Trans-substantial Catholics

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Poor Hanno

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Intelligence and Happiness?

A while ago, the Inquisition pondered the nature of intelligence, and whether a certain outlook or attendant mental abilities are guides to or from happiness. This has been obliquely in the news of late…

Buried by the Sea

Its odd. Most graveyards in Connemara appear to be near water, if not actually right on the coast. Why? West Galway, or Connemara, has a lot of unused space. Admittedly, much of the land Connemara is industrially and agriculturally useless, […]

Cycling Two Abreast

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Indoors / Outdoors (Defuse)

A talk given by The Inquisition at Defuse, on Wednesday 7th November 2012, as part of Designweek in Dublin, Ireland

Nürnburg’s Extra Bombs

Nürnburg got ripped to shreds by Bomber Harris’ boys. By how much appears to be open to debate.

Law & Morality

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Foy – The Bodiless Head

A bodiless head is revered as being Saint Foy, who died a cruel death.

Coffee Haters

There are people out there who pretend to like coffee. Coffee Haters – you have been warned.

False Flags 2

False flag, covert ops by Americans against Americans? Sounds crazy, and so it was deemed.

Plastic 55 Years Ago

55 years ago Roland Barthes considered the importance of plastic and what it meant, as a substance and a symbol.

Cesare Borgia’s Party

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Marriage – A Potted History

Marriage is thought by many to be a fixed rite, one which is immovable and inflexible. The truth is that it has not always seemed so…

Blinking Morse

The world was shocked when a victim of torture started blinking morse. The story of a US aviator captured in Vietnam.


Synecdoche is a powerful, expressive linguistic device

The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Contents Page
The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Semper Quarens - Always Looking


“But he”, Temple said, pointing to Cranly, “he is a ballocks, too, like
me. Only he doesn’t know it. And that’s the only difference I see.”

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Synecdoche (in this case neither the town nor film) is a linguistic styling that is used widely in a colloquial form in Ireland, but also more generally throughout the anglophone world, and most other languages. It was first recorded in Greek drama.

Synecdoche is a play on double-meaning, conversational understanding and our tendencies toward generalisation. As such, a whole may be referred to by a part (a car being called a motor or a set of wheels), a container referring to its contents (give that baby a bottle; ie. not some milk or infant formula), a class referring to a wider grouping (auto referring to any specific kind of motorcar, hoover being used to refer to vacuum cleaners). We can also refer to a thing by a quality of it (spectacles referred to as glasses).

Read 50s Beat prose and poetry and you’ll learn about ‘the man’. We can rage against ‘the machine’. Rastafarians will deplore most of us as ‘baldheads’ who live in ‘Babylon’.

There are plenty of examples of synecdoche in action, especially when a quality is used as a collective pronoun. It is not necessary to trawl through mighty tomes or stiff literature – synecdoche is used by most of us conversationally.

It is, of course, at its apogee used when referring to someone as a bollix, prick, cunt or otherwise.

Wikipedia’ entry on Synecdoche

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