Sunday, 29 July 2007
Ban the chess simile!
I'm an easy-going kind of guy. It usually takes a lot to upset or annoy me. For instance, my 12 year old washing machine has just broken - a few weeks before I am due to move house. I managed to brush it off with a shrug and a laugh (it helps that my very nice mother-in-law has offered to wash my clothes).
There is, however, one thing which is guaranteed to get my goat and quickly have me foaming at the mouth like a lunatic: People using chess as a simile for totally inappropriate things.
Don't know what I mean? A few examples from a quick Google search should help (I'm not making these up).
* Marketing is like a game of chess
* An appellate brief is like a game of chess
* Writing is like a game of chess
* Beating hackers is like a game of chess
* Relationships are like a game of chess
* Federation Cup Tennis lineups are like a game of chess
* Contemporary Warfare is like a game of chess
* Fighting Cancer is like a game of chess
* The Soccer U-20 World Cup is like a game of chess
* Californian politics is like a game of chess
* 'Cold Reading' by psychics is like a game of chess
* Fencing is like a game of chess
* Search Engine Optimisation is like a game of chess
Argggggggh! None of those things are like a game of chess - and that's just a small sample of some of bizarre things that people compare to chess. Why do people who wouldn't know a rook from a bishop think they understand chess well enough to compare it to something else?
It seems that chess is usually used in this way to indicate something that is strategically complex and requires careful thought. Fair enough, but that doesn't make any of them actually like chess, does it?
This sort of lazy thinking drives me crazy, and I reserve special scorn for those who have some experience of chess and yet STILL use chess as a simile - you know who you are. I say it's time to take a stand - ban the chess simile now!
End of Rant. Normal service will be resumed in my next blog post!