More Kabuki PLUS – Blast and Slam: My two favorite news cliches

I hereby present my dear readers with yet another example of the growing usage of “kabuki” as a political metaphor for either boring deliberations or carefully calculated horse-and-pony shows (if I may use one cliche to explain another). This was linked to on the front page of

The Full Kabuki: Everybody’s happy, nothing changes.
By Mickey Kaus
Updated Thursday, April 6, 2006, at 6:36 AM ET

The Full Kabuki: On immigration, the stage is set for a classic Washington stalemate in which all the actors–at least the Republican actors–get to position themselves as advocating their desired brand of bold action, and nothing gets done. … As Charles Peters has written, in Washington, “Make Believe = Survival.”

I don’t really remember kabuki having many happy endings. Someone needs to decide on a real definition for “political kabuki” or perhaps just officially ban the term from public discourse. It’s lame!

What’s never lame, however, is the use of the words “blast” and “slam” over and over again in headlines to describe any kind of criticism. I mean, it does get a little stale, but I still get a kick out of shouting SLAM!!! whenever I read that a think tank isn’t into Bush’s tax plan. And remember what Slate’s Jack Shafer said: “If journalists weren’t allowed to recycle headlines every 10 years they’d run out of them.”

Here are some fun examples from recent news:

  • Ugly apartments SLAMMED into the stone age!
  • An artist's impression of Jurys Inn at Kings Dock

    Experts slam Kings Dock hotel design

    Apr 5 2006

    By Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo

    TWO hotels earmarked for Liverpool’s Kings Dock have come under fire from architecture experts.

    The three-star-plus Jurys Inn and smaller Staybridge boutique hotel are dubbed “disappointing” and “not convincing”.

  • Moby BLASTS xenophobia with his techno-laser-glasses!

  • Moby blasts ‘anti-American’ immigration controls

    Dance star Moby has slammed United States citizens opposed to immigration as “anti-American”.

    The Play hitmaker was pleased to note that half-a-million people recently marched in Los Angeles to protest restrictive immigration laws.

    And he believes that, as a country founded on immigrants, the US should continue to unquestioningly welcome people from all over the world.

    He writes on his website [annoyingly in all lowercase letters, no less! -Adamu]: “500,000 people marched in LA to protest restrictive immigration laws. I really don’t want to p**s people off, but I’m of the opinion that anyone who wants to come to live and work in America should be allowed to.

    You might remember Play – but then you might not since it was released seven years ago! Ireland needs to let go…

    Anyway. Not even our fine president is immune to getting BLASTED!

    Critics Blast Bush For Not Praying Hard Enough

    April 5, 2006 | Issue 42•14

    WASHINGTON, DC—President Bush, already facing the lowest approval ratings in history, is coming under fire from former supporters over what they call his “ineffectual and incompetent” use of prayer for national guidance and assistance.

    “Every time the president is criticized, he insists that the nation is in his prayers,” said the Family Research Council’s Bob Jensen. “That may be, but it’s becoming more and more clear that these prayers are either too infrequent, too brief, or not strongly worded enough to be effective.”

    Have some favorite news cliches of your own? Let us know in our comments section!

    4 thoughts on “More Kabuki PLUS – Blast and Slam: My two favorite news cliches”

    1. Even better is the use of unnamed “experts”–that usually means the guys BSing around in the newsroom. “Experts” and “analysts.”

    2. Well, if your aim is to spice up boring politics, why not call them a 3-ring circus, tightrope walk, or maybe even weight-guessing contest? Or maybe elephant ventriloquist? Human pin cushion?

    3. We need some more verbs. How about:

      “Democrats Maul Bush Foreign Policy”


      “Koizumi Maims Government Reform Plan”

      or maybe

      “Ambassador Impales Treatment of Prisoner”

      Lambaste is also a good word; it always makes me think of cooking a turkey.

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