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Figaro rips the innards out of things people say and reveals the rhetorical tricks and pratfalls. For terms and definitions, click here.
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    Who Does No. 2 Work For?

    Granted, Palin was a unique nominee, with uncommon charisma and fire-power, but number two is number two.

    - Mary Matalin, CNN commentator and former aid to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, on CNN.com

    epizeuxis (eh-pih-ZOOKS-is), the “What is, is” figure. From the Greek, meaning “linked repetition.”

    Figaro has much to be thankful for as Thanksgiving approaches. His book is doing well, he’s busy writing another one, and Sarah Palin is back. You’d think that we hadn’t missed a journal entry since the last one.

    The emphatically ex governor of Alaska is getting lots of money and revenge with her bestseller, Going Rogue. (The title sparked an anti version, Going Rouge, published on the same day by the entrepreneurial editors at lefty mag The Nation.) Predictably, Palin dishes on John McCain’s top advisors and blames everyone but herself for the disastrous Katie Couric interview. Her targets, also predictably, label the book “fiction.”

    But Mary Matalin, one of the right’s more fair-minded pundits—she even has a mixed marriage with Bill Clinton’s wacky campaign manager, Jim Carville—makes the salient point with an epizeuxis, a figure that emphasizes a word by repeating it with nothing in between. Instead of saying something prosaic like, “You gotta follow the boss,” she coins the Austin Poweresque expression, “Number two is number two.”

    The epizeuxis forms a tight atomic bond that’s hard to break, making it resist rebuttal. You can also employ the figure to excuse someone’s rotten behavior: “It’s what makes [name of jerk], [name of jerk].

    Snappy Answer:  You got her number.

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