There Oughta Be A German Word For This!

JA!While reading the nearly 9000-word account of the death of the Rocky Mountain News in the Denver magazine 5280, I came across the following literary device used to describe the newspapers situation. This, like many things, surely requires a handy (and possibly faux) German name!

During takeoff from LaGuardia Airport, US Airways Flight 1549 hit some birds, which triggered engine failure, and the pilot, captain Chesley Sullenberger, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, executed a miraculous water landing, saving all 155 people onboard. Before climbing onto a rescue boat himself, Sullenberger walked through the sinking aircraft, twice, to ensure that everyone had been evacuated. One of the pictures, a shot of 1549’s tail dipping beneath the Hudson as passengers squeezed onto the wings, would be the front page of the next day’s Rocky. The headline: “Wing. Prayer. Rescue.”

If any of the editors in the room noted the parallels between Flight 1549 and their own predicament, they kept it to themselves. The Rocky, too, had crashed.

Apart from being, you know, sort of tacky, this is a troublesome and also popular device: the intrusion of a metaphor onto the description of a scene. It is most often a metaphor that likely wasn’t at all apparent to the participants in the scene! It is a paralogical metaphor (in what way is a newspaper being run into the ground by bad decisions like a plane being assaulted by geese? And in what way is a miracle landing absolutely unlike a newspaper being shut down? In pretty much no way!) that becomes an epic metaphor as it is taken, most likely unintentionally, way too far.

There oughta be a German word for this!

Have you noticed a condition, literary or real-life, that lacks and requires a handy German word? Let us know!