Adynaton (a-dyn’-a-ton): A declaration of impossibility, usually in terms of an exaggerated comparison. Sometimes, the expression of the impossibility of expression.
Today Putin spoke at the UN. His speech was touted by Russian media, forecasting it as a “speech that will change the world.”
Every time I fart, I change the world.
Every meter I walk changes the world.
Everything we do and say changes the world.
So, if Russian media meant that, like a fart blown into the wind, or a footprint on a piece of grass, Putin’s speech would change the world, to be sure, they were correct.
But, if the world-changing speech they forecast was supposed to affect other aspects of the world, beyond its blowing wind and the electricity used to broadcast it, their forecast was a dream–an impossible dream prompted by somebody’s megalomania and the misguided, if not psychotic, delusion of grandeur exemplified by a smallish balding shirtless man on horseback single-handedly liberating Crimea from its Western oppressors and stamping out the disease of democracy infecting its political institutions with the virus of social media and festering elections.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)
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