"at the helm" = playing the most important role?/ "allegorical" = allusive; suggestive; referential

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 13 01:20:52 UTC 2009

Maybe this is of semantic interest, maybe it's just sloppy writing. Or maybe
it's of interest since there are two striking semantic anomalies in one
proof-read, published, academic sentence:

2003 Guerric DeBona, O.S.B., in Robert Eberwein, ed. _The War Film_ (New
Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers U.P., 2005) 118: Schary had not counted on the
problem of releasing a potentially allegorical period piece [_The Red Badge
of Courage_] about the Northern and Southern conflict in America when a
civil war was raging in Korea with American troops at the helm.

Needless to say, there would be nothing "allegorical" about _The Red Badge
of Courage_, even in the geopolitical conditions of 1951. (I've seen the

American troops "at the helm" of the "civil war raging in Korea"?  Nope.

Br. DeBona is a member of the Benedictine Order, but he also writes about
movies, which could be the determining factor here. Reading too much film
criticism does things to people.


"There You Go Again...Using Reason on the Planet of the Duck-Billed

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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