I was taken aback today when I learned that the term “Bullshit” is a dead metaphor. But it seems that the term’s claim on life as a metaphor had always been tenuous at best, and so it’s death as such was iminent. You see, a metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect. So to use “bullshit” as a metaphor, for example, of a person’s untruthful arguments or assertions one would be comparing those assertions to the literal end product of a bull’s digestive tract. The comparison does not hold up to the actual physical similarites.
Perhaps then, “Bullshit” might have been better suited to life as a simile rather than a metaphor. In this regard one could pronounce their adversary’s statements as not literally bovine excrement, rather that they were only similar to it. From that point the observer’s imagination is employed to distinguish exactly what those similarities might be – Color? Odor? Quantity? Point of origin?
I will not contradict the contention that “bullshit” is a dead metaphor. I see no reason to. Alas, poor Bullshit, we barely knew ye. You died quietly, and your death went unremarked upon. Yet no metaphor truly dies that lives on as an expletive. And as such, shall you live ever after in our hearts and in our language. And I’m quite content to retain the term soley for use as an expletive, though others may lament it’s loss as a useful metaphor for this blog.