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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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    Plus, the Maggots Skipped the Baggage Fee

    I see a maggot looking back at me and I’m thinking, “These are anaerobic, flesh-eating larvae that the flight attendants don’t have to sit with.”

    Donna Adamo, passenger on a maggot-infested US Airways flight

    epiphoneme (eh-PIH-fo-neem), the memorable summary. From the Greek epiphonema, meaning “proclaim upon.”

    Continuing with epiphonemes: we’re seeing them everywhere. A great epiphoneme says, “It all boils down to this.” In this case, it boils down to the rotten meat a dopey passenger stored in an overhead bin. You can’t blame the airline (full disclosure: Figaro consults for Southwest Airlines), but poor US Airways had to put up with a raft of “mother@%#*ing maggots on a mother@%#*ing plane” jokes.

    The best epiphoneme goes right to the edge of hyperbole, and possibly an eensy bit beyond. Technically, maggots do not have the optic equipment to stare at people, and they would not eat the flesh of passengers unless the plane were held on the tarmac long enough for corpses in coach to rot. Adamo nonetheless makes a very strong proclamation: maggots are not one of the finer airline amenities.

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    Reader Comments (8)

    You forgot to mention that the flight attendant told the poor passengers to sit down. In maggots.
    July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFeggy
    True. Hence the woman's comment about the attendant getting to sit maggot-free.
    July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    Is there a name for telling a story in the present tense?
    July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Sabert
    Not exactly; but the use of that immediate, You Are There tense contributes to ENARGEIA, the special effects of rhetoric. Enargeia is the effect of making what you're talking about appear before the audience's very eyes.
    July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    How about the use of symbols instead of swear words? Is there a name for that?
    July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLady MaMa
    Back in the mid-sixties, cartoonist Mort Sahl labeled these typographical stand-ins for profanity ("@%#*") GRAWLIXES. So that's what we'll call them.
    July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    Is there anything you don't know, Figaro?
    July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynda
    We're not sure.
    July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro

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