Daily Archives: October 27, 2022

Paroemion

Paroemion (par-mi’-on): Alliteration taken to an extreme where nearly every word in a sentence begins with the same consonant. Sometimes, simply a synonym for alliteration or for homoeoprophoron [a stylistic vice].


I had joined a motorcycle gang called “The Alliterators.” We rode stock Honda 350s —all maroon and white. Home base was New Hampshire, so we never wore helmets—we could go all the way to Estcort Station, Maine with our crew cuts bristling in the wind and our gum rubber- soled desert boots gripping the motorcycles’ foot pegs. Our “club’s” colors are fairly simple: a 2” high red “Bee Bop Baby” outlined in white, emblazoned on an oval-shaped baby blue background bordered in black. “ALLITERATORS” is all-white and centered at the shoulder of the jacket in the shape of an arch. We are followers of Ernest Hemingway, to some extent. We believe in concise, to the point, no extra word-baggage prose. It gives your speech and writing, energy, effectiveness, and economy—three key terms emblazoned in Latin on the backs of our jackets below “Francestown, MC” near the jacket’s waistband.

In a way, we’re opposed to wordiness, but in another way, we favor it. After all, we are the “Alliterators,” and sometimes we employ “Paroemion” in our diatribes against the man: “Alliteration taken to an extreme where nearly every word in a sentence begins with the same consonant.” (e.g. Many mothers mysteriously made magical maple macaroons) It’s rad, but it is proportional to our intention: to employ a verbal machine gun blast at the FIC—the “Fascists in Charge” who make us sick—gagging on their spewing conjunctions, slowing the pace of decision making, making things seem more complex than they actually are, employing conjunction, after conjunction, after conjunction. For example, “In the beginning was the Town Meeting, and it was brief, and it was well-attended, and we argued, and we voted, and we went home, and we had a drink, and we went to bed, and there was darkness upon the bedroom, and we went to sleep.” A river of drivel.

Although our home base is Francestown, the “Alliterators” are spread across New Hampshire, teaching English Composition in elementary schools nearly everywhere. We feature alliteration in our instruction because it enables the youngsters to lay Moloch to waste with the staccato rush of slashing similar sounds—like a verbal sword slicing off his conjunction-bloated head: “Moloch! Mine enemy. Making death. Mocking truth. Moron. Macabre. Murderer.” Our brother gang “The Asyndetons,” joins us in our street fights with the “Polysyndetons,” the gang behind the heaped up conjunctions that weaken youths and muddle their minds. The Asyndetons are devoted, instead, to battling excessive use of conjunctions—to giving prose the hard and sharp edge it needs to rid the world of fluff and superfluity; that create the Angels of Death to sharply focused focused thinking. Together, the “Alliterators” and the “Asyndetons” hope to rid New Hampshire of its slow meandering prose, to retrieve the voice of the likes of Hercules Mooney: the great New Hampshire English Composition teacher and Revolutionary War General. He once yelled “British Bastards!” out of the window of the Laughing Clam Tavern. The alliteration caught on and spread across the Colonies as a call to arms. We look up to him. In a way, he’s the father of the “Alliterators.”

The “Alliterators” will have their annual rally in Francestown again next summer. A tradition dating back to the early 1800s when we had a much larger membership than we have now: we had teachers and parents collaborating together in the education of their children. We still award a trophy for the best alliteration in a 5-7 minute speech on a contemporary issue. Last year’s winning speech was “Lyme Disease Diary.” The kid who gave the speech used a wheelchair as a prop and cried at the end for failing to use DEET insect repellent, and using “Murphy’s Natural Lemon Eucalyptus Oil” instead. I was a little disappointed—it’s hard to believe a kid from New Hampshire wouldn’t use DEET. Aside from STDs, Lyme Disease is our most prevalent transmissible disease.

Oh damn—here come the “Polysyndetons.” They ride three-wheelers. The extra wheel symbolizes their excessive use of conjunctions. “Diabolical, douchebag, dimwits,” I yell. They respond: “We’re going to push over your Hondas, and dent them, and scratch their paint, and make you angry, and leave, and go back to Harvard! Ha ha!” I can’t let that happen to us. I look up “words that start with ‘j’”on my cellphone. “You jackanapes, juvenile, jackasses! “To jail!” That’s when the police arrived and surrounded the “Polysyndetons” and the Chief of police conferred with their leader: “You boys better get back to Massachusetts where you belong, or you’re headed for jail.” Then, in keeping with their love of superfluity, the “Polysyndetons” took the longest possible route out of town. I yelled “Perverted polecats” as the they circled the town square for the third time and finally headed out of town. It wasn’t my best alliteration, but I was glad I got it off while they were still in earshot. “Tremendous times” I yelled as I got on my Honda and headed home to work on tomorrow’s lesson plan.


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

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