This is how a blogger describes a trip to Northwestern Indiana:
There was a Chernobyl-like grandeur to it, as of the longed-for end of something enormous that hadn’t worked out well.
Chernobyl-like grandeur? Hadn’t worked out well? So That’s what Chernobyl was? “Something that hadn’t worked out well”?
I’ve been to Gary, Indiana more than once. The area is, indeed, desolate, and the town looks tattered and miserable. If I’m not mistaken, it was a place with the highest per capita murder rate in the US until East St. Louis took the lead in that tragic statistic. It’s like whenever I move to a place, the highest per capita murder rate follows me.
So yes, Gary is miserable. But it’s not Chernobyl. There is nothing “grand” in either of those places. What these towns experienced was tragic in very different ways. And the intellectual laziness that compares Gary to “ain’t-it-grand” Chernobyl, working for a wage in the US to slavery and abortion to the Holocaust is both offensive and stupid.
People who think that these outrageous comparisons make their writing stronger are mistaken. If anything, their writing sounds extremely silly and unconvincing as a result. At first, I was very interested in this blogger’s report about an area of the country I happen to know well. However, the moment I got to Chernobyl metaphors, I lost all interest in anything he has to say. If this blogger is so careless with words, how can I trust that anything he says about Northwestern Indiana is not the product of his love of pretty-sounding verbal flourishes?
I propose that we all leave Chernobyl’s grandeur and Holocausts’s fetuses in peace and talk about the issues we initially proposed to talk about. If you want to describe Gary, Indiana, then, for Pete’s sakes, leave Chernobyl out of it because it is not only offensive to the actual victims of Chernobyl but also extremely counter-productive for you as a writer.