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.

    « We’re Sorry, But Soap Is Not a Cause | Main | Doing Pop »

    Feel Free

    graffiti.jpgQuote:  “That is one of the mistakes a lot of people make — believing that uncensored speech is the most free, when in fact, managed civil dialogue is actually the freer speech.”  Blogospherian Tim O’Reilly, quoted in the New York Times.

    Figure of Speech:  antanaclasis (AN-tan-a-CLA0sis), the repetition that changes. From the Greek, meaning “breaking up against.”

    A few prominent bloggers are trying to come up with a code of conduct for the Web.  The rules include banning anonymous comments and reserving the right to delete nasty ones.  Those who consider the Internet the last bastion of freedom find the proposed rules repugnant.

    One of the code authors, Tim O’Reilly, counters with an antanaclasis, a figure that repeats a word and attaches a different meaning the second time around.   It’s a great way to redefine an issue.  Uncensored means free, right?  Not if you define freedom as a form of “civil dialogue.”

    But the issue here isn’t freedom; it’s whether we can argue properly.  Until we learn how, self-respecting bloggers  will have to use the delete button.

    Snappy Answer:  “So less freedom means more freedom. Thanks for clearing that up.”

    For more on civility, see page 273 of Figaro’s book.

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments (1)

    An idiot. What does it say about our society when someone is paid big bucks to blab and can't even do so logically? How many of his viewers recognized the contradiction?

    It is plausible that what he meant was reasonable — managed speech is likely to be more civil, and hostility can dissuade the less aggressive. But that would make managed speech more effective, perhaps. But more free?

    We could nickname him Oxy.
    April 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRichard

    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.