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09 March, 2006

Literal pearls of purple prose

Dubai Police had better sharpen their pencils: they are in serious danger of losing this year's Purple Prose Prize. An associate has forwarded a press release of such exquisite floridity that it quite takes ones breath away, or would do if such a fallacious cliché were possible (which sadly for the purple PR pens it isn't). One has to appreciate the effort, even if it is more suited to than a business news story:

"Amidst the rustling of silks, a mesmerising harp played, elegantly dressed ladies threw back their heads in spirited laughter. An illusionist entertained clusters of guests who were charmed, bewitched even, by his tricks. Was this something out of an Arabian Nights extravaganza? Well, it could pass for one but this was an even grander event — it was the launch of the Paspaley Pearl Jewellery in the Jowhara Ballroom at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai."

How many people actually throw their heads back in laughter? Try it. You'll most likely end up with a cricked neck requiring extensive physiotherapy. Though you could perhaps decorate your neckbrace with a Paspaley pearl necklace.

And does anyone know what the difference is between being "charmed" or "bewitched"? (Nose-twitching rather than the Power of Three?) Even more delicious than the "diner [sic] at this exclusive event" which "was nothing less than fit for kings" is the glowing recommendation of the Paspaley patriarch:

"Mr Nicholas Paspaley AC, a true gentleman"

As opposed to what? A false gentleman? A common peasant? Did Sir Nicholas spend the entire evening in a stunning display of gallantry, endlessly picking up ladies' handkerchiefs and helping elderly people alight from their carriages?

"As the last guests walked out into the night, the allure of the breath-taking jewels would be foremost in their thoughts."

Whereas little but the excruciating purpleness of this prose is foremost in the reader's.



Blogger marwan said...

I chortled with unabashed glee at this post.

09 March, 2006 03:31  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I chortled with unabashed glee at this post.

Only chortled? Are you sure you didn't roll around on the floor as tears of laughter coursed down your cheeks until you literally split your sides and died laughing?

09 March, 2006 03:34  
Blogger BreastImplants said...

Only chortled? Are you sure you didn't roll around on the floor as tears of laughter coursed down your cheeks until you literally split your sides and died laughing?

I can relate to that. But as you said, at least it's creative.

I had a good time laughing at this too; pick up yesterday's edition of EPlus (the tv listings supplemnent of GN - for the uninitiated) and read their horrible "TV Picks" section (summarizing the shows/movies you need to watch).

That 70's Show

"Eric sleeps in after a late night playing poker with the guys. However, he tells Donna and Kitty he was working the whole time to get their sympathy. Fez drives Red to the doctors's office, but receives no gratitude in return".

And this is supposedly a comedy.

Of course, I could go on about their horrendous new layout design...but that's another rant.

09 March, 2006 06:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sense a little censorship coming on, where it will hit, nobody knows.

09 March, 2006 06:30  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

until you literally split your sides

Hahaha, the Painted PR abuse a great many words, but I think the funniest is when they abuse "literally", not knowing the horrible things they are wishing upon potential customers.

09 March, 2006 06:48  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

I'm sitting here waiting for the 'How dare you talk this way? As if your writing is that great. Who do you think you are? I hate your attitude, if you don't like our PR people, go home' brigade.

09 March, 2006 07:03  
Blogger samuraisam said...


09 March, 2006 08:17  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

Dubai PR people never die. They are (literally) transported to seventh heaven.

09 March, 2006 09:00  
Blogger TheBigScorpion said...

Thank GOD & Microsoft for that little 'Research' icon on my IE toolbar. I had to use it twice for every sentence I read.

09 March, 2006 10:49  
Blogger Fall In Line.... said...

Good going SD...nice post.!!


09 March, 2006 14:44  
Blogger marwan said...

Okay SD, it's on.

Chortled? Nay! Why, I may have but chortled at first, but it was a brief prelude to the positively buoyant guffaw which escaped my lips shortly afterwards, accompanied by a thin spray of The Coco-Cola companys's Fanta - a most invigorating elixir, I might add - which arced delicately through the still, heavy night air, till it finally found its final resting place on the flickering, phosporous coating of my computer screen, where it rolled down, till sadly, it was no more.

This post brought to you by the Thesaurus from Microsoft Word.

09 March, 2006 16:17  
Blogger samuraisam said...

marwan, did you by chance write the original piece?

09 March, 2006 16:36  
Blogger Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

I tilted my head back in laughter ...ouch, very uncomfortable...besides, I have no necklace to show. Perhaps I should tilt it forward...

I think whoever wrote that had just finished reading alf leyla wa leyla.

09 March, 2006 16:54  
Blogger marwan said...

I could never lay claim to such a master work. But the harlot SD laid down a gauntlet, her temptress's busom no doubt heaving as she laid down her poisonous pen, another days fiendish work done.

09 March, 2006 16:59  
Blogger Balushi said...

this pointless post is still moving

09 March, 2006 18:21  
Blogger the shadow said...

I'm surprised that there were no mentions at all of any knights in shining armour astride great gleaming white stallions rearing in the mist.

10 March, 2006 01:36  
Blogger archer14 said...

Like the guy in 'lost' said...maybe when you guys finish your verbal copulation, we can move on, eh?

10 March, 2006 11:41  
Blogger BuJ said...

SD.. i just read the "Readers Recommendations" on the left!

How about posting some positive remarks as well.. come on, surely someone there likes what you write about and how you write about it :)

10 March, 2006 17:37  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

The use of "literal" when "figurative" is the meaning reminds me of my old priest. When his sermon was going particularly badly he would pepper it with "literally" this and that. It was wasn't literally. Maybe it was literaturely or maybe it was real or maybe it was analogous. But it wasn't literally. Literally as an emphatic; go figure.

10 March, 2006 22:24  

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