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    Socialist Whores, Unite!

    While the right portrays liberal darling Elizabeth Warren as a rock-throwing Fembot, Warren manages to show grace under fire. In her latest viral video she responded to a Tea Party supporter who calls her a “socialist whore.” Afterward, she came up with a neat alliteration full of sound symbolism (not to mention Harvard-style paternalism).

    There’s someone else pre-packaging that poison—and that’s what makes me angry.

    Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren

    Alliteration (uh-lit-er-AY-shun), the Peter Piper figure. It repeats the first letter or sound from consecutive words. Also,

    Sound Symbolism (SOWND sim-bol-ism), the use of sounds to portray meaning and emotion.

    Alliteration works best when the repeated sound enforces a meaning or adds color to a scene. In this case, Warren channels a spitting right-wing snake with rapid-fire “p’s” pre-packaged poison. The sound implies a spitting evil.

    We also love the  implication of “pre-packaged,” as if some dark industrial force had created a genetically modified drug to turn the heads of the weak and feeble-minded.

    Of course, Warren also implies that the heckler was incapable of having a thought of his own—a condescension that liberals should try not to practice in public. On the other hand, watch the video. The man actually may not own a thought.

    What do you think of her interpretation? Effective? Let us know in the comments below.

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    Reader Comments (15)

    "Socialist whore" may win her more votes that any phrase she used. It makes the opposition look deranged.
    November 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStacy Riggins
    Fascinating analysis as always, Fig. But it begs the question: Do you think she actually used sound symbolism on purpose?
    November 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Seward
    Some people are to the rhetorical mannerisms born, John. Sound symbolism comes to them naturally. Having followed Elizabeth Warren's rhetoric for the past couple of years, I find her to be one of those naturals. So while she might not have said to herself, "I wonder how to use alliteration to lend enargia to a snakelike poison metaphor," she instinctively used the spitting sound.
    November 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    I agree with Stacy. When will we see the tee shirts with "Socialist Whore" on them? I want one!
    November 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRicardo
    Nifty boomerang, Ricardo. It reminds me of "Yankee doodle," a British term of derision that the revolutionaries bore with pride.
    November 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    While Mrs Fig greatly admires Ms. Warren's grace under fire, she wonders if Democrats aren't too ready to be polite. Should Al Gore have given up in 2000? Would Bush have?

    Would Warren or the Democrats gain anything by fighting back?
    November 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Fig
    Democrats often mistake Republicans' rhetorical success for toughness, Mrs. F. But what makes them win issues isn't potty mouthery. It's an ability to encapsulate issues with striking micro-images: The "welfare mother." The "job creator." On the other hand...

    While Elizabeth Warren is wise to seem more reasonable than her deranged heckler, that's not enough to win an election. It's time to bring out the compelling tropes. Like "occupy Wall Street."

    Mr. Fig.
    November 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    Fig family fantasizes familiar foolishness while Warren warily warns women when wasted weapons wound weakly.

    All in all, another fun day day at the Daily Figure - where grey matter gets an outing.
    November 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterduneview
    Kinda pathetic that we communicate through blog comments, huh? But F-words make Figaro hot.
    November 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    (I submitted this question as an email on the form to the right of the page, but it said it was unable to send it, so I copied it here)

    Dear Figaro,

    I learned how to use active voice, and to eliminate the copula (which we may include in passive voice?) when I took up the craft of screenwriting.

    No I can see how the use of active voice persuades with more conviction than passive voice.

    How do you feel about active/passive voice and copula usage? It seems to me that speakers and writers who rely on the copula lack in working vocabulary and verb utilization.

    Also, something about active voice conveys both more subjectivity, but also more convicion at the same time. Instead of 'this music is bad!', 'this music hurts my ears'.

    November 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel
    Sorry, i posted it on Ask Figaro. I should have looked more closely.
    November 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel
    I was, at first, delighted to find a website concerned with phraseology and the "turn of the word." I am, after a brief outing among the articles, disappointed to find that it appears to be a vehicle to post Leftist apologetics. Mourning becomes you.
    November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEST
    Sorry you feel that way, Esty. I'm a political independent of the Hamiltonian liberal persuasion. I've been alarmed by how far the country (or a part of it) has swung to the right, but work happily with corporate clients and agree with Mitt Romney that they're people--well, filled with them at any rate.

    How about you: independent? Tea? Occupying?
    November 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    While I am not a grammar prescriptivist, I find it that some rules are there for a reason. Mr. Seward used the beg the question incorrectly. Begging the question is a logical fallacy. He probably meant to employ something like raising the question.
    November 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarco
    Yes, technically, begging the question is a fallacy. But its common usage has to do more with "raising a question" than with its formal definition--essentially leaving a line out of a syllogism.
    November 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterFigaro

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