This Weekend, The New York Times went all in for poetry. In addition to six — count ‘em — articles about poetry in the Review, the Times also included an entire panel in its “Room for Debate” section in which the mostly white and mostly male panelists responded to the essentially rhetorical question “Does Poetry Matter?” with some version of the expected answer: yes. [more inside]
The Plough and Potato have had a football team since Roman times, so they must be better at it than modern teams!
A primer in the rhetorical tactics of pseudoscience advocates in the form of an inane pub argument about football.
Obama evolved. The NAACP evolved. The NCLR has evolved. How do you get your friends and family to evolve into support for LGBT rights? The Movement Advancement Project's excellent Talking About LGBT Issues series gives research-driven rhetorical and messaging frameworks that work best for meeting reluctant folks where they are. They include warnings about civil rights framings, how to hit emotional marks that emphasize commonality and cover things like adoption, marriage, transgender etiquette and employment protections.
The problem with slippery slope arguments is that once you start using them you quickly move on to other fallacies
An illustrated guide to common logical fallacies as well as well as a very nice worked example of the fallacies involved in Cardinal Keith O'Brien's recent(ish) article against gay marriage.
There is a growing realization that U.S. cyberwar efforts resemble all its other 'war' rhetoric in being a boondogle aimed primarily at limiting its own citizens civil rights. China's breathlessly vaunted capsbilities are "fairly rudimentary" in particular (pdf, campus, previously).
Photographer Mario Tama positioned himself over Netanyahu's shoulder at the UN General Assembly, and photographed hand-written edits he made to his speech. Here's what he saw. (via The Browser)
The Declaration of Independence is perhaps the most masterfully written state paper of Western civilization. As Moses Coit Tyler noted almost a century ago, no assessment of it can be complete without taking into account its extraordinary merits as a work of political prose style. Although many scholars have recognized those merits, there are surprisingly few sustained studies of the stylistic artistry of the Declaration. This essay seeks to illuminate that artistry by probing the discourse microscopically -- at the level of the sentence, phrase, word, and syllable. The University of Wisconsin's Dr. Stephen E. Lucas meticulously analyzes the elegant language of the 235-year-old charter in a distillation of this comprehensive study. More on the Declaration: full transcript and ultra-high-resolution scan, a transcript and scan of Jefferson's annotated rough draft, the little-known royal rebuttal, a thorough history of the parchment itself, a peek at the archival process, a reading of the document by the people of NPR and by a group of prominent actors, H. L. Mencken's "American" translation, Slate's Twitter summaries, and a look at the fates of the 56 signers.
The Science of Why We Don't Believe In Science. Or How To Win An Argument: Try Not To Rely on Facts. MotherJones investigates what recent research can tell us about how we reason (or don't).
An attempt at a collaborative translation of Plato’s Protagoras. Every day for a few months, Dhananjay Jagannathan will post roughly a page of the dialogue, side by side in Greek, in his own translation, and in Jowett’s classic 1871 translation. He's invited readers to comment and offer suggestions to improve the translation. Jagannathan's goal is to communicate Plato in English the way readers of his would have interpreted his Greek.
The O'Reilly Procedure Roger Ebert waxes nostalgic about a calmer, more rational mediasphere and dissects the rhetorical strategies of Bill O'Reilly. [more inside]
Sarah Palin's "folksy" approach has been examined and dissected by the "main stream media." But Anil Dash cuts to the core of what Sarah Palin is saying.
"...the aspiring speaker needs no knowledge of the truth about what is right or good... In courts of justice no attention is paid whatever to the truth about such topics; all that matters is plausibility..." A Glossary of Rhetorical Terms with examples.
Lessons from Past Western Incursions in the Middle East. A speech by Juan Cole at the New America Foundation in which he discusses his new book, Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East, and the relevance and lessons of Napoleon's expedition in Egypt to the current American occupation of Iraq. A shorter version, covering many of the same points, is in this article: Pitching the Imperial Republic.
American Rhetoric :: an online archive
My Right Wing Dad is a new-ish and rather informal blog that aims to provide "a chance for folks to examine the unrestrained rhetoric that is quietly passed from in-box to in-box in America," by hosting a collection of the emails that form an often untraceable and unacknowledged part of public discourse in the U.S., especially on the Right. Tagged by category (for example: God, college, flag, liberal, and World War II), the amateur archive presents a range of colorful opinion, not all of it strikingly accurate, and some of it offensive. In efforts to understand liberal and conservative habits of communication, it may be worth considering the role of forwarded email in the electoral process, and the reasons that the forwarding of email is popular among some people, and whether this behavior tends to correlate with particular political opinions. The emails hosted on MyRightWingDad may in any case be enlightening, unless you're already on the forward list of someone in the know.
The British Transform Drug Policy Foundation has recently released their 2nd guide After the War on Drugs: Tools for the debate. Described as a guide for prospective and current policy reform advocates, it enumerates the points typically brought up against reform, and offers strategies to rebut them. Somewhat of a counterpoint to the US DEA's Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization.
State of the Union Addresses 1790-2006 :: complete texts
Nutpicking : It's a new and long overdue slur to describe the increasingly common practice on the right (and yes, on the left, too) of cherry-picking random comments or hate emails to smear your entire opposition as raving nuts. The worst so far: this execrable WSJ op-ed by Lieberman adviser Lanny Davis. Can the new term (which is modeled on the success of Godwin's Law) succeed in shaming the nutpickers? Either way, the practice is likely to become more common, especially if the "netroots" actually win some races this November.
Begging the Question, Defined Thank you, Anthropomorphic T. Rex, for explained exactly what "begging the question" means, in an easily accessible format.
Audio link to the Inaugural Address delivered January 20, 1961.
Remember how you wrote when you were in high school? Would you have been secure enough to post one of your essays online? [.doc files] Essay.org has compiled a collection of essays (in various languages), in order to "provide free essays for entertainment, education, and publishing." (My favorites are definitely the persuasive essays.)
Do you know your rhetoric? You can hear how it is used in the top 100 American speeches of all time, 63 of which have the original audio recordings! (prev.) The list has some odd omissions, such as the Gettysburg Address (and here in convenient presentation form) and non-American speakers like Churchill, so this shorter international list may be useful. While the slow decline in the quality of presidential addresses is much lamented, scriptwriters are stepping up, see for example, top movie speeches of all time ("Smells like victory" beats "You can't handle the truth"). So, MeFiers, do any of these still inspire, or is rhetoric dead?
Want to see the results of all the hateful anti-gay rhetoric? While other forms of crime continued to fall, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has documented a 4% increase in anti-LGBT crime in 2004, coming on the heels of a 26% increase in the last half of 2003. This spike in violence parallels the exact same period since the Right went into demonic, anti-gay hyperdrive following the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision in July of 2003. Since then, church pews and the public airwaves have been awash in ugly, anti-gay rhetoric and fear-mongering. "These words obviously do not just vanish into the ether - as intended, they are absorbed and become fuel and justification for violence. To say otherwise defies reality. -- The Matt Foreman, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (via think-bomb)
And these are just the reported incidents.
And these are just the reported incidents.
In 63 B.C., Cicero gave his first speech against Catiline. You can hear the opening paragraph read in Latin, or read a translation into English. Though Cicero was a consul denouncing a rebel, the famous opening sentence is now frequently used by those challenging authority (even if it's just the tyranny of Richard Stallman).
Peitho's Web: Classic Rhetoric and Persuasion.
American rhetoric online "A database of 5,000+ full text, audio and video (streaming) versions of public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, other recorded media events..." all in one unbelievable ugly website. From Roosevelt to Malcom X to Ursula LeGuin to Bush as text or stream with Scesis Onomaton from Bill Murray(mp3). Here's for a starting point for the aesthetically picky. Excellent resource- ie 21minute Malcom X "Ballot or Bullet" (mp3) speech!- from a prof at a public university in Texas that that makes me reconsider lynx but excites me about the internet.
Why I Hate Advocacy. Baseball, politics, and programming languages? Mark Jason-Dominus created a classic article that is really about the general human tendancy towards flawed dialogue and the pitfalls surrounding evangelism, even though it's specifically directed towards the perl programming community. Indeed, as in the past, some may see the "spectre of Metafilter itself" in Mark's words.
The Wooly Bullies Of MetaFilter - Uncovered! Sweating heavily as I perused this unholy website's rhetorical machinations late into the night, I was suddenly shaken by a strange feeling of dread, for it was the spectre of MetaFilter itself I was seeing before my bulging eyes, in all its hideous familiarity, emerging from the fetid depths of my guilt-wracked soul...
Standing With Osama? "Some of the more bilious right-wing pundits... have taken to describing those who oppose the invasion as 'siding with Saddam.' But if such sleazy rhetoric is allowable, then maybe we should say that those like our President, who seem to have ignored Osama’s decrees, or like Powell, who are hawking a Saddam/Al Qaeda connection based on overblown evidence, are standing with Osama." Is this accusation fair? If so, is it productive? I doubt it, but I'm not certain. Rohan Gunaratna, the author of "Inside Al Qaeda," warns that an invasion of Iraq would undermine the international campaign against Al Qaeda and give terrorist groups a new lease on life. Oh well, at least it's funny. [Via Cursor.] [More inside.]
Conversational Terrorism Protect yourself from responding to or using these rhetorical cheats. (via the lovely boingboing)
Silva Rhetoricae: the Forest of Rhetoric. Don't know what an erotema is? Just why are you so stupid? Can't tell an apoplanesis from an aposiopesis? Then Gideon O. Burton's excellent guide to classical and renaissance rhetoric may be for you.
The tendency toward euphemism, catchwords, bites and labels displacing description of uniquicity. Battles of rhetorical titans!
Compassionate Conservatism? Why is anyone surprised by the difference between campaign rhetoric and action once in office?
Propaganda analysis: A very interesting page on how to recognize and avoid emotionally-charged propaganda and political rhetoric. A broader question would be, how do you go about analyzing competing truth-claims made by environmentalists and anti-environmentalists, pro- and anti-gun control activists, Moonies, socialists, libertarians and capitalists? Are there any hard and fast rules you use to choose who and what to believe in a world of name calling and information glut?
Having trouble keeping your parallelism and chiasmus straight? Or biting your nails over whether to use zeugma, prozeugma, or diazeugma? Fear not. The Handbook of Rhetorical Devices is here.