On Mixed Metaphors
This is from a book published by RandomHouse:
Although sick systems might need surgeons who cut out deadwood and unnecessary expenditures, if that’s all that happens, losses are temporarily stemmed but the system has not been led to a winning path.
Ouch. We start out OK: sickness and surgeons go together (more or less) but do surgeons cut out deadwood? Um, actually, I think those people are called lumberjacks or something, not surgeons. (The surgeons use the little knives while the lumberjacks use those axe things.) Then we shift to the staunching or “stemming the tide” metaphor and then we get the path metaphor. My brain hurts.