Monthly Archives: January 2011

Rhetoric That Works…

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Rhetoric that works…

Persuasive-essays

Truman Doctrine

 Harry Truman’s March 12, 1947 speech to Congress outlining U.S. aid to Greece and Turkey. More important, it spelled out our future foreign policy, “…it must be the policy to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation.”

This is basically the document that set the U.S. role as the world’s super police.

 “…At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life. The choice is too often not a free one…I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way. I believe that our help should be primarily through economic and financial aid which is essential to economic stability and orderly political processes. The world is not static, and the status quo is not sacred. But we cannot allow changes in the status quo in violation of the Charter of the United Nations by such methods as coercion, or by such subterfuges as political infiltration. In helping free and independent nations to maintain their freedom, the United States will be giving effect to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

COCHRAN: If the gloves don’t fit… (4 min. 41 seconds into it)

  Juror in EMU case votes to convict – Orange Taylor of Homicide

 Matthew McConaughey’s closing arguement from “A Time To Kill”

 Tom Cruise grilling Jack Nicholson on the stand in “A Few Good Men”

  

 

 

 

 

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Open letter to Expressivism…

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Dear Expressivism:

 

You are the bane to my exist—er, insanity. Without you, I would be lost—er, a dictionary auditioning for the next slot on the Encyclopedia Britannica site, under the topic of boring.

 

I give you my best ink splattered pages and what do you give me in return? You give me a voice—a voice in my head that answers, that talks back but also one that questions.

 

Sometimes those questions echo, bouncing back and forth from temporal lobe to the cortex and whatever other synaptically charged areas returning fire.

 

A, B, C, D, P, Q…All quiet on the Western Front—front lines of writing need you. Expressivism wants You!

 

Can you handle your voice? You want your voice? You’re not writer enough to handle your voice.

Expressive_type_eminem_lose_details

First Words

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What words did President Obama say most frequently in his speech last night?

State-of-the-union-wordle-007

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AgdO92JOXxAOdDROSGZxT183ak9pMHMzcEpDX21tN0E&hl=en#gid=9

Second state of the union message – most frequent words

Click headings to sort

Word

Washington

Lincoln

Roosevelt

Kennedy

Reagan

GW Bush

Obama

I

8

46

28

41

43

35

67

Will

13

47

27

45

73

48

58

What

1

6

1

2

8

4

36

New

0

14

5

43

8

13

36

More

10

32

2

20

18

11

34

People

0

34

12

10

19

14

33

America

0

2

4

14

25

33

26

Make

2

5

8

6

11

7

23

World

0

6

7

22

14

19

18

Government

3

8

9

3

20

4

18

Do you fear the truth in your writing?

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We do this…

Jacques Derrida, founder of deconstruction does this… 

Jacques Derrida was (1930-2004) the founder of “deconstruction,” a way of criticizing not only both literary and philosophical texts but also political institutions. Although Derrida at times expressed regret concerning the fate of the word “deconstruction,” its popularity indicates the wide-ranging influence of his thought, in philosophy, in literary criticism and theory, in art and, in particular, architectural theory, and in political theory.

To Error is Student, For Audience is Devine…

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This week in Learning How to Write…

Marilyn Cooper talks sense in “The Ecology of Writing” when she so eloquently states, “So revolution [of whether to commit to prewriting, writing and revising] dwindles to dogma” (p. 364). That doctrine is spewed as well in Lester Faigley’s article, “Competing Theories of Process: A Critique and a Proposal” where he claims, “If the process movement is to continue to influence the teaching of writing and to supply alternatives to current-traditional pedagogy, it must take a broader conception of writing, one that understands writing processes are historically dynamic—not psychic states, cognitive routines, or neutral social relationships” (p. 537). In fact, Faigley continues to move the revolution forward by reminding readers that future research in writing should shift into focusing on “how the possibilities for individual expression will be affected by major technological changes in progress” (p. 538).

The discussion on process on whether to ditch it and stick with the expressivist bent on finding the writer’s true voice or stay true to the rhetorical theory of the logic behind truth found from an informed standpoint is definitely influenced by both Lisa Ede and Andrea Lunsford. Their article “Audience Addressed/Audience Invoked: The Role of Audience in Composition Theory and Pedagogy” zooms in one important aspect that many teachers deal with which is “to be for or against an emphasis on audience in composition courses” (155).  They discuss how some writing models also make an ultimatum—emphasis on the writer or on the finished product but never a compromise in between (157). Ede and Lunsford stress that these models also put too much concentration on the “role of the audience than on that of the writer.” Their answer to that happy medium lies in identifying the writers’ “internal dialogue” where they try to create the audience based on what they know (158). Furthermore, the audience cannot just be a creation of the writer’s mind. They assert that a writer has to not only do the research to know the audience but also create a mental concept of them so as to make the audience feel “invited…to see themselves as [the writer]…saw them” (p.163).

What sums it all up though, is, “One of the factors that makes writing so difficult, as we know, is that we have no recipes: each rhetorical situation is unique and thus requires the writer, catalyzed and guided by a strong sense of purpose, to reanalyze and reinvent solutions” (p. 164). Some of their parting words of advice to writers are that whoever wishes to “be read must often adapt their discourse to meet the needs and expectations of an addressed audience” (p. 166). Of course, the writers need to remember as a writer they are also a reader when they go through writing process—“…writers create readers and readers create riders. In the meeting of these two lies meaning, lies communication” (p. 169).

 

After audience is identified, the actual process comes back into play and what comes next really blows all the other theories out of the water. David Bartholomae writes in “The Study of Error” talks about how there really isn’t a set standard of what basic writing is (p. 253). He specifies that it definitely is something that children are learning rather it is “a variety of writing, not writing with fewer parts or more rudimentary constituents” (p. 254). To move these students forward, he employs a method that focuses on giving these writers back the control that they lack in “choice and option” (p. 255).

Basically Bartholomae has a student writer reread his/her writing aloud in order for him to learn and classify whether a student is just making a grammatical error or if a student cannot make the distinction of the error him/herself (pp. 257-258). This empowers a student, he claims, by allowing a student to flex the muscle of control as “language users” (p. 258). What then is revealed is the “ ‘intended’ text that can supplement a teacher’s or researcher’s own reconstruction and aid in the interpretation of errors, whether they be accidental, interlingua, or due to dialect interference” (p.266).

 

Now all professional theories aside, my past practices in teaching composition aligns with Ede and Lunsford in terms of how I have focused on creating audience but also researched audience as well. This is what I teach my students. It’s not good enough just to have it in your head. Knowing is a powerful tool. Additionally, the study of errors that Bartholomae talks of is something I am kind of guilty of—in a way. I often point out to students that when you read your work out loud, you pick up on errors that you never noticed in your head. In fact, I really push to have other students read the work back to the original writer to see if the intended message to the audience is well-received. If it’s not, then I have the writer try to figure out what flaws/errors are holding that writer back. It always seemed like common sense to me.

 

 

From high school to college, in writing audience is key.

 

 

 

I Profess I Know Naught on Process.

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James Berlin’s 1982 “The Major Pedagogical Theories” strikes me like a broken record. Berlin starts off with the idea that “the composing process is always and everywhere the same because writer, reality, reader, and language are always and everywhere the same” (2). In a myopic world, perhaps, process is a finite thing. Words like always and same are something I never like to assign to composition. He continues on to bash the rhetorical processes of some of the ancient world’s greatest known thinkers, which he has every right to do so, despite his repetitive plea that process is key to keeping the truths in writing alive.

On the other hand, I find the Richard Fulkerson article does have some valid points about where “Composition at the Turn of the 21st Century” is headed when he mentioned theory wars. I mean, composition instructors are writers at heart, and as such, egos take place before intent. Who is to say what approach is the best? Does the loudest voice get heard first? Albeit, we, as the future of composition instruction or the students of it, cart before the horse, chicken or the egg—need to agree on one thing.

“Are we teaching students to write in order that they should become successful insiders? Or are we teaching them to write so that they are more articulate critical outsiders? (Or even so that they “know themselves”?) The major divide is no longer expressive personal writing versus writing for readers (or whatever oppositional phrase you prefer” (Fulkerson 679).

Whether it be a current/traditionalist who flogs you with her red pen for incomplete sentences, a cultural stud ies methodolo gist who gives you a demographically related reading text to be inspired by, a feministic expressivist who has to make sure that you feel good about what you have written in your original voice or a hidden criminal defense lawyer posing as a composition instructor who is hell bent on cross-examining your paper, one thing is certain. They will definitely get you to write something and go through some sort of pseudo-process at that.

 

 

Snoopy_typing

The DAWG is back!

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Yesterday one of my second hour students walked into my room towards the end of the day to turn in an assignment. On his way in, another student hollered, “Hey, boi” (This is the spelling they use for the long, drawn out vocalized accent on the invisible second syllable. Now, in my experience, the appropriate response is a clipped, staccato response of, “What up, doe?” (Doe being short for dawg, of course.)

Little did I know that the urban dialogue protocol had changed.

“What up, dAaaawwg!?”

Confusing. I know that language is constantly changing, but to revert back to the old euphemisms, well, frankly, I think it sets the whole efficiency of the urban hip hop vernacular back a step. I try to keep up with the fresh, the tight, the dip–words in the know how, on the fly. Lol. However, when it changes back to last season’s style, I need to check in with some kind of crib sheet.