Quote: “His teeth are on message, and no hair grows without a plan and a briefing.” John Dickerson in Slate.
Figure of Speech: anthropomorphism (an-thro-po-MOR-phism), the personification figure. From the Greek, meaning “turning human.”
Figaro’s Rhetorical Rule No. 1: Don’t let your rhetoric show. If Mitt Romney wins in 2008, he’ll be the most presidential-looking president since Warren Harding. But looking the part isn’t always rhetorically correct; a strong chin and perfect grooming can make a candidate look too slick, especially if he lacks Reaganesque ideological passion.
John Dickerson, Slate’s political pundit, showcases Romney’s slickness with a spot-on anthropomorphism, a figure that lends human characteristics to inhuman objects or beings. (Figaro hates calling a ship a “she,” for instance. Click here to offer your most annoying anthropomorphisms.) Dickerson deftly uses political jargon (“on message”) to politicize Mitt’s whitened and coiffed charms, and he throws in a double negative (“no hair grows without…”) to imply zero tolerance for the non-camera-ready.
So what should Romney do: stand in front of a wind machine in his next ad? Not necessarily. The self-conscious flaw can look slick, too. This is why sensible people don’t run for the presidency. As Mitt himself might say, you’re darned if you do and darned if you don’t.
Snappy Answer: “But were those eyebrows properly focus-grouped?”