Category Archives: antitheton

Antitheton

Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).


My credit card is like a license plate on a Brinks Truck headed to the bank with a load of cash. Yours is like a dirty little doormat at the entryway of the Dollar Store by your dreary little apartment. They’re both credit cards, but there are some differences: I pay my bill on time, you don’t. I stay under my limit, you don’t, I don’t take cash advances, but you do—paying 16% interest, and wasting the cash on bulk-bin Gummy Bears, impractical shoes, blenders, and other stupid crap that, for some reason, you want to pay cash for, and, you don’t need.

The big difference here is taking responsibility: I am prudent, you are either stupid or reckless, or both. Let’s go with prudent vs. reckless: I was home drinking decaf black tea and watching the musical “Cats” on Amazon Prime while you were out drinking shots and beer at Ogles, bun-scanning every guy who came through the door, and buying drinks for everybody at the bar. Your best friend Renee told me this. I’m paying her $50 per day to keep an eye on you and report back to me. The reports have been shocking. Having sex in the trunk of a Cadillac? Anyway, let’s compare: my life is a smooth-running machine, yours has a broken crankshaft and is leaking oil all over the place. I handle my money like a fiscal surgeon. You handle yours like a cruel butcher. I pay my bills to the tune of an atomic clock. You pay yours to the tune of Cuckoo clock. The contrasts between us go for miles, but the clincher is happiness. The way I handle my credit enables me to be happy. The way you handle your credit makes you miserable. If you change the way you handle your credit, and be more like me, it’s likely you will be happier.

We’ll start here: give me your credit card. Let it cool off for awhile.

I went home and booted up her account. The password was easy to crack: her blood type and her birthday. What I saw shocked me! A $110,000 bill had been paid two days ago by a wire transfer made by Eddy Papa owner of the Papa Eddy’s Pizza franchise with over 200 locations in New Jersey, and Caroline’s big brother too.

I felt like such a jerk. Caroline knew her brother would cover her and was having one hell of a good time. While I sat at home eating canned chicken noodle soup with crushed saltines, she was running wild without any consequences, up until now. Now, I was the consequence, and I was going to ask her to buy us a sailboat so we could sail away—maybe to a marina in Jersey City or Cape May, and have some pizza. Pepperoni for me please!


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

Paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available at Amazon under the title of The Book of Tropes.

Antitheton

Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).


Him: Opposites attract. I’ve heard that so many times. Did you ever see hot and cold running toward each other like soup and ice? The soup melts the ice. The ice cools off the soup. What kind of attraction is that? They kill each other. What about light and dark? A cheap flashlight will make the dark into light. I don’t see how they’re attracted to each other. If they were attracted, they wouldn’t cancel each other out.

Her: As usual you’ve got it wrong. It isn’t natural order (except for magnets) that the saying pertains to. It’s people and their character attributes, their life choices, their preferences, their manners. “You say tomato, I say tomahto. You say potato, I say potahto.” You have a smell that I find repelling and compelling. I shower every day and smell like a rose, and you like it. You like to bike, I like to jog. I think biking is sexy—your legs and buns in motion. You think jogging is sexy, the way I jiggle and sweat. There are a ton more examples—we’re not soup and ice.

Him: But shouldn’t we have common likes and dislikes too?

Her: Of course! What we like in common is each other. If we just liked what’s the same about us, it would be like being alone, looking in a mirror. Come here honey! Let me smell your neck!


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

Paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available at Amazon under the title of The Book of Tropes.

Antitheton

Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).


Stuffing your face and sucking up a bottle of wine every night isn’t going to make you thinner. In fact, the opposite is the case: you are enlarging. This is the 2nd time this year you’ve outgrown your clothes and had to replace them. Salvation Army loves you. Macy’s loves you. The liquor store loves you.

Pretty soon, you’ll be shopping at the Cow Barn, where everything’s plus-sized and they use styrofoam farm animals for mannequins.

You need to decide which you’re going to be: fat or not fat. There is no two ways about it: it’s one or the other. You can’t be both. That’s what gives you a choice. Let’s go to work on this together.


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

Paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available at Amazon under the title of The Book of Tropes.

Antitheton

Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).

 

If lying is bad, telling the truth must be good. Seems incontrovertible, right? I wish it was that easy! The classic example: You’re hiding your neighbor from the Nazis. They ask you if you know where she is.  You know where she is, but you lie to save your neighbor’s life. Something in the circumstances trumps lying’s badness in this particular case. You may certainly (?) say that generally speaking telling the truth is the right thing to do & it’s opposite, lying, is consequentially the wrong thing to do: but not always.

So, are there any binary terms with social import that aren’t capable of shedding their ‘differences’ and swapping  consequences in particular circumstances? As in the example above, lying seems morally superior to telling the truth.  Accordingly, although telling the truth and lying are paired and will always be different by definition, in practice, in particular cases their moral valences can and should flip.

Telling the truth to Nazis about the whereabouts of your neighbor may be worse than lying, even the though the Nazis have “every legal right” to arrest your neighbor and deport her off to a concentration camp.

So, what are you going do when a law enforcement officer knocks on your door and pleasantly asks if you know the whereabouts of your undocumented Guatemalan neighbor, who you know is hiding in your garage. Lie? Tell the truth?

To be sure, the severity of the consequences for the ‘hiding’ people in the examples above may be somewhat different as are the motives behind the laws sanctioning their arrests. In both cases though, to the authorities, the people they were hunting were (and are) aliens who were (and are) fair game by law.

Think of all the people who were complicit with the Nazis: “She’s down in my basement.” “She’s hiding in my garage.”

Just remember in a particular case the truth won’t always set you free. It may burden you with doing harm to another human being.

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

Antitheton

Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).

Good and evil. Darkness and light. No middle ground. A site of choice-making that makes choosing easy. But, if we don’t find an in-between to complicate our choice-making we run the risk of being blinded to what amounts to a chasm between either/or as we fail to bridge it with compromise. We must co-create a measure of shared hope borne on a joint project undertaken in a spirit of moderation well-suited to democracy’s messiness and freedom’s fields of fallibility.

Reject the binary pairs, roll up your sleeves, and rejoice in the working through of differences undertaken in the space between extremes.

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

Antitheton

Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).

Stammering liars swarm across the angelic edges of life. In countless companies of tragedy they fold sonnets into into origami razors and slash kindness, love, and gentleness into fragments of dread, disgust, and despair.

Theirs is the darkness of light, the joy of fright, and the sinister beauty of fading life.

Ours is the perfect soul of truth: what cannot be torn and turned, touched or burned. Eternal. Immortal. Invincible. Ironic.

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

 

Antitheton

Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).

What you hope will inspire fear in your enemies and induce them to capitulate may actually inspire your enemies to hope more fervently for victory.  Theirs will be a quality of hope that you, my friend, should absolutely fear!

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

Antitheton

Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).

While noteworthy acts of great courage may shorten one’s life to a sweet unregretful end, noteworthy acts of great cowardice may lengthen one’s life to a bitter regretful end.

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