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    Under the Influence of Being a Jerk

    moe.gifFrom Ask Figaro:

    Dear Figaro,

    Some people explicitly try to deny their intention before carrying it out, like “Not to hurt your feeling, but you suck!” What’s the best way to respond to this “Not to…but” phraseology?


    Dear Pronged One,

    “Uh, how do I say this without being offensive?” mused Moe, the bartender in the Simpsons. “Marge, there ain’t enough booze in this place to make you look good.” The figure is an apophasis, the deny-it-then-say-it figure. One response Figaro favors whenever there’s an audience of onlookers is quiet irony: “I see that your sensitivity matches your intelligence.”


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    Reader Comments (3)

    The filthy foul-mothed Maddox of the Best Page in the Universe (NSFW times three) said a similar thing about "I'm not a racist, but..."
    September 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAvi
    That's a classic apophasis. Much of the time, the figure actually emphasizes what the speaker wants to moderate. It falls under the general category of boneheadisms.

    October 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    HONORABLE, adj.
    Afflicted with an impediment in one's reach. In legislative bodies it is customary to mention all members as honorable; as, "the honorable gentleman is a scurvy cur."

    The Devil's Dictionary.
    October 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPseudonym

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