The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America
classical rhetoric


In The Spirit of Halloween: How Zombies Help us Understand Stasis

Submitted by John W. Pell on October 31, 2012 - 4:42pm

The great thing about zombies is that they move relatively slow, which allows the survivors of the apocalypse to discuss issues like hope, civility, and farming. AMC’s "The Walking Dead" portrays these types of conversations in their full existential-glory.


The Rhetoric of Climate Change

Submitted by John W. Pell on March 2, 2012 - 1:09pm

I recently had the pleasure of attending a talk by Lynda Walsh (University of Nevada-Reno) entitled: "Ethos and Stasis: What Classical Rhetoric Can Teach Us about the Visuals in the IPCC Climate Change 2007 Report." In her presentation, Walsh examined the rhetorical affect of the graphs and figures used in the IPCC climate change report, which, in many ways kicked off the current instantiation of the political debate around climate change.


Kairos and Technology in the Teaching of Writing

Submitted by John W. Pell on August 2, 2011 - 2:34pm

First, my apologies from my “blog absence.” The last three and half weeks has been a blur of packing, stacking, and loading, as my family and I made the move across the country to begin our new life in Palo Alto (of course, stops will be made to visit grandparents). This is to say, collecting my thoughts into meaningful blog posts proved impossible while trying to hunt down the various parts associated with my children’s increasingly complex toys. So, while we are still in transition, I am at least stable enough to return to writing and expect to post weekly through the rest of the summer.


Which Platonic dialogue?

Submitted by syntaxfactory on July 25, 2011 - 12:49pm

Posted on FB:
"Teachers of classical rhetoric--I'm debating on which Platonic dialogues to use. Gorgias, Phaedrus, Republic VII, and Timaaeus are in. Sophist, Protagoras, and Symposium are competing for the last spot. Thoughts?"


Teaching Kairos

Submitted by John W. Pell on June 15, 2011 - 11:36am

Thinking about Kairos in Introductory Rhetoric Courses


Plato's Music

Submitted by Jim Aune on June 29, 2010 - 1:14pm



New Stuff on Cicero

Submitted by Jim Aune on November 21, 2009 - 10:57am

The second volume of Robert Harris's Empire series is just out: Lustrum, which covers 63 BCE, Cicero's eventful year as Consul. And I somehow missed Joy Connolly's State of Speech, which looks important.


Praise and Blame

Submitted by Jim Aune on September 24, 2009 - 12:58pm

from Simonides, as translated by Anne Carson in The Economy of the Unlost:

Hard to become truly a good man
in hands and feet and mind
built four-square without blame
Now if you ask me, the old saying of Pittakos does not
define its terms properly although
said by a wise man: hard (he says) to be good.
The fact is, God alone could have this privilege.
Man cannot but be bad
if the misfortune machine pulls him down.
Yes sure, every man is good when things are good
and bad when things are bad
(and in general the best are the ones
whom the gods love).



Submitted by Jim Aune on June 20, 2009 - 1:30pm

This might be one of those points that everyone else knows but me, but I think it's important, so I'll mention it. Quentin Skinner, in the first half of his book on rhetoric in Hobbes, does a great summary of the classical and renaissance rhetorical traditions. In discussing style, he points out that ornatus and ornamenta are frequently translated as ornamentation or embellishment.