Tag 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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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 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 jailĀ AprilĀ 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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A Recent Argument Against a North Carolina Bottle Bill

On 29 January 2011, the News & Observer of Raleigh, NC, published a letter to the editor by Roger Reilly of Raleigh, arguing against the establishment of a new “bottle bill” in North Carolina — see “Stinky, Sticky.” Reilly’s letter … Continue reading

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