Tip of the Day: Instead of Poetry, Paint Pictures

I am currently on a real Asian food kick. I’ve had the deliciousness that is Tako Cheena twice in the past week; I made summer rolls for the first time last night, and I am currently waiting for chicken for some thai curry chicken soup to defrost. As I wait, I tweak, Pinterest, and Alltop. I ran across this interesting analysis of Obama’s speech on the economy, which addressed the ongoing divergence in solutions for our economic woes, by master rhetorician Jay Heinrichs. If you don’t know (shame on you!), Heinrichs is author of one of my favorite irreverent and insightful takes on rhetoric in practice, Thank You for Arguing, a look through the rabbit hole into the matrix that is rhetoric. Heinrichs believes that while Obama’s “passage sounds concise, thoughtful, and poetic” it is that poetry that fails to truly resonate with Obama’s target, the American people.

Heinrichs praises the use of antithesis, symploce, and paronomasia (in essence, the use and amplification of contrast), but says that the failing is not in the use of “snappy” poetics, but in failing to understand the blurriness created by these poetics. Heinrichs suggests instead that a simple, concrete metaphor would help deliver a clear message to Americans.

“The basic message is sound, and Obama will be right to stick to it: when the fairness gap gets too wide, the whole economy risks falling into it. But instead of figures, the Democrats need to learn to use images.”  –Figaro (aka Jay Heinrichs of Figures of Speech Served Fresh

So, today’s tip of the day is a concrete metaphor is worth 1000 paronomasias. When in doubt, keep it vivid.

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