Nothing much to say today

January 13, 2011

…but I do want to flag a fine example of the rhetorical technique of praeteritio, i.e. mentioning something by saying you’re not going to mention it.

In her op-ed in today’s NY Times praising President Obama’s Arizona speech, Gail Collins writes:

For me, Obama’s best moment came when he warned that “what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another.” In his honor, I am not saying a word about Sarah Palin’s video.

You don’t need a classical education to write like that, but at least it teaches you a Latin label to put on it…

I should mention that I’ve been a fan of Gail Collins ever since the following oddly prophetic remark of hers,  published on the day of the 2000 election. After citing the electoral-college anomalies of 1824 (John Quincy Adams) and 1888 (Ben Harrison), she wrote,

Has anybody ever noticed that when the direct descendant of a president runs for the White House, something weird happens?

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