The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


The Passion of the Mel

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 29, 2006 - 3:16pm

Once inside the car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, "You mother f****r. I'm going to f*** you." The report also says "Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he 'owns Malibu' and will spend all of his money to 'get even' with me." The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?" The police report and commentary are here (how has this managed to escape the MSM?Nothing on the CBS, CNN, or NBC sites about the comments):

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Everyone Needs a Break

Submitted by Adria on July 29, 2006 - 2:50pm

Sometimes, when the writing is going slow and I need a laugh (like now), I visit I like number 11 in particular. The author, Amy Winfry, has several animation projects--Making Fiends is very funny as well.

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End times and the rhetoric of "beloved Judaism"

Submitted by jenny on July 29, 2006 - 8:47am

Via Michael Berube, I found this story about CNN's interest in "the end times." Scarier than CNN interviewing nutjobs like Jerry Jenkins (who co-writes the Left Behind series) is the claim that "end times" authors have been "invited over to the CIA and the White House and Capitol Hill, because people -- it's not that they necessarily believe the prophecies, but they want to understand the prophecies in the Bible in light of what's going on right now." The fundamentalist Christian end times scenario is focused on Israel, of course, which makes conflicts like the current mess seem like a prelude to rapture time. ("Yeah, people are interested because the rebirth of Israel, the fact that Jews are living in the Holy Land today, that is a Bible prophecy.") It's about one week before my own conversion to Judaism takes place, and I have begun to encounter the fascinating rhetoric of what I call "beloved Judaism." It's a vision of Jews as super-human, mystical, or somehow in closer proximity to a holy realm. (This includes people who want to adopt a Jewish lifestyle--even converting--because they believe they were meant to be Jewish. Born Jews in a Christian body.) This rhetoric still smacks of the same romanticized visions of Israel promoted in end times discourse. The Jewish being is erased as a human being, replaced by a figure that has no shape. All this makes me wonder about the popular American readings of the current conflict. How many people, I wonder, are actually reading the events through a lens of the end times/beloved Judaism?

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Army Dismisses Gay Arab Linguist

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 29, 2006 - 8:05am

Not EVERYBODY in Community Theater is gay, really: "On Dec. 2, investigators formally interviewed Copas and asked if he understood the military's policy on homosexuals, if he had any close acquaintances who were gay, and if he was involved in community theater." Now if they'd followed up with: "Do you like Barbra Streisand?"

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Shooting at Seattle Jewish Community Center

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 28, 2006 - 7:18pm

1 dead. . .It never never fucking ends. . ..

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A Ciceronian Sunburn

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 28, 2006 - 6:03pm

I received E. Armstrong's A Ciceronian Sunburn: A Tudor Dialogue on Humanistic Rhetoric and Civic Poetics in the mail yesterday from U of South Carolina Press. I started reading, and couldn't put it down. In addition to a superb analysis of Spenser, it takes on Ramism in a new and provocative way. Highly highly recommended. The book also, relying on Jeffrey Walker's view of epideictic, raises again for us the relationship between rhetoric/poetic. It is still difficult to imagine how it might be possible to rejoin the two, either pedagogically or in Theory. Burke seems still a magnificent failure to me, in this respect. I'm reading the Selected Essays of John Berger right now, and his Marxist analyses of the history of painting seem like a potential direction to take. I may blog on Berger later this weekend.

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The Decider Explains His Foreign Policy

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 28, 2006 - 5:33pm

From today's Bush/Blair news conference: "It's an interesting period because, instead of having foreign policies based upon trying to create a sense of stability, we have a foreign policy that addresses the root causes of violence and instability. For a while, American foreign policy was just, 'Let's hope everything is calm' -- kind of, managed calm. But beneath the surface brewed a lot of resentment and anger that was manifested on September the 11th. And so we've taken a foreign policy that says: On the one hand, we will protect ourselves from further attack in the short run by being aggressive in chasing down the killers and bringing them to justice. "And make no mistake: They're still out there, and they would like to harm our respective peoples because of what we stand for. In the long term, to defeat this ideology -- and they're bound by an ideology -- you defeat it with a more hopeful ideology called freedom. And, look, I fully understand some people don't believe it's possible for freedom and democracy to overcome this ideology of hatred. I understand that. I just happen to believe it is possible. And I believe it will happen. "And so what you're seeing is, you know, a clash of governing styles.

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Shall We Marketize the Blogora

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 28, 2006 - 6:23am

How many ads would you tolerate, dear readers? I still think, as I look at the money Enron, Halliburton, and ExxonMobil have poured into Texas A&M and elsewhere, that I should be able to privatize certain aspects of my professorial work: in exchange for being, say, the Taco Ball or Cohiba professor of rhetoric, I provide brief ads during my lectures and on course assignments, even exams. I'm not being entirely un-serious, either. . . But, as with my plan to vote for Kinky, perhaps someone will save me from myself.

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Informed Comment

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 28, 2006 - 4:42am

The most cogent critic of Israeli policy: And Raimondo on the perils of sending in US troops (as well as a bit of deconstruction of the view that Hezbollah is purely Islamist and an Iranian proxy: And the most eloquent condemnation I've read: And an Egyptian music video, if you want to get really depressed:

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NPR 2006 Election Map

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 27, 2006 - 4:04pm Besides DeLay's seat, the most interesting one in Texas is in my district, where Chet Edwards was the only Democrat to survive the gerrymandering; weirdly, Iraqi war veteran Republican opponent Van Taylor hasn't been advertising at all yet. Probably saving the gay-baiting until October, like they did in 2004. And, speaking of Texas, give a hearty welcome to new Crawford, Texas, property-owner, Cindy Sheehan:

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