The Metonym

Metonym: a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept.


“So, these, what do you call them, Metonym? They are superheroes?”

“I never said that, superhero is a push. What we’re really looking at is an evolution of the human species.”

“But from what I’ve read, what I’ve understood, you believe it’s not in fact evolution, but a lack of evolution, that these are traits that haven’t actually changed within the human race, the human species, for a thousand years.”

He laughed. “Yes, I suppose. But no, as well. It is an evolution of sorts, keeping these abilities that are useful — it’s not like you turn around and go, ‘oh, we’ve had thumbs for years, they haven’t evolved,’ because thumbs did evolve to this perfect point. They really are very useful, we need them.”

She smiled. “I guess so, I certainly need mine.” The audience laughed.

“It’s an over-simplification,” he nodded, “but it will do.”

Her grin expanded, a single person now laughing in the front row.  “So now, now is the big one, the question on everyone’s lips; how can you tell the difference between one of these people and, well, with the greatest of respect, a crazy person?”

He nodded, lowering his eyes. “Do you know what crazy is, Elaine?”

“Sorry, I…”

“Crazy, is what people call other people that don’t fit the mould, people that fall outside of their realms of experience. Crazy is doing something that somebody else doesn’t understand — but that doesn’t mean there’s no logic, no rhyme or reason. Sometimes things are just beyond, well, the grasp of us normal people.”

Several more chuckles.

“I understand your viewpoint, Rowan, but these are people that are doing bad things. Bad things are not done by good people, right?”

“Good and evil are moral precepts, dictated by normal people, Elaine. Again, we’re talking about people outside of the realms of our understanding of what is normal. It doesn’t make them wrong.”

“But killing is wrong—“

“—The government sends people to war, they’ve reintroduced the death penalty. And we voted for them. Does that make us wrong?”


“There’s no level playing field.”

“I’m not sure I get your meaning.”

“No, I suppose not.”

She shifted in her seat awkwardly, “But Rowan, these are things done for the greater good.”

He stared at her, then slowly shook his head. “They tell us it’s for the greater good, but how do you really know? I don’t see it.”

“But going back to my question, how can you tell the difference? They all seem crazy to me,” the audience laughing again. “I’ve not seen anyone do anything special, in fact, it’s been just the opposite. They’ve all done something un-special, something detrimental to society.”

“Again, how do you know it was detrimental? Maybe it was for the greater good and we just can’t see it from our little bubble.”


Rowan laughed. “These people, they’ve done things… they do things—”

“—You believe they do things.”

“Well, yes, I believe it because it’s true.”

Elaine nodded.

“I believe these people are doing something extraordinary, something that is enhancing our experience on this tiny little planet.”

“Others would beg to differ.”

“Well I don’t give a fuck about others.”

Elaine looked shocked, “I apologise for the outburst viewers, it will not happen again,” even though the broadcast had already cut to an advert break.



© JR Bryden, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from JR Bryden is strictly prohibited.

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