There’s been a great deal of press coverage in the UK recently on the subject of super injunctions in general, and one in particular,  taken out by a footballer to prevent a young woman from selling her story about their affair to the red-top press.

I’ve read the tittle tattle on Twitter which allegedly reveals the identity of the footballer in contravention of the super injunction, and, to be honest, my reaction was ‘who cares?’.

But that’s not really what set me thinking.

Even though the woman in question hasn’t been able to sell her story about the affair, she is now appearing on television shows and in the lower reaches of the newspapers talking about her ‘super injunction nightmare’.  She is usually described as ‘Big Brother star’, and I immediately think: that’s a perfect example of an oxymoron.

Or maybe I am alone in my irritation in seeing the word ‘star’ attached to pretty much anyone who has been seen on the television, preferably in a reality show.

My dictionary offers the following definition of the word oxymoron: Figure of speech with pointed conjunction of seemingly contradictory expressions (eg faith unfaithful kept him falsely true (from Tennyson)).  It comes from the Greek combination of the words for sharp and foolish.

Cleverly used, the juxtaposition of the apparently contradictory words can add extra depth and truth to a description.

While it used to be mainly a rhetorical device, the sole preserve of poets and politicians, now, many are in common usage: virtual reality, living dead, open secret, deafening silence …….

I was amused to discover there is a website which claims to offer the ‘biggest little list of oxymorons online’.  Many of them fall into what might be described as ‘unintentional’ oxymorons, described as such for comic effect (rather like my ‘BB star’ example) military intelligence, airline food… you get the picture.

My flat cat

One site even suggested the existence of ‘visual oxymorons’ where the material from which something is made, is different from expected and therefore makes a different thing entirely.  Examples offered were plastic lemons or bricked up windows.  While interesting,  I have more difficulty with the idea that these are properly described as oxymorons.

Having said that constructing things out of unexpected and contrasting materials does seem to be the bread and butter of much contemporary art, where our perceptions of both unusual and every day objects are challenged.

On which subject, I’ve just received an invitation to an event which offers the opportunity to see the biggest knitted poem in the UK.

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  1. The biggest knitted poem…. The first thing that comes to mind for me when I read that is: Why? Why not just write a poem and knit a scarf? The second thing is: biggest? Is there some new genre of knitted poems, such that there is now a competition to be the biggest?
    It’s too early for my brain to compute these things. I am off to write my breakfast.

    • I couldn’t go to the event, so I’ve not seen it. But you inspired me to google it, and it looks a bit like a patchwork quilt with a letter on each square… makes a bit more sense than the knitted cup cakes I’ve recently seen in a few shop windows!


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