Acoloutha: The substitution of reciprocal words; that is, replacing one word with another whose meaning is close enough to the former that the former could, in its turn, be a substitute for the latter. This term is best understood in relationship to its opposite, anacoloutha.
He was hiking across America—the USA. He was walking from New York City to Santa Barbara—“from sea to shining sea.” He was plodding 3,000 miles to raise awareness about the fact that ALL buttons are made in China. “The implications of this fact are astounding,” he wrote in the little yellow-paged notebook his mother had given him to feed his obsession with “Blue’s Clues” back in the 90s. His adult life was devoted to finding the truth and spreading it far and wide with his public antics. He nearly asphyxiated himself with a plastic shopping bag during during the “war” over their effect on the environment. Going way back, he nearly sliced off his thumb during the pop-top troubles by opening the giant can of Coke he’d made out of cardboard with a meat cleaver he’d altered to look like a pop top. He refused to go to the hospital until he nearly fainted on the pavement outside the 7-Eleven where he was demonstrating with another person, who was opposed to him, and was making pop-top necklaces and giving them to admiring children.
Anyway, if all buttons are made in China, and China decides to stop making them, all shirts and blouses would hang open, exposing us to each other’s chests. He was pushing the idea that the US government should set up a button reserve, much like the petroleum reserve—a button stockpile that could be accessed in times of button shortages. Also, he believed the government should provide subsidies for the development of Velcro alternatives. Moreover, given that China also has a corner on the pearl-snap market, all the problems related to button- front shirts pertained as well to Western-style shirts.
It was a flaming hot crisis.
He had set up a Go Fund Me site called “Don’t Let the Future Come Unbuttoned.” So far, he had raised $11.58. At this point, after two weeks, his trek had taken him to Netcong, New Jersey where, on the road shoulder, he had unbuttoned his shirt and opened and closed it, flapping it like a bird’s wings and flashing his chest.
He was arrested by the State Police and was charged with distracting motorists and parading without a permit.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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A video reading of this example is on YouTube: Johnnie Anaphora