[lg policy] Re: What is David Starkey up to here?

Dave Sayers dave.sayers at cantab.net
Thu Oct 29 13:16:51 UTC 2015

I've spent the last three years thinking about what to do with this idea of mine 
about a new rhetorical term, 'hypothetitio', and getting nowhere. I tried to put it 
on LinguistList but they thought it was a little too politically lively. I tried to 
put it on LanguageLog but didn't hear back. Now I'm about to start lining up a new 
undergrad module on rhetoric, so it needs to go somewhere for me to reference it! 
I've put it up on my academia.edu page here: https://www.academia.edu/17461820/. Feel 
free to use and redistribute anywhere and everywhere as you see fit.

Hypothetically yours,

Dr. Dave Sayers
Senior Lecturer, Dept Humanities, Sheffield Hallam University | www.shu.ac.uk
Honorary Research Fellow, Cardiff University & WISERD | www.wiserd.ac.uk
dave.sayers at cantab.net | http://shu.academia.edu/DaveSayers

On 18/09/2012 12:42, Dave Sayers wrote:
> Hello lgpolicy folk,
> Please click here (it's nothing naughty)...
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh7macVIxeM#t=2m40s
> If that doesn't take you to 2 minutes 40 seconds in, then just scroll along to that point. David
> Starkey here uses a cunning little rhetorical device to say what he think of Islam, but also not
> quite actually technically really explicitly say it.
> I'm hoping to use this in a lecture about rhetorical devices. But my question is, what is the name
> of that rhetorical device? The closest I can find so far is either occultatio or paralipsis --
> variations on the theme of describing something by not describing it, e.g. a politician saying "let
> us say nothing of my opponent's unfortunate incident in a public toilet with a parrot and a jar of
> mustard". Starkey is somewhere wide of that. He's not saying 'I won't say anything of my opinion
> that Islam is a vile disgusting religion'. He says 'If I [...] say [clever pause] I think Islam is a
> vile disgusting religion' etc. That's different, insofar as he's creating a hypothetical dialogue
> between him and a hypothetical opponent. That stops anyone accusing him of (or arresting him for)
> talking that way about Islam, which is precisely the power of this particular rhetorical device,
> whatever it's called.
> So, any ideas as to what it's called? Is it some sub-set of occultatio that I haven't come across?
> Since I'm on the subject, anyone else planning a class on rhetoric might like the following clip:
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVv0F3WdzKA
> Galloway's opening statement is awash with easily identifiable rhetorical devices, including:
> anaphora; symploce; enumeratio; inductive reasoning; hypophora; understatement; pathos.
> I set my students a homework exercise to find those, plus any others they could pick out, and we had
> a very interesting discussion about it all -- really spurred their interest in the subject.
> Thanks all!
> Dave
> --
> Dr. Dave Sayers
> Honorary Research Fellow, Arts & Humanities, Swansea University
> and Visiting Lecturer (2012-2013), Dept English, Åbo Akademi University
> dave.sayers at cantab.net
> http://swansea.academia.edu/DaveSayers

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