Why don’t we value Rhetoric

Rhetoric.

rhetoricalsituationoverheadIt’s a dirty word isn’t it, snake oil coming from a car salesman’s mouth or the speech of a slick politician trying to poor the wool over a herd of sheeple.

But what is rhetoric really?

( Taken from wiki ) Its best known definition comes from Aristotle, who considers it a counterpart of both logic and politics, and calls it “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.

So yes, rhetoric can, especially devoid of ethics allow us to manipulate people, though, let’s face it, that’s going happen without Rhetoric isn’t it? Anyone who has a child, can understand that manipulation is almost intrinsic within ourselves.

But what else does it do? It allows us to analyze arguments, to understand the emotional manipulation and logical fallacies that most people use on a daily basis.

(Bonus points if you can name off any logical fallacies)

Rhetoric allows us to better understand the assumptions we make when we believe or argue anything as well as others. It makes us more informed citizens.

And it is something that many people never learn.

An example from one of my classes:

What is one assumption in saying, we shouldn’t ban guns because the Fourth Amendment says we have a right to bare arms?

I get some of the basic answers and wait….

silence.

What does it say about our Constitution?

Again silence until someone finally says, “well that the constitution trumps everything else.”

Bingo.

We then start a discussion on what the Founding Father’s believe, on who they said could vote, on the way the laws have changed over the year and secretly I giggle as some of the students eyes light up and they start to question, are the archaic words of a few men may not be the end all be all.

And that’s why we need Rhetoric.

This is why.

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Being a mother has been kicking my artist’s bum

Ever had those days when you realized you haven’t created art in a while. A long long while. And further yet the bits of free time that you have had for art, are spent piddled away on meaningless stuff like Facebook or watching bad reruns of television shows you didn’t even like in the first place. You realize you are in an artist slump.

sadpandaThe has been me for the past five months (since the birth of my daughter). And don’t get me wrong, bringing a little people into the world is awesome opossum, but lacking the drive to do something you love, or worse, wanting to do it but feeling stuck in the snow white pages that lack your imagination.

I’ve been keeping myself busy collaborating on my children’s book, which is exciting and awesome, but I’m realizing that isn’t filling the void.

So what do you do when you are unispired, stuck in a rut and don’t have that much time to get anything done?

The story of my life?

pearlsbeforeswineI have let so much of my time get away from me (life has been busy, I’ll blog about it later) but it’s again time to get back to a schedule and start writing and publishing in a timely manner. sorry for my absence blog readers, and I hope this cartoon makes you chuckle. After all, this is the writing life isn’t it?

Is it all about the money, money?

Yesterday, my lovely bestie Ashy, (check out her work) and I were talking about the ups and downs of being an artist. We have both had our ups and downs and have like many artist struggle with, still can not find a happy balance between commercial prosperity and doing what you like (even if it isn’t commercially viable.)

make-money-online-now For example, I love poetry. Its probably my best craft, but even if I am amazing and well-recognized for it, it very hard to eek out a living. so what do I do? Stick with what I love most? Try and do more commercial stuff? Do a combo of both?

I am lucky that I can eek out a living as an English Professor which does give me time to write, but others aren’t as lucky.

And if that wasn’t hard enough. Ashy, a painter spent a lot of time discussing options with renting at galleries and using agents (both of which are recommended.) Between the fees each would take, she’d net around 10 percent of the profits.

We spent an hour or so pondering if its better to “sell-out” then do what you love; do what you love and find a different income; do what you love and hope it is commercially viable; or do a combo of both?

So my question to you, do you consider money when making art? How do you reconcile the economic need with your artistic soul?

 

 

Confessions of an Internet Pirate

Ok I’ll admit it. There’s times I’ve illegally shared (who doesn’t love CD burning parties) other people’s work for various reasons (like it’s really REALLY hard to find a copy KISS meets the Phantom of the Park)kiss party!. Oh I knew it was wrong, but its just so easy to justify. (Hey I spend 100 on concert tickets, I can burn my friends cd right…..) Of course like all good pirates, I had boundaries. No stealing from indy or upcoming artists………

I say all of this to admit that on this topic I am a sinner.
Still, after a few conversations I’ve had with a few of the 101 Composition classes I’ve visited over the past semester, I’m shocked at the over all consensus on copyright law: copy right laws should not exist. If someone can steal work and make money off of them, the better for it….and well, hey you should just make more work to sell.

I was honest with the class. Telling them about my past, why I did what I did, why it was wrong but why I did it, etc….

No response.

I tried having them imagine that they were inventors and artist who had their work stolen….

No response.

What about indy artist…….

No response.

After hours of discussion, the consensus remained the same.

I’m not naive. I know (as Rand Paul) illustrates that there are certain people that don’t respect the idea of copyright laws, but I was still surprised to find so many people feel that the American way is stealing and that artist who have things stolen are just out of luck, should just stop whining and go out and make new work.

Thoughts?

Any ideas how to impart the grain of discourse?

 

My best friend is an awesome artist (that you should watch)

I was lucky. By the time I was 18, I had a core group of friends with whom I’m still friends with today. Amongst them was Ashy, a painter who shared my love of rock and dreams of being an artist.  Over the years we have had a ridiculous amount of fun, planning pointlessly schemes (like moving out to l.a. and living off of contentential breakfast) and going to way too many rock concerts.

ashy_i_paintedart_ashyandidressed upme_ashy

Besides our clear shared  awesomeness (pics don’t lie right?) and our shared love of 80’s hair metal, we  both share our dreams of being  working artists. It has been so helpful to have someone else experience the sames highs and lows of art as I have.  And now that we have put in YEARS and YEARS of work, we are both finally starting to see the payoffs of our labors.

She just (yes i’m gushing!) got into a pretty sweet art show. Unforunately, as she lives in Buffalo and the show is there, I won’t be able to go. So I’m sending some virtual love, and telling all my readers to check out her work at her website Yellow Blazer’s Studios.  And if you happen to be in the Buffalo area check out her work, you won’t regret it!

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First publication of the new year

Good afternoon, Rachael!
 
I wanted to drop a quick note to you with good news!  Your monologue “The New Girl” has confirmed entry into Volume III of ‘interJACtions: Monologues from the Heart of Human Nature.’  Congratulations!
This greeted me in my inbox today!
jump

I was very excited to have this monologue published. It was originally a short story which I wrote during an exercise at University of Indiana.  It’s a dramatized piece about my experience of switching from a private Lutheran school (15 people in my class, all girls) to a public school.

Hopefully this year will continue to be a productive year for publishing (both indie and traditionally) for me!

Anyway, sorry for the brevity of this post, but I wanted to share the good news!

Two very cool sites you should visit today……

I’ve been surfing the web and found a couple of really fun websites. The first is called Brain Pickings. It has a lot of cool articles, a lot word nerd related articles,  including one for vintage ads for libraries.  Here are two of my favorites:

vintagereading6vintagereading7

If you like what you see and want some for your own home library, check out ebay and amazon. They have some great deals!

My second find of the day is a little start-up literature journal. It’s run by a friend of a co-worker of mine at the writing lab. The journal, unlike a lot of other journals, seems very unpretentious and open to all kinds of writing. They are also looking for submissions for their next issue. (I’ll add it to my submissions page shortly.)

Disney Princess:Queen Bees and Insecurities

ariealSo buzzfeed had an article, “If the Disney Princess went to your high school,” which was hilarious and also shines a light on the faults of the princesses. It’s tongue in cheek for sure, but is the perfect article for people like me who grew up with a love/hate relationship with Disney and the Princesses as well (minus Belle, I will get my library god dang it.).your-disney-inner-circle

Disney stories are entertaining, but let’s face it, most of them are awful morals for women and young girls. And frankly most of the princess could use a little consoling!

What do you think? Ideas you would add? Any assessments you disagree with?