Enthymeme


Enthymeme (en’-thy-meem): 1. The informal method [or figure] of reasoning typical of rhetorical discourse. The enthymeme is sometimes defined as a “truncated syllogism” since either the major or minor premise found in that more formal method of reasoning is left implied. The enthymeme typically occurs as a conclusion coupled with a reason. When several enthymemes are linked together, this becomes sorites. 2. A figure of speech which bases a conclusion on the truth of its contrary. [Depending on its grammatical structure and specific word choice, it may be chiasmus].


Me: It is 115 degrees outside. You better wear shorts to work, along with a T-shirt. The blue T-Rex t-shirt would be perfect! Given this climate stuff, we’re going the way of the dinosaurs, pretty soon we’ll all be crude oil or tar balls jostling together in a bubbling pit. If we lose our electricity, we’ll die. They’ll find you clutching a beer on the couch, shriveled up like a piece of dried fruit, like a fig with ants crawling all over you. And, oh, nobody will find you because they’ll be shriveled up on their couches too. Yup, it is the end of the world. We’re headed for extinction, Maybe before the end of the summer.

You: I can hardly be in the same room with you. You never stop. When we were kids it was the atom bomb. You refused to get under your desk during the school drills that were supposed to save us from the bomb. You would sit there saying “If the bomb comes here, the school will be leveled. If we survive that, we will all be turned to ashes cowering under our chairs.” Everybody started crying and tried to get out the door at once. There were injuries and our teacher, Miss Roper, was demoted to classroom aide.

Your hysterical harangues were dangerous back in the sixth grade, and now even more so, given the ubiquitous bullshit flying around—pushed by fake scientists so they can make money while scaring the holy hell out of average Americans and their children, like Joan and Bill’s who, by the grace of God go to a private school where climate change crap is not permitted to be taught, along with other evil brain poisoning ideas like Critical Race Theory. I don’t know what Critical Race Theory is, but it must be bad if it’s banned from “Himmerler Middle School” where my neighbor’s kids go. They’re not going to be fooled by the communists aiming to destroy America by destroying American values. So, why don’t you just can it and go on with your life, such as it is, filled fear and unfounded predictions. Go home and put some clothes on. Tightly-whiteys and sandals are so wrong, no matter how hot it is.

Me: it’s nice to see you’re running with the Lemmings toward the cliffs of denial. Does it feel good to be a part of the pack? All together. Eye to eye. Perfect harmony until death do you part. It is supposed to be 130 degrees tomorrow! I’m headed north to buy myself some time. If I’m going to die, at least I’ll be in a beautiful place. I mean, the sidewalks are starting to crack here in Manhattan and the streets are buckling. I can’t take a shower and I’m pooping in plastic bags and dropping them off behind trees and bushes in Central Park.

Uh oh. Hear that? It’s quiet. The electricity has gone out. No A/C. 130 degrees tomorrow. Let the looting begin! Let the home invasions begin! Let the City burn. Let the “normal” people who’ve ignored the climate change warnings for the past 20 years die without dignity in the coming conflagration. They willfully ignored the hard truth, opting for the soft comfort of lies because the lies aligned with their hopes and stilled their fears.

Goodbye. I’m headed to Alaska. I’m wearing my tighty whiteys. I hope my old VW Bug makes it. I’ll never forget driving it to Woodstock with you and Beth. Do you want to come with me now?


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

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