The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Rage against Ravers

Submitted by ddd on September 27, 2005 - 6:07am

Has anyone else been keeping up with this scary story about a SWAT team in Utah storming into a well-organized, legal, and peaceful rave with guns, dogs, tasers, and tear gas, throwing people to the ground, making arrests, etc. ?? I'm amazed that it's not getting more coverage, especially since there are some powerful testimonial videos of the brutal scene online for all to see. This is what the "war on drugs," already a crazy trope, comes down to, i guess: SWAT teams in fully militarized gear helicoptering in to take out ... dancers. Or is this the "war on terrorism"? I get confused... I realize that raving is not an approved activity according to those who currently hold the moral scepter in US society, but given the outrageousness of the "excess force" involved here, you'd think some mainstream reporter would feel a responsibility to keep a spotlight on this story. I've found nothing on CNN or the NYTimes, for example. Though the Drug Policy Organization's News covered it when it first happened, as did the The Daily Kos, Boing Boing, Talk Left, and a host of independent, online sources.


Finishing Dissertations and Other Projects

Submitted by Jim Aune on September 23, 2005 - 9:05pm

Some good advice about finishing the dissertation: Any other helpful tips Blogora readers would suggest for finishing dissertations, books, and other projects? The most useful tip I ever heard (can't remember from whom) was always to stop writing when you have more to say, so picking up the project the next day will be easy.


Outsourcing Grading

Submitted by Jim Aune on September 23, 2005 - 10:07am

A Kentucky community college is experimenting with sending freshman comp essays to a private firm for grading: I have a new Big Idea, suitable for our increasingly privatized Higher Ed. Administrators keep telling us to be "entrepreneurial," so here goes: I, James Arnt Aune, hereby offer to sell my professional title to the highest corporate bidder. I will then become, say, the Taco Bell Professor of Rhetorical Studies at Texas A&M University. My syllabi, handouts, and powerpoint slides will all have small and tasteful advertisements (including coupons) for your product or service.


Stuff to read

Submitted by Jim Aune on September 22, 2005 - 6:24pm

Some good stuff from around the web, of potential interest to rhetoricians: Chapter One of Josiah Ober's new book: Athenian Legacies: Essays on the Politics of Going On Together Zizek on human rights (am I mellowing with age, or is he actually making sense these days?): Akhil Reed Amar on why liberals should be originalists (hurrah!): Michael Hardt interview on "global civil society" and the Multitude: An article on why Blackstone was wrong about it being better to let a hundred people go free than convict one innocent man (characteristic law-and-economics argument, in all its vulgar utilitarian glory):


King W.

Submitted by Jim Aune on September 22, 2005 - 6:02pm

Enter Lear, dressed as an American President, surveying the hurricane wreckage: Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides, Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en Too little care of this. Take physic, pomp, Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, That thou mayst shake the superflux to them And show the heavens more just


Inquiring Minds. . .

Submitted by Jim Aune on September 21, 2005 - 9:16pm

"Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again, The National Enquirer can reveal. Bush, who said he quit drinking the morning after his 40th birthday, has started boozing amid the Katrina catastrophe. Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster. His worried wife yelled at him: 'Stop, George." More at:


Teaching the Gorgias

Submitted by Jim Aune on September 21, 2005 - 9:05pm

I think I found a new way to talk about the Gorgias today. I told my class that for Plato, the three parts of the soul (appetite, reason, thymos) are represented in the Polis by three types of people: philosophers, the spirited ones, and the masses. After querying the class whether they knew the difference between a Shi'ite and a Sunni, and discovering only about 3 (out of 257)did, I pointed out that they were verifying Plato's view. They are dominated only by their appetites, and thus must be led by simplifying myths. Perhaps our current efforts to tie rhetoric to civic participation rest on a mistake: that the democratic public is capable or interested in following political issues. Ilya Somin, a brilliant young classical liberal at George Mason, argues in a Cato Institute paper that the best argument for reducing the size of government is that it would reduce the number of issues a citizen has to follow.



Submitted by Jim Aune on September 21, 2005 - 8:57pm

As of 8 p.m. tonight, my local supermarket was out of bottled water and tunafish. Bryan-College Station is about 2 hours away from Houston, but we might be in the path of the storm. The worst we should get is heavy rain and wind, but there seems to be a bit of panic about. Classes are called off in Aggieland for Friday, and the scheduled football game between us and Texas State has been moved to tomorrow night. I guess that the residents of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans died for our sins, in that now every bureaucrat on the Gulf Coast is determined to be "proactive."


Kerry's speech

Submitted by ddd on September 19, 2005 - 7:56pm

Here is the transcript of John Kerry's speech at Brown University today. Pretty powerful.


"Rhetoric is as liberal as the day is long."

Submitted by Anonymous on September 18, 2005 - 10:48am

If you know me or read my "work" at all, such as it is, you know I rely a good bit on conversations and acknowledge when conversations of various sorts play roles in my inventions. Jeff Nealon's splendid statement, which he repeated twice at a recent meeting, serves as the title of this post. I LOVE his claim, and it's danced in my head since Nealon tossed it twice into the same meeting ... and he's not one for cliches. Gets me thinkin. goes "select" tomorrow, meaning that some of the content, including some op-eds, will be available online only to subscribers. Details await those who wish to visit the website. But the lead article in today's print NYT -- we can't get daily delivery at home, but we get the Sunday edition -- is soooooooooooooo important that I've reformatted it and attached it to this post. Read it. Now. Teach it. Talk about it. Ethos pathos logos. Journalism and democracy. Speech writing, persuasion, health communication, first-year writing, "the basic course" ... TEACH this article. A few years ago at UGa's version of the public address conference, inspired by KK Campbell and David Zarefsky's remarks about "pedagogy," I -- after driving 15 hours and perhaps being a bit punchier even than usual -- took the assembled to task for the common-sense advice to teachers of "the basic course" or public speaking NEVER to allow students to give speeches about abortion (or B or C or D). Some writing instructors do the same thing. Most families do. Most friends. And John Irving gave us, in GARP, the Ellen Jamesians.... Talk about it. Or, if you're not going to talk about it, read about it. Start now.