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    She Said Magma

    No wonder we suddenly feel the need to focus on the scientific and mystical significance of wind patterns, magma, and dust.

    Anne Applebaum in Slate

    Merism (MER-ism), the 24-7 figure.

    That volcano in Iceland could keep spewing filth and hot gases for some time to come. Eyjafjallajokull (Figaro pronounces it “Glenn Beck”) could attack Europe’s whole political economy.

     The Poulet Petit scenario earns a dramatic merism, a figure that describes a whole by summing up its parts. “I worked 24-7 on that proposal.” “He talked from dawn till dusk.”

    Applebaum could simply have focused on “the scientific and mystical significance of volcanoes.” Instead, she gives us the whole sturm und drang.

    Figaro loves the whole rhetorical lock, stock and crater.

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    Reader Comments (10)

    Does that make it a synecdoche?
    April 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSadie
    More of metonymy, and even then, no. Metonymy takes a single quality or aspect of a thing and makes it stand for the whole, whereas the merism tries to encompass, sum up, the thing. To get all meristic on you, it requires not just the hook but the line and sinker as well.
    April 19, 2010 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    Can this quote not also be an enumeratio? Thanks!
    April 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark Matluck
    You'd think it would, Mark; but the enumeratio has more to do with cause and effect, or the outline of the argument, and not so much with a concrete thing or phenomenon. So this would be an enumeratio:

    "The Glenn Beck Volcano was caused by the Icelandic banking system, gay marriage, and Obamacare."

    April 22, 2010 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    What do have against Glenn Beck? Is this good rhetoric???
    April 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmercitizen
    To answer your questions in reverse:

    1. Yes.
    2. I have nothing against Beck. He's magmalicious!
    April 22, 2010 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    Still pissing off conservatives, I see. ;)
    May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMartha
    Oh, I like to think I piss off liberals as well, Martha. It's just harder, bless their souls.
    May 13, 2010 | Registered CommenterFigaro

    I would like to see you take apart Beck's words. Not that I have anything against him. I'm just curious as to what you see when this man speaks.
    May 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
    I've spent some time on his site, and watch him on TV when I travel. He's a pretty good comedian with a passionate, highly selective, and self-taught interpretation of the Constitution. But figuratively, he's not much better than the liberals, frankly. Unlike Sarah Palin, who's a master of figures, Beck's approach is purely tribal. His idea of manipulative speech seems pretty much limited to a mixture of sarcasm and crying.

    That being said, I'll try to quote him more in the future.
    May 18, 2010 | Registered CommenterFigaro

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