Daily Frolic 15: More fun with mixed metaphors

“A-a-a-a, they’ve finally blown the lid off it.”

“Who did?”

“The British press.”

“Blown the lid off what?”

“Why reading standards are slipping here; you told me they were.”

“Regrettably. So what reason did the press give?”

“Well, they haven’t actually been all that explicit, but one can draw one’s own conclusions.”

“But what did they say exactly?”


“Much better that future generations of children can breathe in and touch the hand of history than read a descriptive narrative in a book.”

 “Oh this – ha, ha, ha!”

“But it’s not funny; I think it’s rather sad myself. Then again, breathing in the hand of history is bound to bring at least some benefit.”

“You can’t be serious!”

“But I’m …”

“No, no, no, they’ve mixed their metaphors again – I’ve told you about mixed metaphors, haven’t I?”

“You mean like this permeating tail?”

“The very same.”

“All the same, the bit about reading is quite depressing.”

“No question.  You grow up, you become a journalist, you get hired by The Times Educational Supplement and then you come up with stuff like this.”

 “A drop in high achievement among seven-year-olds’ basic skills is swinging the pendulum further towards phonics.”

 “You mean this drop found itself among skills because it was swinging on this pendulum so hard?”

“Give me strength – it’s just another mindless jumble.”

“But, but … what does it actually mean?”

“Not entirely sure but probably something along these lines.”

 “The decline in basic skills among seven-year-olds is swaying opinion further towards phonics.”

 “A-a-a-a, that’s better. I mean obviously not that your kids are slipping; I didn’t …”

“I know, I know. Look, mixed metaphors are quite common. I have another one here for you – also from The Times Educational Supplement. It’s supposed to be an imploration for British colleges to resist too much government control. “

 “Otherwise, the ideological bandwagon, supplemented by battalions of unthinking, unblinking ‘change agents’ will infect the terrain.”

 “Well, you certainly wouldn’t want to be infected by a bandwagon; it could be very unpleasant.”

“But not half as unpleasant as reading dross such as this. As for those unthinking battalions, they seem to have already infected quite a large terrain of our media – and other institutions.”

“Hmmm, I’m beginning to …”

“Yep, so you should. I think you’ll enjoy this one: I found it in The Sunday Times.”

 “The situation demands an intellectual solvent that cuts through the woolly-headed posturing of our make-believe world (…).”

 “But … there’s … what … it’s, it’s … is this really what the situation demands?”

“Nope, I reckon it demands far, far more than that.”



The first post poking fun at mixed metaphors is called Daily Frolic 10: A Cautionary Tail (10th November 2014).


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