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    The Freshman 15 Is Now the Perp 5 to 10

    If you are what you eat, then students and prisoners may soon be indistinguishable in Ohio. A budget proposal has Ohio State University buying food jointly with the Ohio Department of Corrections.

    Eggs are Eggs,
    milk is milk, bread is bread.

    Ohio State spokeswoman, quoted in the Associated Press.

    Repeat Changer, the figure that repeats words with a different meaning.  (Technical term: antistasis—an-TIS-ta-sis, meaning “opposite stance.”)

    In the months leading up to release of Word Hero, we’ll begin using our own, practical names for figures.  Don’t worry, Greek lovers: we’ll continue to include the technical terms as well.

    The Ohio State spokeswoman employs the “Boys will be boys” version of the Repeat Changer. The expression may sound like a mere truism. Boys by definition won’t be girls. But one of the most important purposes of repetition is to change the connotation of a word. In this case, boys (individual boys, that is) will generally behave like boys (the entire generalized, puppy-dog-tailed gender). As with any cliché, “Boys will be boys” has exceptions that disprove the rule. Boys, for better or worse, will often be girls. Yet clichés will be clichés, and morons will be morons, which is why clichés often get taken for profound wisdom.

    Besides, the form has its unmoronic uses. You can make something sound inevitable, even inescapable, by putting it in “blank is blank” form.

    Try the “boys will be boys” ploy sometime and see how it works for you. “Computers will be computers,” you say, eye-rollingly, to a colleague whose PowerPoint presentation has just crashed, and he’ll chuckle knowingly. Actually, he’s more likely to throw a laptop at your head. But then, co-workers will be co-workers.

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    Reader Comments (6)

    I am very glad you will be using more reasonable, i.e. English, terms! They will be much easier to remember, and therefore use, than the archaic terms. I was actually planning on suggesting this to you. I am ecstatic about this development.

    Leave the geeky Greek terms for the Greek geeks' midterms.
    March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhil
    I kind of like the Greek terms, Phil. I enjoy knowing the technical language of a discipline. So I'm glad they'll be sticking around. But I agree that the change to a more descriptive English-version will help many who aren't that hardcore about it.

    I'm not getting this example though. I understand the "boys will be boys" part, that individual boys will behave to our expectations of what boys should be... but I'm unsure how that translates to the Ohio example. Isn't the spokesperson saying that eggs, milk, and bread are eggs, milk, and bread; regardless of the context they find themselves served in (ignoring for a moment that food is unaware of the contexts it is served in)? How has the connotation changed in "eggs are eggs"? I feel like this shouldn't be that complicated for me, but I think I'm missing something. I understood the Alito and Mickey Klaus examples (at least the Alito example, I'm pretty sure I understand the Klaus example).
    March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSGH
    Good question, SGH. The answer is a subtle one: eggs (specific) are eggs (generic). Honestly, though, he term should probably have a label of its own: The boys will be boys figure.
    March 29, 2011 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    And I agree that it's fun to know the Greek terms. But many great devices aren't described in the ancient texts, so be warned: I'll be doing some Word Hero-specific terms in the future.
    March 29, 2011 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    Circular reasoning is circular reasoning.
    March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris
    But isn't exactly the issue here that the antitasis is NOT a tautology, but pretends to pass as such?
    June 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPablo

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