Journos are not Homer
At Johnson, Robert Lane Greene has made a heartfelt plea to the ladies and gentlemen of the press to cease referring to Rebekah Brooks, the disgraced former Murdoch executive as “flame-haired.” He links to a series of such citations.
Reuters went so far to call Brooks “the ferociously ambitious titian-haired executive,” which is pretentious as well as excessive.
I wrote some summers ago—no doubt colleagues in the press in the U.S. and Britain have forgotten it—that indulging in Homeric epithets is not advisable in daily journalism. The rhetorical term for this particular trope is periphrasis or antonomasia, the substitution of a descriptive term for a proper name or a proper name for a quality associated with it. It can be stagy and intrusive, and in this case it is also tiresome.
Pray heed Lane Greene.