'Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers

How much do I dislike poor hypophora? I dislike poor hypophora with great zeal.

With a premise so heartbreaking and at least one protagonist so difficult to sympathize with, why has "Madame Butterfly" been one of the world's most beloved operas for 100 years?

Well shove me in a stagnant pond and poke me with a pink cattle prod. I mean, the author already has an answer. Such is the nature of hypophora, sure (also known as anthypophora). But often enough, they’re smug, assumptive, idiotic and, well, lazy answers (mostly of the smug and assumptive sort). It’s like the author is just lying in wait, stalking his/her prey, saying, “you don’t know the answer, do you? But I do.” Furthermore, if the answer is too confident, too assured, it can seem like a self-congratulatory wank or a “this is why I’m writing this article and not you” uppercut in the kidney that I plain don’t need. That is to say, its rhetorical function has been locked away in a closet and forced to smoke a carton of cigarettes.

Or not. Sometimes it’s just an innocuous, yet banal, device to waste space, which is equally annoying.

Once you read the answer below, just ask yourself, “Did the author really need to ask this?” “Was any greater purpose served?” “Was it effective?” “Did it lure you in?” And, in this case, “How did you come up with that not really insightful question one might expect from a third grader?”

As is the case with so many Puccini operas, it's the music.

For crying out loud. Go figure: the answer—the unimpeachable I-know-the-answer-which-is-why-I-asked-in-the-first-place-because-I’m-the-expert universal answer (the "desperately needed because the reader is stupid" answer)—why we can tolerate the “depressing” story is...

...because it was set to good music. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

And really, Madame Butterfly is a favorite just because it has good music? That's like saying, "Schindler's List is a great movie, except for the story."


Sator Arepo said...

They have opera in Utah now? Who knew?