Like buttah and satin…

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes from Wesley Morris.

Even while on holiday (as I was for much of the month of August), I read the New York Times on my smartphone. This is how I encountered an Aug. 12/16 review of a Barbra Streisand show in Brooklyn. Headlined, Brooklyn, Can You Hear Her? Barbra Streisand Still Sounds Amazing and written by Wesley Morris, the piece began with some superb and rather funny figurative language.

Here is how the author started:

I know what you’re thinking. So let’s just get it out of the way: Like buttah. Like satin. Like whatever that perfume is that Elizabeth Taylor hawked. Oh, right: White Diamonds. Barbra Streisand sounded like diamonds. And porcelain and a freshly drawn bath and consommé.

You know, over the years, I have not been a huge fan of Streisand, pictured above. Even while I’ve recognized her voice as remarkable, I’ve found her style a bit too “Hollywood” for my taste. (I also never really appreciated her acting, which — apart from the 1970 comedy Owl and the Pussycat that vastly amused my then-13-year-old self — has struck me as rather wooden.) But reading this New York Times piece made me want to play her music again.

An American journalist and critic at large for the Times, reviewer Wesley Morris won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his film reviews for The Boston Globe. I’ve never seen those reviews, but any writer who can work a freshly drawn bath and consommé into the same simile earns my respect and admiration.

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