As if the rich aroma of cesium 137…

Word count: 239 words

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. Today’s comes from New Yorker movie reviewer Anthony Lane.

I have never seen a single James Bond film, or any of the Die Hard franchise. (By the way, I’m not suggesting that these movies are in any way similar. I’m just illustrating my own pitiable disinterest in much of popular culture.)

But I can always get behind a well-written review of a film I have no interest in seeing. Here, for example, is line from a Feb. 25/13 New Yorker review of Die Hard 5, written by Anthony Lane.

Any lingering radiation is dispelled with a few squirts of cleansing spray, and Irina [a character] tests the all-clear by removing her protective mask and giving a cautious sniff, as if the rich aroma of cesium 137 were akin to that of lamb stew. 

Now there’s a sentence to love! The irony of cesium 137 having a “rich aroma” is juxtaposed with the comparison of it to lamb stew. (And perhaps this word is meant to hint at trouble or agitation — an alternative definition of stew.) How silly and insipid this series has become! Anthony Lane doesn’t need to tell us it’s bad; his figurative language does the trick.

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