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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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    Shoot First!

    You know that’s kinda like getting out there on the playground, a bunch of kids ready to fight and one of the kids saying ‘Go ahead, punch me in the face and I’m not going to retaliate. Go ahead and do what you want to with me.’

    Playground bully Sarah Palin, referring to the White House’s
    promise not to launch nukes against non-nuke nations

    catachresis (cat-a-KREE-sis), the metaphor gone rogue. From the Greek, meaning “bad use.” See more examples here and  here and  here.

    Whenever you hear a simile begin with “That’s kinda like,” turn your rhetoric sensors on. You may be entering a catachresis—a kinda-like Wonderland where global nukes shrink to the size of toddler fisticuffs.

    The catachresis creates an alternative tribal reality. If you’re in the tribe, it’s a believable reality. Go, Sarah! Tell it (kinda) like it is! If you’re outside the tribe, then you wonder what drug the speaker is taking. That drug is tribalism,  America’s new LSD. If you’re my kinda American, you’re into my kinda reality.

    So what’s the antidote? Figaro prefers the totally excellent Wayne’s World Defense. Just say “NOT!”

    Nuclear restraint is kinda like getting out there on the playground…NOT.

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