Tag Archives: political

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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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 Virtue of Those Who Listen to What Others Have to Say

(Note: The following is written as an exercise in rhetoric — it’s exploratory and is not meant to be exhaustive. The format is based on the outline given in Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students, Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee, Pearson, … Continue reading

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Martin Luther King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’: Brilliant Rhetoric

I’ve long admired Martin Luther King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” as a masterful and powerful composition. King wrote the letter from the Birmingham, Ala., city jail April 16, 1963, where he was under arrest as a result of civil rights demonstrations that … 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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