A Tidal Wave of Metaphors
Friday, 30 September 2005
The good and bad of tsunami metaphors…
Late 2004 brought a cataclysm of a scale rarely seen in one’s life. Even from behind the safety of our television windows, the aftershocks would rattle our senses for some time to come. The tsunami in Southeast Asia there and then affects the way we think here and now. We are all now victims of the tsunami.
Soon after the disaster, World Vision president Richard Stearns was quoted as saying “This tidal wave of generosity will help them rebuild”, when speaking of the donations made towards the tsunami victims. Until then, I had never heard of a catastrophic level of kindness.
Fast forward to the devastation done by Katrina. Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, in a hearing with the Senate Finance Committee, felt that it was necessary to generate jobs in order to help avoid a “tsunami of unemployment and suffering”. Even nine months after the fact, the imagery endures. Remember that the metaphorical use of the word tsunami would’ve had little reception a year ago, when very few people were familiar with the literal meaning.