There has to be a word which describes phrases which please the ear and are uttered in an air of reverence, implying that they contain some timeless wisdom. Upon examination, however, the phrase is either false or meaningless. Certainly Charles Krauthammer is not the first person to use this rhetorical technique. Here’s a brief listing:
- “If [the gloves] don’t fit, you must acquit.”
- “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”
- “When peace comes, we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.”
- You’re either with us or against us.
@aymanfadel Yes, if you are not against a terrorist organization, you are with it.
— Sharon Poczter (@SharonPoczter) July 19, 2014
These phrases are very fun and easy to play with. When I was a graduate student, I was a Teaching Assistant for Professor Irving Katz‘s American History after the Civil War class. We assistants were meeting with Professor Katz to discuss grading the students’ exams. I joked, “We can forgive the students for writing poor exams, but we can’t forgive them for forcing us to give them bad grades.” He, may God have mercy on him, was the only one who got the joke.
People all over twitter today have been awed by Charles Krauthammer’s column “Moral clarity in Gaza.” It quotes Israeli Prime Minister and war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu saying “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.” Continue reading