The Rhetoric of Sacrificing [Grandma] for the Greater Good

About three weeks ago, archetypal vanilla milkshake, Tom Cotton (R.-Ark), introduced a bill in the Senate to prohibit federal funds from going to support the teaching of the “1619 Project” in public schools. If you haven’t seen it, the 1619 Project is a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles, poems, photographs, fiction, and more published in … Continue reading The Rhetoric of Sacrificing [Grandma] for the Greater Good

Rhetoric, Inevitability, and the Behavior of Voters

On November 5, 2016 — just three days before Election Day — the Princeton Election Consortium at Princeton University released results from a survey indicating that Hillary Clinton had a 99% chance of winning the presidency. The survey results raised doubts among some esteemed pollsters, but they also reinforced a lot of common sense about … Continue reading Rhetoric, Inevitability, and the Behavior of Voters

Americans Need to Stop Seeking Comfort in Feel-Good Riot Stories

Today marks one month since George Floyd was killed by four Minneapolis police officers. The uprisings that resulted from Floyd’s murder continue to rage across the country, and will likely continue for some time. In a number of cases, they’ve had significant positive results. Despite their continuation, news coverage of the uprisings has significantly died … Continue reading Americans Need to Stop Seeking Comfort in Feel-Good Riot Stories

What an Academic Book Review Does

Despite having a reputation for being an easy introduction to scholarly writing, book reviews in academic journals are a fairly-specialized genre. Their reputation for being easy comes from the fact that they're generally pretty short, so it's easy to juggle the relatively smaller number of demands than you'd have in an article or book chapter. … Continue reading What an Academic Book Review Does

What a 21-Year-Old Comedy Can Tell Us About Anti-Racism Protests

In times of high emotion or intense passion, it can be helpful to try and understand current events by triangulating them with less provocative parallels. Such is the case for people trying to make sense of the protests and riots growing across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. In the 1999 cult … Continue reading What a 21-Year-Old Comedy Can Tell Us About Anti-Racism Protests

The Rioters Are Not the Problem — We Are

Without the police brutalizing and murdering George Floyd, Minneapolis would not be on fire. But if we listen to the protestors chanting “No Justice, No Peace” and carrying signs that said “Stop Killing Black People,” Floyd’s murder was not the match that lit the flame. The failure to bring Floyd’s murderer to justice was. The … Continue reading The Rioters Are Not the Problem — We Are

Nazi Science: Coronavirus Edition

I decided to try posting this one on Medium. I posted the first few paragraphs below, and the full post can be accessed here: https://medium.com/@ryan.skinnell/nazi-science-coronavirus-edition-bac4c2a0ed15?sk=eb9579d771e4125548f77d2a84f7ddab Noted flim-flam artists and doctors of low repute—including Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil—have recently been trotted out by right-wing media outlets to bemoan Coronavirus social distancing directives as “worse than … Continue reading Nazi Science: Coronavirus Edition

Why Do People Keep Trusting Trump in a Global Pandemic?

In the past few weeks, even before nearly the entire country went on lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19, Donald Trump has been addressing the country in daily press conferences. With all due respect—all due respect—they’re bananas. He contradicts his experts, denies the observable realities we’re all experiencing, and jovially pats himself on the … Continue reading Why Do People Keep Trusting Trump in a Global Pandemic?

Reflections on Super Tuesday: Yearning for Unity

In 1939, just months before WWII broke out with Germany’s invasion of Poland, rhetorician Kenneth Burke wrote a very detailed book review of Mein Kampf. It was Burke’s attempt to understand how Hitler had “swung a great people into his wake.” At the time, Germany was one of the most literate, highly-educated countries in Europe, … Continue reading Reflections on Super Tuesday: Yearning for Unity

“Debates Don’t Matter,” and Other Silly Notions

A little over 7 years ago, I wrote a blog post about the importance of debates in Presidential politics. Obama was running for re-election against Romney, and they were debating each other about a month before the election. At the time, I wrote: "As I surfed Fizzborg, the Twitter, and other haunts of the political … Continue reading “Debates Don’t Matter,” and Other Silly Notions