From to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase -- some jackboot, Achilles' heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse -- into the dustbin where it belongs.
Which grows from the first of his six Rules for Writing Not Awfully, "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print." Attention to same would have headed off Thursday's "Up, up and away,"* and it would have raised some questions about this lede from today as well:
Health professionals need the help of parents to counter the obesity epidemic, a federal health official said yesterday at a statewide conference focused on battling the bulge.
Struck by the originality of the battle/bulge thing? So's every other writer across this great land of ours:
The reports are the city's latest weapon in the battle of the bulge among schoolchildren -- one in four of whom is considered obese. (New York Post, June 23)
"I challenged all my brothers and sisters to do it. They're all kind of fighting the battle of the bulge, too," she said. (AP, June 22)
"I'm looking for someone who's ready to join my side and win the battle of the bulge,'' wrote one chubby slacker from Denver on Craigslist. (Seattle P-I, June 15)
Restaurants could become an important ally in this contemporary battle of the bulge. (Columbus Dispatch, June 10)
In between the battles of the bulge and the bizarre behavior he exhibited on the bayou - Sullivan was de-activated for a game in Atlanta in 2004 when he crashed the press box buffet before kickoff - New Orleans' coaches continued to be smitten by his potential. (The Patriot Ledger, June 6)
Exercise is far more crucial than eating less to winning the battle of the bulge, a leading obesity researcher told a national convention of health experts in Denver last week. (Denver Post, June 6)
The nonbinding recommendations, part of a 134-page report by the nonprofit Keystone Center in Colorado, are designed to get the government more help from the food industry in the battle of the bulge. (Dallas Morning News, June 3)
In books, lectures, and personal crusades, Nestle has positioned herself in the forefront of America's battle with the bulge. (Christian Science Monitor, June 1)
It's in heds too:
Center to fight battle of bulge (KC Star, June 20)
Battle of bulge (New York Post, June 5)
FDA drafting eateries to win battle of bulge (Rocky Mountain News, June 3)
Castillo fighting battle of the bulge (Boston Globe, June 1)
And how bad is it on the other side of the planet? The cousins in Hobart apparently have a quota to get rid of by the end of the fiscal year:
Crime fighters take on battle of bulge (Hobart Mercury, June 29)
In a union that spans the battle of the bulge, Swiss food giant and snack maker Nestle is buying weight-loss company Jenny Craig. (Hobart Mercury, June 20).
The company is in a battle of the bulge with unions and health experts over a national recruitment campaign that expressly excludes those on the weighty side. (Hobart Mercury, June 19).
Let's give old Orwell his meed on this one. Save "Battle of the Bulge" for when you need it (copyeds, your task here is the Bidding unto the Good), and that won't be a diet story.
* For a review of an exhibit on Dadaism in the Sunday funnies, of course, "Oop, Arp and Away" will do just fine.