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When does something become a cliche?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mizzougrad96, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Today I was reading Scott Price's story on TCU coach Gary Patterson in SI. In the story, Patterson tells a story/joke that goes, "I told my wife if she's mad at me and a high school coach is mad at me, I'll send her flowers, but I'm going to go see him..."

    It's a great line. I had three college football coaches tell me the identical joke/line at different points in my career.

    The first time I heard it, I thought it was the greatest quote ever and I used it as probably the lead quote in my story.

    The second and the third time I didn't use it even though I was at a different paper every time I heard the quote.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. MightyMouse

    MightyMouse Member

    I dunno, six or one-half dozen. It is what it is. You just have to do the best you can with what you've got.

    Seriously, though, some cliches are more obvious than others. For me, I kind of equate it to the SCOTUS description of pornography: I know it when I see it.

    With that particular joke/story, I probably would have run it all 3 times, mostly because you were at different papers each time.

    And maybe it's about scale. I doubt many coaches have anything original to say anymore. And I consider it a success if any of them say something beyond "We're taking it one game at a time." So maybe if they say something that isn't necessarily original, as long as it's low on the "cliche scale," I'm OK with it.
     
  3. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I think the quote was decent in that this is Patterson's second or third wife and the point was the latest wife understands the life of a college coach better than the previous one(s).

    Too often though writers allow sources to rely on cliche's that don't say anything - "gym rat", "special player", "high-motor guy." Better to follow up by asking for some examples to illustrate the cliche and maybe you get a great anecdote instead of a phrase that really means nothing.
     
  4. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    When you put the accent mark over the e?
     
  5. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    At our place, never.[
     
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    It's not a cliche til it's on SportsCenter.
     
  7. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    I hear your place has a thing about hyphens too.
     
  8. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    When you have to ask if it's a cliche.

    That's a serious answer.
     
  9. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

    Why do you have to throw Price under the bus?
     
  10. Not crazy about the end of that piece. Expected better.
     
  11. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    So if the beginning was better, does that mean it was a tale of two halves?
     
  12. Brad Guire

    Brad Guire Member

    "This is a serious crime."

    That's the cliche the judge uses, just before giving some guy probation instead of prison time, every time I cover a sentencing.
     
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