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.

Advertisements

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?

He’s just a poe boy (from a poe family)

poeEdgar Allan Poe died yesterday. Well not yesterday, yesterday, but many yesterdays ago. And while I was scanning my facebook yesterday, I came across this piece of his death:

Edgar Allan Poe is dead. . . . This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it. The poet was well known, personally or by reputation, in all this country; he had readers in England, and in several of the states of Continental Europe; but he had few or no friends; and the regrets for his death will be suggested principally by the consideration that in him literary art has lost one of its most brilliant but erratic stars.”
—“Death of Edgar A. Poe,” New-York Daily Tribune, October 9, 1849

For those who study Poe’s life or work, this isn’t exactly a surprise, but it I think a reminder that those with great talents still face great hardships in life (and some time they face it because of their talents.) So take a moment and appreciate the work  and life of a man.  The lonely winter-telling wind of October gives the perfect excuse to curl up with one of his works.

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?