Quote: “I know you think it’s crazy, but I kind of like to see Barack and Hillary fight.” Bill Clinton
Figure of Speech: parrhesia (pa-RAY-sia), the excuse- my- French- figure. From the Greek, meaning “beyond speech.”
Bill Clinton has been hitting Barack Obama below the belt, and Hillary’s own staffers claim with their very most sincere faces that they’ve asked Bill please to tone it down. (We’re equally sure that George W. Bush asks Dick Cheney to play nice.)
Now the former president, a man who seems unaware that he is a former president, uses a parrhesia to distance himself from his own attacks. The figure warns the audience that the speaker is about to say something perfectly frank or contrary to received wisdom.
This makes the parrhesia an ideal figure for when you want to say something disingenuous. “Call me crazy,” chuckles Bill as he knees Barack in the groin. “I kind of like to see Barack and Hillary fight,” he says, rabbit-punching his wife’s opponent to the mat.
We’re glad someone’s having fun around here.
Snappy Answer: “I kind of like former presidents to act, like, dignified.”