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.

    « All Dilberts Are Alike | Main | Mandela Might Not Appreciate This Figure »

    They Say She Wears a Transparent Proxy

    female_robog.jpgQuote:  “Host refused to talk to me.”  The Postfix program at host mail2.wildblue.net, whatever that is.

     Figure of Speech:  anthropomorphism (an-thro-po-MOR-phism), the humanizing figure.  From the Greek, meaning “change into human.” 

     If you subscribe to this site’s emails using Yahoo Mail, you may wonder why Figaro hasn’t visited lately. It’s because we seem to be blocked by Yahoo’s spam filters.  Make sure you put figaro@wildblue.net on your good-guys list, or switch to a friendlier service, for crying out loud.  Look what it’s done to poor host  mail2.wildblue.net. “Host refused to talk to me,” she — it — sobs . 

    Wait.  How can both of them be host?  Doesn’t mail2.wildblue deserve treatment as a guest? And what would they talk about if the Yahoo host weren’t being so rude? 

    “See the mountable rack on that new DNS server?”

    “Yeah, steer clear of that one. I hear she’s into serial console redirection.”

    Computer inventors have been anthropomorphizing their machines from the getgo, of course, fantasizing that their circuits and algorithms have human characteristics.   Anthropomorphism qualifies as both a metaphor and a metonymy.  Both tropes can be a force for good.  Building human qualities into machinery, for example, makes great ergonomic sense.  But if you take your metaphorical metonymy literally — believe that your machine actually is human — you’re in for a big date repellant among humans.

    As your server would “tell” you:  403, baby.  Access denied.

    Snappy Answer:  “Have you tried flowers?”

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments (2)

    "Host does not like recipient" is another one I've gotten. Right up there with "the copier is recovering."

    September 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKris S.
    Right! (I mean about the copier part.) so what other humanoid euphemisms are there? Or, to portmanteauize it, euphenoids?
    September 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro

    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.