Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A meteoric rise.

We've all heard about the meteoric rise of so-and-so. A second baseman for the Twins. A rockstar. A politician. A business 2.0 leader or a colleague.

Well, I want to point something out that the great Hungarian-born historian John Lukacs noted in one of his books.
Meteors don't rise, they fall.

My point today, since I'm very busy, is quite simple. Language is fragile. Choose your words and visual words (images) carefully lest you mislead. If we don't watch what we do and say, we'll end up in a country where our leaders call gas-chambers "showers."


tore's tour said...

i think i might have have experienced a true meteoric ride the last couple of years.

geo said...

haven't we all? but as flannery o'connor said, everything that rises must recede.

HellIsEmpty said...

I know this is an old post but i'm working my way through your blog.

in this case, wouldn't 'meteoric' mean 'fast' 'spectacular' 'eye-catching', with the suffix 'rise' decribing direction?

What I mean is, we don't describe a rapid rise as simply 'meteroic' - we need the modifier 'rise'

Logically, we could say 'meteoric descent' to mean a spectacular fall from grace, but we don't.

That's not to say I don't comprehend, and agree, with the main point you're making though.

geo said...

Dear Hell is Empty,

And all the devils are here.

I think you're skating on thin water. Meteors, fast or slow, never rise. I think this is a cliche that has entered our brains and has taken hold and no one questions it any more.

How many times do your hear people say: very unique, quite unique, somewhat utique,etc. Unique is an absolute value. You can't modify it. Yet like such catchphrases as general consensus and close proximity, we hear it all the time.

Meteorically yours,