Sunday 7 March 2010

New Feature!!!

If you're on Blogger, it always flags up an option at the top of the page to view the "next blog".

It changes from one hour to the next, so I don't know whether it's an alphabetical arrangement they've got, or some newfangled cyber list, but this is what I found when I took them up on their offer the night:


Chickens, Eggs, Opinions, Identities

Today I asked my classes which of the following is more true:

  • I pick my friends based on my beliefs
  • I pick my beliefs based on my friends

We were discussing the opening chapter to Crowley and Hawhee's Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students, paying particular attention to the emphasis C & H place on ethos: "Communication researchers have discovered that people generally adopt the opinions of people they know and respect." What comes first (pardon the pun): the knowing or the people? I thought this a particularly interesting question when put aside C & H's supposition that you can change opinions without changing your identity. I'm not sure about that one.

I like the Crowley and Hawhee as a primer on rhetorical theory, and it matched up nicely with a number of the readings we have already done this semester (almost all can be traced back to Burke in one way or another): Corder on ethics and narratives, Lanham on "fluff and stuff," Lakoff on frames, Booth on the distinction between evidence and reason, and Tannen on agonism. But there was one part of the reading that rubbed me the wrong way--the statement: "we mean no disrespect when we say that religious beliefs and political leanings are ideological." I get skeptical whenever I hear the preference "we mean no disrespect" since that often means that the next clause contains the possibility of significant disrespect. I find that the case here."

There's more, but I couldn't bear to repeat it.

Mind you, no doubt he'd think my stuff was self indulgent irrelevant bollocks if he ever clicked on the "Previous Blog" button. And I'm no' saying he wouldn't have a point.


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