Archive for the ‘description’ Category


December 10, 2011 2 comments

One of the other closely related terms of litotes can be found in Jason Reitman’s 2007 release of Juno.  This movie follows the life of a pregnant teenager (Ellen Page) and her struggle of whether or not she would to keep the baby.  There are many other issues that arise in this film as well.  This movie is a comedy and is set in and around teenagers.  Even though that it is this it is also very “mature” its themes.  The particular scene that shows the device of litotes in action is the one where an ultrasound technician, Juno, her friend (Leah), and her mother (Bren) are all of them are at the doctor’s office.  Also, in this scene they are all they are looking at the ultrasound of the baby and talking of whether or not they would like to know the sex of the baby and a lot of other things to the like.  The doctor then says something that upsets Juno’s mother and in response to that she says, “Oh, you think you’re so special because you get to play Picture Pages up  there?  Well, my five-year old daughter could do that and let me tell you, she’s not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed.  So why don’t you go back to night school in Mantino and learn a real trade.”  The most important thing to take out of this is the saying of that her daughter is not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed.  This is a very nice way of putting that she is dumb.  It makes it sound like she is not the brightest but she could be one of the brightest, not necessarily the dimmest though either.  This is a very nice way of implying the dumb hypothesis.  This is done in a very comedic sense even though the undertones of this movie are very serious.  The comment is not very nice but it is meant to be funny.  This is an effective example of litotes because Bren does not directly say that her daughter is stupid but she is implying it and that is how litotes is effectively portrayed.

Juno. Dir. Jason Reitman. Perf. Ellen Page, Olivia Thirlby, Allison Janney, and Kaaren De Zilva. Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2007. DVD. Also available:


Categories: description, film, humor, meiosis


December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Meiosis can also be found in our everyday speech and generally is.  We may use the term and not even realize this.  This is where I feel that this next example is sort of taken.  This example happens to be taken from another term for a profession.  As I have heard of and I am sure you have heard, the term “shrink” can be considered as meiosis.  The term shrink is used in place of psychologist in many places and instances.  The particular example that I have chosen here is actually in the title of the movie itself as well as in the trailer for the movie.  This film centers around a down and out psychologist, Kevin Spacey, who gets involved with drugs and has his own struggles that can be similar to the issues that his patients come to him about.  In the particular trailer, we here one of the other characters interviewing him and calls him, “the shrink to the stars.”  We can kind of guess what this movie would be about just by the title alone and as we analyze and view the trailer we realize that are assumption was correct.  The term shrink in this sense is very degrading to the profession and is a good example of meiosis for that reason.  It does not speak highly on his particular profession.  It is a very effective example as well because of this.  At times, even hearing this term makes one think of the credibility of the individual themselves.  It even gives us a short of description of the person himself.

Shrink. Dir. Jonas Pate. Perf. Kevin Spacey. Roadside Attractions, 2009. DVD. Also available:

Meiosis-The Catcher in the Rye

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

A term that relates to meiosis is litotes.  This example is more closely related to the term of litotes then it is to meiosis.  This example can be found in J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye.  This novel is a coming of age tale of a kid in New York City who is growing up and telling of his trials and tribulations along the way.  The kid, Holden Caulfield, is the protagonist and narrator of the story.  He plays with the idea of litotes in his line that states, “I have to have this operation.  It isn’t very serious.  I have this tiny little tumor on the brain.”  In this grouping of sentences, Holden Caulfield is being somewhat serious even though he say that it is not very serious.  He is very understating the fact that he has a tumor on the brain.  This is very belittling of the ailment, tumor.  Even though he mentions the surgery as well, he still makes it sound like it is nothing.  Holden makes it sound like that he will have the surgery and when he gets over it he will be set back, say a day or two at the most.  This is a very effective way of using litotes because of the drastic downplay of what is happening to himself.

Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. Harmondsworth: Bantam, 1964. Print.

Categories: description, fiction, meiosis

Meiosis-The Boomtown Rats/ Brenda Ann Spencer

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Meiosis can also be found in the Boomtown Rats 1979 release of the song “I Don’t Like Mondays.”  The background of this song is more of why that it can be considered meiosis rather than just the song itself.  The song was spurred on because of what the person, Brenda Ann Spencer, had said of his actions.  For those of you not familiar with her, let me elaborate.  In 1979, a sixteen year old, Spencer opened fire on children that were going into Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California.  This event occurred on Monday, January 29.  In the process, Spencer ended killing two men while wounding eight more students and even a police officer.  When finally captured, she told a reporter that she had done it because and I quote, “I don’t like Mondays.  This livens up the day.”  She said a few other things while in police custody but this one is the meiotic saying.  And it is also the quote that aided to the creation of the song.  This can be considered meiosis since she tries to evade the big issue of killing and shooting those people as it was no big deal.  It was done for a lesser reason than for actually having a big, somewhat normal, reason for doing so.  Normally, someone would say something strong to convey their reason for doing it but with her it was like she was brushing it off and like eh, I did it because I do not like Mondays.  It is no big deal.  We all do not like Mondays anyway.  So, this is why could her reasoning is more meiotic then the song itself.  The song does, however, keep this saying in contemporary culture in our thoughts and remembrance of this terrific event.  The chorus mentions her famous utterance, “I don’t like Mondays,” and it then goes on to say, “tell me why.”  These two juxtaposed is kind of like the interrogator and Brenda Spencer are having their conversation about the incident.  The repetition of this over and over again is using it as a sense of amplification.  This particular line is also very effective and serious because of the fact that Spencer uttered it herself so there is not much more seriousness and effectiveness that could not be uttered than by anyone else than but by the individual herself.

Geldof, Bob. “I Don’t Like Mondays.” Rec. Summer 1979. The Boomtown Rats. Paul Wainman, 1979. CD. Also available:

Mikkelson, Barbara. “ I Don’t Like Mondays.” Urban Legends Reference Pages., 26 Feb. 2010. Web. 09 Dec. 2011. <;.

Badass: Archangel St. Michael

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment


Ben Thompson has made himself into a small internet celebrity for his website Badass of the Week, where individuals both real and fictional with unique stories of fortitude are told in a manner more befitting with friends than from someone with a History degree. Thompson often uses a unique form of Apodioxis whenever needed or humorous, as shown in his article on the Archangel Michael.

Nowadays, the term “angel” has become more or less synonymous with “pussy.” It conjures up images of disproportionately huge-breasted ninty-pound lingerie-clad Victoria’s Secret models having sweaty pillow-fights in the clouds, or innocent-looking fat kids playing the harp and blowing kisses at butterflies and rainbows. It’s a term used for wussbag cherubs that shoot arrows at teenage couples having picnics in the park on summer afternoons, or the sort of thing a grandmother coos out when looking at a photo of a human child no matter how cute or hideous it may actually be. With all this lame-ass angelic bullcrap going around, people unfortunately tend to forget that the most hardcore of all the Harley-riding, heavy metal-listening, battle-axe wielding, cocaine-snorting bastards from Hell got his snot epically annihilated by the biggest badass Heaven has to offer—the Archangel Michael: the Chief Justice of Wrecking Evildoers’ Faces and leaving behind a trail of severed tendrils, ichor-stained carcasses, and broken-in-half demon giblets (Thompson 88).

Note how this form of Apodioxis is different from the other examples we have looked at. For one thing, the speaker does not attack the opponent for making the opposing argument. Rather he lets his position speak for itself. Most modern portrayals of angels are either fat naked babies or gorgeous women. However, when one looks at the biblical portrayal, they have more in common with H. P. Lovecraft. This is opposite to the portrayal of Satan, who was also once an Angel: he is always portrayed as the greatest threat to all that is good and cannot possibly be defeated. However, again the biblical evidence shows that other than the Garden of Eden, and thus the Fall of Man, he is a loser who has lost every fight against the other Angels, lead by Michael. This is not Apodioxis against the argument of another person, but rather against the argument given by our culture. The effect is that it both re-educated the readers about what Angels were supposed to be, and show the reasons why Michael fits the title of the book and website.

Thompson, Ben. “Saint Michael, The Archangel.” Badass: the Birth of a Legend: Spine-crushing Tales of the Most Merciless Gods, Monsters, Heroes, Villains, and Mythical Creatures Ever Envisioned. First ed. New York: Harper Paperbacks, 2011. 88. Print.

Enargia Example: President Obama’s Presidential Victory Speech

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Plot Summary: Yes we can- timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Enargia is displayed through President Obama’s victory speech. “Yes we can” was his morale- boosting motto throughout his campaign, and he continued that trend for his victory speech.

A sense of being united among Americans soared as he told Americans to “join the work of remaking this nation…block by block, brick by brick, callused hand by callused hand” because his victory is giving the people and him “the chance for us to make that change.”

The confidence in his voice affirmed he visualized an improved United States over the next four years. The audience felt a personal connection to this idea of togetherness and prosperity when he said:

“So let us summon a new spirit, of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder, and not only look out for ourselves, but each other.”

The audience can see the peaceful intent Obama wants the entire nation to have. When he mentioned the “block by block” statement, everyone felt like they could participate in this movement. Low income families to Bill Gates  are equally important to this idea, because he said:

“Tonight we have proved once more that the strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.”

The audience visualizes an America as a place of prosperity and unlimited opportunities, which is the American dream. The audience may visualize America as being a busy corporation, in the sense that if one person does not do their job, everyone suffers. Moreover, everyone is important, no matter what their rank in authority.

MSNBC. “Barack Obama Victory Speech: Yes We Can – YouTube.” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. MSNBC, 5 Nov. 2008. Web. 09 Dec. 2011.        <;.


Enargia Example: Two 9/11 survivors’ stories

December 9, 2011 1 comment

Plot Summary: A reporter interviews a couple who just evacuated the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Enargia is evident in the story given by this couple who left the World Trade Center by their facial expressions, what they said, and especially because of the thick ash of their clothes. The video opens with the couple getting their first bottle of water to rinse their body. They both pour water over their faces and then spit some out of their mouth. This opening scene tugs at the heart of an American audience. Enargia is present when the viewers hear painful coughing, moaning and heavy breathing. Before the couple talks to the reporter, obviously they are feeling pain, exhaustion, relief, and anxiety.

“We saw a shadow that looked like a plane. Then all of a sudden: boom, boom! The ground started shaking, we saw debris falling down.” -Woman

It is clear to the viewer that they just experienced a tradegy before their own eyes. The viewer can imagine this couple anxiously waiting to get off of the stairs. The audience can see them trying to escape the smoke cloud, unable to see anything. When the man coughs, the listener can hear the pain and ash in his chest.   They can feel relief  when the survivors finally make it  down the stairs to the lobby, and then there is an explosion. All relief is gone, and panic and fear set in.

“I thought we could outrun it [smoke cloud] but we couldn’t. It was pitch black. It was like a comet just hit the earth.” -Man

A comet has never hit the earth, but film directors create an ambiguous idea of what it would be like, in movies. Unlike the movies, there was no warning of this impactful, powerful terrorist attack. The viewer can visualize the panic-stricken atmosphere at the World Trade Center. Especially, since the couple was on the eighty-second floor and made it to the lobby via crowded stairs within approximately fifteen minutes, when the second plane hit.

The reporter is fascinated by the amount of ash on the man’s suit, instilling a mental image of the thick smoke cloud and other debris surrounding the couple. Because the interview happened immediately after the couple got to a safe place, their raw emotions were fresh, giving an emotional depiction of their heart-wrenching story.

WABC-Ch. 7. “WTC Tower Witness 9/11 – YouTube.” News Broadcast. YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. WABC-Ch. 7, 5 July 2011. Web. 08 Dec. 2011. <;.