Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Which disaster will be "the first day at school"?

A new metaphorical concept stalks the rhetorical land. First, Condi Rice during the disastrous Israel-Lebanon war of 2006 --

What we're seeing here, in a sense, is the growing -- the birth pangs of a new Middle East

Now, Gordon Brown in his speech to the Confederation of British Industry in the context of the global financial crisis --

The challenge is for each of us in the spheres of influence that we have, to surmount the insecurities and risks and to manage the teething troubles of this new global age -

These constructions seems a tad detached from the underlying misery that they are meant to describe, and held to their strict meaning, imply that the misery is a necessary part of progress. Is that what Condi and Gordon really mean to imply?

UPDATE 20 DECEMBER: In his news conference yesterday, Brown used a Condi-like "birth pangs" metaphor for the financial crisis.

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