media Well, nobody’s perfect. Our usually fail-safe cliché detector malfunctioned, and there it was: On page 91 of the August D Magazine, our writer describes the city of Hillsboro as “a mecca for nostalgia-seeking shoppers.”

Now Hillsboro is a pleasant place, but just what does it have in common with the city of Mecca, which Muslims consider holy and to which all good Muslims must make a pilgrimage once in their lives? Answer: not much.

At least we’ve got company in our cliché-mongering. A computer search of The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram found home-town and wire-service writers visiting their own private meccas 26 times in November alone. Meccas, meccas everywhere, including Dick’s Last Resort (“a West End mecca for discreetly rowdy revelers”); Sonny Bryan’s (“an Oak Cliff home-cooking mecca”); the Caravan of Dreams nightclub (“a jazz-cum-theater-cum-art mecca”); and even Paul Quinn College’s activities center (“a neighborhood mecca”). There were foreign meccas, like Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia (labeled a “tourist mecca” in five stories). Wimberley, Texas, achieved mecca-dom as a “shopping mecca.” And some kind of pinnacle was reached when Salt Lake City was dubbed a “Mormon mecca.” Think about it.

In the spirit of cliches, we’ve saved the best for last. When the Baylor football team traveled to Arkansas to play the Razorbacks, a Star-Tblegram staffer constructed this gem for posterity: “[It’s] the Bears’ final pilgrimage to the mosque of the porcine football mecca.”

We’re not sure there’s any cure for cliche attacks. Perhaps writers should just turn eastward and pray to The New York Times, that mecca of American journalism.


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