Tag: rhetoric

No, You’re Hitler!: A History and a Proposal

In 1953, famed political philosopher and Jewish-German exile, Leo Strauss, coined a term to describe a trope that he increasingly saw circulating in public discourse: reductio ad Hilterum. Reductio ad Hitlerum is a fallacy used in arguments to discredit anything that can be associated with or compared to Hitler. Hitler liked dogs? Then liking dogs … Continue reading No, You’re Hitler!: A History and a Proposal

The Russian Trolls Are Hard at Work: Democrats/Liberals/Centrists Edition

There has been a veritable flood of new information this week about Russian interference in American elections, including the release of a Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee report confirming the Trump campaign’s coordination with Russian operatives before the 2016 election. In a press release issued upon the full release of the Intelligence Committee report, House Speaker … Continue reading The Russian Trolls Are Hard at Work: Democrats/Liberals/Centrists Edition

The Russian Trolls Are Hard at Work, and It’s Working

A little over a week ago, Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, William R. Evanina, released an update in the organization’s ongoing investigation into foreign efforts to influence American elections. Among its conclusions was the following: We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden … Continue reading The Russian Trolls Are Hard at Work, and It’s Working

Maybe Let’s Leave “I Don’t Care” to the Fascists, Yeah?

Beginning as early as 2009, a series of memes began circulating on social media that were intended to demonstrate in comical ways the lack of interest or care someone felt on a particular day or about a particular issue. Colloquially, they’re the “Look at all the fucks I give” memes, with the unmistakable implication that … Continue reading Maybe Let’s Leave “I Don’t Care” to the Fascists, Yeah?

Nazi “Science” and Jewish “Genius”

In March 1966, rhetoric and communication scholar Haig A. Bosmajian published an article in ETC.: A Review of General Semantics called, “The Magic Word in Nazi Persuasion.” In the article, Bosmajian wrote about how Adolf Hitler and other prominent Nazis realized very early on that, while they needed terror, violence, and intimidation to gain and … Continue reading Nazi “Science” and Jewish “Genius”

“Everything in Moderation” Doesn’t Prevent Extremism

“Everything in moderation” (or EIM, for short) is a hegemonic commonplace in 21st century American culture. That means, it is a belief that is so commonly accepted as to be nearly unquestionable. And it’s a serious problem for supporters of democracy in the 21st century. The reasons for the phrase’s popularity are easy to see. … Continue reading “Everything in Moderation” Doesn’t Prevent Extremism

Why College Writing Matters

“Why College Writing Matters”Ryan SkinnellUNT Writing Program OrientationAugust 20, 2014Those of you who know me, and especially those of you who have taken my classes, know that I am pretty cynical about composition. My invitation to talk today about “Why College Writing Matters” may therefore seem like the height of irony. But obviously I don’t … Continue reading Why College Writing Matters

On Debates and Disappointments

Every season on American Idol, one of the heavy favorites goes home way too early. Chris Daughtry, for example, was sent packing even though he was apparently far more popular than the three contestants who survived him (including the winner, and subsequent flop, Taylor Hicks). So shocking have the departures been that the show instituted … Continue reading On Debates and Disappointments

Notes on a Name: Dissoi Topoi

Dear Readers, A note on the title of this blog: Dissoi logoi is an ancient Greek concept traditionally translated as "different words." It is generally understood as the practice of arguing both sides of an issue in order to better understand your opponent's point of view in an argument. Other people, however, have argued that … Continue reading Notes on a Name: Dissoi Topoi