The Gravley Life

Monday, August 25, 2008

Anty in m' bowly

"Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." John F Kennedy's inaugural speech contains the most famous example of an antimetabole. That is, a phrase where you reverse the key words or the first part at the end for effect or new meaning. This example is also probably one of the few antimetabolies that doesn't rub me the wrong way.

It's not that they can't be somewhat useful or insightful. It's the lack of effort and smugness inherent in every desk calendar, church bulletin, mechanic street sign, or hopeless know-it-all that ruins the entire rhetorical mechanism for me. Let me make one up here; for your pensive and potentially perspective-changing reflection.

My feet don't smell if you don't smell my feet.

...wait, I can do better. Let's get real, you know, soulful here.

The steps I take in my simple life teach me that life is simply a set of steps.

Oh yeah, now that is stick-a-straw-in-my-back-and-rub-my-belly Buddha drink mug quality wisdom there.

My first hope is to educate, but more importantly show you that hope is firstly about education. I'll stop now.

We need to expect more out of what we're trying to communicate. We don't need to resort to cheap cliche semantics to give our words power. If you have something to say, be frank, focused, raw or anything but antimetabulelar (sorry, couldn't resist, try to say it out loud for fun maybe). And please, the next time you run across a failed antimetabole, roll your eyes dramatically and spread the word to those around you that this trend is on its way out.


  • I read what I like, and I liked what I read... :P

    By Blogger aaron browne, at 5:28 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:24 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home