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Chronic Aporia

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Munchhausen Syndrome: This is a psychiatric disorder similar to Hypochondriasis in that the individual will fabricate or exaggerate symptoms to get treatment at a medical facility. It is differentiated from Hypochondria in that Munchhausen Syndrome implies that the individual is fully cognizant of their fabrications. That is, they feign illness to achieve medical care.

I also slept with the Empress of the moon. True story.

Patients with Munchhausen Syndrome are chronic, even pathological (get it?) users of Aporia. They most often exaggerate symptoms, leading doctors to spend a great deal of time and money treating them. Aporia is supposed to be to an advantage…but what advantage is there to this? Well. Psychologists think that the hospital feels safe to these people. They feel that they are more secure with a staff of hundreds looking out for them. The question is why they feel they need it, which varies from patient to patient.

He knows!

The overall effect is to cost the system thousands of dollars and the situation isn’t improving. Medical facilities won’t often report it because the insurance companies then refuse to pay up, leaving the patient with the full (usually quite large) bill, which few pay. It is now being considered a serious psychological illness and is getting some attention. Hopefully there will be means in the near future to help Munchhausen sufferers.

What makes you think I need help?!

Consuela: The problem with the help.

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Consuela, from Family Guy: This character is a clear and unashamed racial stereotype and plays on concerns and misconceptions about the character of the Hispanic maid. Prominent in her character is her supposed inability to properly understand the English language, which is used several times in the series to comedic effect. Also used is her fear of authority figures and immigration services. However, in some later scenes, it is shown that she actually has an astute understanding of the language when it would not be detrimental to her to feign ignorance, such as when talking to Stewie, the baby of the family and openly admitting to stealing his play money.

Aporia. It’s actually the common concern with migrant workers that they claim difficulty with the English language when they are, in fact, proficient. Supposedly to avoid conversation that they don’t want to have, such as regards a bill or the like. Consuela appears to do it for amusement, which is fine.

Categories: aporia, deception, humor, TV episode

Apoplanesis in “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”

December 9, 2011 1 comment

The purpose of apoplanesis varies among users. Because of the device’s malleability, apoplanesis can, for some, act as a feature to redeem the user’s credibility; using it in such a manner, however, can lead to or reveal deception. Since apoplanesis digresses away from a difficult point, it provides, to those either familiar or skilled with it, a trickery device. As the following example shall illustrate, apoplanesis can simultaneously play into and away from its users’ favor. Subtlety, however, is not necessarily guaranteed when viewing the deceptive qualities of apoplanesis. Depending on the user’s rhetorical fluency and the situation’s circumstances, apoplanesis could go unnoticed; the following example, though it may have been intended, does not provide effective subtlety.

In Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the scene involving Grima Wormtongue and Eomer (as well as Eowyn to some degree) about Saruman’s betrayal of Rohan employs an effective use of apoplanesis. After completely refuting Eomer’s claim of Saruman unleashing orcs and uruk hai against Rohan’s defenseless state, Wormtongue (having literally poisoned the mind of King Théoden) argues Saruman’s allied status with Rohan. Once presented with indisputable evidence on the matter, however, Wormtongue focuses his rebuttal toward Theoden’s weary physical and mental state; as Wormtongue digresses, “Why do you lay these thoughts on an already troubled mind? Can you not see? Your uncle is wearied with your malcontent, your warmongering.”  Eomer’s claim evidences Wormtongue’s deceit, but it is Wormtongue’s quick wit and efficient use of apoplanesis that digresses away from the topic and eventually turns the accusation against Eomer. As effective as his use of apoplanesis is in this example, Wormtongue is not fully subtle. His facial expressions before his rebuttal make his character seem rather dumbfounded. By physically seeing his reaction, the audience is fully aware of his digression’s purpose. Nevertheless, this example shows digression used to turn an inconvenient conversation to one’s advantage, and reveals apoplanesis’ deceptive attributes.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Dir. Peter Jackson. By Peter Jackson. Perf. Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, and Elijah Wood. Newline, 2002. DVD.

Categories: apoplanesis, deception, film

Indignatio: Rotti and Shilo – Repo! The Genetic Opera

December 7, 2011 Leave a comment

This use of indignatio by the villain Rotti consists of two songs addressed to Shilo, a supposedly sick girl, vilifying the Repo-man (secretly Shilo’s father, Nathan, who has been trying to protect her). In these songs, “Rotti’s Chapel Sermon” and “Interrogation Room Challenge,” he mentions her oppressively sheltered childhood to make her indignant toward whoever had “kept [her] in the dark” and creates a feeling of fraternity with his “belief” that she has been wronged by that. He then proceeds to focus the indignatio toward the Repo-man by implying an earlier encounter she’d had with him was actually an attack on Shilo that Rotti heroically stopped, while at the same time, commiserating that the Repo-man has wronged him as well. The titles of these songs also hint to their rhetorical nature, as they are a “sermon” and a “challenge” to Shilo. The effect Rotti strives for—and almost achieves—is to turn Shilo against her father, but like a true classical villain, his rhetoric is not able to overcome true love for her father. The indignatio in this instance may not have succeeded in the end, but it is a brilliant example of how one can use another’s experiences and with a few carefully turned phrases can ignite anger in his audience, anger that will (sometimes) drive them to tragic actions.


Sorvino, Paul. “Rotti’s Chapel Sermon.” Repo! The Genetic Opera: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Deluxe Edition). By Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich. 2009. Mp3.

Sorvino, Paul. “Interrogation Room Challenge.” Repo! The Genetic Opera: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Deluxe Edition). By Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich. 2009. Mp3.

Anamnesis and Jesus is Savior

December 6, 2011 2 comments

When referring to another’s sound wisdom in an effort to persuade an audience, the website at http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evils%20in%20America/CCM/dolly_parton-exposed.htm not only accuses Dolly Parton as supporting the power of Satan, but backs up their claim by quoting John Denver as saying, “Music is more powerful than Christianity.”  The use of anamnesis in this instance occurs when specific references are made to reinforce a flimsy supposition.  The odds of Dolly Parton supporting the army of Satan are as probable as teeth growing from a tulip.  The website uses an excerpt of an interview with her where she discusses her recording of the hit song, “Stairway to Heaven,” by Led Zeppelin.  The webpage includes excerpts from the Bible to back up their flamboyant speculation.  This use of unsupported assertions relies on the foundation of fear and inadequate awareness on behalf of the site’s visitors to lure them into a state of desperate contemplation.  Wake up or face the possible fiery afterlife that awaits them should they give in to their urges to listen to Dolly sing her little ditty about the woman who buys the stairway to heaven.  If their claim is not already rooted firmly in absurdity, they make a statement out of nowhere, “Dolly Parton has fallen into the same New Age heresy as Oprah Winfrey.”  Referring to the words and deeds of contemporary icons to support a fanatical claim is a twisted application of anamnesis.

Stewart, David J. Jesus Christ Is the ONLY Way to Heaven! Web. 30 Nov. 2011. <http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/&gt;.