09 December 2011

A Simile

Leon Gettler, one of my FB friends, noted on his wall recently that he is compiling a list of his favorite similes. He gave as examples these:

"I lit a cigarette that tasted like a plumber's handkerchef." -- Raymond Chandler

"Let us go then you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky, Like a patient etherizefd upon a table." -- T.S. Eliot.

I suggest that the following belongs on any such list: "in his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings."

That is F. Scott Fitzgerald writing about Gatsby's parties. He doesn't write, "like moths to a flame," as any hack might. He expects his readers to throw in the flame, and he substitutes the whisperings for it, mingling one simile intimately with one metaphor.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.