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Game and other metaphors

[ by Charles Cameron — chess, billiards, dominoes and roulette — one horse, but no cats ]
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I’m always fascinated by chess and other game metaphors, but they’re generally verbal, so this one is a treat:

That’s from a War on the Rocks / US Institute of Peace piece, Harnessing Iraq’s deadly array of armed groups after ISIL, by Sarhang Hamasaeed — the first in a series.

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War is the continuation of games by other means. Everyone and her donkey has an “x is the continuation of y by other means” formulation, and they’re mostly a bit lame — this is mine.

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Some recent game metaphors I’ve caught while my computer has been in the shop:

Chris Matthews had a rather neat billiards insight: “you always want to place the ball after the shot..

Somewhere — it’s probably a cliche by now — “the first domino to fall”.

“Nasser is playing roulette with the stability of the whole world” — in the TV series, Crown. second season, episode 1.

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Okay, non-game metaphors, of particular interest when they’re religious:

Al Franken was identified as a sacrificial lamb after his fellow Dems turned on him en masse by Kevin Nealon, a metaphor disputed by Stephanie Ruhle.

Scapegoats, sacrificial lambs amd martyrs are about as heady a set of transcendental metaphors as one might hope for — Franken is in heady conceptual company here.

And here’s a newly-minted Franken-word:

There’s a new word which has registered on the media’s radar, and that is “unresign” — or “un-resign,” depending on the news organization.

Aah, aah.

Okay, back to religion. Church MilitantSteve Bannon apparently used the phrase at a Vaticaan conference in 2014:

In his presentation, Mr. Bannon, then the head of the hard-right website Breitbart News and now Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, called on the “church militant” to fight a global war against a “new barbarity” of “Islamic fascism” and international financial elites, with 2,500 years of Western civilization at risk.

Samuel Freedman commented in the NYT:

While most listeners probably overlooked the term “church militant,” knowledgeable Catholics would have recognized it as a concept deeply embedded in the church’s teaching. Moreover, they would have noticed that Mr. Bannon had taken the term out of context, invoking it in a call for cultural and military conflict rather than for spiritual warfare, particularly within one’s soul, its longstanding connotation.

Metaphor? The Church as an army? Salvation Army? Or a direct reference to the Church, factually, actually, Militant?

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Well-turned phrases:

“The cost of doing nothing is not nothing.” John Delaney, (D-MD)

“The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” quoted in The Jerusalem Post, November 2002.

Well, that’s a bit ancient. How about:

This is what hell looks like: a country where people talk about morals and wave bibles, defending someone who’s accused of pedophilia. .. and what we need is redmption.

That’s Frank Schaeffer, son of Francis Schaeffer — founder of L’Abri and the conservative right movement — on JoyAM. Fierce.

And cruel, but decidedly witty — this amazing headline:

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Then there are the ouroboroi — the self-referential phrasings:

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA):

You call it the Trump privilege. I call it the privilege privilege.

Also: “To spy on the spies.”

And somewhere: “investigating the investigators..”

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Mercifully, no cute cats nor kitties.

2 Responses to “Game and other metaphors”

  1. Charles Cameron Says:

    Ouroboros:

  2. Jim Gant Says:

    Charles, Hope all is well my friend. Re-arm, re-fuel, re-cover, and re-st. Take care of yourself…My prayer for you this year is hope, happiness and health…

    Doing my daily reading today I read this and it made me think of your recent post about ‘games’ and your beautiful poem. This thought, of course, would be much more applicable if we were playing ‘The Glass Bead Game’ and not directly having anything to do with ‘Game and other Metaphors’.

    From, ‘Moments of Truth’, written by Omar Khayyam in the classic, “The Rubaiyat”, translated by Paramahansa Yogananda (both Khayyam and Yogananda are amazing. If one has not read about Paramahansa Yogananda, they are missing out):

    The black squares on a checkerboard
    alternate with the white.
    Even so, every darkness in life
    alternates with light,
    every sorrow with a joy,
    every failure with a success.
    Change and contrast
    are inevitable,
    and are what make
    the great game possible.
    View them dispassionately,
    and never allow them
    to define who you are, inside.

    Stanza forty-nine

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