Quote: “We were seized, apparently at this point, here, from their maps, from the GPS they’ve shown us, which is inside Iranian territorial waters.” British Navy Captain Chris Air, on Iranian TV.
Figure of Speech: hysterologia (hys-ter-o-LO-gia), the insertion. From the Greek, meaning “following words.”
The Iranians paraded three captured Brits in front of the cameras. Two apologized for invading Iran’s territorial waters; but the other managed to deny the charge even while appearing to admit it.
The fortuitously named Captain Air cleverly inserted “apparently” between “we were seized” and “at this point.” That’s a nice hysterologia, a kind of parenthesis that sticks a word or phrase between a preposition and its object. Air used it as a pin to pop his own rhetorical balloon. The result is a perfect irony—saying one thing while meaning the opposite.
In case any of the blokes back home didn’t get the point, Air added two more parentheses, “from their maps” and “from the GPS they’ve shown us,” to deflate the Iranians’ claims.
An effective, and courageous, feat of parenthetical figuring.
Snappy Answer: “And Iranian maps never lie.”