Top Five Best/Worst SWLRT Puns

Let's face it, the Southwest Light Rail line is a punster fiasco. Few can repel a light rail slash forest slash bike trail political debate of this magnitude, let alone politicians or bored journalists. The recent impasse has been a field day for those who enjoy a good railroad slash forest slash transportation system metaphor.

Before we look at the best/worst of them, let's pause to remember that there is still plenty of time in this process. Many puns are yet to be made. There are so many possibilities, from "seeing the forest for the trees" to "digging ourselves into a hole." I have high hopes for the future.

That said, to the list!

#5 Nick Magrino

In a recent column entitled "We Need to Stop the Southwest Corridor" Nick gets a special recognition award for NOT making an obvious railroad pun despite being given a golden opportunity to do so.

Here's the relevant passage:

So far it looks like, yes, we are. The Green Line extension planned for the Southwest Corridor is a mess. I want to use the word disaster, but I also want to avoid the hyperbole of the people yelling about freight trains crashing into the children. The situation has…deteriorated

Wow.  He could have gone in so many directions there, from "train wreck" to "collision course" [see below], but he chose the one less travelled. No pun at all. It's like he's toying with us, keeping what we want just out of reach. And that makes all the difference!

Congratulations Nick for spoiling the pun fun.

#4 Barb Thoman 

Barb over at Transit for Liveable Communities wins fourth place for her column "Keeping Southwest LRT Moving Forward."

The metaphor itself is right in the title, and makes the rather obvious link between a train traveling down tracks and our elegant political process. It's as if people trying to prevent the light rail from being built are that dastardly mustachio'd fellow who kept tying damsels to railroad tracks back in the 1920s. It's not gonna win the contest (too obvious!) but I think we can all agree that it's still a nice subtle use of figurative language.

#3 R. T. Rybak or Mark Dayton

You can always count on R.T. (stands for "rootin' tootin'") for an easily digestable media tidbit, and he doesn't fail us here. He's really taking a stand on this LRT debate, kinda sorta in a way, and he didn't let a golden opportunity pass him by (like a light rail train in the woods)...

Here's the clip:   
The ditches would later be covered up and converted into tunnels, but that approach was strongly opposed by several Minneapolis City Council members and Mayor R.T. Rybak,. Dayton said that the project "is on a collision course with the opposition that exists now," the Star Tribune reported.

Oops! It looks like it was Mark Dayton who made the pun, making anyone thinking critically about the issue believe they were about to be hit by a train. My bad! Sorry R.T. (stands for "re-tweet").

Well done, Governor. It's like the 'great freight train of politics' is about to hit the fragile 'little kid on a bike' of Kenwood donors. Collision course... Look out! Well done.

#2 Sandy Colvin Roy

Soon to be former city council member Colvin Roy really nailed it with a subtle-but-elegant co-location of the world "deep."

Let's go to the tape...
“I don’t want anybody who is not in these deep conversations to think it’s really practical to do a deep tunnel there,” said Sandy Colvin Roy, chair of the Transportation and Public Works Committee. “If we could, in this area, afford deep tunnels, there would be one in downtown Minneapolis.”
I really like this. The tunnel and the conversations become one, and trust me, you cannot fathom the depths of either the tunnel or the politics. Well done, Sandy. We will miss you in the Southwest Journal.

(Personally, I think this whole tunnel debate is quite shallow.)

#1 Gary Cunningham

I don't know who Gary Cunningham is, but I know he really knocked it out of the park with this one.

Check out this excellent sound byte:
“I can’t think of another project where we’ve had this kind of acrimony,” said Metropolitan Council member Gary Cunningham, who plans on voting against the tunnels. He accused the Met Council chief and administration of pushing the plan forward without answering important questions about its impact on the environment or exploring other options.
“I’ve never seen this kind of railroading,” Cunningham said.

Railroading, for those unfamiliar with the political scene of the 1920s, is an excellent word referencing unchecked political power. I can only assume that it comes out of the earlier turn-of-the-century era when railroads were all powerful, and railroad tycoons ran this country. To use it to refer to an actual railroad is an amazing recapitulation of an almost lost metaphor. Kudos, Gary!

[Let's just hope the light rail train can be so swift.]

1 comment:

Mike Hicks said...

It's hard to derail a one-track mind about railroading puns. That crazy train just keeps on chugging.