Thursday, June 24, 2010

All the clichés fit to print

BP CEO Tony Hayward is embattled. If you haven’t heard his name and that adjective together, you have managed somehow to avoid more than 200 newspapers and numerous radio and TV reports. By now, Hayward’s parents might wonder whether their son has legally changed his first name to “Embattled.” (photo by rharrison)

Hayward is not alone. (More on that later.) This month, New York Mets manager, Jerry Manuel, was described as “embattled.” Recently, so were GOP chairman Michael Steele, former Ill. governor Rod Blagojevich and Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Search news databases in the past year, and the list of embattled folks grows: New York Times Co. publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, actors Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen and many, many more.

As I typed that previous sentence, a local TV news anchor called the just-traded Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman “embattled.” Even Shakespearean characters get stuck with the label. A Los Angeles Times reporter compared newly resigned British prime minister Gordon Brown to Macbeth, “the embattled Scottish king holed up in his castle.”

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