Pigs… In… Space!!!

This wasn’t even on purpose, Jay.

I couldn’t help myself with the title after reading the subtitle in Blinded By The Letter ‘Literacy in Space’; if you don’t get the reference your childhood had a shortage of Muppets (weirdly enough, puppets that I’m okay with). I hated the way this article was laid out. From having us go from two articles all about how conscious we should be about design this was an example of what not to do. I found parts of it incredibly hard to read, simply because I wasn’t always sure which part belonged with the previous sentence I had just read. Meant a lot of scrolling back and forth for me, but it is what it is. A part that made me laugh to myself a bit was the “Note of the Illustrations”. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like that in a book before; if I had I’ve never remembered it.Image result for muppet group photo I do appreciate that the note points out that the authors are aware that the drawings are of white and middle class people; as if they are acknowledging the lack of people of color and people that come from different classes and strive to be more like the Muppets.

I think that an essay like Blinded By The Letter is still important, even if the information feels a bit dated. There is a quote on page 357 that can be applied, quite well, even today:

“I stare at the textual field on my friend’s [computer] screen and I am unpersuaded. Indeed, this glimpse of the future–if it is the future–has me clinging all the more tightly to my books, the very idea of them. If I ever took them for granted, I do no longer. I now see each one as a portable enclosure, a place I can repair to release the private, unsocialized, dreaming self. A book is a solitude, privacy; it is a way of holding the self apart from the crush of the outer world.”


This quote really speaks to me. As well as a quip I heard from somewhere saying “I worry that people who are against e-readers are more in love with the idea of book than actually reading them.” Regardless of where it comes from, I think it aligns with the quote before it. The reason I identify with these two things is because I can’t read on computer screens for very long. I didn’t grow up reading on one. I didn’t get a smartphone until I was in my twenties. I even have to print out reading assignments and such to make sure I actually grasp what the piece is saying. I have to read from physical print. On the other hand, I used to be a staunch anti-e-reader; I wouldn’t dare touch one because I thought it was an insult to the idea of reading, insulting to feel the pages in your tumblr_m8ewmk4bse1qb63fco1_250hands and the weight of it. Then I realized I hadn’t read a book in months, those around me had read several on their kindle, nook, or other e-reader from 2010 when the world was young. That’s when it struck me that it doesn’t matter how you read, just that you do it. Sure the technology may evolve, but it is evolving to help people read more.


3992oIt was a bunch of students at Columbia that ruin the fun of photocopying dollar bills. I know a firehouse in my home town that photocopied a 100 dollar bill on their new copier and had to call the company to get it reset. How many calls a day do you think they get about that very thing?



My point is that we should embrace technology as it grows with us. If we stand by archaic methods of communication we are only hurting out own fields. Yes, we can still use them; I write better poetry on a typewriter, short stories on a computer, and jokes with pencil and paper. But I also know restricting others expression of how they want to write will prevent people from writing if they just can’t perform with certain circumstances.





Diane, 7:30 am, February twenty-fourth. Entering town of Twin Peaks.

(Author’s note: I apologize if this post isn’t as funny as it should have been. My entire post disappeared when I moved an image and WP swears it doesn’t exist anymore. That and I just showered and the blue hair I was so proud of is now gone and I’m pissed, so please, bear with me (addendum: I watched a load of cat and dog rescue videos, so it should improve near the bottom.) cooper

Agent Dale Cooper is my spirit animal. He doesn’t have anything to do with Rhetoric, at least not in this context, other than sharing a last name with one of the authors. But he and I have a lot in common. He is trying to solve the murder of a girl and I’m just trying to understand what it is I was suppose to have read. Academic reading is not my strong suit, it never had been and most likely never will be. How we’re similar in this endeavor is that he is going up against aliens, demonic spirits, and… magic, I think. I’m just trying to understand further theories on Rhetoric; but both parties approach their situations with a naive, whimsical, but still serious outlook. With everything I’ve learned so far, I’m sure I’ll be finding myself in a chevron tiled room surrounded by red velvet curtains and full of the spirits of… lost people? (Honestly, I’ve seen this show so many times through and half the time it’s like they are throwing whatever plot they can at the proverbial wall and seeing what sticks. Still, it is an amazing show and I recommend it if you haven’t watched it already).

tp thumbs up 2

My favorite part about the Fisher piece (I would have had a gif set for Fisher, because there is a character named that in The Mentalist, but she apparently just doesn’t have fun gifs) was the approach Fisher has on the public moral argument. The initial example he gives is about nuclear warfare and how, even though not everyone is qualified, everyone has an opinion on why it shouldn’t happen.

Though I can argue that this is more of a biological response than a moral one because biologically humans are meant to continue their race (though not on the same level as say, The Handmaid’s Tale). But Fisher also mentions that abortion is in the realm of public moral argument, which I think is very interesting as I don’t think there has been any growth in the argument for/against abortion and the entire thing has just become shouting at each other; rhetoric is no longer the game. Persuasion is no longer the twin-peaks-giftwin-peaks-quotesmajor-briggsdesired outcome. The desired outcome for one is to allow women the choice and, for the other, to bring children into the world regardless of choice (but let me not get overtly political here). These are important because every one member of the public has a right to an opinion.

Fisher does explain that to him a public moral argument is moral in the sense that it is founded on ultimate questions (life/death), of how persons should be defined and treated, and of preferred patterns of living. But, also, that public moral argument refers to clear cut inferential structures, in the rational world paradigm, and to “good reasons” in the narrative paradigm (389). Applying these definitions to these types of conversations helps me understand what it is that they are defining. Even if I don’t think that Aristotle’s definition of Rhetoric applies to any of these ‘arguments’ anymore, looking at the examples helps me further how I think about Rhetoric; or it just adds more forest before me.


That does bring us to Cooper and, no, not my spirit animal. Cooper I had a much harder time with and that could be because I feel it’s more a philosophy piece or just that it’s a thick steak to chew through. Cooper is the one who inspired this gif set, especially throwing the word ‘agency’ into the mix. My brain puts two and two together and I get Special Agent Cooper. But, even if I had a hard time understanding where Cooper was going in the beginning of the text, I started to pick up when she was talking about President Obama’s speech. I was in high school when Obama first ran for office and I remember how well he delivered his addresses. Something about it inspired hope in a lot of kids my age and it was what we had needed as an icebreaker for our first election (may be dating myself here, just a tiny bit). I do find myself seeing where Cooper is investigating agency through the speech that Obama gave. Obama is a very strong rhetor, even his most recent speech resonated with people who may have previously been against him. That is rhetoric at work. Obama may not have persuaded people to join his side of the argument, but his words may have been able to spark something in them that they wouldn’t have otherwise known. The more we talk about Rhetoric as a thing, the more we begin to forget that it’s not always apparent and it’s those subtleties that we’ve lost in the modern day of things like Twitter. When you’re too busy shouting, people stop listening.

That is the conclusion for today. I’ll let Agent Cooper sign us off.


Well, apparently he’s running late…

Good day everyone!


What Is This Fish Saying?

But not this one. This one is from Hell, where coincidentally, Belial is from.

As it was told to me on Thursday, only reading the Fish was required for this week’s blog post and, in typical student fashion, that is the only piece I’m going to talk about this week. I’m okay with this, because this weekend exploded to be WAY busier than I thought it was going to be. So I appreciate the reprieve. Especially when I take into account how thic c c (that’s thick with three c’s) the Fish article was. It amazes me that every semester starts with dense readings of Rhetoric that I feel is meant to drive away people from this wonderful major. When I was first considering the switch it was something that kept me away for a while. But this isn’t really about how I feel about the reading, but more about the reading itself. So let’s get into this.

Stanley Fish’s essay “Rhetoric” starts us off with an excerpt from Paradise Lost, a series of books I have never read (no matter what my Goodreads account from high school says). So, a quick jaunt over to Wikipedia caught me up on what was happening, but it still didn’t help much. But one thing I thought was interesting was how Fish uses Belial (a character I recognize, thankfully) constantly when he is speaking about Rhetoric and used excerpts of Belial’s speaking parts for analysing. Fish also states that he chooses this specific passage because “we can extrapolate from it almost all of the binary oppositions in relation to which rhetoric has received it’s (largely negative) definition…” (Fish, 124). Which introduces us to what interests me most about this piece (and introduces you, as the reader, to my apprehension of talking about things that occur early on in the piece because it gives to impression that I haven’t actually read the text) and that is the three basic oppositions that Fish explores. Maybe it’s because I like to look at molecular structures in my free time, but the way he talks about how every opposition is linked to another between two kinds of language is fascinating and, strange as it can appear to be, makes me think of the different way I use it in humorous ways.

It was originally part of the structure for magnesium carbonate (basic) but I like mine all the same.

When I think of it in a similar way to the diagram above it makes it easier to understand. Where Fish is going with this, at least in my opinion, is that we all hear words on a daily basis that mean something to us but may mean something else to another. Which leads us into exploring Fish’s next point where he discusses how every effort into constructing a language is to enable words to have several meanings but to always know what they mean in certain contexts, or in his words, “to establish a form of communication that escapes partiality and aids us in first determining and then affirming what is absolutely and objectively true, a form of communication that in its structure and operations is the very antithesis of rhetoric.” (Fish, 124). Our understanding of the oppositions is where a lot of humor can grow from as well. Take for example, puns. Exploiting a word’s meaning or using the opposite meaning of the word is a quick way to get a groan or a laugh. A pun may not be a perfect example of Rhetoric, as it isn’t an art of persuasion (unless you’re actively trying to persuade your friends to go away), but it is an example of the idea that Fish is putting forth. We have an established idea of what a person means, we have context to the sentence, but at the same time we appreciate their play on words.

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