Sunday, February 20, 2005

Hearing Word from the Greeks

From Captains Quarters Beinart Can't Buy A Clue At TNR :
Peter Beinart takes a break from the book he's writing to pen a column for The New Republic on Bush's emphasis on democracy as his second-term theme, and how liberals need to counter it with rhetoric of their own.

"Bush's second inaugural doesn't challenge liberals at the level of policy; it challenges them at the level of rhetoric. And, unless they respond in kind, they'll experience the same fate that befell John Kerry. In policy terms, Kerry probably had a more serious democratization agenda than Bush. But, rhetorically, he never matched Bush's grandeur. And, in the United States, where it is great causes and missionary impulses that rouse citizens to engage with the world, Bush's language captured the public imagination, and Kerry's did not. "

Captain Ed easily slashed Beinart's "more serious democratization agenda" to tatters, using only a penknife, keeping his cutlass sheathed. What catches my attention is Beinart's word, Rhetoric:

n 1: using language effectively to please or persuade A definition the Greeks would likely accept. But today rhetoric is usually understood to mean- 2: high flown style; excessive use of verbal ornamentation [syn: grandiosity, magniloquence, grandiloquence] , and-3: loud and confused and empty talk; "mere rhetoric" [syn: palaver, hot air, empty words, empty talk]
Lastly -4: study of the technique and rules for using language effectively (especially in public speaking). So if PeterBeinart believe the liberals just need some high level of rhetoric, some language,in order to "respond in kind", have at it. These rhetorical devices I have up my sleeve-

anacoluthia, anacoluthon, anastrophe, antinomasia, antiphrasis, antithesis, apophasis, aposiopesis, apostrophe, catachresis, chiasmus, climax, conversion, device, ecphonesis, emphasis, enallage, epanorthosis, epiplexis, exclamation, figure, figure of speech, hendiadys, hypallage, hyperbaton, hypozeugma, hypozeuxis, hysteron proteron, image, inversion, litotes, meiosis, onomatopoeia, paraleipsis, paralepsis, paralipsis, paregmenon, polysyndeton, preterition, prolepsis, repetition, rhetoric, trope, wellerism...used with well directed "missionary impulses" will surely "capture the public imagination".

Peter confuses language and ideas; skills using language, ala John Kerry, with meaning carried by language, in words used by President Bush. The public imagination has been caught. Not with technique- worn and tattered labels pasted onto new packages. Nor with the reactionary spittle and ash of the Dean's, Reid's, Pelosi's and Kennedy's. We, the People, have been caught; caught and held fast together, these past two centuries, by that other Greek word.

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