obama-460_1483275cThis article was like a breath of fresh water.

“…Reading that felt a little like stepping on a stair that wasn’t there: it was jarring to go from the image of “dinner tables” to the image of “a galaxy”, as though giant balls of flaming hydrogen could give dinner-parties. But that’s what a mixed metaphor does: it combines incongruent or incompatible images in a lingustically gauche way.”

If you like mixed metaphors, President Obama is quite a fruitful goldmine. You could say that he’s one of the backsliders purposely striding towards a future where our embrace of the English language is repellent.

I think Obama needs to count his chickens before they cross the road and come home to roost, and stop pawning words in the discount bin for the highest bidder. He needs to pack up his cowboy hat and stop catering to wealthy one-percenter fatcats who refuse to shed their puppy fat, and who pick the pockets of the remaining 75% with the reckless precision of racketeering wolves, and who aren’t very nice people besides.

“We’ve got more work to do than to just try to dig ourselves out of these self-inflicted wounds.” (source)

“As we consider the road that unfolds before us” (source)

“If we can get that done, that takes a big bite out of the fiscal cliff” (source)

“Jedi mind meld” (source – it seems there is an obscure EU Jedi ability called the “force meld” but I don’t think the POTUS spends much time reading Wookieepedia articles)

“The lines of tribe shall soon dissolve” (source – more an unpleasant double entendre than a mixed metaphor)

“This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it.” (source)

“I’m willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let’s make sure that we’re not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens.” (source)

I think there were some mixed metaphors in The Audacity of Hope, but finding them is like shooting haystacks in a barrel with the broad side of a knife.

No Comments »

towerofgeburahSome say Archives of Anthropos books are clones of the Narnia books. This is completely wrong. Author John White puts his own unique touch on the Narnia franchise: he makes it gayer and more boring.

To explain, CS Lewis’s landmark series led to a boom industry of Christian books that involved children being whisked away to magical worlds. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L Engle is a good example. It is a good book that compares well with Lewis’s work. The Tower of Geburah is the runt of the litter. On its own, it can perhaps mount a justification for its existence. But it led to a series of six Narnia ripoffs, which is really a bit much.

The story…? Mostly Narnia. I think he changed some names around. There’s a character called Mary who is exactly like Edmund. Actually I think she was from the second book. It’s been a while. The magical realm is called Anthropos, and it’s ruled by a king called Kardia. For Greek students, this means you are going on a magical journey to the nation “Man,” ruled by the goodly king “Heart.” Every time John White needs a name he just jacks it from some foreign language.

Many adults enjoy A Wrinkle in Time, but the only people who enjoy The Tower of Geburah are people who read it as kids. I’m not one to take away from anyone’s formative memories…but damn it, you were a child. You spent your days jamming crayons and glue into your mouth. We don’t let children drive, we don’t let children drink, and we don’t let children vote. Why do you think your child opinions on literature are worth a shit?

My advice is to re-read The Tower of Geburah with the greatest of caution. You first experienced it through the warped perspective of childhood. You might think adulthood would give you a greater appreciation of this animal, but in this case you’re just more likely to notice the faux fur.

No Comments »

theceltsEnya’s first album is different from the others, as her signature sound had not yet been hammered out. But it’s better than the others…maybe because her signature sound had not yet been hammered out.

Where later Enya releases just kind of bulldoze you under a massive wall of pad synths and layered vocal tracks (they’re still good), The Celts sounds sparse and intriguing. It has more active instrumentation than any of her other releases. The melodies are more discernable. The textures are stronger and richer, and it seems to draw on a wider set of influences. You hear some things Enya seems afraid to touch these days: such as lead synths and electric guitar.

“The Celts” and “Aldebaran” are both very nice, and then “I Want Tomorrow” arrives…yeah, this song is just insane. Most Enya songs tend to ride a single big idea around like a pony, whether it’s a chorus hook or a melody or whatever. “I Want Tomorrow” does have some climactic parts but it mostly comes across as a free-flowing experience that isn’t written around any particular moment in the track. It’s hard to explain, but the song sounds like a couple of different songs joined together, all of them articulating different moods, but all of them making sense with each other.

About two thirds of the The Celts has no lyrics. I’d call these songs instrumental, except Enya’s “instrument” of choice has always been her layered backing vocals, of which there are a plenitude.

A few highlights emerge from these wordless songs. “Epona” is compact and efficient, and reminds of Vangelis classics such as “Movement V.” The three sections of “Triad” take the listener through a series of differing moods and atmospheres. “The Sun in the Stream” is the second amazing classic from the album. It’s brilliantly realised from start to finish…just a perfect song.

This is the Enya CD I always come back to. Watermark and Shepherd Moon aren’t too far behind musically, but on The Celts Enya found something very rare and special…and then lost it again. I don’t expect her to ever produce a work of this quality again.

No Comments »