Yeah, Write.

"That's not writing; that's just typing." –Truman Capote



Rhetoric SOS

This first one I have linked to a bunch. BYU did a great job with their rhetoric pages. 

This second one is the Writing Center from Texas A & M and they offer some good advice for writing in general and specifically for writing a rhetorical analysis, though what they offer could easily fall into the 5 paragraph essay precipice if you aren’t careful to sidestep it.

These two links are from the same university and offer a great example of rhetorical analysis and some tips for conducting a rhetorical analysis as well as helpful writing tips in general. The one thing I will say though, is that the example essay commits a few egregious style errors. I gagged at least three times. Still though, the analysis is good.

And then there’s this one that even cites Bitzer!

More (pilfered) food for thought:

A complete rhetorical analysis requires the researcher to move beyond identifying and labeling in that creating an inventory of the parts of a text represents only the starting point of the analyst’s work.

From the earliest examples of rhetorical analysis to the present, this analytical work has involved the analyst in interpreting the meaning of these textual components–both in isolation and in combination–for the person (or people) experiencing the text. This highly interpretive aspect of rhetorical analysis requires the analyst to address the effects of the different identified textual elements on the perception of the person experiencing the text.

So, for example, the analyst might say that the presence of feature x will condition the reception of the text in a particular way. Most texts, of course, include multiple features, so this analytical work involves addressing the cumulative effects of the selected combination of features in the text.”

(Mark Zachary, “Rhetorical Analysis.” The Handbook of Business Discourse, ed. by Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini. Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2009)

Starbucks not just as an institution or as a set of verbal discourses or even advertising but as a material and physical site is deeply rhetorical. . . . Starbucks weaves us directly into the cultural conditions of which it is constitutive. The color of the logo, the performative practices of ordering, making and drinking the coffee, the conversations around the tables, and the whole host of other materialities and performances of/in Starbucks are at once the rhetorical claims and the enactment of the rhetorical action urged. In short, Starbucks draws together the tripartite relationships among place, body and subjectivity. As a material/rhetorical place, Starbucks addresses and is the very site of a comforting and discomforting negotiation of these relationships.

(Greg Dickinson, “Joe’s Rhetoric: Finding Authenticity at Starbucks.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Autumn 2002)

These are resources for you. Explanations. Go-to guides. Use them. Use them, I say!


Here’s the Video Clip that is linked to in the PSAT make up document on my website for you all. I hear it may not be working. Hopefully this will.

Oh, Hello There, Monday.

I don’t know about you, but Mondays always seem to sneak up and tap me on the shoulder and then when I turn around, they’ve gone the other way and are standing there, grinning menacingly like a bully waiting to steal my lunch money and shove my head in a toilet. That’s what Mondays are like.

You may or may not have this same attitude about Mondays, but nobody seems to be firing on all cylinders the first day of the work/school week, so I’m going to offer a rundown of things you need to know that I may or may not have said during class, or things that–even if I said them–you may or may not have heard, and that you still may or may not see, BECAUSE YOU STILL AREN’T READING MY BLOG! Okay, so the shouting font is probably unnecessary since the students who will actually see it are, in fact, blog-reading students and not the ones who need the memo. But I digress…

Read “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift for tomorrow. It’s in your 50 Essays book. Do a nice fat CRJ for it now that you know what CRJs should and should not include and how you should do them. The cycle of random collections has begun. Be warned. Be prepared. Always.

You’ve successfully signed up for the following for your rhetorical analysis paper:

“The Importance of Being Hated” (Klosterman)
Ruth, Julia, Emily, Shreya, Heather
Kaitlin, Emily
“Super People” (Atlas)
Caroline C, Sarah, Alicia, Taylor, Jessica
Becky, Nadeen, Matt, Teresa, Bridget
“Is Google Making Us Stupid?” (Carr)
Abram, Jenny C, Max, Adam
Megan, Fatima, Jason, Jeneen, Ashna
“Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and …Dinosaurs” (Gould)
Ryan, Ashton, Eric

Dwight, Ryan, Summer, Quinn
“Unsavory Culinary Elitism” (Bruni)
Jenny L, Megan, Meredith

Jack, Alyssa, Jenna
“Bad Food? Tax It, and Subsidize Veggies” (Bittman) 
Andrew, Kara
Lauren, Ambriana
“Your Outboard Brain Knows All” (Thompson)
Alison, Sereen
“Our Vanishing Night” (Klinkenborg)
“Curbing Nature’s Paparazzi” (McKlibben)
Caroline A*
“Games” (Johnson)
“Ugly Phrase Conceals Ugly Truth” (Rushdie)
“Authority and American Usage” (Wallace)
“To The Academy with Love from a Hip-hop Fan” (Evelyn)

*We’ve talked.

If you end up wanting to change your topic (sooner rather than later) you may do so but you need to communicate that with me. Some are now off-limits because they’re full. Some did not get any bids so they’re sad right now and you could change your mind and choose one of those other rejected articles. They are not listed here. I only listed the ones you chose. Annie chose the best one. Period. And she’s the only one. So she gets an A. (for choice anyway) But they’re all good so you really can’t go wrong, just remember what I said about understanding it and seeing rhetorical goodies in it.

Read it bunches and bunches of time this week. Annotate it. Begin drafting your paper. Outline its argument. Outline your argument about its argument. GET. TO. WORK.

We’ll hear from our vocab folks tomorrow about this weeks words (see previous post) and those lovely ladies and gentlemen will e-mail me their (creative, smart, and beautifully-formatted) quiz questions by midnight on Wednesday.

Take that, Monday.

"Is This Right?"

Many of you have asked me this very question about any number of things — usually your assignment. You do this because you are conscientious students, grade grubbers, people pleasers, or any combination thereof. With rhetoric, and specifically rhetorical analysis, there really is no one “right” way to do something, no “right” answer. There are, however, many wrong ones and I know you are simply trying to avoid them. So, here:

Rhetorical analysis is just listing what rhetorical strategies an author or speaker uses. FALSE.
Rhetorical analysis is about finding three exactly perfect examples of exactly three devices the speaker or author uses. Again, FALSE. Rhetorical analysis is some mystical process whereby the analysisyzer uncovers the hidden key of rhetoric buried in the work. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. (epizeuxis)

Rhetorical analysis involves exploring and explaining (read: analyzing) how the author or speaker presents his or her argument and persuades the audience to accept it. It includes what he or she does — the bending, tweaking, and manipulating of language, images, and ideas — but it goes beyond this. Far, far beyond this. Analysis means to make an argument about an argument. Analysis means to prove how a certain device, technique, strategy, or tactic does what you say it does in the text at hand. What the effect of a given rhetorical thingy is, and why it is effective in this particular circumstance. So JFK uses antimetabole when he delivers the famous “ask not what your country can do for you…” line, so what? Given the circumstances, the occasion for this argument (EAA Ch1) and the purpose of the speaker, why might he have selected to deliver this line, using these words in this way? Why is it effective? How does that do anything for the audience? How does that do anything to propel his argument? Exploring and answering these questions is analysis.

Don’t misunderstand me here, I’m certainly not suggesting that you list a bunch of questions. That isn’t the assignment. That isn’t analysis, though it is an internal (usually) process of it. You should arrive at statements: conclusions. You, an “analysisyzer”, to repeat the faux word I used above, are tasked with making claims about the text in question. Explaining how.

HOW. It’s all about the how.

Also, I get an F for FORGETTING vocab again this week. Still, I maintain that learning 5 words is a simple task and learning the definitions (officially) on Thursday still provides enough time to prepare for a quiz the following Monday.  So it’s on like Donkey Kong.

Obama Speech

Here’s a link to the speech. It begins at 3:30. Or try THIS ONE.

Apparently he gave his speech at 1:30 this afternoon. Sorry about that. Still, watch it (it should be posted/made public and/or replayed soon) and the assignment stands as is. HERE is a transcript of his speech for your reference, but you still need to watch it. Also, I tweeted a Washington Post article and a Huffington Post article that respond to Obama’s student address (it’s over on the right in that Twitter box that’s usually empty) and HERE is another article about it just for good measure.

Do I need to read those? You’re wondering. Well, no I guess not. You don’t need to read them if you don’t want to be informed about the world and don’t care about your education and thus your life. (Logical fallacies of sentimental appeal and non sequitur and probably ten others.) But in all seriousness, I do think these are valuable to read, look at, and take up in some way, but no part of the assignment it particularly tied to any of them. They’re just informative and thought-provoking.

Your assignment is this: Watch Obama’s address sometime when you can (so, when it is made public and repeated, and You Tubed, and archived on news websites like and perform an informal, yet substantive and thoughtful rhetorical analysis. Post said analysis on your blog by Sunday __:00 (time to be determined, see poll). You may post it sooner if you wish.

Whaaaaaa? You say. No worries, you have the resources you need. You were given a “Rhetorical Analysis” sheet not too long ago and you are reading through the chapter in EAA all about speeches (Chapter 17: Spoken Arguments) and it literally walks you through how to do this. Speech analysis = rhetorical analysis of a speech. Make sure you comment on the following: tone, intonation, cadence, posture, gestures, general appearance, use of appeals, argument, diction — okay, so that’s like everything. But because this is spoken, you need to comment on how it sounds and how he looks while speaking, in addition to the usual stuff.

Don’t freak out, this isn’t huge. Your usual blog posts are 5 points, this one is 10 points. Use this as practice for those cryptic “things to come” that matter a whole lot. 

If you have questions, email me. It’s way easier than commenting on my blog. It’s also private so people can’t see your questions. You also should ask those questions sooner rather than later. If you wait until Sunday, I will be crabby with you. This weekend is Homecoming. Just to it tonight if at all humanly possible. If you cannot, do it tomorrow night. I know that on Friday you will be all busy with the parade and the football game and then on Saturday you have to go get a spray tan and get your nails and hair done and get all gussied up for the dance — oh, wait, it’s a blacklight dance so you’ll all probably just come in jeans.

In any case, it’s a busy weekend. Don’t wait.

Logical Fallacies

You should do this because I said so!

Step one: go to my website and then to your course page

Step two: find the LOGICAL FALLACIES item toward the bottom. Print it.

Step three: find resources on logical fallacies to help you with this task. Start with your book, Everything’s An Argument (ch 19) and then take to the internet. Try this or this. Google this, people, Google this. Here’s yet another site that deals with logical fallacies. There are many others. Go find them!

Step four:  Read the directions.

Step five:Work your way through the examples. There are about 20 of them; you needn’t do all of them, but do at least 10. Write on the sheet (in the margins) or on another sheet of paper. The goal is to sniff out and name the logical fallacies present in the arguments provided. It will require full attention and focus. Shut out everything else and let your brain work. Is the argument logical? Do the premises lead to the conclusion? When you think you’ve detected the fallacy and correctly named it, make sure you will remember tomorrow why you thought it was that one. If you cannot figure out what to name it, at least explain how the argument works (or doesn’t). Explain the problem.

BLA meeting #1 tomorrow. Make sure you review the handout about this practice and that everyone knows what to do for tomorrow and is ready to fully participate. 

Literacy Narrative re-writes are due on Friday. 

Stolen Post

I was just going to write about this very same topic and point you to the very same website. Prokott beat me to it, so I’m stealing this from her. What’s super duper awesome is that she said it almost exactly the same way I would. Check it out. Now. Go. Click on it!

“When Are We Gonna Get Our Essays Back?”: “I hate you Ms. Prokott, I can’t write a short nar…: For those of you who are struggling with keeping your narrative short, specific, and lyrical, I turn you to one of the greatest creative non…

Just to Clarify…

Write a blog post in response to “The Inner Ring” (see previous blog post) before noon on Saturday (or sometime this weekend).

Read and annotate George W. Bush’s 9/11 speech (linked on my website)

Read EAA Chapter 19 on Logical Fallacies (I recommend taking notes, but have no specific requirement for you to do so).

We’ll be working with both the Bush speech and Ch 19 on Monday and into Tuesday.

You also have a vocab quiz on Monday (students responsible for the definitions and quiz questions really need to get on it, I’ve only received a few…) and  next week I’ll ask to see your “Research Log” for your Blog Study Project. I’m not looking to see that you’ve invested hours and hours and pages and pages, I am looking to see that you have invested some hours and some pages and that you’re pretty well acquainted with your blog of choice at this point. 

The Inner Ring

Please write a response to “The Inner Ring” on your blog by Saturday, let’s just go with noon. You may write a response to what Lewis is saying, examples of how it applies to high school, general sentiments on this concept of Inner Rings and/or our motivation for belonging, etc. It need to be obviously connected to and relevant to the speech, but otherwise you have some freedom. You could get a little creative and write from the perspective of a King’s College grad who heard the speech.

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