Figure of Speech: antonomasia (an-to-no-MAY-sia), the namer. From the Greek, meaning “name swap.”
President Bush calls his former consigliore and spinmeister “the architect,” but Karl “Moby” Rove suggests a more colorful moniker. Now that Rove has retired to spend more time with the proverbial family, Democrats in Congress can’t wait to subpoena the man. What metaphorical animal comes to mind in such a situation? Trapped tiger? Treed bear?
Rove makes himself into a comical Leviathan, while the Democratic Party becomes a peg-legged obsessive. The result is a disarming antonomasia — a figure that puts people in the place of well-known names. (For other examples click here and here.)
Melville’s Moby Dick rose from the evil depths, controlled the psyche of a chief commander, and smashed everything to hell. If the Great White Rove continues in this vein, we’ll definitely read his memoir.
Snappy Answer: “Spin me Ishmael.”