The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Three Types of "Liberty"

Submitted by Jim Aune on May 18, 2010 - 11:09am

Tea Party types talk a lot about their "liberties" being taken away, although they are remarkably silent about freedoms related to the Other--expansion of executive power, out-of-control military spending, or most of the Bill of Rights except for the incoherently-written Second Amendment.


Why High Art Matters

Submitted by Jim Aune on May 15, 2010 - 2:27pm

Scott Horton is a national treasure: Schmitt, Benjamin, Adorno, and Schumann.


Seems Odd

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 27, 2010 - 3:46pm

I can't think of a single public address/rhetorical history study of educational reform debates. Am I missing something? The tangled legacy of James Coleman here.


Ideographs, Some Thoughts

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 26, 2010 - 7:00pm

Adria's defense today made me think about some of the unfilled potential of McGee's notion of the Ideograph. What McGee helped set in motion was two things: 1) the ability to look at large blocks of discourse in context (as opposed to the single speech or orator), and 2) the ability to trace shifts in meaning of key ideological terms over time. Condit and Lucaites extended the idea by linking narratives and characterizations to ideographs.


"Hard Problems in the Social Sciences"

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 25, 2010 - 12:11pm

Description, with video, of a recent conference at Harvard on the topic of Hard Problems in the Social Sciences. For a summary of the main "questions" see this poll. There is some overlap with current preoccupations in rhetorical studies, e.g. Carey (Apr 10): How do we understand the human capacity to create and articulate knowledge?


Adorno on Fascist Rhetoric

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 19, 2010 - 11:40am

(via Andrew Sullivan) "The leader can guess the psychological wants and needs of those susceptible to his propaganda because he resembles them psychologically, and is distinguished from them by a capacity to express without inhibitions what is latent in them, rather than by any intrinsic superiority. The leaders are generally oral character types, with a compulsion to speak incessantly and to befool the others.


Figuring with Fredric Jameson

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 17, 2010 - 7:01pm

As I continue slogging my way through Jameson's Valences of the Dialectic, I want to highlight some recent discussions of his work. A look back at Marxism and Form from Mediations. An unusually helpful review of the new book in LRB. As I was doing a retrospective look back through my collective writings, limited as they are, the other day, I was surprised to note that I seem to cite Jameson more than anyone else in the Marxist tradition.


Note 1 Toward a Theory of Free Speech: Lacan and Leo Strauss

Submitted by Jim Aune on March 18, 2010 - 10:56pm

I may have been starting in the wrong place for developing a general theory of free speech. It may make more sense to start with the strategies of censorship and counter-strategies of writers/speakers for evading censorship. 'What is it that one cannot pardon Leo Strauss for? For having promised the idea, through his lectures, that there is always a thinking elite which has never had the ability to say clearly what it is thinking, that it should practice the art of writing so that one can perceive that one is in the loop.


It's Demographic Anxiety, Stupid

Submitted by Jim Aune on March 1, 2010 - 10:47pm

Michael Lind is the one pundit who gets it--Obama's constituency is the professional upper-middle class, and the Republicans have tapped into white working-class anxiety since 1980. Add in the anxieties underlying the "pro-life" question, and you have a seamless ideological web.