The Meaning of Rhetoric:
For the longest time, I had heard of rhetorical questions. That was my first and only introduction to anything that had to do with rhetoric. So when I took English classes that started teaching rhetoric, it became kind of confusing. Rhetorical questions are stupid and ones you don't answer - how does it go from this to meaning persuasion? Turns out rhetoric is a tiny bit more complex.
I specify now that rhetoric is the functional organization of discourse within its social and cultural context, in all its aspects, exception made for its realization as a strictly formal metalanguage - in formal logic, mathematics, and in sciences who metalanguages share the same features. In other words: rhetoric is all of language, in its realization as discourse.
I enjoy this quote because Valesio states:
Jacob Robertson, in this video, describes anything from talking to someone, drawing a picture, having a job interview, those are rhetorical choices. Even refraining from talking or communicating to someone, is a method of using rhetoric.
It's all of language: the purpose, context, construction, grammar, the perceived message, effectiveness, feedback and many more. The organized arrangement of letters in a structured sentence given inflection to convey the spoken or written message.
At the same time it can be not spoken and still conveyed with an inflection that could be perceived differently like the image above. The deals end up popping out more to get shoppers to use buy these items due to bigger savings. But these items could only have these prices because they must sign up for a members' card. Buy in to the card so you can buy cheaper groceries - advertisements are a form of (sometimes a bit more obvious) rhetoric. I really do only shop at Kroger due to their deals.
According to Sean Morey in The Digital Writer, Theodore Roosevelt said "Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big" (p. 10). Morey refutes Roosevelt and says rhetoric is action, that his words create action. Protesters nowadays protest to take action for a cause and in doing so, convince others to protest.
To persuade someone to take action by taking action yourself is also a form of rhetoric. Rhetoric is persuasion is more than just words or actions by themselves - it's everything that is a factor to the audience in making their decisions.
This image is rhetorically stating the difference between a boss and a leader. Bosses are a derogatory term for people who choose not to work while leaders are at the forefront and working. This image exists to persuade the viewer to acknowledge the difference and possibly change their mindset from bossing people to leading people. I like this image because I never really thought about how hard it really is to lead until I had to, and in some cases, I wasn't the right person for the job.
One thing I love, and the internet does too, are superbowl ads.
Companies with great, funny or inspiring ads make me respect them more - especially if they're bold and pull it off. I'm sure spending 5 million dollars on average for the ad space helps the companies when millions of viewers watch the Super Bowl "only for the ads" (myself included). Not to mention the hundreds of articles based solely on showing the commercials and rating them. In the case of gaining my respect, Mini really stuck out for me. The message is to "Defy labels" and within six seconds they point out "the gay car" label.
I thought that was the perfect way to state their message. It's 2016 and gay marriage in America just became legal not even a year before this aired. Football has a ton of different viewers, some who agree and some who disagree with marriage equality laws. Mini could have left out that small 4 second segment and still have the message, yet they didn't and took that stance. Granted, I've been to some rural areas in Georgia with people who probably would have spontaneously combusted having seen this and seeing this ad really played into that for me. This form of rhetoric convinced me that Mini is in line with my beliefs which plays into customer trust. I've never owned a Mini, but I would be even prouder to own one if I did.
Coming in contact with more definitions of Rhetoric certainly helped me understand that holistically, rhetoric really is everything. I can't count the number of times I am at work in meetings and trying to convince people of how to proceed, how to improve, etc. Even at my valet job, I have hundreds of people complain about paying for parking, but I explain to them that without the service, there would literally be no spots for them to be able to consistently park. Conversations like that always make me think more about comprising in arguments versus trying to win, and that's how I mainly use rhetoric in my life.
What makes you buy certain items?
What's your favorite super bowl ad and why?
Do you have specific examples of using rhetoric?