Category Archives: Politics

Some Deceptive Rhetorical Tactics

Just thought I would make a note of some deceptive rhetorical tactics I’ve noticed and try to put a name to them. Move the needle by taking the extreme position. Whether consciously or unconsciously, taking a position on the extreme … Continue reading

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Pastor pulls a fast one in anti-gay rights speech

Setting aside any comments on the political, religious, or moral message here, I thought this Missouri pastor (if that’s what he really is) employed an interesting rhetorical technique in this speech. To really understand what he’s doing, listen all the … Continue reading

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The Birther/Deather Chiasmus

Heard on CNN, 6 May 2011: In just one week, we’ve gone from the death of birthers to the birth of deathers. (Shannon Travis) AB — 6 May 2011

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Always Arguing About That Elusive Kettle

In his book Icons of Evolution, biologist Jonathan Wells refers (p. 133) to an old lawyers’ joke in which “Jones sues Smith for borrowing his kettle and returning it with a crack in it.” The defense by Smith’s lawyers goes … Continue reading

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The Atomic Bomb and World War II: Invocations of Pathos

A recent classroom discussion called my attention to the rhetorical usefulness of key traumatic events in the experience of a community. To invoke immediate pathos, the rhetor can use a reference like “9/11” to engage the audience at a gut … Continue reading

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Interesting phrases and excerpts from Obama’s 2011 SOTU speech

Below are some rhetorical examples from the President’s State of the Union address that stand out to me. Throughout his speech, the President pushed for bipartisan cooperation: That’s the project the American people want us to work on. Together. Here … Continue reading

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Taibbi Comments on Media Responsibility for the Giffords Tragedy

Matt Taibbi, who writes about politics and the economy for Rolling Stone, makes some interesting points about the incendiary nature of political discourse these days — see his article from 10 Jan. 2011 at “The Giffords Tragedy: Is the Media … Continue reading

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