Metaphors are excellent ways to make abstract ideas more concrete by providing a visual image of what you are trying to convey. But I am a little puzzled by people who use this device to bring up mental images that are so utterly distasteful that one does not want to even contemplate the image, which seems to defeat the purpose of using metaphors.
Take this post that took Felix Salmon to task for giving prospective journalists bad advice by discouraging them from pursuing careers in that field. These are some of the things the writer said:
All of mankind got together Monday morning and agreed to urinate in the cereal of Felix Salmon, who, in turn, decided to douse the dreams of aspiring journalists with gasoline and toss a match in their general direction.
Felix Salmon, of course, didn’t find piss in his Fruit Loops two days ago.
I have noticed that there are quite a few scatological metaphors in blogs and I am somewhat at a loss to understand the reasons for it. These metaphors are attention grabbers no doubt, but then one immediately wants to forget them because the images they create in one’s mind are disgusting. I am very likely to stop reading such an article immediately.
Maybe I’m just too old-fashioned and nowadays people don’t find those mental images as unpleasant as I do.