The always provocative Doug “Uncola” Lynch ponders the meaning behind an old cliché. From Lynch at theburningplatform.com:
I like to collect thoughts. For me, it’s no different than someone who collects baseball cards, or antiques, or classic cars, or books, or coins. In all of these examples, the collector finds value in the collected. The value may be manifested as monetary worth, private enjoyment, personal or professional significance, of educational benefit, or, of course, in many other ways. Very often the thoughts collected in me noggin are delivered in the form of clichés. For many people, especially writers, the fact that a saying has been handed down through many generations, or shared by millions of others, tends to detract from its overall value; or, at the very least, is considered as somehow “less than” the same concept formulated into original wording or revealed in an otherwise novel manner.
But why? Doesn’t the very fact that a saying has stood the test of time, so to speak, prove it to be of more value than, say, other untested premises? Yet this is very often not the case. It seems the standard cliché is commonly viewed in an unfavorable light; and even assigned various names with negative connotations hidden within, like: banality, bromide, platitude, proaism, et al. Maybe people dislike cliché’s because they feel these lead to lazy thinking. Or perhaps many folks consider what is “common” to be of less value. Or, maybe they believe what is old, is simply worn out.
Yet, it is they who are being lazy.
Is the glass half empty? Or half full?
Think about that for a second. You’ve most likely heard this cliché hundreds of times in your life. But have you ever really meditated on what it really means; on how it might apply to you; or why this common expression has entered into the Phraseology Hall of Fame within the vast lexicon of Mankind?
To continue reading: Cliché Series # 1: The Proverbial Volume in the Glass