Rhetorical trope of the week

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Today's xkcd:

Mouseover title: "Listen, I'm not a fan of the Spanish Inquisition OR predatory multi-level marketing schemes…"

I guess this is a particular case of paromologia or concessio — is there a more specific term?

 



14 Comments

  1. KevinM said,

    May 6, 2019 @ 8:24 am

    A version of what journalists call the "to be sure paragraph."

  2. Sam said,

    May 6, 2019 @ 8:44 am

    If you recast it in a more traditional speechy format, it's a lot like anacoenosis:

    – My friends, surely we can agree that car accidents must be reduced? And surely we can agree that arson is a serious crime? Well then my friends, [otherwise unpalatable conclusion]!

    Anacoenosis also has the property that Munroe is skewering here — the more palate sweeteners the rhetor feels the need to start with, the greater reason for that audience to have misgivings about the payload.

    The problem is that AFAIK in anacoenosis, one would expect a "therefore" rather than a "but" after those initial agreed propositions. Of course the "but" ruins any sense of persuasive continuity.

  3. R. Fenwick said,

    May 6, 2019 @ 8:57 am

    Huh. I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition.

    …I'll get me coat.

  4. Don Clarke said,

    May 6, 2019 @ 9:33 am

    Let's not forget the classic, "I'm not racist, but …"

  5. Jerry Friedman said,

    May 6, 2019 @ 9:59 am

    I know it's bad news when a student starts with, "I think you're a great teaacher, and I've really learned a lot in this class." I usually help them get to the point by supplying the "But…" myself.

  6. bks said,

    May 6, 2019 @ 10:37 am

    "… That said, …."

  7. Rube said,

    May 6, 2019 @ 12:11 pm

    I know this is not at all the point of either the cartoon or this blog post, but I can't keep from thinking about what might follow the "But" here.

  8. Jonathan said,

    May 6, 2019 @ 12:28 pm

    It's a truck, lit on fire, filled with raccoons, barreling down the freeway at 85 mph. And because it's XKCD, you have to decide whether you should let it crash into an elementary school playground or divert it into an old-folks home.

  9. peter said,

    May 6, 2019 @ 4:10 pm

    Sam said:

    "Anacoenosis also has the property that Munroe is skewering here — the more palate sweeteners the rhetor feels the need to start with, the greater reason for that audience to have misgivings about the payload."

    This would be an instance of epideictic reasoning by the audience – where an argument is evaluated on its form, not its content.

  10. David Marjanović said,

    May 6, 2019 @ 5:59 pm

    Obligatory: the not racist butt.

  11. BobW said,

    May 6, 2019 @ 7:27 pm

    @Jonathan – tough one. On the one hand, the old folks have had their life, but are sources of wisdom and continuity. On the other hand, children are the cute innocents, but can easily be replaced by unpaid unskilled labor.

  12. Philip said,

    May 8, 2019 @ 10:49 am

    Every time someone says, "I don't mean to offend but …" or "Don't take this personally but …" you know something offensive or derogatory is about to be uttered. The apology comes in advance of the wrongdoing.

  13. Rube said,

    May 8, 2019 @ 1:03 pm

    @Philip: The same way that somebody who says "I'm not trying to be difficult" is trying to be as difficult as all hell.

  14. Steve Bacher said,

    May 12, 2019 @ 2:39 pm

    The usual response to "I'm not trying to be difficult" is "I know; it just comes naturally."

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