Monday, November 07, 2011

Masked Mom's Media Monday: i never metaphor i didn't like

You know the guy who will tell a joke and then begin explaining why the joke is funny even while everyone around him is already laughing? Apparently, someone gave that guy a book deal.

I have a serious quotation fetish--I have them scribbled on scraps of paper, filed away on index cards and neatly printed out in fifteen or twenty hardbound journals. It's no surprise then, that I was interested in the cleverly titled i never metaphor i didn't like: a comprehensive compilation of history's greatest analogies, metaphors and similes [sic] by Dr. Mardy Grothe.

What was surprising was the fact that I couldn't actually finish the book. The quotations, as far as I made it through them, were fine-- some of them were familiar, but many were new to me and many of them were clever and relevant and entertaining. The commentary interspersed between those quotations, however, was intolerably condescending.

For example:

Quotation: "'We are all but sailboats on the river of life, and money is the wind. With enough money, you can be blown anywhere.'--Dennis Miller"

Commentary: "...Miller is only partially talking about being blown by the wind."

And another:

Quotation: "'Making fun of born-again Christians is like hunting dairy cows with a high-powered rifle and scope.'--P.J. O'Rourke"

Commentary: "O'Rourke's point is that born-again Christians are such an easy target that it's not particularly impressive to make wisecracks about them."

And the final-I-give-up-I-can't-take-one-more-word straw:

Quotation: "'Little Truman had a voice so high it could only be detected by a bat.' --Tennessee Williams"

Commentary: "Williams was referring to Capote's high-pitched voice."

Trust me when I say that in the 98 pages I was able to make it through, Grothe does not miss a single opportunity to point out the obvious.

It is clear from the introduction as well as from comments throughout those pages, that Grothe is passionate about metaphor and has great respect for the quotations he's chosen as representative of the form. What he seems to have an utter lack of faith in, however, is his reader. This is baffling to me as it would seem only logical that someone literate enough to be interested in the book would have a cultural IQ above room temperature and would not need every nuance explained.

The book is dedicated to Grothe's eight-year-old grandson. Perhaps Grothe spent too much time around that age group while writing this book? In any case, his tone and constant unnecessary explanations are nothing short of insulting.

Masked Mom's One-Word Review: Disappointing.

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