Thursday, October 10, 2013

Visual, Evocative Expression to Emphasize Something: Blazing Across the Midnight Sky; Getting Chalk Dust on My Cleats!

Here are some recent examples of articulate Americans using a vivid, evocative expression while emphasizing something and thus making their assertion indelible--examples which, I hope, will inspire the rest of us into similarly imaginative use of the language, especially when we are trying to break through the clutter.

  • When asked about the likely fallout of the Trayvon Martin verdict (in which George Zimmerman was acquitted), Colin Powell telling CBS’s “Face the Nation” this past August: “…I don’t know if it’ll have staying power. These cases come along and blaze across the midnight sky and then, after a period of time, they are forgotten.”

  • In the wake of the Snowden revelations and the subsequent harsh spotlight on the NSA, Gen. Michael Hayden, former CIA Director, telling Charlie Rose: “Tell me the box (that) I can operate in…I’m going to places at the very edge of the box, I’m going to be very aggressive--I’ll be so close to the outer bounds and markers that I’ll get chalk dust on my cleats.”  [Background: Referring to the inevitable tension between the “NSA wanting to keep everything secret, and the citizenry wanting to know and understand what they (the security agencies) are doing,” Hayden told Charlie Rose: “So, you the American people, through your elected reps, give me the field of play and I’ll play very aggressively in it. As long as you understand what risks you are embracing by keeping me and my colleagues in this box, we are good to go.”]

© Copyright 2013  V. J. Singal

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