From the Washington Post today: “The Doomsday Clock, a figurative timepiece used as a barometer of humankind’s fate, was moved one minute closer to midnight on Tuesday, the first time it has been nudged forward since 2007.”
Setting aside the substantive nonsense of the whole Doomsday prediction, how can anyone use a timepiece as a barometer? Why not use a figurative weather instrument as a barometer? Especially since Climate Change is now considered a factor in our collective doom by the “venerable board of scientists, Nobel laureates and others,” perhaps Doomsday Barometer would be more apropos.
Imagine how dramatic it would be: “The Doomsday Barometer edged down another quarter of an inch today [or even better “8.5 millibars,” since it has that metric sound to it] symbolizing earth’s gathering perfect storm of human-caused cataclysm that threatens to end life on the planet.”
It would also create a natural media tie-in with the Weather Channel, which would run endless promos of a falling barometer with Katrina footage rolling in the background. Besides, time can’t really be moved back and forth away from and towards midnight, but barometers naturally rise and fall.
And if all of these are not reason enough, the Washington Post would not have to use such a silly mixed metaphor when reporting the news.