Sunday, June 17, 2007

Paper bag writer

Team Dizzies member Matt declares a moratorium on the phrase "can't act his/her way out of a paper bag" (vis-à-vis a review of the new Fantastic Four movie).

One critical commonplace I've tried to stomp out of my writing over the years is "It's like [another artist/artwork] on [drug]." But I'll use it if I can come up with a funny version. And I just read a description of a sky as "Turner-on-crack," that was pretty good.

Same with "It's like [someone]-meets-[someone]"—I'll use it if I can think of something surprising enough...wait, I did it in this week's Astral Weeks column! (Under review: Kim Stanley Robinson's inconvenient-truth-telling "Science in the Capitol" trilogy.)

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Blogger David Haglund said...

Another construction to outlaw: "it's [x] for the [y] set," as in, for example, "'The Big U' is... a 'Drop It Like It's Hot' for the emo set" (Pitchfork).

Or am I the only one who finds that annoying?

1:02 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I find it annoying...though I'm sure I've done it, too!

5:38 PM  
Blogger Jenny Davidson said...

Another one that you don't like (do you remember [quite rightly, too!] editing it out of one of my reviews a long time ago?!?]: "x channeling y." !

11:03 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I also can't stand the "its like [blank] on [drug]" but it reminds me of this from a thing I wrote for nameless publication:

"...Calling it D.W. Griffith on acid wouldn't merely be a journalistic cliché—-since...the cast and crew shot the film while on LSD."

12:32 AM  
Blogger Jenny Davidson said...

Yes, and it seems to me that "on crack" is the phrase of that sort most seriously overused these days in any case. You wonder whether the writers really have a very clear idea of what it's like to be on crack in any case...

8:56 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Ha! (I should point out that the last "Ed" comment was not from me, Ed P.)

A good Oulipian (or pataphysical?) challenge would be for a writer to publish a piece using as many of these clichés as possible, without drawing attention to him/herself...

From the Parkhives: "The book begins like a delirious cross between Mumbo Jumbo and Les Vampires..."

9:08 AM  

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