Thursday, August 03, 2006

Dead Metaphor Department

On Radio 4 this morning a reporter used the expresson, referring to Blair and Bush, 'Why talk to the monkey when you can go straight to the organ grinder?' Is there anyone out there who can recall ever seeing an organ grinder with a monkey? I remember learning the image from reading a pile of 1930s Christmas annuals which my Mum kept for when I was off school sick as a child. Let's retire it.

Why talk to the dummy when you can speak to the ventriloquist?
Why talk to the parrot when you can speak to the owner?
Why talk to the machine when you can get through to the call-handler?
You're talking to the wrong end of the lead?

Any more?

5 comments:

Stewart said...

I was once told, by a woman who decided that she'd rather talk to my boss than me, that she "...wanted to speak to the monkey, not the organ grinder". When I tried to tell her that she may have got that slightly wrong, she vehemently insisted that she meant exactly what she'd said.

(The same lady also once told me that I was 'ingorant', and said that she wanted to see "all these racists sent back to the countries that they came from")

If we got rid of all the outdated phrases in the English language our mother tongue would be much the poorer for it. Besides, in what other circumstances can you compare someone to a monkey - to their face no less - and get away with it on linguistic grounds?

Jonathan Potts said...

Why talk to a vicar when you can talk to God?

St said...

Stewart, like it, good points.

Jonathan, cheeky git, no points.

Martin said...

I'm sure he was only referring to confession, and thus not encroaching on the duties of an Anglican vicar ;-)

St said...

Yeah sure.