Posts Tagged ‘rhetoric’


Posted: September 20, 2010 in Uncategorized
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I just finished Lisa Nakamura’s 2002 book Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet. Among other things, I was struck by the amount of change that happened unnoticed over the past 8 years. When this book came out, I was graduating college, and yet when I read through this book, some of the things Nakamura talks about seem so incredibly dated to me. There aren’t ‘portals’ to the internet anymore, opening multiple windows in a web browser is no big deal, and the space between Internet and Web has closed to the point of being nonexistent.

This is not to say the book was bad or unhelpful; just that it surprised me how much the world has changed, and me with it, without even really noticing.

But let’s get back to the book. (more…)


Convergence Culture

Posted: September 14, 2010 in Uncategorized
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I just finished going through Henry Jenkins’ 2006 book Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide. I picked the book up because of the buzz word of ‘new media,’ but also because of the idea of convergence. It sounded like something important. So what is convergence?

Jenkins tells us that “By convergence, I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who will go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want” (2). At first, I wasn’t entirely sure what this meant, but Jenkins provided a great example in the Matrix. There we had a series of movies, along with some cartoons (The Animatrix), and video games (Enter the Matrix). If you wanted to, you could just watch the movies and be fine. But you could also delve a bit deeper, and understand a bit more. With those three things converging, and with the online forums where they were discussed, analyzed, and argued about, there was always more to see. (more…)

Today I’m looking at Arthur Quinn’s great book Figures of Speech: 60 ways to turn a phrase. It’s a very short book about style, about the different ways to play with words and when to do them. More importantly, it’s a pretty comprehensive glossary of terms, so that I know that when I spell something wrong intentionally, what I’m doing is called ennallage (5), and when I repeat the same word in different grammatical schemes, it’s called isocolon (77) and if I repeat a word or phrase immediately, that’s epizeuxis (80).

Quinn writes his book with his tongue firmly pressed against his cheek, moving very cleverly through all 60 of these figures of speech by talking about them, around them, and providing copious examples of them, drawing from the Bible, Shakespeare, Euripides, Twain, Marlowe; he shows us these figures at work in language throughout our cultural history. (more…)

This entry is going to cover two articles. There’s Anonymity versus Commitment: the dangers of education on the Internet by Hubert L. Dreyfus (2002), and Respond Now! E-mail, Acceleration, and a Pedagogy of Patience by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock (2004). So there is at least a common theme: online pedagogy. Which I’m interested in. I included the years because in a field like this, things change really fast, and so I need to remind myself to read these guys on their own terms, not the way the world is  six or eight years later. (more…)

The following several entries are going to be mini reviews of things I’ve read, so that I have references for myself during my exams. Today, I’m looking at two works by Ed Schiappa. I’m not planning to talk about Ed (who is a nice guy), just about his work. Specifically, The “Stronger and Weaker” Logoi Fragment and Toward an Understanding of Sophistic Theories of Rhetoric.

We’ll start with Logoi. For reference, these quotations all come from the book The Major Fragments of Protagorus by Ed Schiappa; the source I’m looking at is actually chapter 6 from that book.


""So a little while ago, I read this book. It’s called Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. It was written by this guy here. Scott McCloud.

Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. The guy pictured here is the comic version of Scott McCloud. He’s the narrator of the book, which is told by way of a comic. There are graphic novels; this is a graphic theoretical text.

It’s a fantastic exercise in visual rhetoric. There are things that can be shown but not said, and McCloud does a fantastic job of integrating and pointing those things out.

McCloud begins by offering us a definition for comics. He calls them “Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence” (9). While not the best definition, it does function for McCloud’s purpose (which is all he’s really looking for). (more…)

Epideictic Rhetoric

Posted: December 29, 2009 in Uncategorized
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So I’m trying to get a better understanding of epideictic rhetoric. My adviser holds the opinion that the way Aristotle presents this type of rhetoric basically dooms it to obscurity, that his example is wrong for what this rhetoric really is and what it’s used for.

My job is to prove him wrong. To construct an argument such that Aristotle’s example, the funeral oration, is the perfect example of how epideictic rhetoric is meant to be used.

Trouble is, I think he’s right. But a good rhetorician can argue either side, and make the weaker argument seem stronger, as the sophists would say. (Though I should note that making the weaker argument seem stronger does not mean that it seems like the stronger argument; just that it is stronger than it was. Basically, I take this particular point of contention in rhetorical history as suggesting that good rhetoric gives the opposition the benefit of the doubt. Ed Schiappa writes a lot of great stuff about the fragment of Protagorus this is all based on.)

Anyway, Aristotle. I’m looking here at On Rhetoric, the Kennedy translation,so all quotes will be from there. (more…)