For when 140 characters are not enough.

Tag: rhetoric

Pick me!

i just signed up to be an Explorer for Google Glass, me and a gazillion other people. The form had a drop-down menu of choices for the reason why I wanted Google Glass, but hey! I’m a writer, so I want another chance with more […]

Against happy news

Good news is one of those things that no one at all can in good conscience come out against.  However, here I am, not even a curmudgeon in training, about to write about how good news on Facebook in the form of links from sites […]

Here’s to the idea that “We won’t get fooled again”

For my Writing I students and others interested in how persuasion should work in academic writing, this week brings a fresh look at the logical fallacy by Information is Beautiful (found through veteran rhetorician Machina Memorialis). What they are calling “rhetological fallacies” are sorted with each category having its own color, all the easier to remember it by. The screen shot is of part of the Manipulating Content category, which includes an iconic graphic of boulders bouncing down a slippery slope (N.B.: Slippery Slope is a traditional name for a common type of fallacy). If all this is not enough fun for you, then use the link found in the original post to download a handy PDF of the entire chart so that you can play bingo during high-fallacy events like political debates.

On a more serious note, it is embarrassing how common these fallacies are in political debate, so much so that fallacies could be viewed by the uninitiated as expected strategy rather than sloppy thinking. For the most part, I think Writing I students utilizing these fallacies are simply mimicking the argumentation they know from public debate and not realizing that the disconnect they feel between the method used and what needs to be said has everything to do with deplorable ethical grounding in public debate. Thus, students have to learn argumentation from scratch because the majority of what they have experienced in public debate is manipulation, not argumentation. The manipulation rate in public debate long ago got too high for comfort, and manipulation is now the expected mode rather than seen as morally deficient and the last resort of scoundrels. I don’t think that people can’t can’t tell the difference, I just think that the ethical view that manipulation is wrong has been replaced by a sad view that using these techniques is “smart” because the other guy will anyway. (See “mudslinging”). The only thing I can think to do about this is to make sure students know these fallacies so that, in the immortal words of the Who, “We won’t get fooled again.”

Evaluating Sources Part Two: The Hierarchy of Cheese

The somewhat odd title for this post connects to a Writing I example I often use for describing the difference between a good source and a bad source when doing sourced writing for academia (university writing, writing for publication…). In this post, I am going […]

Evaluating Sources Part One

This post is meant mainly for my Writing I students, but others can ride along and may get something from it as well. The next two, no–three assignments in my very themed Writing I are all about the sources. The Short Project 2 is an […]

Rhetoric about Rhetoric

I love Julie Platt’s new YouTube on Sh*t Rhetoricians Say. I showed it in ENG 526/628 yesterday and even in a class with relative newcomers to rhetoric, they have encountered some of these buzzwords.

And FIrst Is Ethos

The Chronicle blog ProfHacker today has a column that shows its rhetorical roots–it is about how to persuade. It goes for Aristotelian-style and it makes sure that the order that Aristotle lists the trivium denotes importance. Instead of privileging logos, ethos is presented as the […]