Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective.

Tag: Cliches

On wisdom

TheThingAboutSERIES: Are you wise? Or do you simply seek out cliches and promote them as if you have discovered great truth? In other words, do you believe by repeating other people’s wisdom, you might seem wise yourself? And is a cliche actually an example of wisdom? What is true wisdom’s nature and how might we recognise it? In an age of ‘instant wisdom’ – exaggerated by social media – these are questions worth considering.

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The many-tentacled cash cow, and other mangled metaphors

FEATURE: Before there was Marius Fransman – the reigning king of convolution – there was Edwin Naidu, who would, week-in and week-out, generate for the Sunday Independent a series of metaphors so mangled they would produce in equal quantities much laughter and confusion. And not just mixed metaphors but a wide range of cliches, unoriginal and over-used, if that isn’t redundant.  In the 2008 article below, I look at some of them and set out just how bizarre and devoid of meaning many of them are. So, if you want to see why Vodacom is a many-tentacled cash cow, read on!

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Journalism 101: 1st Check facts; 2nd Write opinion

FEATURE: Chris Gibbons has written for the Daily Maverick an article which revolves around a central premise that is completely wrong. Thus, the whole article is wrong; likewise, all the conclusions he draws from it are wrongheaded. It’s a good example of poor journalism, not merely because the facts are all over the place, but because it relies so heavily on clichéd ideas that, given a moments consideration, are revealed to be flawed. Here is my response.

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On clichés

SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. Cliches are now so common their effect has been denuded of its value – instead of enliving debate, they dull it down. And, with their over-use, has come the uncritical perception they suggest wisdom and knowledge. A perception often abused by those whom evoke and hide behind their empty meaning.

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What constitutes good argument?

ARTICLE: What are the structural characteristics of a good argument? Many of the key ingredients are well known: evidence, reason, logic, language, but how do they all relate? Also, what combination results in a powerful argument and what combination results in a weak argument? I have tried to answer some of these questions in the short piece that follows below.

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