clinton's middle name until now. But, sorry, what were you talking about?

"She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs." That's real creativity you've got there, man. I actually like it, though I have no idea about how "she" looked like other than she had two legs and very long, scaled body. Poor thing.

But my favorite so far is this one: "Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever." It tells soooo much in soooooo short a sentence!

My thanks to the adolescent providers of entertainment, and my only hope is that they won't be too traumatized by the fact that their (probably) serious writings have won a space in such a degrading contest...


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