xkcd on toasts

These toasts are examples of chiasmus, a rhetorical device named after the Greek letter chi, which looks like X, because the repeated parts cross over each other like an X. 

The best chiasmus I’ve seen in response has been from Leah Velleman on twitter: “Cran-morphemes for my productive friends and productive morphemes for my cran-friends.” (The joke being that cran morphemes aren’t productive.)

The year is 2058. Students are sitting in their AP English Literature and Composition class, waiting to receive their first novel assignment. The teacher comes in and says, "This quarter, you will be reading and analyzing one of the greatest pieces of literature ever crafted in the 21st century. You will be looking at character development, rhetorical devices, syntax, and plot depth." She passes out the texts. The title reads:

“The Zola Story: a Hoeism Tale.” 2015.


4 Misconceptions about Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust | MTV Decoded

While many may believe that anti-semitism (which is the hatred of and discrimination against Jewish people) is over thanks to “America’s role in ending the Holocaust” that’s simply not true. And a big part of the reason is the way we talk about the Holocaust in this country. We here at Decoded even made this mistake in our episode about slavery. So with the help of journalist Dana Schwartz, we decided to tackle some of the misconceptions about anti-semitism, anti-romani-ism, and the Holocaust. 

Special Thanks to our Guest Dana Schwartz! To learn more about her check out: http://www.danaschwartzdotcom.com/

Last month Decoded and myself were rightfully called out for using the Holocaust as a rhetorical device in one of our episodes. Despite our intentions the comparison was completely inappropriate and I can’t apologize enough. Shortly after we got started on an episode to address the issue and thankfully @fromchaostocosmos was kind enough to consult on the script. While our show is far from perfect, I’m really proud of how this episode came together, despite the error that inspired it. Thank you thank you thank you Mish, you’re a dream. 

Also thanks again @legally-bitchtastic@smallswingshoes@chirikli  and everyone who chimed in on the original post and offered their insight and perspective. I’ve since learned that too often people online respond aggressively to being called out on casual anti-semitism, so I can respect the bravery needed to say something. Calling people out/in isn’t easy, especially if that person comes with an audience. 

Long story short, fuck up’s are always bound to happen, but it’s how you learn and move forward that matters most. So thanks again and I hope you enjoy this week’s episode! 

Common Literary Devices

Reading through A Tale of Two Cities made me want to revisit some AP English notes, so here you go:

  • Allusion: an indirect reference to an existing work
  • Apostrophe: speaking to an inanimate object (ex. Hamlet to the skull)
  • Hyperbole: exaggeration
  • Irony: in simple terms, something that happens that wasn’t expected (ex. a firetruck catching on fire)
  • Juxtaposition: placing two contrasting things or ideas close to each other
  • Litotes: understatement used for emphasis, usually involving a double negative (ex. “Not unkind”, meaning the positive “kind”, but in a lesser way than simply saying “kind”)
  • Metaphor: an illustrative comparison, usually involving the words “is”, “am”, “are”, “was”, or “were”
  • Onomatopoeia: words that read how they sound (ex. sizzle, slosh, cuckoo)
  • Personification: giving human characteristics to an animal, object, or intangible concept (ex. Mother Nature, Father Time)
  • Simile: a comparison involving “like” or “as”
  • Symbolism: using objects or animals to represent ideas or qualities (ex. dove as purity, innocence, and/or hope)

Rhetorical/Persuasive Strategies

  • Ethos: establishing credibility/authority (ex. “I’m an expert.”)
  • Pathos: establishing emotional connection (ex. “Save the cute animals!”)
  • Logos: logical reasoning (if “p”, then “q”); deductive reasoning (general to specific; think Sherlock Holmes); inductive reasoning (specific to general; think scientific method, start with hypothesis, find info to support it)

Syntactical Devices, deal with sentence structure

  • Alliteration: a sequence of words that begin with the same letter, usually a consonant (ex. “the snake slithered silently”)
  • Anaphora: sentences or clauses that begin with the same word (ex. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”)
  • Asyndeton: a lengthy sentence with successive words/clauses not connected by conjunctions (ex. “she packed shirts, pants, socks, her trusty alarm clock; with these, she was fully prepared for her journey.”)
  • Repetition: self-explanatory
  • Parallelism: sentences with the same structure (ex. “girls danced in yellow dresses; men stood with stoic stares” Structure: noun, verb, prepositional phrase)
  • Polysyndeton: a series of clauses connected in a single sentence by conjunctions (ex. “I am a certified doctor and nurse and psychiatrist and neurologist and a murderer of assholes.”)

repeat after me

  • rape victims are not a rhetorical device
  • rape victims are not an abstract concept
  • rape victims are not my personal political football

proposed ace community trends for 2016: stop making ace spaces unsafe for me and the people I care about. stop being massively homophobic (and transphobic, and racist, etc.) by sexualizing non-ace people. stop pretending that “allosexual” is a useful term, and especially stop pretending that it explains some sort of privilege/oppression dynamic that doesn’t exist. stop ignoring the “hetero” in “heteroromantic” and insisting that heteroromantic aces belong in lgb spaces. stop acting like “protect heteroromantic aces” isn’t basically the same as “protect straight people.” stop grouping in sga non-aces with straight non-aces. stop using ace survivors as rhetorical devices. stop attacking all criticisms of the tumblr ace community and asexual discourse as acephobic. stop making the ace community something I’m ashamed of, alienated from, and feeling the need to distance myself from further every day.

new year new community, okay?

pepe the frog is now considered a hate symbol and goyim - even left-wing goyim - think it’s funny bc MEMES lol. i admit that this is ridiculous but honestly i’ve seen so many “memes” where pepe is used for anti-semitic jokes. so no wonder old people who don’t know much about the internet see pepe this way. such things happen bc you’re all silent about anti-semitism, allow anti-semitism to have a space on the internet and think stuff like this is funny. instead of laughing about pepe being a symbol of hate, why don’t you call out and report anti-semitism when you see it? it makes me so mad bc you meme loving folks will just laugh about it while literal nazis continue to photoshop pepe into pics of concentration camps … and you’ll only talk about anti-semitism when it is convenient for you e.g when you wanna use murdered jews as a rhetorical device.


im not disagreeing with the idea of body positivity for men because there’s nothing wrong with body positivity for anyone but like in those discussions it’s really important to keep in mind that a man being fat isn’t really something that people see as definitive. yeah, michael over there may be pudgy but he’s funny and cool so people don’t really pay as much attention to it. but like, if a woman is fat, end of story. she’s undesirable as a whole person and can’t humanly compensate for the jiggly bits on her thighs.

Can goyim please stop using Jew hatred as a rhetorical device?

“If you changed [noun] to ‘Jews’ in your statement it wouldn’t be tolerated”

Yeah, actually it would be. The number of people who are not concerned at all if they’re antisemitic is very large.

Antisemitism is real. It’s not your tool to compare other hatreds to.

“Why do men feel threatened by women?” I asked a male friend of mine. (I love that wonderful rhetorical device, “a male friend of mine.” It’s often used by female journalists when they want to say something particularly bitchy but don’t want to be held responsible for it themselves. It also lets people know that you do have male friends, that you aren’t one of those fire-breathing mythical monsters, The Radical Feminists, who walk around with little pairs of scissors and kick men in the shins if they open doors for you. “A male friend of mine” also gives—let us admit it—a certain weight to the opinions expressed.)

So this male friend of mine, who does by the way exist, conveniently entered into the following dialogue. “I mean,” I said, “men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power.” “They’re afraid women will laugh at them,” he said. “Undercut their world view.” Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, “Why do women feel threatened by men?” “They’re afraid of being killed,” they said.

Being Jewish on this website is so incredibly depressing. It is depressing to get harassed, it is depressing to watch as antisemitism on this site and outside of this site gets ignored, it is depressing to get tone policed, it is depressing to be on the defense all the time, it depressing to have non-Jews come tell you that are the one who decide what is and is not antisemitism, it is depressing to see you be hated on both left and right, it is depressing to see the Holocaust get minimized and then used a cheap rhetorical device, it is depressing to see fandoms you are apart engage in antisemitism, it is depressing to see games, movies, shows, and other forms entertainment you enjoy have antisemitism in it.

It is depressing and exhausting and just sometimes you feel like what is the point. You shore up yourself against this hate and you try and try build up the walls, but is leaks through. And you wonder maybe they are right, and why do they hate me so much, and you start to hate yourself just a little bit more each time.

And you want to cry and scream and you want to rage against it all, but after so long there is only so much left and you are tired and you are bogged down and you wonder if it is just easier to let go and float away. 

And on some days you have more strength to hold on and others less, but you worry about if and when the day comes that just can’t anymore, you just fight the tide anymore. And you know deep down that to them they won’t care because what is another Jew is long line of Jews reaching back thousands of years. All on that same long line for same reason because they were a Jew.

It isn’t difficult to be an advocate for animals without making really inappropriate comparisons to the Holocaust and slavery. You’re a poor advocate if you can’t support animals without trampling over oppressed people. Genocide and slavery aren’t rhetorical devices for you to play with. Your flippant treatment of genocide and slavery is hurtful and that should be reason enough for you to stop.