Quote: “Fly, yes. Land, no.” Indian Jones and the Last Crusade.
Figure of Speech: dialysis (die-AL-y-sis), the yes-no figure. From the Greek, meaning “break loose.”
George Lucas announced that he’s making a fourth Indiana Jones movie, with a gray-haired Harrison Ford as the star. Figaro is a big fan of the Indy movies; they do wondrous things with Ford’s permanently pained expression.
We especially like Last Crusade, which stars Sean Connery as Indy’s father. The two of them have just escaped from a Nazi blimp by stealing one of the blimp’s removable biplanes.
“I didn’t know you could fly,” Dad shouts.
Indy replies with a dialysis, a figure that instantly redefines an issue. It usually repeats the opponent’s term with “no” after it, replacing it with a more accurate or persuasive term:
Lover: You seem a little put out with me this morning.
You: Put out, no. Furious, yes.
The no-yes sentence offers you wonderful opportunities for irony. Change one word and your audience will think you have an endless supply of catty wit:
Co-worker: She says they’re using a new system.
You: New, yes. Systematic, no.
Funny, no. Witty, yes, especially if it comes out spontaneously. Remember, things sound much more clever when you say them aloud than when people read them.
Snappy Answer: “Well, first things first.”