Quote: “Not saying supporting actress nominee Michelle Williams’ dress was too orangy, but we did have a sudden hankering for Kraft mac and cheese…” L.A. Times.
Figure of Speech: apophasis (a-PA-pha-sis), the deny- you’re- saying- it figure.
The what- were- they- thinking dress at this year’s Academy Awards draped Michelle Williams, who played a suffering wife in “Brokeback Mountain.” The gown (aVera Wang) is a vision—of a side dish.
The L.A. Times writer has an appetite for archness that comes out in an apophasis, which ironically expresses something by denying it. Why not just write that Williams’ dress looked like mac and cheese? Because the use of irony—plus the droll “hankering” and the ellipses—alert us that the line is supposed to be funny.
Not saying the Times is being catty, but throw the paper an anchovy.
Snappy Answer: “You’re surely not saying that ‘orangy’ is a word, either.”