The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Adorno for Monday (a little early)

Submitted by Jim Aune on November 16, 2008 - 11:54am

" . . . and conceive the better state as one in which people could be different without fear." --Minima Moralia


Class, Status, and the Election

Submitted by Jim Aune on November 4, 2008 - 6:46pm

I've spent the better part of my academic career puzzling about the relationship of the "social" to the "rhetorical," mostly social class and status. The rise of the professional-managerial class as a "new class" requires rethinking some classical Marxist assumptions. Obama is the candidate of the "new class," one might say. Some interesting observations from a British Tory on the class realignment we see in this election:


Toward a History of 20th Century Rhetorical Theory 1

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 22, 2008 - 1:19am

from Clement Greenberg, "Modernist Painting" (1960):

"Western civilization is not the first civilization to turn around and question its own foundations, but it is the one that has gone furthest in doing so. I identify Modernism with the intensification, almost the exacerbation, of this self-critical tendency that began with the philosopher Kant. Because he was the first to criticize the means itself of criticism, I conceive of Kant as, the first real Modernist.


Pynchon on History

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 31, 2008 - 9:00pm

"Facts are but the Play-things of lawyers,—Tops and Hoops, forever a-spin.... Alas, the Historian may indulge no such idle Rotating. History is not Chronology, for that is left to lawyers,—nor is Remembrance, for Remembrance belongs to the People.


Death Communication

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 24, 2008 - 5:11pm

A fascinating essay on spiritualism and 19th century law. A collection of Victorian death photos (which I never knew of until I saw The Others). Marconi and Edison both thought radio could let us hear the voices of the dead.


Exam Question

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 18, 2008 - 4:20pm

"In Lacanian terms, Conservative presidential candidates speak within the Discourse of the Master, while liberal presidential candidates speak within the Discourse of the University." Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?


Thinking History

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 17, 2008 - 10:29am

"Perhaps history this century, thought Eigenvalue, is rippled with gathers in its fabric such that if we are situated, as Stencil seemed to be, at the bottom of a fold, it’s impossible to determine warp, woof or pattern anywhere else. By virtue, however, of existing in one gather it is assumed there are others, compartmented off into sinuous cycles each of which had come to assume greater importance than the weave itself and destroy any continuity.


Adorno Quote for the Week

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 12, 2008 - 9:34am

"That intellectuals are at once beneficiaries of a bad society, and yet those on whose socially useless work it largely depends whether a society emancipated from utility is achieved--this is not a contradiction acceptable once and for all and therefore irrelevant. It gnaws incessantly at the objective quality of their work. Whatever the intellectual does, is wrong. He experiences drastically and vitally the ignominious choice that late capitalism secretly presents to all its dependents: to become one more grown-up, or to remain a child." --Minima Moralia, 133.


Adorno Quote for the Week

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 30, 2008 - 4:18pm

"Lies have long legs: they are ahead of their time. The conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power, a process that truth itself cannot escape if it is not to be annihilated by power, not only suppresses truth as in earlier despotic orders, but has attacked the very heart of the distinction between true and false, which the hirelings of logic were in any case diligently working to abolish. So Hitler, of whom no-one can say whether he died or escaped, survives." Minima Moralia, 109


The Flip Side of Agency

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 30, 2008 - 9:17am

The Juice has posted a useful draft of an encyclopedia article on "Agency" on his blog. (I apparently believe in "dialectical agency"--nice to have a label finally.) As I gear up to teach a graduate course on presidential rhetoric (for the very first time) this fall, I am pondering what seems to be the problematic twin of agency, namely "effect," which has dogged us since Wichelns named it back in 1925.