Quote: “Is it possible to be quoted yawning?” Philippe Reines, Hillary Clinton’s Senate spokesman, in the Washington Post.
Figure of Speech: mycterismus (mik-ter-IS-mus), the sneer. From the Greek, meaning “sneer.”
Two Hillary biographies — one by Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame and the other by a pair of longtime New York Times reporters — offer more dish on both woman and husband. Nothing new, says (sorry: yawns) Hillary’s mouthpiece. Reines pulls off a very nice mycterism, a figure that insults or belittles the victim while making an appropriate gesture. The figure traditionally has the insult actually describe the gesture; John Cleese does this at King Arthur in a Monty Python movie.
The trouble with Reines’ mycterism is that some of the new stuff is kind of interesting. Bill apparently wanted to leave Hillary for another woman (not Flowers), and both spouses appear to have made some very sleazy attempts to keep the Prez’s affairs under wraps.
But the worst stuff is more about Bill than Hill. Figaro divides recent presidents into three categories: horny, feckless, and alarmingly faithful. Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Clinton belong in the horny category. Carter and H.W. Bush, along with the vastly overrated Truman, we’ll call feckless. Then you have Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush, devoted husbands. So, being president means screwing around, being screwy, or screwing the country.
Take your pick.
Snappy Answer: “Can you say it while spinning?”