About This Site

Figaro rips the innards out of things people say and reveals the rhetorical tricks and pratfalls. For terms and definitions, click here.
(What are figures of speech?)
Ask Figaro a question!

This form does not yet contain any fields.

    « They Are Due to Touch Us Again | Main | And Lead Us Not Unto Krypton »

    For the White House, This Is Torture

    no-torture.gifQuote:  “Irregular interrogation polices are illegal in the wake of this opinion — illegal, illegal, illegal.” Derek P. Jinks, University of Texas law professor, in the LA Times.

    Figure of Speechploce (PLO-see), the emphatic repeater.

    The Supreme Court ruled that President Bush’s jury-rigged Guantanamo military tribunals fall out of Constitutional bounds.  But what really has the White House’s figurative panty in a twist is a passage in the majority opinion that takes all the fun out of Gitmo.  The Court says that the U.S. is bound by the Geneva Convention, which forbids degrading or inhumane treatment of prisoners.  Not only does the government have to try these people in real courts, it’s not allowed to torture them.

    Professor Jinks dances on the policy’s grave with a ploce (“interweaving”), a general figure that repeats a word for emphasis.  When used as a summary at the end of a sentence, the ploce gives a term added rhetorical power.  Be careful, though.  In the hands of a victor, the repetition can sound overly triumphant.

    It’s enough to make a Bush staffer move to North Korea, where they show proper respect for authority.

    Snappy Answer:  “Good thing those secret CIA prisons don’t count.”

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments (3)

    "epizeuxis" sounds so much better than "ploce"
    June 30, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersii
    What a curious phrase 'panty in a twist.!' Pray throw light on its usage / meaning.
    July 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commentershashi
    Yes, "epizeuxis" is a fancier word, sii, but "ploce" is easier to pronounce, and it's a more general term for emphasis through repetition.

    Ah, "panties in a twist." Figaro borrowed it from the movie "The Mask." It means "get hysterical." Both the twisted undergarment and hysteria are deeply mysogynistic, rhetorically; they play off the myth that women are less reasonable and more subject to fits of emotion than men are. To accuse macho types like our leaders in the White House of getting their panties in a twist is to imply that they're sissies.

    Having made that explanation, Figaro now feels ashamed of himself for using the expression. Colorful, though, isn't it?
    July 3, 2006 | Registered CommenterFigaro

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.