Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's Really Not Worth Mentioning...

I had to look this up in my Dictionary of Literary Terms:  paralipsis.  It's the rhetorical strategy whereby a speaker/writer feigns to ignore or pass over a matter (as unworthy of consideration) and, thereby, calls attention to the matter and suggests that it IS worthy of attention.  Usually a form of innuendo or ad hominem criticism, this technique is particularly favored by the Fox "News" team, though I've noticed that (on the other side), Keith Olbermann is not above indulging in similar sneak attacks.

Yesterday, I was particularly upset with Bill O'Reilly, sanctimonious as ever, who observed, oh ever so casually and "objectively", something to this effect:  "Of course, I would never suggest that Elena Kagan is gay, and I certainly don't believe in discrimination based on sexual orientation, but don't you find it rather interesting that Ms. Kagan is 50 years old and not yet married?"

Oh, Billo!  Of COURSE you're not prejudiced, and OF COURSE you don't even want to bring up the gayness issue.  You are so FAIR and BALANCED and genuinely good.  Bless your noble Christian heart.

What O'Reilly was indirectly asserting, obviously, is that the sexual orientation of a Supreme Court nominee IS a legitimate matter of concern.  And he was slyly inviting his right-wing viewers to rise up in opposition to a potential justice who, if confirmed, might, oh, who knows?, vote to dissolve heterosexual marriage and/or legalize unions between consenting adults and sheep.

In other words, the old Republican tactic:  be afraid, be very afraid.  The progressives are trying to destroy America and usher in the reign of the Antichrist.  The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

It's all so tiresome--and, alas, effective.  I guess I'll just go back to my Dictionary of Literary Terms and attempt to memorize a few more useless facts.  Such as, for instance, the origin of the term "red herring."


No comments:

Post a Comment