Friday, 10 October 2014
The Elements of Eloquence is out in the USA. The greatest thing about the United States of America is that anybody can grow up to be president, so long as they can use chiasmus.
What is chiasmus, I hear you ask? Well, let's ask the presidents.
You stood up for America, now America must stand up for you.
- Barack Obama (44th President) addressing U.S. veterans.
Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.
- George Bush the Younger (43rd President)
People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example that by the example of our power.
- William Clinton (42nd President)
The difference between them and us is that we want to check government spending and they want to spend government checks.
- Ronald Reagan (40th President)
America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, it is the other way round. Human rights invented America.
- Jimmy Carter (39th President)
And so on and so forth. Ask not what Your President can do for chiasmus, but what chiasmus can do for your President. Even if you're just a presidential hopeful, you need to have a chiasmus up your sleeve just to apply. Mitt Romney said "Freedom require religion, just as religion requires freedom." Hilary Clinton said "In the end, the true test is not the speeches a president delivers, it's whether the president delivers on the speeches." Sarah Palin opined that "In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change." And Mae West said "It's not the men in my life, it's the life in my men."
That's what chiasmus is; and that sort of thing is what The Elements of Eloquence is all about. Chiasmus is one of the figures of rhetoric, and The Elements of Eloquence goes through the figures showing what they are, how they work, and how to write them.
I even kept American readers in mind whilst writing it. I was going to quote my namesake (but no relation) Bruce Forsyth saying "Nice to see you, to see you nice." But nobody beyond the Atlantic would have heard of that line.
So rush out and buy The Elements of Eloquence. Or, if you like, buy it from Barnes & Noble, Amazon or Indie Bound. It is your free right and your right freedom. Meanwhile, I shall wait for the election to the White House of Mr Billy Ocean.