You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.

No role for the Rolodex metaphor

The Baltimore Sun

I took out a reference in copy tonight to an official’s Rolodex of allies.

It is, first, a tired metaphor for a circle of acquaintances. Beyond that, it is a reference to a technology of the past, which dates the prose.

Of course, not everyone is current, and some people hold on stubbornly to artifacts of the past. So you can go ahead and write about an official’s Rolodex of contacts, if you have seen a Rolodex on that official’s desk.

Next to the typewriter and the answering machine.

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