Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A dizzying array of cliches

"Get me rewrite, sweetheart."
Washington Post Outlook section editor Carlos Lozada keeps a list of cliches his writers are forbidden to use. Among them:
  • Paradigm shift (in journalism, all paradigms are shifting)
  • Unlikely revolutionary (in journalism, all revolutionaries are unlikely)
  • Unlikely reformer (in journalism, all reformers are unlikely)
  • Grizzled veteran (in journalism, all veterans are grizzled – unless they are “seasoned”)
  • Manicured lawns (in journalism, all nice lawns are manicured)
  • Rose from obscurity (in journalism, all rises are from obscurity)
  • Dizzying array (in journalism, all arrays make one dizzy)
  • Withering criticism (in journalism, all criticism is withering)
  • Predawn raid (in journalism, all raids are predawn)
And my favorite: the high-speed chase. In journalism, all chases are high-speed. This is to distinguish them from the low-speed chases.

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