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    They Just Happened to Be There When I Fired Them.

    alberto_e_neuman.jpgQuote:  “…you said something that struck me:  that sometimes it just came down to these were not the right people at the right time.  If I applied that standard to you, what would you say?”  Senator Lindsay Graham to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

    Figure of Speech:  paromologia (pa-ro-mo-LO-gia), the sacrifice-fly figure.  From the Greek, meaning “partial agreement.”

    Why were the 13 district attorneys fired?  For “cause,” Gonzales said at first.  He later switched his story, admitting that the motive was political.  Now he offers the Dick Cheney “He Was In the Line of Fire” defense:  they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Senator Graham, a Republican and a former prosecutor himself, takes that point and flings it back at Gonzales’ head as a paromologia:  Might one reach the same conclusion about you, Mr. Gonzales?

    A form of concession, the paromologia grants the opponent’s point only to use it against him.  The other guy feels like he just got smacked with his own boomerang — or, as rhetorically trained William Shakespeare put it, “hoist with his own petard.”

    Snappy Answer: “If you’re referring to these hearings, Senator, I can’t agree more.”

     For more on using your opponents’ words, see page 98 of Figaro’s book.

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    Reader Comments (2)

    I love Figaro! I have a doctorate in English with an emphasis in writing. I've learned a great deal from you to add to my education, "a leading out from ignoance".

    I just got your book delivered from Amazon and am looking forward to reading it.

    Gonzales particularly interest me since I hate the little bastard so much. Torture is not "quaint"? What would you call this vicioius trash's saying the Geneva Convention is "quaint"? Thank God, I was not captured by quainters when I was in the Naval Airforce.

    Is there a term for Gonzolies' constant "I do not recall" except stupidity and chicanery?

    May 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    Indeed, it's a device called APORIA, the figure of cluelessness.
    May 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro

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