Tag Archives: Rhetoric

What I’m reading 2 Mar 2017 through 17 Mar 2017

  • Trump Embraces One Of Russia’s Favorite Propaganda Tactics — Whataboutism : NPR – Rhetoric is *always* about policy.

    > But whataboutism extends beyond rhetoric, said Dmitry Dubrovsky, a professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. "It's not only a narrative practice; it's real policy," he said. "For example, the Russians installed a special institute to cover the violation of human rights in the United States." – (epistemology politics rhetoric trump )

  • Trump knows the feds are closing in on him – Today's poli-rhetorical lesson from Business Insider. – (none)
  • Trump’s Speech to Congress Was Not “Normal” – The New Yorker – > Yet these were superficialities. On closer inspection, Tuesday’s speech was not that normal at all—at least, not in light of what the President and his aides have spent the past few weeks doing and saying. Trump’s sudden distaste for “the wedge of disunity”—a wedge he has used with such abandon that he could just as well brand it, gild it, and have his sons sell it—was so obviously at odds with his public persona that it provoked, on the Democratic side of the aisle, bitter laughter. But the starkest contradiction the speech contained was the one between the President, who promised “a new program of national rebuilding,” and the words of his senior adviser, Stephen Bannon, who announced, only five days earlier, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, in Washington, that the Administration had begun a project of “deconstruction.” So which is it: Is the federal government in the construction business, as Trump insists, or the deconstruction business, as Bannon has put it? Can it possibly be in both? – (rhetoric )

What I’m reading 9 Feb 2017 through 19 Feb 2017

  • Donald Trump and the Enemies of the American People – The New Yorker – How to define the enemy as anyone who challenges power

    > an old-fashioned autocrat wielding a very familiar rhetorical strategy.

    > all follow a general pattern. They attack and threaten the press with deliberate and ominous intensity; the press, in turn, adopts a more oppositional tone and role. “And then that paves the way for the autocrat’s next move,” Simon told me. “Popular support for the media dwindles and the leader starts instituting restrictions. It’s an old strategy.” Simon pointed to Trump’s lack of originality, recalling that both Néstor Kirchner, of Argentina, and Tabaré Ramón Vázquez, of Uruguay, referred to the press as the “unelected political opposition.” And, as Simon has written, it was the late Hugo Chávez who first mastered Twitter as a way of bypassing the media and providing his supporters with alternative facts. – (rhetoric politics trump )

  • Donald Trump Will Leave You Numb – The New York Times – I can't recall the rhetorical figure of "repeat until exhausted." Too tired. But this is also about kairos: "Not by accident did he put on that 77-minute performance for the media — hurling insults, flinging lies, marinating in self-pity, luxuriating in self-love — just three days after the resignation of his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and amid intensifying questions about collusion between Team Trump and the Russians.
    "He was cluttering the landscape. Overwhelming the senses. Betting that a surfeit of clangorous music would obscure any particularly galling note. That wager got him all the way to the White House, though he has no place being there, and so he sticks with it. The news conference was a case study in such orchestrated chaos." – (rhetoric rhetorical_velocity kairos exhaustion simuations analysis )
  • Understanding Trump « George Lakoff – – (none)

What I’m reading 29 Jan 2017 through 6 Feb 2017

  • Vie and deWinter – Disrupting Intellectual Property, from Wikis in Composition – For teachers mainly. > By challenging the authority of the single authorial voice, wikis also call into question traditional notions of intellectual property as a market commodity. These notions propagate the argument that ideas are a unique product of individual labor and can thus “belong” to a single person. It may be precisely because wikis challenge these established notions that some student users resist their use in the classroom. In keeping with this general theme, the questions that guide our research are as follows: What is the currency of intellectual property in the university setting? Do wikis, in fact, disrupt established, dominant notions of intellectual property? – (wiki en3177 collaboration collaborativewriting copyright )
  • The Peek-a-Boo World of a Global Villager – The Hawk’s Roost – Connects Blood, Rettberg, and McLuhan in the social media village:

    > Does the disciplined approach, which blogging in its intended form is described as possessing, offer the solution to legitimizing the discussions we as a society are having. Am I wrong in sensing that social media has become plagued with a lack of ethical discourse, where important social issues are overwhelmed with copious amounts of misinformation. Where the atmosphere is clouded with an overall lack of informational credibility? – (weblogs )

  • Trump’s America, where even park employees have become enemies of the state | Sarah Kendzior | Opinion | The Guardian – A consideration of Trump's alternative facts and their rhetorical use.

    > What Americans have learned is that our system of checks and balances is so weak that even parks employees can become enemies of the state. They are learning their rights as they lose them, grieving for what they once took for granted. Fear is matched by incredulity that hundreds of years of imperfect democracy could cede into autocracy with such ease. Trump’s win was followed by debate over what it means to live in a “post-facts” world. This was a fatuous debate: if facts did not matter, then Trump and his team, whose threats of punishment and litigation long preceded his official lock on power, would not work so hard to suppress them. The idea of a fact always mattered – it simply had to be the Trump administration’s facts that counted. Trump’s adviser, Kellyanne Conway, made this blatant last weekend when she stated that the administration would proffer “alternative facts” that justified its political aims. – (politics rhetoric trump )

What I’m reading 3 Dec 2016 through 17 Dec 2016

What I’m reading 19 Aug 2016 through 24 Aug 2016

What I’m reading 21 Jun 2016 through 28 Jun 2016

  • And the Pulitzer goes to… a computer | Technology | The Guardian – Journalism stories compiled by algorithm – a lot like procedural poetry. – (DH )
  • [priv] How My “Disarm Hate” Slogan Went Viral (A Lesson in Network Communities and Networks, Part I) – For erhet fall 2016 – (erhetoric rhetorical_velocity )
  • Trump: The Clickbait Candidate – How might digital rhet address this? A fourth office? Spectacle?

    > The thing to remember here is that the act of measuring a process also changes that process. Analytics send a signal to journalists and their editors. In this instance, the signal is that Trump brings in way more traffic than Bush, Cruz, Walker, Clinton, Sanders, or Carson. And this signal then helps guide their news routines — people seem to want more Trump, so let’s give it to them.

    > digital media does not only provide alternative means for people to speak; it also creates new pathways for organizations to listen. We have grown accustomed to looking at digital media as an alternative to traditional media. … Trump’s victory didn’t come about because he bypasses the media through Twitter. It is because he uses Twitter (and press conferences) to create a media spectacle, and media organizations, carefully monitoring their own analytics, respond with blockbuster coverage. – (analysis rhetoric erhetoric )

What I’m reading 16 Jun 2016 through 19 Jun 2016

What I’m reading 5 Mar 2016 through 7 Mar 2016

  • Should Academics Talk to Katie Couric? – The Chronicle – Once more into the breech of consumption. Don't make me think! "Academic writing has the benefit of scholarly rigor, full documentation, and original thinking. But the transmission of our ideas is routinely hampered — understandably, given academe’s publication, evaluation, and tenure conditions — by a great deal of peer-oriented jargon." – (rhetoric academicwriting scholarship2.0 )
  • Coming Down From the Clouds: On Academic Writing – The Chronicle – A defense rather than an apologia for scholarly writing. We're not writing for The General Public. We're writing on the edge of knowledge – and that requires some effort. "Yes, some academic writing is more abstruse than it needs to be. No doubt, scholarship should not be hidden behind expensive paywalls. And, yes, academics, like all people, are shaped by the conditions of their employment. … But the story is more complicated." "there is a risk when we mistakenly assume that public and scholarly writing are the same thing — that one is good and clear and the other is needlessly complex." – (scholarship2.0 composition academia2.0 academicwriting )
  • Fear of Screens – The New Inquiry – Jurgenson, review of Reclaiming Conversation, Turkle. "Why would anyone want to believe that people who are communicating with phones have forgotten what friendship is?" My notes on http://mcmorgan.wikity.cc/digital-dualism/ – (mediation identity semiotics )

What I’m reading 23 Nov 2015 through 1 Dec 2015

getting a start on rethinking composing in fedwiki

The cat, her chair, and her greenhouse.

I finally made a start on Composing in FedWiki, with Rethinking Composing in FedWiki. The premise: FedWiki presents a rhetorical context unlike that of traditional, commons-based wikis. So it’s an opportunity to rethink some of the compositional moves developed for the traditional wiki.

I have two ends here. One is to make wiki writing more substantive than it has been in the past:

Years of watching thread mode discussions go on at Weblogs and Wikis and the advent of FedWiki as a distributed system has encouraged me to re-think the old ThreadMode into DocumentMode pattern of composing. ThreadMode is an inventional technique – a way of locating and trying out the ways that an idea might be constructed and a document composed. But documents don’t get composed; contributors stay in thread mode. The reasons are complex, I’m sure, but little moves forward in thread mode.

And a second is to explore what federated composing can bring us:

Because each contributor owns her own iteration of the fedwiki, she – each of us – is responsible for her own refactoring – her own development of the argument, her own dissertation, which lives with her. A set of notes won’t do in this case. For a page to become part of the linked federation, the [[Chorus of Voices]] (an idea forwarded by Ward and now picked up by the community), it will need to be discursive. Or, put better, those pages that become part of the community will be discursive rather than threads.

What I’m doing in Rethinking Composing in FedWiki is looking at both street-level techniques and rhetorical strategies.

I’m setting aside some of the patterns from traditional wiki writing (ThreadMode, DocumentMode, the WikiWord, the fallback use of bullet lists) for patterns more aligned with the distributed nature of FedWiki. Even the pattern of moving from ThreadMode to DocumentMode goes away for a move from Dissertation to Discourse.

That is, we move [[From Dissertation to Discourse]] rather than from thread mode to document mode. In Radical Discourse, we place partially- or wholly-formed arguments in meaningful orders. This can be done as a set of paragraphs on a page, or as a set of links and stubs.

A few things are lost: WikiWords as topics, for instance, is a loss because it serves as such a quick way of creating a linked page, a quickness and facility that the wiki was named for. But that quickness is a feature of the new rhetorical context I’m addressing in Rethinking. Yeah, being able to create and link nodes with little effort is good. But what goes in the nodes needs some refinement to be valuable to one’s federation. We were taking the quick-to-create-a-node idea into quick and easy to create content. Rather than outside research and serious drafting, we would go onto ThreadMode-like freewriting. Even formatting is implicated in the drive for speed: bullet lists instead of formed paragraphs. We worked with the idea that someone else would come along and tidy things up.

The aspect of the commons also gets in the way of creating commonality. We were trying to negotiate all aspects and points of view on one shared page – a rhetorically difficult and sophisticated task. That difficulty is really worth working thorough, but the wiki, with its emphatic speed and shared commonality works against the task. Contributors leave pages in pre-draft states – pages of notes rather that of arguments and propositions that can be further built on. We never really get to enacting or presenting the multiple points of view.

I’m thinking about a different way of thinking about software tools. A move from valuing them for their Ease of Use to valuing them for their Augmentation. Using a tool for the augmentation of intellect is not easy to do, and it’s not easy to learn how to do it. In augmentation, at the very least the tool doesn’t get in the way of doing something new. At best, the tool changes understanding. I’m not looking at FedWiki as a typewriter-like tool, where work is selecting from a finite set of signifiers, so much as a painter’s brush and pallet, where work involves conceptualization and reconceptualization. Yeah, it’s an art rather than a transcription (which a lot of ThreadMode tends to be: a transcription of commonplaces).

The significant change in the rhetorical situation of writing with FedWiki is a move from a shared commons to a locally-owned federation. This move changes how we handle multiple arguments and points of view. It doesn’t eliminate them, but it seems they have to be more fully formed than a set of notes in order to work with them in a federation. The federated model is, perhaps, a more accurate – er, useful? – model of how knowledge is distributed in both its commonality and difference than the commons-based model. It could be more fragmented than the commons-based wiki seems to suggest, but it could also be that the commons is pretty fragmented already but tarred over to conceal the differences. The matter that interests me is the dynamic of local construction and public distribution. Each contributor architects her own iteration drawn from publicly shared elements – right down to the paragraphs! – and places that iteration in public circulation. There are rhetorical possibilities in these circumstances that are worth exploring.

Finally, to consider is the wiki not as an end but a space of creation and composition. A few weeks of The Teaching Machines Happening, and the articles, ideas, and posts that are emerging from that Happening (Hello, Audrey) made it clear that FedWiki needs supplementing by way of a blog, email list, twitter, or some other commons. The FedWiki might become a working space, where material is re-mixed and repurposed, until it is brought out of the shop and distributed.

So: Augmentation, Federation, Distribution. We’ll see where this goes.