Sunday, July 31, 2016

“There’ll be Plaster Coming Off the Ceiling in the Chancelleries of Europe”; “He Just Jumped Through the Phone”; “the Mt. Everest of Challenges”--Use of Visual, Evocative Expression to Emphasize One's Point

Here are some recent examples of highly effective communicators 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. 

  • Last month (July 14), following his shock appointment as Britain’s new foreign secretary, Boris Johnson (who, you may recall, was a leader of the “Leave” or pro-Brexit movement) was asked by reporters to respond to the harsh criticism of him by his now-counterparts in Western Europe. [For instance, the foreign minister of France had denounced Johnson as “a liar” just two weeks earlier.] Johnson’s response: “After a vote like the June 23 referendum, it’s inevitable that there’ll be a certain amount of plaster coming off the ceiling in the chancelleries of Europe. It wasn’t the result they were expecting. Clearly they are making their views known in a frank and free way.”
  • During a PBS “NewsHour” segment on Trump’s early years as a Manhattan real estate developer, Gwenda Blair, author of “The Trumps,” saying: “When Donald came to Manhattan in the mid-70s, New York City was in terrible financial straits--it was on the verge of bankruptcy--and people who dealt with him in those early days say that he just jumped through the phone--he was so competitive, so ambitious, so eager, that he just jumped into the spotlight at every possibility to get any kind of attention.”
  • (this one from my archives) In response to Charlie Rose’s question why it had taken him ten years to make the 2013 documentary “Salinger” (yes, it’s about the famously reclusive author of “The Catcher in the Rye”), filmmaker Shane Salerno saying: It was the Mount Everest of challenges. How do you make a documentary about a man who never did a single interview; about whom there’s no film footage, there’s no audio material, the only photos that exist you can’t use... convincing people to talk was a huge challenge--took years in some cases.”
© Copyright 2016  V. J. Singal


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