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    Trust the (Armed) Force


    Quote: “An economy in peril. A country at war. A future uncertain.” TV commercial for Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.

    Figure of Speech: anastrophe (an-ASS-tro-phee), the Yoda figure. From the Greek, meaning “a turning back.” Also asyndeton (a-SIN-de-ton), the conjunction skipper.

    The anastrophe Yodafizes sentences by switching words around to make them sound good.  (In trouble the country is! )  It can be one of the most poetic figures, as well as the most bizarre. In the case of the Giuliani ad, it’s poetically bizarre — or bizarrely poetic.

    The writers painted themselves into a syntactical corner with a series of incomplete sentences, requiring absolute symmetry: A subject ( economy) in object (peril). A subject (country) at object (war). A subject (future)…hey, how did an adjective like “uncertain” get in there? To fix the problem, the ad people changed”uncertain future” to “future uncertain” to make the adjective sound like the object of a preposition.

    Yeah, it still seems awkward, but maybe that’s the point. The shaky syntax sounds uncertain. Like the future. Uneasy it makes us. Vote for Giuliani we must.

    Snappy Answer:  “Please. Shut. Up.”

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    Reader Comments (6)

    Trust Giuliani I don't. Loathe him I do. By the way, that picture makes him look even scarier than usual. Funny it is.
    January 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
    Right on, as usual. Bought your book, love it!

    January 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGina
    To scare us into voting for him this sounds like. Me don't like
    January 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJaime
    Snappy Answer: Anybody can be the Pres, Rudy for Messiah.
    January 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGAF
    Snappy answer : The worm is the spice! The spice is the worm!

    ("Dune" reference)
    January 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHoward
    You commenters make Figaro proud.
    January 16, 2008 | Registered CommenterFigaro

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