Figaro’s wife, Mrs. Figaro, put this author in a terrible bind. Writing a question on Ask Figaro, she clearly wanted her husband to excoriate a certain pudgy commentator for lying about a historical document. Instead, Figaro found him innocent! Can this literal marriage be figuratively saved?
Is a lie a figure of speech as Stephanie Mencimer implies in her piece for Rolling Stone?
Dear Mrs. Fig.,
It’s so nice to exchange sweet nothings over a public website. In this case you refer to Glenn Beck’s claim that he “held the first inaugural address written in his own hand by George Washington.”
The National Archives promptly replied that no one, not even a Constitution-adoring patriot, is permitted to touch the sacred documents. Glenn Beck most certainly did not make physical contact with Washington’s first inaugural address.
But does his claim constitute a lie? According to Figaro’s Oxford English Dictionary, to “behold” an object implies that one is holding that object in one’s eye. This is a definite trope—a metonymy, to be exact.
Therefore, Figaro declares Mr. Beck’s little stretcher to be figurative (or, more accurately, tropical) and not a literal lie.
On the other hand, if Mrs. Figaro plans to take this conclusion badly, we declare Mr. Beck to be a lying two-faced bastard.
All our love,