Who knew? Starchy root vegetables make brilliant literary devices!
Well, apparently, David Carr—Times media reporter and, currently, everyone’s favorite rehabilitated drug addict—did! The NY Press’s David Blum has uncovered a strange pattern of spud-slinging in Carr’s writing—and specifically, a pattern of using the potato as a quirky descriptor of the face. As when, for example, Carr describes Tim Russert (“He had a face that seemed to be carved out of potatoes, but he worked on television by working harder than your average talking head ”) or when he depicts his own distinctive visage: “Far from clinically handsome, I have a face that looks like it could have been carved out of mashed potatoes, and my idea of exercise was running the length of my body.”
Brilliant! My broccoli-like brain is beguiled!
Below, some of Carr’s spud-tastic metaphors, as curated by Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan:
“ .with a face made out of potatoes, the Photoshopped picture will have to go a long way to make me any uglier than I actually am.”
“With a face that looks as if it were crafted out of mashed potatoes and a voice that sounds like a trash compactor that needs oil, I’m not a natural for television ”
“To the Bagger’s eye, [Daniel Craig] has a face made out of potatoes—although the rest of him seems to be made out of titanium ”
“Directors tend to focus on [Steve] Buscemi’s visage, shooting his face so it looks something like what might happen to a bowl of mashed potatoes if it were sculptured [sic] by an ax.”
“And Detective Sipowicz [Dennis Franz], with a face that looks as if it were carved out of potatoes and the body style of a greeter at Home Depot, was an unlikely hero.”
Describing author Joe McGinniss:
“[McGinniss] had an old cap set against the Sunday morning sun, a handsome Irish face that could have been carved out of potatoes, and a glint of tragedy in his eyes.”
Good lord…talk about a potato trip. Thanks a lat(ke) for the metaphors!
Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.