Why not let poets cover the election this year? Perhaps we might be assaulted by a few less cliches than usual | Street Jazz

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why not let poets cover the election this year? Perhaps we might be assaulted by a few less cliches than usual

Posted By on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 11:42 AM

I used to joke that instead of political writers covering elections, maybe sports writers should, as their writing sometimes tends to be a little more exciting. But on reflection, I suppose that sports writing can be just as hackneyed as that of those who cover politics and politians on a regular basis.

Sometimes it’s sort of hard to tell the difference, when talking heads on cable news begin speaking in sports metaphors.

We owe a great deal of our “understanding” - or at least those who write about politics do - to the world of horse racing and boxing. That is, when they aren’t assuring us that a candidate is “plain speaking” - which usually just means they open their mouths without checking that their brains are in first gear before the words come out.

Well, maybe it’s time that Damon Runyon stepped for Walt Whitman.

And this is no offense to Damon Runyon ( yeah - most of the people gladly throwing sports metaphors at us have probably never heard of him in the first place), but maybe it’s time to elevate our language a little.

Let’s - oh, let’s give in and throttle a little cliche here - think outside the political reporting box.

Poets (and other writers) have long had a place in helping to stir people up in times of great adversity, but when it comes time to reporting the news, it’s the junior high kids, who giggle with their sports comparisons who appear before the TV cameras.

Who knows? Perhaps it might even influence those running for office, who may become more passionate and eloquent in their addresses to the crowds. This sort of thing is distrusted by those who don’t value the sheer beauty of language, or couldn’t communicate their way out of a paper bag themselves, but passion and eloquence draw voters in.

They capture our imaginations.

Just as an aside, the reason that so many politicians distrust passion and eloquence, and anything even approaching poetry in their own speeches is because they can’t appeal to those whose political sentiments lie in the gutter.

Let Rachel Maddow, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly share their programs with poets.

They don’t have to present their views in verse; that would be silly. But their command of the language surpasses that of most political reporters. They can see beyond the surface.

Then again, Slam Poetry about the presidential and congressional campaigns?

I’m there.

And there is an added benefit; after the election is over, instead of sports metaphors, maybe reporters would start using literary metaphors. Now, that would be something to write home about. It’s not rocket science, after all. They should do it for the children, because they are the future.

Oh my god, I’m on the Cliche Train - send for the poets!

******

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Rsdrake@cox.net

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