Inter se pugnantia


Inter se pugnantia (in’-ter-say-pug-nan’-ti-a): Using direct address to reprove someone before an audience, pointing out the contradictions in that person’s character, often between what a person does and says.

Which is it? The Bible or the bile? The dove or the dragon? The carrot or the carving knife? You say, “Love thy neighbor” and then erect a razor sharp nine-foot electric fence. You say, “The dove on silver pinions winged her peaceful way” and then you burn the bird with napalm and sweep it away. You say, “Let us feed hungry bunnies the carrots they adore” and then you rub your rabbit’s foot, heat the iron skillet,  and open the refrigerator door.

You remind me of the psychopath who sang love songs when he crushed his victims’ necks. You remind me of the Santa Claus who carried yellow fever in his sack.

Now it’s time to send you home with a smile on your face, a shiny copper slug embedded in your heart, and a marching band playing “Love will tear us apart.”

  • Post your own inter se pugnantia on the “Comments” page!

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

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