The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


A time for the humanities to speak up?

Submitted by Jim Brown on June 11, 2008 - 12:54pm

For a couple of weeks, I've been reading about how David Sedaris' new book may contain some "exaggerations." It seems to me that this became a hot-button issue (or at least more of of a hot-button issue) when Oprah berated James Frey about his "lies" in A Million Little Pieces. Sedaris admits that he exaggerated some details...he is a storyteller after all.


Ocean Hill-Brownsville Anniversary

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 21, 2008 - 2:01pm

Richard Kahlenberg has a splendid article in this week's Chronicle on the poisonous effects of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school controversy in 1968. I suspect most readers younger than I have never heard of it, but it helped define the internal battles in American liberalism for the last forty years.


"Carping our diem with both hands"

Submitted by Cynthia on November 8, 2007 - 8:17am

A while back some of us indicated an interest in discussing Richard Lanham's book, The Economics of {Attention}: Style and Substance in the Age of Information. Lanham is as curmudgeonly as ever, and witty, which makes for an entertaining and edifying read: "'Rhetoric' has not always been the synonym for humbug" (xii). If the interest is still out there, let's talk.


an inconvenient prize?

Submitted by Cynthia on October 14, 2007 - 11:56pm

It's wonderful that Al Gore and IPCC won the Nobel Peace Prize. NPR has an interesting story about past Peace Prize laureates and the curse of winning. The awarding of the prize has stoked the many who are calling for Gore to run for President (see
Al Gore
Gore steadfastly claims he will not run. Will this prize change his mind? Should it?


i'm so damn, um, proud

Submitted by Anonymous on August 1, 2007 - 7:32pm

The incomparable Michael Erard's book is out on August 21!

Read it! Teach it! Hell: Buy it!!
Listen to him read Chapter 1!!

Jesus, Lover Of My Soul!!!


PSU Conference #20: Rhetorics and Technologies

Submitted by Anonymous on July 10, 2007 - 5:14pm

Kudos to Stuart Selber, Matt Weiss, and all the folks who presented at and attended the 20th Penn State Conference on Rhetoric and Composition Sunday through today in Happy Valley. While I was not able to attend all of the conference -- I missed talks by the incomparable Wysocki, Johnson-Eilola, Sirc, Killingsworth, Carroll, Journet ... and at least a score of other scholars I'd have liked to have heard because we are painting the house to prepare for the next war -- what I was able to hear and see re-stoked my inventional hoo-hah.

Here's the conference website; long may it wave, resonate, and bother us, in all sorts of ways. The full conference program, bios of featured speakers, and paper abstracts are available on the website, too.

Gawd it's great to have friends visit from "away". For memory's sake, if you haven't before heard of or visited the Penn State Conference, it was annual until 1994; it has been biennial since then. Think RSA, think Watson: think permanence and change. Think 2009, when it turns 21.


New edition of Lanham's Style: An Anti-Textbook

Submitted by Cynthia on July 7, 2007 - 6:59am

Just got word of a new edition (with added content) of Richard Lanham's Style: An Anti-Textbook from Paul Dry Books. My copy is in the mail.


summer love, summer theory

Submitted by Cynthia on June 12, 2007 - 9:22am

Over on the WPA listserv a debate about military metaphors rages, specifically, calling TA training "boot camp"...calling the indented list symbol a "bullet." In thinking about my summer reading, which will include a lot of theory, in recent years there is much talk about the 'theory wars.' Two things about which Gary Genosko wrote in his book Undisciplined Theory (Sage, 1998): "The metaphor of war, it needs to be noted, never goes away. It is the engine of the discussion of theory's situation, in North America at least....While theory circulates intensely under propitious, though often short-lived, conditions in certain departments, it is afforded faint recognition across the humanities and social sciences. It has been settled in-between, but disciplinarians of all stripes are apt to give it another name, one with post-war connotations and general applicability: interdisciplinarity. Theory hangs in the balance, in the cross-appointments out of which the centre and the programme are cobbled together; in the form of the institute, the between is extra-curricular, something one pursues in the summer, at the end of the term after the 'real' intellectual labour is finished'" (1-2). I object to the military metaphors, too, but I also object to having theory deemed "something one pursues in the summer...after the 'real' intellectual labour is finished." Your thoughts?


a drawing cannot speak

Submitted by Cynthia on June 6, 2007 - 5:02am

Graffiti artists early on crafted some of the first "multimodal compositions." Rhetorical bandits who 'hang their alias on your scene' (Norman Mailer). Here's one in Denmark who goes by the name "Remember my name" (Husk Mit Navn). He's talented and also mysterious because of his anonymity. But this image struck me as a great example of the intersection of orality, literacy, image, and politics. Check out his site:


New E-book on Ulmer

Submitted by Cynthia on May 30, 2007 - 8:14pm

Just got a note from Mark Amerika of Alt-X about a new e-book collection on Greg Ulmer's work that they released called Illogic of Sense: The Gregory L. Ulmer Remix (Edited by Darren Tofts and Lisa Gye. Design by Joel Swanson). Download it here.
Illogic of Sense