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.