The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


George Will Hates America

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 17, 2006 - 8:57pm

Something is going on when Nancy Reagan's favorite lap dog George Will goes after the neocons and the Bush regime's foreign policy:


Strauss and Fascism

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 17, 2006 - 6:40pm

A very thoughtful response to recent defenses of Strauss in the NYT and elsewhere (long, but if you're wondering why this is a recurring bee in my bonnet, it might help explain):


Bill Kauffman

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 17, 2006 - 7:26am

Is someone whose work you should know--sort of the left-wing of paleoconservatism: Excerpt: Chesterton told us that the patriot never, under any circumstances, boasts of the largeness of his country, but always, and of necessity, boasts of its smallness. Dorothy Day spoke of the Little Way. Or little way. As the anti-American Empire crumbles into unlamented dust, patriots of the little America, on their front porches and in their backyards, will reclaim our country. Read back through this discussion. Our side is fiddles and poetry and baseball and country churches and the local beer. Their side is bombs and tanks and television. How can we lose? Yours for all the little Americas. . . .


How Would Jesus Cuss?

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 17, 2006 - 6:26am

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) -- U.S. President George W. Bush expressed his frustration over the situation in the Middle East by using an expletive in comments to British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg Monday. Not realizing his remarks were being picked up by a microphone at the summit of world leaders, Bush bluntly expressed his frustration with the actions of Hezbollah. "See, the irony is what they really need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this (expletive)," Bush told Blair in a discussion before the Group of Eight leaders began their lunch.Bush's remarks were picked up by the summit's closed-circuit television, which was filming the leaders sitting down to eat. --Irony??????? Shit. . . . The NYT deletes the expletive, but the BBC plays it all for you: Or, perhaps the next move: attack Syria--an action already called for in the New Republic: Update: according to Editor and Publisher, today the NYT prints the word "shit" for the first time in its history. Call Dr. Dobson. Isn't this sort of thing what family conservatives have been calling "defining deviancy down"?


The Return of the Draft?

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 17, 2006 - 5:23am

This would concentrate the undergraduate mind wonderfully:


The Commission on Higher Education Report

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 17, 2006 - 5:21am

[insert preferred expletive here] Excerpt from the 2nd draft: To “change from a system based on reputation to one based on performance,” higher education must become much more transparent and accountable. The report calls for the creation of a “consumer friendly information database” that would provide data on college costs and prices, admissions data, completion rates and learning outcomes; urges states to require public institutions to measure and report how much their students learn in college; and endorses the creation of a national (“privacy protected”) system that tracks students’ progress through the education system and into the work force.


Looking Back to the '60's Antiwar Movement

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 17, 2006 - 4:03am

David Henderson (a libertarian economist affiliated with--good heavens--the Hoover Institution) takes a brief and eloquent tour through some old speeches:


Academic Style: Poetes Maudits, I

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 17, 2006 - 3:44am

One good thing about blogging is that it gives one something to do at 3 a.m. when you can't get back to sleep, and the world is in chaos. First a Wikipedia definition: --A poète maudit (French: accursed poet) is a poet living a life outside or against society. Abuse of drugs and alcohol, insanity, crime, violence, and in general any societal sin, often resulting in an early death are typical elements of the biography of a poète maudit. The first poète maudit, and its prototype, was François Villon (1431-c. 1474) but the phrase wasn't coined until the beginning of the 19th century by Alfred de Vigny in his 1832 drama Stello, in which he calls the poet “la race toujours maudit par les puissants de la terre.” Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud are considered typical examples.-- What I have come to find puzzling over the last ten years (it hit me with a vengeance the year I taught at Penn State), is the peculiar combination of academic careerism and the--er--"valorization" of a poete maudit's style of life. Examples: Foucault's "limit experience" being hit by a car while on opium, Bataille's pornography, Deleuze's death (once praised to me by a graduate student), Nietzsche's madness. 1960's versions: the breakdowns, addictions, and suicides of Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Robert Lowell, John Berryman--the whole "confessional" school of American poetry. And the "popular" culture of the Velvet Underground, the Sex Pistols, Patti Smith, and on and on. For a young person of a certain temperament, this sort of thing is worse than crack. It's not an ideology, because it is almost empty of argument--maybe "structure of feeling" is a better term. It has recurred steadily since the industrial revolution (Benjamin's "shock effects," I guess, as an aesthetic of coping with urban life). In its academic form: "a focus on the garbage of history," as Grossberg put it in at NCA last fall. It has developed into a particular--nod here to Hariman, il miglior fabbro--academic style.


And Stuff to Read

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 16, 2006 - 6:33pm

I've never met another James Wilcox fan; his novels are set in fictional Tula Springs, Louisiana, but they take a sort of affectionate Garrison-Keilloresque look at the small-town South rather than the gothic horrors English majors are used to. Harold Bloom puts his first novel, Modern Baptists, firmly in the "canon" in his Western Canon; start there, but continue through North Gladiola (my favorite) down to the more recent Heavenly Days. I'm rereading them this summer; "guaranteed to cheer you up," he said banally. . .


Save Me from Myself?

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 16, 2006 - 6:06pm

Yellow dog Democrat that I am, I've never voted outside the party ticket. (Except in a handful of Texas races where the only choices were Republican or Libertarian.) As things stand today (one of those beastly hot 100plus dry days in Texas that make me wish I were back in Minnesota), I'm going to vote for Kinky Friedman. If I vote solely on pragmatism/lesser of two evils, I'd vote for Carol Keeton Strayhorn, who at least is marginally competent, compared to the putz who's governing the state. I can't even remember the Democratic candidate's name. But, the governor of Texas is a constitutionally weak position (no journalists managed to fact check this in the 2000 campaign), and maybe, just maybe, Kinky might get something accomplished. The only thing he's said I don't agree with is his defense of school prayer, but that's a lost cause here, anyway. Would someone try to persuade me to change my mind? An update on the campaign: (Kinky is leading Strayhorn and the Democrat, and closing in on Perry):