Tag Archives: elocutio

Anesis

Anesis (an’-e-sis): Adding a concluding sentence that diminishes the effect of what has been said previously. The opposite of epitasis.

Fourth of July Oration: 2015

July 4th 1776. Congress actually did something!

It adopted a “Declaration of Independence” that had been declared two days before! It only took two days to move it to and through Congress.

It’s opening hook-line seems worthy of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“We hold these truths to be self evident . . .”

Sadly, right from the beginning the so-called “declaration” of independence is a ruse.

“Self-evident” was the 18th-Century’s equivalent of the 21st-Century’s “Obvious.” Ha. Ha.

What was “obvious” to people in the 18th century? To be honest the author(s) should’ve written:

“We hold these truths to be obvious: 1. God created people unequal; 2. with birthrights; 3. among these are property, subjugating serfs, and the pursuit libertine activities worthy of high-born gentlemen, to wit, bedding harlots, whipping servants, smoking opium, fathering bastard children and so forth.”

But ‘we’ [?] ‘all’ [?] ‘know’ [?] ‘better’ [?] in the post-obvious 21st century of fly-eyed semiosis, “infinite jest,” and the resurgence of polio, measles, and chicken pox: One person’s something is somebody else’s something else.

So, as we celebrate the Fourth of July today, remember, in July, 1776 our summer feasting would’ve included yummy Jellies! Jellies were the 18th century equivalent of ‘our’ Jello!

Made from boiled calves feet, scraped horns from the hart deer or the air bladders of sturgeon they were sucked up with smacking stained lips! Maybe George Washington would say today: “Oh Martha, add some of those dainty little marshmallows. I am quite confident they will add a sugary finish to these already lovely little calves feet jellies.”

And there was powerful drink too! Our forebears quaffed Rattle-Skull, Stonewall, Bogus, Blackstrap, Bombo, Mimbo, Whistle Belly, Syllabub, and Flip. And they got (according to Ben Franklin) addled, afflicted, biggy, boozy, busky, buzzey, cherubimical, cracked, or “halfway to Concord.”

Well, in solidarity with our forebears I propose that we down a few bits of jellied lamb salad, turkey in aspic, and Californian Prune jello ring. And let’s hoist a Santa’s Butt, Bishop’s Finger, Dogs Bollocks, Polygamy Porter, and 4 or 5 of our BELOVED PBRs. And we, as our forebears did, will get buttered, shit-faced, hammered, spanked, sideways, and, by God, we will GET ALL THE WAY to Concord!!

Have a great Fourth of July.

Try not to blow off a finger, blind you little brother with a bottle rocket, or set your neighbor’s house on fire with rogue pyrotechnics.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.edu.byu)

Antanaclasis

Antanaclasis (an’-ta-na-cla’-sis): The repetition of a word or phrase whose meaning changes in the second instance.

Let’s ship it by ship!

What, are you kidding? If you’re shipping mail by ship you might as well be shipping chain mail! How utterly Medieval!

If you want the package to arrive before the end of Twenty-Fifteen, send it out via Fedex before 20:15! It will get there by tomorrow & it will only cost you $20.15!

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Antanagoge

Antanagoge (an’-ta-na’-go-gee): Putting a positive spin on something that is nevertheless acknowledged to be negative or difficult.

In the controversies over the efficacy of flying the Confederate flag on government properties, we find ourselves at a crossroad–a crossroad made of stars and bars.

Crossroads are symbolic of sites of choice. Being at a crossroad puts one in a crisis. One must decide–this way, or that way?  This particular crisis will be painfully decided, but it will foster a deeper appreciation of the pitfalls the flag symbolically  portends when it is used as a roadmap to give directions toward a desirable future.  As Lincoln said, “If we could first know where we are and wither we are tending, we would better judge what to do, and how to do it.

We know that roadmaps enable us to see beyond the myriad crossroads, find our destination, and  choose a route that will best deliver us there.

If we consult history, we can see that the crisscrossed stars and bars are part of a roadmap showing us that no matter which direction we turn by its guidance, no matter which route we take in accord with its roadways, the destination is always the same: human suffering rooted in the buying and the selling of human beings and sacrificing to slaughter young men who had nothing to benefit from winning the war–nothing to benefit by preserving an institution that was beyond their means and did not serve their interest.

It’s time to fold up that map and put it away, or at the very least acknowledge its irrelevance as source of decision and direction.

To those bear a deep affection for the direction the flag has provided them through life, please remember that the crisscrossed stars and bars provide no route or passage to justice, peace, or the compassionate love of humanity that opens heaven’s gates.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Antenantiosis

Antenantiosis  (an’-ten-an’-ti-os’-is): See litotes. (Deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite. The Ad Herennium author suggests litotes as a means of expressing modesty [downplaying one’s accomplishments] in order to gain the audience’s favor [establishing ethos]).

I have always loved going fast, fast food, and fasting.

As a tribute to my love of fast, and what I have allegedly accomplished in the name of fast, you Governor Christie and the New Jersey State Legislature have proclaimed this “Freddy Fast Fast Faster Day.”

Let me tell you what I think it took for you to decide to proclaim this Freddy Fast, Fast, Faster Day.

When I ran away from my wife and kids, talk about fast, they couldn’t believe I had packed and left in under two minutes. They didn’t even have time to start crying or asking for money!

As for fast food, I am the only person in the world to eat 12 McDonald’s Quarter-Pounders raw–that’s fast food as fast as it gets!

And now, ever since that vomit-stained day, I’ve been fasting–dieting for so long that people are calling it a hunger strike!

I am honored by having a holiday named in my honor, but I also have a confession to make.

If I were Roadrunner, or Mickey D’s mother, or a prisoner protesting about something by not eating anything, then, maybe I could say “I deserve this honor.”

When I found about it, I said out lound “I’m just plain Freddy.”

My bookie overheard me.  He smiled and said, “Freddy, in a New Jersey kind of a way, being fast to leave your family, being a fast-food junkie, and being an obese guy with B.O. and occasional diarrhea from fasting on prune juice and raw clams, you deserve to have a day named in your honor.”

Well, that did it. I said out loud, “There should be a Freddy Fast, Fast, Faster Day! Al said, “Yes!  And for the hell of it, let’s call it Freddy FFFer Day. Freddy,  you always were, and still are, an F’n F-er!”

And so, with all my heart, thank you Governor Christie and all you state Senators and Representatives who’ve made such a wonderful judgment call. I also want to thank my cousin Joey, who owed me, and Turtlehead who set me straight.

Happy Freddy FFFer Day! Fast, Fast, Faster!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Anthimeria

Anthimeria (an-thi-mer’-i-a): Substitution of one part of speech for another (such as a noun used as a verb).

Are you going to TV with me tonight? The DVR is overflowing!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Anthypophora

Anthypophora (an’-thi-po’-phor-a): A figure of reasoning in which one asks and then immediately answers one’s own questions (or raises and then settles imaginary objections). Reasoning aloud. Anthypophora sometimes takes the form of asking the audience or one’s adversary what can be said on a matter, and thus can involve both anacoenosis and apostrophe.

We need a new car. Mercedes?  Lexus? BMW? Saab?

I like the Mercedes AMG E 63-S wagon.

Let’s look and see if we can find one on the web!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Antimetabole

Antimetabole (an’-ti-me-ta’-bo-lee): Repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order.

Me: Being for now is the time being.  But is the time being now being?

You: Yes, for now, but not before or after.

Me: Before or after what?

You: The time being.

Me: This is pointless!

You: Yes! This is the point!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Antimetathesis

Antimetathesis (an-ti-me-ta’-the-sis): Inversion of the members of an antithesis.

Your eyes are ebony.

Your soul is bright light.

Dark and light, light and dark.

Your dark eyes shine with the liquid glow of your soul’s bright light.

One person, within and without. One person to see and believe.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Antiprosopopoeia

Antiprosopopoeia (an-ti-pro-so-po-pe’-i-a): The representation of persons [or other animate beings] as inanimate objects. This inversion of prosopopoeia or personification can simply be the use of a metaphor to depict or describe a person [or other animate being].

Me: When I fall asleep I am a hubcap. When I am awake, I am a can of WD-40. What am I?

You: Off your medication.

Me:  Ha! Ha! Wrong! I am an annoyed particle beam!! Get it? Par-ticle beam! Annoyed!!

You: Like I said, you’re off your medication.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Antirrhesis

Antirrhesis (an-tir-rhee’-sis): Rejecting reprehensively the opinion or authority of someone.

You claim to be an expert on life, love and learning! I took your advice and now my life is a mess, I am all alone and I feel more stupid than I ever felt in my life.

I paid you $900.00 to ‘tailor’ my life and you gave me a a giant clown suit made out of lies and decorated with pointless damaging advice.

Now I know what a life coach REALLY is: A Life ROACH.  Be honest, that’s what you are, a sneaky little bug that’s hard to squash!

Well guess what? My lawyer will squash you in public.  See you in court, you life-wrecking insect.

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Definition courtesy of Silva Rhetoricae (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Antisagoge

Antisagoge (an-tis-a-go’-gee): 1. Making a concession before making one’s point (=paromologia); 2. Using a hypothetical situation or a precept to illustrate antithetical alternative consequences, typically promises of reward and punishment.

1. I know I need a bath. I know I’m a slob. I know you want to hose me down. I also know that I love you more than anything in the world and that love is not built on bathtubs, washcloths, and soap.  It’s built on trust. Trust me, I’m going to take a long overdue bath tonight–with candlelight, and wine, and your favorite Barry White! I trust you will join me? Rub-a-dub-dub honey!

2. Ok, so you want to mount a hookah on your motorcycle seat. Aside from being insane, it’ll never work. Even if you have a windshield for your passenger-hookah, you can’t blow smoke rings at 80 miles per hour and when you stop and put the kickstand down, and get off the bike, the charcoal will fall off.

You should either quit hookah smoking or sell your motorcycle. Or, forget your latest stupid idea–besides, I’m not giving up my seat behind you to a shisha-burning bottle of water with a velvet hose! Mount the hookah and I’m leaving you once and for all! Idiot.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Antistasis

Antistasis (an-ti’-sta-sis): The repetition of a word in a contrary sense. Often, simply synonymous with antanaclasis.

I am sorry you are such a sorry example of a human being! You are a laugh, but not the kind of laugh that makes me laugh! You’re the kind laugh that makes me want to vomit.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Antisthecon

Antisthecon (an-tis’-the-con): Substitution of one sound, syllable, or letter for another within a word. A kind of metaplasm: the general term for changes to word spelling.

Pluck you, you chicken-brained feather-flucker!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Antithesis

Antithesis (an-tith’-e-sis): Juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas (often, although not always, in parallel structure).

The happy people and the sad people–opposite emotions, but not opposed as far as they are people. They can influence each other from where they stand. With empathy they may understand each other, and with understanding they build a bridge between happiness and sadness, that is itself neither happy nor sad. It is simply a place to meet and be together and consider each other as “us,” or “we,” or “friends,” or  . . . ?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Antitheton

Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).

Stammering liars swarm across the angelic edges of life. In countless companies of tragedy they fold sonnets into into origami razors and slash kindness, love, and gentleness into fragments of dread, disgust, and despair.

Theirs is the darkness of light, the joy of fright, and the sinister beauty of fading life.

Ours is the perfect soul of truth: what cannot be torn and turned, touched or burned. Eternal. Immortal. Invincible. Ironic.

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Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Apagoresis

Apagoresis (a-pa-gor’-e-sis): A statement designed to inhibit someone from doing something. Often uses exaggeration [or hyperbole] to persuade. It may combine an exaggeration with a cause/effect or antecedent/consequence relationship. The consequences or effects of such a phrase are usually exaggerated to be more convincing.

Pew, that stinks!  Do that again and I’m going to pull over to the side of the road, get out the duct tape, and seal your gas pipe! Roll down the windows my eyes are burning! You are disgusting.

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Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Aphaeresis

Aphaeresis (aph-aer’-e-sis): The omission of a syllable or letter at the beginning of a word. A kind of metaplasm.

NOW! Move it! It’s time to do the Hokey Pokey and turn ourselves ’round! We all know that’s what it’s all about. Get whirling you wild dervishes!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Aphorismus

Aphorismus ( a-phor-is’-mus): Calling into question the proper use of a word.

You call that a car? It looks more like a four-wheeled septic tank!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Apocarteresis

Apocarteresis (a-po-car-ter’-e-sis): Casting of all hope away from one thing and placing it on another source altogether.

There was always love, and I took it, and I twisted it, and I tore it; I crumpled it, lit it on fire and threw it over the abyss between knowing and hoping–burning, sparking, smoking, falling, drowning in the bitter sloe pool; lukewarm and slithering–churning and grey, thick with the ashes of extinguished love–a perfect sump for hell.

Now, as I awaken frigid in the dim cramped closet where I hang, smelling camphor, and mothballs, and the left-over odors of long-departed clothes, I think of the bodies that wore them as they tore through life’s fashion arcade, wanting to look good, wanting to wear the latest, wanting to be admired and loved.

Now gone forever, only their empty hangers remain–some are plastic, some are wire, some are cedar, but they all hang quietly with eternally perfect spaces between them, keeping them perfectly apart.

How do I get down from here and touch the floor, and feel its wooden smoothness underneath my feet?

If I could only unbutton the clothes that hold me, I could slide off my hanger, leave my pants, and sandals, and shirt, and softly walk away.

To feel the wood, and then the earth, under my bare wiggly toes! To feel the sun and brush my teeth!

Back on the surface, back on my feet, I shall walk naked to Paradise (a famous shopping mall). There, I shall be refashioned; and looking good, and being admired, I shall be loved, and being loved, like a permanent-press shirt I shall tumble dry on low and feel the warmth of the cycle as my wrinkles smooth. I will I find love, and give love, and be loved, and that’s all there is.

Back to the ground! Back to the dirt! Back to the pleasures and all the things that hurt.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Apocope

Apocope (a-pok’-o-pe): Omitting a letter or syllable at the end of a word. A kind of metaplasm.

I’m goin’ to the supermarket right after lunch. Is there anythin’ I can get you?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Apodixis

Apodixis (a-po-dix’-is): Proving a statement by referring to common knowledge or general experience.

There is no way I took your Apple Watch. What the heck would I do with it? I don’t even have an iPad, let alone an Apple-anything. You know I hate Apple–I’m close friends with Bob Gates for crying out loud!

We’ve been friends since high school–that’s 35 years! Have I ever taken anything from you ever? No! Why would I start now?

Do you think I need to steal stuff to sell to make money? Come on, I make $650,000 per year. Even if your watch was the $15,000 model, I could buy a dozen and throw them at homeless people on freeway on-ramps just for kicks!

Jeez!  If this is such a big deal, I’ll even buy you a new one!

OK? Settled?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Apophasis

Apophasis (a-pof’-a-sis): The rejection of several reasons why a thing should or should not be done and affirming a single one, considered most valid.

Should I get another tattoo?

1. No. Three are enough.

2. No. My wife will hit me with a garden tool.

3. No. I’m too old for another tattoo.

So, I guess not.

Hmmm. Wait a minute–I’ve changed my mind. I really, really, really want another tattoo, and wanting another one is a good enough reason for me.

Why else would you get a tattoo?

Now, I’ve got to figure out what it’s going to be and where to put it. Major challenge.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Apoplanesis

Apoplanesis (a-po-plan’-e-sis): Promising to address the issue but effectively dodging it through a digression.

Question: What is your concept of truth?

Answer: Truth! Ah, yes. Well, I can answer that and truthfully too.  Ha Ha.

Now, concepts can be vexing especially when we try to pin down what exactly a concept is, and a ‘concept’ of truth–woo: Truth in Italics, Truth in Bold Face, Truth underlined, Capital T Truth, lowercase t truth, or “truth” in quotation marks? So many ways of saying, displaying, and delivering the T word.

But.

Truth is not about fonts, faces, upper- and lower-cases, or quotation marks. Truth is trusting, just as much as it is actual.

So, truth is like going out on a limb & when the limb snaps & when you hit the ground–the solid, hard, unforgiving ground–no leaves, go grass, no flowers, no bumblebees, puppies, pillows, or trampolines–just bare-naked earth–you wonder: Did I just hit the earth or did the earth hit me? As you wonder, you realize you’re unconscious, and being conscious of being unconscious, you know what truth is.

Right?

Now, let’s go back to watching “Game of Thrones.”

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Aporia

Aporia (a-po’-ri-a): Deliberating with oneself as though in doubt over some matter; asking oneself (or rhetorically asking one’s hearers) what is the best or appropriate way to approach something [=diaporesis].

How many hummingbirds can dance on the head of a large corporation?

On South Carolina?

On Patterson, New Jersey?

On a small cafeteria-sized bowl of Jello?

On a tennis court?

Under an umbrella?

But hummingbirds can’t dance.

Well, there you have it dance-wise, but what about sit-wise, stand-wise, or even hover-over-wise?

Be patient. Rome wasn’t built out of hummingbirds, and it took more than a couple of weeks. That’s why all roads lead to Rome, but you can’t make a horse drink.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Aposiopesis

Aposiopesis (a-pos-i-o-pee’-sis): Breaking off suddenly in the middle of speaking, usually to portray being overcome with emotion.

You what? You ran over our pet rabbit? You mean Little Bill–Billy’s . . . You monster. You murderer. Little Billy is dead and you killed him.

You were always jealous of Little Billy’s ‘special place’ on my lap and the cute squealing noises he made when I scratched his big fluffy ears.

The only time you ever squealed was when you fell off the front porch with martini number four in your hand.  I was hoping the toothpick in the olive poked your eye out, but it was the little pile of bunny poops you landed in that made you squeal.

Damn you. Get a paper bag and a shovel and I’ll meet you by the apple tree. Little Billy loved apples and I loved Little Billy. Damn you.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)