Friday, May 28, 2010

Guerrilla Rhetoric Project

So much of our mindscape is dominated by images and narratives that were
not created with our best interests in mind.  Billboards we did not ask for
suffocate our roadways; mass media monopolies feed us unhealthy, overly
processed news; advertisements find their way into the most personal of
spaces, mental and material.  

This project takes its shape and spirit from
guerrilla tactics, which recognize that successful campaigns against bohemoth
forces do not try to match up in strength and size, but rather seek out cracks
in the system and exploit them.  

Guerrilla forces utilize their smallness; they
use the shadows; they use surprise.

For this project you are asked to use guerrilla tactics in one of two ways:

    1) Rename / Reframe a rhetorical element in our everyday surroundings;

    2) Inform others on the persuasive forces that are working on them.

Go ahead and rename all the euphemisms that act as placebos, keeping us from
confronting truth.  Habitat loss?  Clean coal?  Smart bombs?  Or reveal to
someone how patriotic appeals are used to sell them everything from gum to
war.  Or show how an ideograph like “freedom” is often used as a vague
referent charged with emotion but short on precision.  Do you find “sound
science” to be a carefully calibrated phrase to undermine the credibility of
climate scientists in general?  Show us.  Show others.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mid-term Grading Scale

Mid-term(ish) Grade Grid

A = 290 - 315
A- = 280 - 289
B+ = 270 - 279
B = 250 - 269
B- = 240 - 249
C+ = 230 - 239
C = 220 - 229
C- = 210 - 219
D = 170 - 209
F = 0 - 169


I'm so sorry that I accidentally said three-fifty instead of three-fifteen today!  Total slip of the tongue that had us all confused.  My apologies!

Great work everyone  ~ a lot of you absolutely tore that test apart!
Keep up the great work...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5.17 ~ Century of the Self

And just because I got such a kick out of it, here is one of the comments someone left on the survey for this class period:


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mid-term Resources

(click on image to view larger size or right-click to copy)


Etymology is even cooler than this logo suggests, which is pretty intense.  
(and then look up the etymology of "etymology" because it will be on the test!  Shhhh!)

An excellent source for learning rhetorical figures of speech

"It Figures" over at Figaro Speech
 Another rich resource for exploring rhetoric figures of speech.  
 It's created and regularly updated by the talented Jay Heinrichs, who wrote Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion.
 As far as rhetorical primers go, it's worth its salt.  I suggest you pick up a copy to keep sharpening your skills after this class finishes.


Keep in mind: if you can answer everything on the review sheet, you'll do just fine on the test; I promise.


Friday, May 7, 2010

5.3 ~ The iMovie Challenge: Metaphor in 60

My most sincere and hearty congratulations on tackling the "Metaphor in 60" challenge 
with insight and enthusiasm!  I'm extremely impressed!

Students were introduced to the iMovie program bootcamp-style.  After I showed them four or five of the most basic, fundamental moves, they were charged with creating a movie exactly 60 seconds long.  (Not 59 seconds.  Not 61 seconds.)  To learn how to enact certain maneuvers in a software they had just been exposed to, they had to click around and explore.  Trial and error under pressure, in other words.

The goal was to explain the concept of metaphor using footage from the (brilliant, stunning, soul-saving) movie, Stop Making Sense.  Provided with clips from songs that rely heavily on metaphors, students got together in groups and collaborated in a way that made me truly proud to be their teacher.

Here's the class-voted winner of our competition:

This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)
by The Talking Heads

And you've got to witness this slice of exquisite life!

 Remember two important things:

1) The full iMovie tutorial guide is available on Carmen for download.
2) Never for money; always for Love.


4.28 ~ Burke review, Ideographs, & Critical Rhetoric Video critiques

Answers to a Burkean Quiz

"A is not identical with his colleague, B. But insofar as their interests are joined, A is identified with B. Or he may identify himself [or herself] with B even when their interests are not joined, if s/he assumes they are, or is persuaded to believe so ... [T]wo persons may be identified in terms of some principles they share in common, an 'identification' that does not deny their existence."

“Men seek for vocabularies that will be faithful reflections of reality.  To this end they must develop vocabularies that are selections of reality.  And any selection of reality must, in certain circumstances, function as a deflection of reality.” 

Aristotle's definition of rhetoric = "the faculty of discovering in an any given situation all available means of persuasion."

Quintillian's definition of rhetoric = "Bene dicendi scientia," which means: "Science of speaking well." (Also famous for the definition, "[Rhetoric is] the good man speaking well." Quintillian brought ethics and persuasion close together, suggesting that one of the best ways to be persuasive is to be a genuinely good person.)

"There is an intermediate area of expression that is not wholly deliberate, yet not wholly unconscious.  It lies midway between aimless utterance and speech directly purposive."

"You persuade a wo/man only insofar as you can talk his [or her] language by speech, gesture, tonality, order, image, attitude, idea, identifying your way with his."

Three key processes of identification:

1) Naming something or someone according to specific properties;

2) Associating with and disassociating from others--suggesting that persons (and ideas or things) share, or do not share, important qualities in common; 

3) The product or end result of identifying--the state of being consubstantial with others.


What makes a great group member?

"An ideograph is an ordinary-language term found in political discourse.  
It is a high order abstraction representing commitment to a 
particular but equivocal and ill-defined normative goal."
~ Michael Calvin McGee ~

"Human beings are 'conditioned,' not directly to belief and behavior,
but to a vocabulary of concepts that function as guides,
warrants, reasons, or excuses for behavior and belief."

~ Michael Calvin McGee ~

[ the LIBERTY dollar ]

"Such reduction to a simplicity being technically reduction
to a summarizing title or 'GOD-TERM.'  When we confront a simplicity
we must forthwith ask ourselves what complexities are subsumed beneath it."

~  Kenneth Burke  ~

"No one has ever seen 'equality' strutting up the driveway,
so, if 'equality' exists at all, it has meaning through its specific applications."

~ Michael Calvin McGee ~

*** McGee's essay, "The Ideograph: A Link Between Rhetoric and Ideology" is available on Carmen ***