Douthat... When the Walls Fell?

That sneaky Jonah Goldberg, trying to sneak a Star Trek reference into the Corner!

I'll be surprised if anyone catches it.

That episode is a favorite of fans. I thought it preposterous though to think that an advanced civilization could have a language based entirely on metaphor

The Tamarian language is unintelligible to the Starfleet's universal translators, because it is too deeply rooted in local metaphor, so its sentences do not have any meaning to other civilizations.
So instead of saying "take the second derivative of the integral with respect to time," you would tell a story where some guy in the planet's history did just that, and people around you would know what you mean.

Think about the practicality of that. Another example... You want to tell your friends that you would like to go to with the south side of town to get a pizza, stopping on the way to drop off some groceries at your grandma's. Just think of some historical event where that happened and mention that event! It's just that easy.

Also it bugged me that the alien, Dathon, went through the entire episode baffled as to why Captain Picard hadn't any clue what Dathon was talking about. Wouldn't an advanced civilization with that sort of language know, and know why, their language was unintelligible to someone outside their culture?

Ann says: Oh, come on! It was obvious he was referencing something, and if you've ever seen that episode, the whole "and the walls fell" metaphor sticks in your mind.

I mean I'd be surprised if anyone at NR gets the reference. KJL and Co. might think he's referring to Joshua at Jericho.