Rhetorical Mirrors

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When I first created this subdomain, I wanted to create something that would showcase my abilities as a student writer and web designer. The template I chose to work from has a simplistic approach with a well-organized navigation bar for the article reviews and projects, as well as, a sidebar for my opinionated blog posts. The header image of Times Square was inspired by my home state, New York. I felt like it would be a nice personal touch to match the title of my site, speaking my ‘truth’ meaning “speaking my facts” or “from my experience”.

This site is a representation of my honest opinions about the situations and cultural references that most affect my life based on the way I view them through the mirror/lens of rhetoric. Check out my blogs below:

EXPB1: Rhetoric in Advertising & Gender Roles

In this blog post I define rhetoric according to Aristotle and then give my own definition of what I think rhetoric is: “it is something that we use in every day and in any situation. Rhetoric like any other area of study when it comes to language can be bent or changed on its definition.” I continue to explain how rhetoric is used in advertising through the Pantene commercial from June 2014 campaign #ShineStrong. I address the 5 canons of rhetoric in how they were used to create the advertisement. I end with discussing how gender roles are displayed in the commercial and the importance of rhetoric in these kinds of situations.

EXPB2: The Boondocks: Trial of R. Kelly (Rhetoric used in Law)

The term rhetoric has various definitions and can be interpreted in many ways according to the readings of Plato & Aristotle for the week. I used an adult cartoon series, The Boondocks, episode and used it as a platform to discuss how rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, and logos) are used in the court of law in America. I also briefly reference forensic speaking to support my arguments in the blog post.

EXPB3: Third Time’s a Kairos

I use the idea of Kairos and compare it to the expression, “third time’s a charm” because sometimes the third time isn’t a charm, especially when it comes to celebrity drama. I report my views on the recent altercation between Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus. I explain the Kairos of the situation and touch on the topic of visual rhetoric in the style of memes. I titled this blog, “third time’s a Kairos” because both Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift are Sagittarius’ and so is Nicki Minaj and there was a conspiracy theorists that said “well whoever the next Sagittarius that Nicki Minaj performs an argument with will really be upset with her,” so to me it was just a matter of timing and Nicki Minaj was lucky that Taylor and Miley have both forgiven her. Also, this is the third blog post so I was creating a title that played on the words on this post.

EXPB4A/EXPB4B: Visual Rhetoric: On a Daily

For this blog post I made a video using images taking from my cell phone, PowerPoint, and music from a personal playlist to display visual rhetoric in spaces that I interact in on a daily. I break down what each visual rhetoric image means based on how it relates to my life and what I’ve experienced. I titled this blog purposefully so that it was perceived as more casual and laid back because people on trending social media and in real life say “on a daily” so I rhetorically put that phrase in the title.

EXPB5: Ideologies in Commonplaces: Entertainment

In this assignment you will find an embedded pdf file with 15 ideologies found in magazine advertisements. I take 4 of those ideologies and relate them to the entertainment industry (television shows, fashion, and sports).

EXPB6: Evolution of the Automotive Industry

In this blog post, I talk about the evolution of cars from the first car in 1886 to the 1930s and 1950s innovations to three decades of pathos in advertising, and how the modern day driver or car producer does not worry about what appeals are being sold in advertising but that the car is of value for its price and technological advantages.

EXPB7: Virtual Meme Culture

In this blog post, I talk about what a meme is, how it relates to traditional concepts and terms in rhetoric, what an internet meme is, how the meme began, and what virtual meme culture consists of and how it works.

 

 

Virtual Meme Culture

What is a meme?

Memes are images created to tell a joke through conceptual movie, event, celebrity, and otherwise reference. Memes require three things to be used and love by the masses (also known as going viral).

  1. Spreadability: Like the children’s game “telephone” a meme can be passed on from one person to the next but it’s message may not always be the same. Yet we still laugh once we realize what the original concept behind the meme was related to.
  2. Compilation: In a capitalist society we find ourselves distracted by various forms of media such as songs, advertisements, and even new reports. At some point you realize that you can’t consume all these forms of media even though reception is not the problem. You just don’t have time. Creating memes in a simplistic but understood manner help the audience relate to the message you are sending and causing them to share it with others.
  3. Freedom : The things we enjoy the most tend to be the ones that illustrate freedom. So making your meme easy to find online, reuse, recreate, and restyle gives everyone a chance to feel free and liberated and share in the fun.

How does it relate to Ancient Rhetoric?

This brings up the philosophical question of, “What is an enthymeme?” Well I’ll tell you as simply as I can. An enthymeme is an argument in which the premise is not explicitly stated. A meme is our virtual world is something that illustrates how we feel about something while creating general humor to the internet audience. In this illustration the premise or purpose is not explicitly stated but implied by the context behind the image.

What is internet humor?

In order to really understand how to spread, compile, and free the creation of memes in virtual society we must first understand what makes the references and jokes so truly funny.

Internet humor is any joke or narrative that is displayed on public domains for world wide usage and sustainability. This type of semi-institutionalized humor starts as a specific group’s inside joke and develops in to a significant portion of Internet users which gains popularity, ideology, and even rules.

We all know that nothing disappears off the internet so the question that makes many wonder is who started the meme?

Origin of THE MEME 

The exact origin of the meme is a tough one to determine. Many web image boards and message boards tend to be the ground for new memes to spawn, compile, spread, and be freed. 4chan is one of the most frequented sites for image bulletin boarding, comments, jokes, and internet trolling so it can be assumed that memes were born there like many other concepts and popular culture.

However, long before the internet started having its fun, motivational posters were illustrations of inspirational quotes, jokes, and intertextual media concepts that made people’s day at the office, at home, and at school. Now they’re one of the longest-standing virtual jokes (since about 2010), and their uses transcend through virtual memes.

Virtual Meme Culture

If you’ve never seen the U.S. TV series, The Office, then you’re going to learn something about it today and have a blast. This series depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Please check out the trailer below.

Dwight Schrute (played by: Rainn Wilson)

Dwight Schrute is notorious for his lack of social skills and common sense. He is extremely blunt, logical, and keeps the crowd entertained with his dry humor.

Michael Scott (played by: Steve Carrell)

Michael Scott is the central character of the series as the Regional Manager of the Scranton branch of paper distribution company Dunder Mifflin Inc. He is an immature boss that likes to have more fun in the office than doing actual work. He tends to say “that’s what she said” if someone else in the show makes a comment that can be construed as dirty or if there’s an awkward moment that needs an ice breaker.

Conclusion

Cultural fads pop up in every walk of life, but some are truly on liberated and expressed freely on the internet like how memes have become the collective compilation of concepts, jokes and characters that are now considered the bread and butter of spreadable internet comedy.

And even though some of these jokes are daring, some are potentially offensive and some may make little to no sense at all, you’ll still find yourself chuckling at your computer screen, cell phone, or tablet.

Interactions for my readers

If you have any favorite memes (created personally, by others, display culture or spam) please feel free to share a link below in the comment section. I’d love to see what you all think is funny.

 

Sources:

Lucy Larone. “Steve Carell (The Office Season 1) Best Scenes” Online video clip. YouTube, 5 June. 2015. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.

Allmyd1. “That’s what she said.” Online video clip. YouTube, 12 Oct. 2008. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.

Crowley, Sharon. Ancient Rhetoric. Massachusetts: A Viacom Company, 1999. Print.

Evolution of the Automotive Industry

In 1886, German inventor Karl Benz built the Benz Patent-Motorwagen. The automotive industry in the United States began in the 1890’s and cars were not widely available until the early 20th century. As a result, the size of the domestic market and the industrialization of mass-production, the automotive industry of America quickly became the largest in the world.

One of the first cars that was accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. Before the Model T, cars were a luxury item considering that there were fewer than 200,000 on the road. Even though the Model T was fairly expensive for its time (about $825=$18,000 today), it was built for ordinary people to drive every day. Let’s check out an advertisement of this fine vehicle.

Ford Model T Announcement, October 1907.

“In quality, in style, in everything that goes to make motoring a pleasure, Ford has anticipated practically every Improvement that can possibly be made In the future.”

This announcement talks about the features of the vehicle: 4 cylinder, 20 horse power, and seats 5 passengers. Ford kept prices low by sticking to building one model at a time in order to reduce waste, save cost (time & money) and make it easy for workers to assemble the cars. By 1914, the moving assembly line made it possible to produce thousands of cars every week.

In the 1920’s, many Americans wanted style that lasted, speed and luxury. As tastes changed, the era of the Model T came to an end and the last one rolled off the assembly line on May 26, 1927.

1930-1959 ethos & logos era

Chrysler Corporation’s leadership in innovation had earned for it the label of Detroit’s “engineering company.” Chrysler’s list of early automotive “firsts” included Floating Power (a new method of mounting engines to isolate vibration), replaceable oil filters, downdraft carburetors and one-piece curved windshields.

Chrysler Imperial series featured a custom-built body (named LeBaron or Briggs), a 145-inch-wheelbase chassis (underpart of a vehicle), a 125-horsepower engine and an estimated price tag of $3,145. So luxury was definitely an important factor in the production of this vehicle.

By the 1940’s we see advertisements for even more new technological advances (watch the video below).

King Rose Archives, Chrysler Introduces Fluid Drive Transmissions 1940

You’ll take notice that the commercial is perfect for its time. Well at least I think so. This era of the automotive industry was focused on everything from price, color, quality, but mostly the features of technology of the way the car drove like how fast, how smooth, how systematic and practical (all characteristics of the male gender during this time).

This particular video above on fluid transmission has a brief narrative specific to gender roles of the 1940’s (after the Women’s Rights movement of the late 1800’s to the 1920’s) where a women is selling Chrysler’s new fluid transmission to say, more or less, “it’s so smooth, efficient, and easy your wife could do it.” Especially considering that right after her pitch a man’s voice is back on the commercial saying, “fluid drive can’t help but make everyone a better driver.” This is a great selling point for men who want to buy a car at the time but are afraid that their wife might mess it up. They feel comfortable to buy because Chrysler has established their trust and reliability to the consumers.

1960-1999 pathos era

1960’s was a very emotion time for racial equality as the Civil Rights Movement was happening. I’m going to skip over this tender moment in history and go straight in the 1970’s. I’m not sure what to call this time period but I feel that the Free Spirited Love & Peace decade would be appropriate. People were becoming more concerned about the environment, travelling outdoors, and being groovy (more emotional than logical but still practical). Below are two advertisements that I think perfectly represent this time period.

   

In the first one we see a Volkswagen hippie van with the statement, “the zoo that runs on peanuts.” Basically suggesting that the motor oil is environmentally safe and that the petting zoo is travelling from place to place. The second one simply displays the features of a groovy but cool and sleek attitude with the leather interior, travel outdoors, sleek body, and it’s so diverse and custom built to perfection that anyone can drive it, man or woman.

After the Space Race competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union and the United States, we begin to see car advertisements in the 1990’s that relate to more competitiveness with other countries. Below is an advertisement from 1994.

This advertisement features an almost poetic repetition of the word “More” at the beginning of each line. What does it really mean though? Well looking back in time versus today, I think that this was the beginning of America’s bigger is better mentality and our competitive nature as proud capitalist that started at the turn of the 21st century.

2000-Present all three appeals & kairos

In this time period between the start of the century and now, a lot has changed in 15 years. Originally people wanted hummers with huge rims and tv’s in the back of the headrest with surround sound speakers and even earphone plugs for the children in the backseats. Now we’ve become more aware of the environment and what we’ve been doing to pollute it and hurt our own resources. So now there are electric cars and even cars that have engines which run more fuel efficiently at 32-36 mpg.

But from this evolution of the automobile industry and the way global weather changes are happening, what makes us still want to buy cars? Why not just get rid of them all and walk, bike, or take public transportation?

What makes a car that’s so expensive now a days really worth it?

Well the thing is that we are seeing the most technological advances of the last century with touch screen navigation, Bluetooth speakers, push to start engines operated with smart keys, engines that run more efficiently on gas mileage, and even cars that park themselves. I mean seriously, technology is amazing! Check out the video below.

I think I’ve proved my point and I can’t wait to see what is next to come for this industry.

 

Sources:

King Rose Archives. “Chrysler Introduces Fluid Drive Transmissions 1940.” Online video clip. YouTube, 20 June. 2013. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

“Ford Motor Company unveils the Model T” Automotive 1908. History, 2009. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

“Vintage Car Advertisements” Car advertisements of the 1970’s, 1990’s. Vintage Ads, 2015. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

“Our History- Chrysler” Chrysler Heritage: 1920’s. VintageAdBrowser, 2015. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

BMW. “The all-new BMW 7 Series. All you need to know.” Online video clip. YouTube, 10 June. 2015. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

Ideologies in Commonplaces: Entertainment

In Chapter 4 of Ancient Rhetoric, a commonplace is referred to as a “statement that regularly circulates within members of a community.” But why is this such a common place? Well, if you have ever lived with others or invited friends over to your place then you know that the living room can easily be known as a common area where rhetorical messages are sent at every moment. The textbook defines common as “available to anyone who spoke to wrote the language in which they were couched.”

According to Aristotle, rhetorical common topics were those suited to any argument at all. Common topics were universal and could be used to argue out anything whatsoever.His three common topics were simply known as conjecture (a thing that has or has not occurred and what will or will not occur), degree (a thing is greater or smaller than another thing), and possibility (what is or is not possible).

First, let’s discuss the common topic of past and future events. The facts that can be uncovered by this commonplace are not always just one for sure thing. They are actually inferences about something that might have taken place in the past or happening in the present or about to l take place in the future. For example, it is more so used to describe how people typically behave, what communities believe to be true or false, and how the world functions.

Second, let’s talk about the greater and lesser matters. This is the rhetorical common topic is compared to the normal standards of presenting an argument. We see the greater and lesser as relative to each other because greatness can be measured by the fact that it exceeds, whereas less is proven as a lower measure to the greats.

Lastly, let’s refer to the common topic of impossible vs. possible. This topic is used to establish that change of what is or is not possible, now or in the future. For example, economists might use this rhetorical device to argue that it is impossible for inflation to occur during a time of progressive economic decline. It’s present a reality of what could or wouldn’t happen at a given space and time.

Now that we’ve talked about commonplaces and common topics, you should be able to define what an “ideology” is in the context of rhetorical topics and devices. Basically an ideology is “the common sense that is shared among members of a community.”

I put together a list of 15 Ideologies in Commonplaces I saw in magazine advertisements this week. Today in this blog I will talk about 4 different ones advertised at the end of the list related to entertainment television.

Ideologies can be held by a small group of people or an entire culture. The ideology held by individual people results from the education, home life, religious beliefs, and the media.

USA Ok

USA Ok Magazine has a plethora of celebrity news and drama on the cover. For this exact reason, I decided to pick up the magazine and flip through to see what kind of ideologies I could find printed on the lightly glossed pages.

IMAG0519_1

The Talk is a show that broadcast on CBS that cast Julie Chen, Sheryl Underwood, Sharon Osbourne, Sara Gilbert, and Aisha Taylor (photographed above). The show gives us a chance to watch a show that features a behind the scene This picture of what seems to be 5 happy women of various background and ethnicity riding in a dark pink vintage Lincoln on a sunny day gives the impression of the American Dream. Most of us see the American Dream still as the house in the suburbs with the white picket fence married with children and a dog. Over the years, people focus on going to college to get a degree and have been settling at older ages than ever before in history. The impression of the American Dream has slightly been distorted to this more individualistic but friendly and free spirited energy by the younger generations. That’s the representation I see in this advertisement. Also that these women like to talk about drama and controversial topics because that’s what most talk shows do.

IMAG0520_1

“Stars, stunts, surprises, and so much more” The alliteration of this advertisement along with the guy crowd surfing made me want to watch this show. It brings forth the common place ideology of possibility. It makes me think of the different situations that could occur on the show while watching it at home. I automatically think that there is a strong possibility of crowd surfing, stunts, surprises, and celebrities in this show simply from viewing the advertisement.

Also, the fact that Neil Patrick Harris has become the life of the party after playing the role of Barney Stinson (the flirtatious bachelor focused on his career who loves to party and is afraid of commitment) on the TV show, How I Met Your Mother. He has definitely become legendary!

IMAG0521_1_1

NYC Fashion Week just happened this month and I thought of this feature advertisement of a young woman named Jamie as an ideology of the fashion industry and how the media values or views the “beauty” of a woman. She scored high enough to be featured on her own full color page of the magazine. She represents the fall season perfectly with a football jersey, ripped jeans, and straightened hair (most people straighten their hair more as it gets cold because it doesn’t frizz like it would in the heat). Anyway, this ideology is one that represents greater or lesser values throughout the different opinions of people in society.

Ideologies are interesting once you begin to understand them and see where they come from. When you think about the media and how much we are influenced by the entertainment and fashion industries you will start to realize that it’s really just an American ideology to be this way. Not every country in the world advertises fashion or being entertained the way we do but yet those tend to be the highest ideologies along with religion and education that we are valued globally.

 

Sources:

Crowley, Sharon. Ancient Rhetoric. Massachusetts: A Viacom Company, 1999. Print.

Rosario, Brittany. “15 Ideologies in Commonplaces.” Personal Observations (2015): PDF file.

Noobies At Work. “Barney Stinson – Legendary Compilation” Online video clip. YouTube, 2 Dec. 2002. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.

Visual Rhetoric: On a Daily

Hello again. I wanted to talk to you today about visual rhetoric and how it can be found just about anywhere in our daily lives.

Now, I talked briefly mentioned the term ‘visual rhetoric’ in my last blog when I talked about meme culture and how we use it today to conceptualize a narrative whether it be something digital or a real life situation to make our own references and jokes to share with people on the internet (most popularly on social media). However, I didn’t really tell you all what visual rhetoric exactly is. Well, here’s my interpretation:

Visual rhetoric is how we are persuaded by the things we see. From advertising to politics to the way you organize your bedroom or office space. It’s all visual rhetoric and says something about you. 

What does that really mean? How does it work? 

Okay, so basically whenever we see something we make a judgment about it. The judgment(s) we make are a result of our experiences, education, age, and exposure to life situations. Everything you have is designed visually. For example, the way you arrange your room says something about your personality because it’s based on your personal taste and preferences and people will notice that simply by looking.

How you design and layout your living space says a lot about your awareness to visual rhetoric, whether you realize it or not. The more you recognize which aspects of visual rhetoric are most appropriate in any given situation, the more advantageous you will be on a daily basis.

With all that being said, let’s take a look at my daily environment and analyze the visual rhetoric. (Make sure you comment with your thoughts about my daily visual rhetoric as well).

As you saw, I have a lot going on from day to day.

I start my morning in my dorm on campus. I usually stand in front of my dresser to turn my alarm off and put on my glasses. I have a stack of books on my dresser that I haven’t had a chance to read yet so I put them out to read in my free time (mind you since the school year started they’ve still remained untouched). I have my lotion, body mist, deodorant, tattoo healing cream (I have 3 but they’re in discreet places), vitamins (which I constantly forget to take), sunglasses, and a cup of tea (I was sick this past weekend but I’m feeling better: Yay).

Then I open the blinds by my desk and when I looked out the window I saw a red Mustang parked on a really funky angle.

Side note: the guy who drives that car always park crooked. The judgment I gained from that visual rhetoric was that he either doesn’t know how to park straight in the “slightly tighter than a regular parking space” spaces on campus, doesn’t know how to park straight at all, OR he just doesn’t care (reference meme below).

cartman_meme

Next to start my day off I check my personal, student, and business emails. The photo you saw in the video was from my student email from UITS (University IT Services) saying that “Student @spsu.edu Email Accounts Will Become ‘Read-Only’ Sept. 11.” I absolutely had to take a picture of that for this assignment. I mean seriously? You made such a little change in policy a big deal to students from SPSU with the rhetorical message of “Hey you won’t be able to log in to your old spsu account anymore starting Sept. 11th, the same day that thousands of people died in the 9/11/01 plane crashes into the Twin Towers. Just thought you should know because, well, your school is officially nonexistent anyway.” I just sat there for a moment thinking to myself, Wow do they not have a communications chair or PR person? Who’s idea was this? I’m over the whole SPSU Lives on Forever phase but some people aren’t and I don’t know if they interpreted that email the way I did but I know there are some who did.

The rest of my day is fairly simple rhetoric:

  1. My roommate has her door closed but the light is on and music is playing, that’s how I know she’s home.
  2. A black Mustang with only one silver racing strip? A little different then what I’m used to. The person who drives that car is either really unique or skipped out on the rest of the paint job.
  3. In the Atrium building on campus after class: seeing students doing homework or eating, most have headphones in to imply the message of “don’t bother me. I’m busy.”
  4. I leave the Atrium and walk to the student center. On my way I see a registration sign blocking a directional sign. Basically meaning to me that registration is more important than knowing where to go on campus and that no one has taken down registration signs. The date has already passed.
  5. Inside the student center, was a POSTER SALE. The main sign outside was very disorganized and colorful. Somehow it worked to persuade me to see what they had though.
  6. When I walked past the door it was quiet and I lost interest even though there was one person walking in while I was strolling by.
  7. I picked up the newspaper to see what the latest news was on campus. Turns out more is happening than I thought and the layout of the front page had a lot of visual rhetoric. Mainly causing attention to the red alert and emergency call box images. As well as the fact that every title was in all capital letters.
  8. I went downstairs to exit the student center when it was raining outside. I noticed the student center hours of operation, a ‘tobacco free campus’ sticker, and a ‘slippery when wet’ sign so the university isn’t liable when someone falls from walking inside with wet feet due to the weather.
  9. On my way home after dance practice, I noticed a cute bunny. It sent me a visual message of fear when it ran away from me as I tried to capture a close up photo.
  10. I got home to my roommates dirty dishes. A rhetorical message to me that they were busy or didn’t care about the apartment cleanliness.
  11. When the day is over I cross out the date on my calendar as a visual rhetorical message to me of what day it is.
  12. The next day in the morning I looked at the fridge and my roommate took 7 shots the previous night of whatever alcohol. The irony is that we have all these emergency numbers in case something bad happens.

Alright. That’s done and over with. The real point that I’m trying to make to you is the importance of visual rhetoric…

Well, as I already stated visual rhetoric is about arrangement, color, style, and personality.

Let’s say you apply for a job online or in the store and you have to submit a copy of your resume to the company, your resume: electronic or hard copy, is a representation of your visual rhetoric skills. Most employers won’t even spend more than 30 seconds to look at a resume. This is because they were not persuaded by the design element of the resume. You have to make yourself stand out (but not too much). Remember that.

 

Sources:

“What is Visual Rhetoric?” Curtis Newbold. The Visual Communication Guy, 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.

Brittany Rosario. “Visual Rhetoric: On a Daily” Online video clip. YouTube, 13 Sept. 2015. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.

Third Time’s a Kairos

Do you believe in fate or destiny? Well, everything in life does happen for a reason. I simply believe that everyone makes their own destiny by their actions and that if they don’t display the truth from the beginning that it will show itself through the actions they make every day of their lives. If someone doesn’t deserve a second chance they will “hang themselves” and destroy their chance for those opportune moments. It’s all just a matter of timing.

According to Ancient Rhetorics: Chapter Two, kairos is a term used to suggest an advantageous time or an “exact or critical time.” Kairos comes from a bas-relief in Turin, Italy which displays the importance of anticipating opportunities and seizing them before they pass by. Gorgia’s rhetorical theory accounts for the timely simulation of issues with an audience. Kairos draws attention to arguments that can be found in connection with particular issues in society, all the way to visual rhetoric used in memes on social media.

If you haven’t heard already then most would say you’re living under a rock but I’ll say that you just have better things to do then worry about celebrity drama… Anyway, Miley Cyrus vs. Nicki Minaj at the VMA’s?! I fell out laughing when I found out.

[If you have no idea who either of these women are: Miley Cyrus is the actress from Tennessee who played Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel show several years and Nicki Minaj is a female rapper from New York who is signed to Young Money Entertainment & Cash Money Records.]

Here is a short video of what happened between the two at the MTV Video Music Awards:

Nicki Minaj vs Miley Cyrus on VMA 2015 (Legendado), Hunter Estranho, August 31, 2015

The streets have taken to social media via Twitter and Instagram feeds. There are so many memes representing the argument between the two that display the funniest visual rhetoric based on facial expression and conceptualization.

MAMA

Most people have had a moment like this during their teenage years where their mom says something that they don’t agree with and they mumble under their breath but when she hears you like, “What did you say?” You just stare blankly like a deer in headlights and say, “Nothing. I didn’t say anything.” So the fearful face Miley has shows the same rhetoric of a child who is afraid of their mother. It is also funny because Nicki Minaj is actually older than Miley Cyrus so it presents a certain level of authority to make a joke.

RITA

The concept for this meme comes from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Harry is the youngest wizard entered into the triwizard tournament and the woman Rita is a witch journalist for The Daily Prophet who makes false accusations about Harry Potter and is constantly reporting the wrong information about him. So related to the Miley vs Nicki situation the meme maker used Nicki’s words from the VMA’s to make a Harry Potter moment hilarious.

miley cyrus vs nicki minaj

This meme maker on Twitter is displaying the reason that Miley didn’t respond foul towards Nicki’s comments because she has more money and that’s what’s good with her so she doesn’t care.

miley whats good

This last meme illustrates Nicki Minaj’s temper and unprofessional with the gun that has been Photoshopped into the image. This is similar to a gun prop that Nicki Minaj held almost a year ago in her video, Lookin A** N****, that caused a lot of controversy and displays how once again Nicki Minaj 1. causes drama with other celebrities in the industry and 2. displays controversy within her music videos.

Meme making has become it’s own category of rhetoric based on cultural and societal factors related to the social media. This situation between Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus has gotten a lot of attention in celebrity news reports like TMZ, MTV News, ABC News, Worldwide Media, HipHop Hollywood and many more. The real question on the table for discussion is if this brief argument on stage was real or fake. Entertainment Tonight, argues that because of Miley’s reaction with the timing after what Nicki Minaj said to her was too real and natural looking to have been fake.

We even have other celebrities who have gotten involved with the situation after press has come to them asking which side they would choose: Team Nicki or Team Miley? Team Nicki is surprisingly enough, Taylor Swift. According to Clevver News, Taylor Swift thinks that Nicki Minaj has a big heart and is often misunderstood, also that Nicki wasn’t bullying Miley. Team Miley on the other hand is someone who has been close to Nicki for years and is also a rapper for the Young Money Entertainment record label. According to Hollywood Life, Drake is Team Miley. He agrees with the way she handled the situation on stage with her response and that he might even do a diss track with Miley against Nicki. Nicki Minaj says that she feels completely betrayed by Drake. What a disaster.

I guess it’s all a matter of timing. Nicki Minaj is a Sagittarius (born Dec. 8th) and so are Miley Cyrus (born Nov. 23rd) and Taylor Swift (born Dec. 13th). First she went off on Taylor Swift about VMA nominations, then on Miley Cyrus at the VMA’s, but what people really want to know is who might be next? Which artist in the industry is going to be the next competition that Nicki is truly threatened by? Another Sagittarius in the industry? Another female? Or maybe it’s all just been a coincidence. We’ll find out soon enough though because third time’s a kairos.

Thank you again for reading my weekly blog post and feel free to leave a comment below about your opinion(s) on the whole situation.

 

Sources:

Crowley, Sharon. Ancient Rhetoric. Massachusetts: A Viacom Company, 1999. Print.

Hunter O Estranho. “Nicki Minaj vs Miley Cyrus on VMA 2015 (Legendado)” Online video clip. YouTube, 31 Aug. 2015. Web. 8 Sept. 2015.

Entertainment Tonight. “Watch Miley Cyrus’ Priceless Reaction To Nicki Minaj Throwing Shade at Her” Online video clip. YouTube, 31 Aug. 2015. Web. 8 Sept. 2015.

Clevver News. “Taylor Swift Takes Whose Side In Nicki Minaj/Miley Cyrus VMA Feud?” Online video clip. YouTube, 4 Sept. 2015. Web. 8 Sept. 2015.

Hollywood Life. “Nicki Minaj & Miley Cyrus VMAs Feud: Drake Chooses Sides” Online video clip. YouTube, 3 Sept. 2015. Web. 8 Sept. 2015.

“Nicki Minaj Responds To ‘Lookin Ass’ Artwork Controversy” News: Vibe. VIBE, 13 Feb 2014. Web. 8 Sept. 2015.

The Boondocks: Trial of R. Kelly (Legal Rhetoric)

After reading various definitions of rhetoric over the course of two weeks and trying to understand all perspectives of why and how, not only ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle but also historical figures like John Locke and George Kennedy, explain rhetoric based on their societal time and personal experiences I’ve come to realize that rhetoric is based on everything. We all somehow use rhetoric without even consciously realizing it, well at least most of us anyway. People who are in the advertising industry, politics, and any discourse that requires you to watch what you say because others are watching you as a brand or a being, well those are the people who pay attention rhetoric.

Rhetoric is useful for a multitude of things. Aristotle agrees with me on that (or rather I agree with him). Rhetoric can be used to show the truth of things in the natural tendency in which they happen to prevail over their opponents in a conversation or for better use of a word an argument. He also says that before specific audiences we must not only possess the knowledge to prove that our case is valid but be able to apply instruction (evidence) and use persuasion to convince them. I don’t know about you but this sounds like how the justice system works to me. Innocent until proven guilty.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how the rhetorical function to persuade relates to how the court system in America works. I’m going to try to keep things light heartened but still present a concrete example by using an episode of The Boondocks titled ‘The Trial of R. Kelly‘ [warning: mature content].

R. Kelly is an R & B singer who, in 2002, was charged with 21 counts of child pornography in the state of Chicago after a video of him engaging in sexual acts and urinating on an underage (13 year old) girl. For further details, please visit CNN.

This particular episode of The Boondocks premiered on November 13th, 2005 on Adult Swim. The episode features several central characters:

  1. Riley Freeman (voiced by Regina King): the younger brother with braids who is perceived as an 8 year old thug
  2. Huey Freeman (voiced by Regina King): the older brother with an afro who is perceived as a young social and civil rights activist, similar to that of Martin Luther King Jr.
  3. Tom Dubois (voiced byCedric Yarbrough): the neighbor who works as a public defense attorney
  4.  Robert Kelly (voiced by various actors): R & B singer, songwriter, record producer
  5. R. Kelly’s Lawyer (voiced by Adam West): self explanatory description/ guest star for this episode

Here is a scene from the episode where Riley presents an argument against his neighbor, Tom Dubois about the R. Kelly trial.

As it relates to rhetoric, what do we see here? Well, we can easily see a clear portrayal of the three appeals to effecting persuasion, according to Aristotle: ethos (to understand human character and goodness in various forms), pathos (to understand emotions), and logos (to reason logically).

These arguments are presented from the very beginning when Tom says how sorry he is about having to prosecute R. Kelly, which presents pathos because he is being sincere about their emotional response to the trial. Huey responds with “Aye man you do what you got to do,” which then presents logos because it’s Tom’s job to prosecute people for their wrong doings and he shouldn’t have to apologize.

Riley enters the scene with his rant about R. Kelly. He starts rough presenting pathos as a weak argument to say, “Why R. Kelly? What did he do to you?”

Tom’s rebuttal is presented confidently with the logos to say that R. Kelly urinating on an underage girl is against the law.

Riley isn’t hit to hard in this ring of argumentation because he comes back with ethos to ask Tom about the statute of limitations on peeing. So peeing in a toilet is okay but peeing on a person is not okay. Then what about accidentally peeing on someone in the bathroom who is standing next to you? What about bed wetting? That’s an involuntary action. Riley presents logos and ethos throughout this argument.

Tom presents further logos when he says that no one will prosecute Riley for bed wetting.

Riley continues his argument strong with saying how no one should be prosecuted for peeing because it’s a natural bodily function and that the victim is not little but there are other people who are actually little who managed to avoid getting peed on so far implying the question of what makes this girl so different? Riley finishes his argument with “When does personal responsibility become a factor in this equation? I see piss coming, I move. She saw piss coming, she stayed.” Riley may have started his argument weakly with pathos but he ended on a strong note by presenting logos and ethos.

This next and last scene that I would like to show you all is from the same episode of The Boondocks but it is a scene from the court room, where the alleged tape of R. Kelly is played and his lawyer tries his best to defend R. Kelly’s case but fails terribly. In relation to real life events, R. Kelly pleaded that because the tape was not on his face and even when it was aligned properly the recording wasn’t clear and presented an obstructed visual of a man that it was not actually him in the video. The watching audience on the other side of the TV of news reports from this case as well as the court had a good bit of proof to believe it was him. This short clip makes a satire of how R. Kelly presented his plead and how the lawyer failed to defend his reputation.

Tom presents his argument in a way to get the crowd to feel bad for the victim and what happened to her by explaining to the jury and R. Kelly’s lawyer that this is a young girl who is still learning things about life and is innocent and doesn’t know any better. However, the victim quickly refuses Tom’s argument with “whatever I guess” and her later statement, “if I didn’t want to be peed on I’d just move out the way.” This is the perfect irony because Riley presented the same argument earlier in the episode, which persuades Tom that argument is valid.

To sum up, the way rhetoric works in law falls in to the three divisions of oratory defined by Aristotle. This particular blog post in correlation between The Boondocks: ‘The Trial of R. Kelly’ episodes and the law system in America represents forensic speaking, which either attacks or defends somebody and must always be done by the parties in the case. Similar to a court case where the lawyers defend or attack the clients in the case and present an argument to persuade not only those in the court room but the masses of society.

 

Sources:

“Aristotle on Rhetoric.” American Rhetoric. American Rhetoric, 2001-2015. Web. 30 Aug. 2015.

“R. Kelly arrested in child porn case.” CNN Entertainment. CNN, 6 Jun. 2002. Web. 30 Aug. 2015.

The Boondocks Show. “The Boondocks Season 1 Episode 2 – The Trial of R. Kelly – (Full Episode)” Online video clip. YouTube, 18 Aug. 2015. Web. 30 Aug. 2015.

Nick James. “R Kelly Piss Case. Riley VS Tom (Boondocks)” Online video clip. YouTube, 9 Jun. 2013. Web. 30 Aug. 2015.

cooldude9404. “The Boondocks – R.Kelly Peeing Tape (Uncut)” Online video clip. YouTube, 18 Aug. 2013. Web. 30 Aug. 2015.

Rhetoric in Advertising & Gender Roles

I could write all day long about communication from the creation of language to digital writing. But today I’m going to talk about rhetoric, its various meanings, and how it affects us all in modern society.

Let’s start with the obvious question, what is rhetoric?

Well from ancient times people used rhetoric to make decisions, resolve disputes, and deliberate publicly about important issues. According to Aristotle, “[the function of rhetoric] is not to persuade but to see the available means of persuasion in each case.” Basically he was saying that rhetoric has the power to find available arguments suited to any given situation and that by persuasion you could actually change a person’s perspective on a particular topic by using rhetoric.

When I look at defining rhetoric in my own terms, I would say that it is something that we use in every day and in any situation. Rhetoric like any other area of study when it comes to language can be bent or changed on its definition. We see this throughout the various definitions and meanings given to the term in the Chapter 1 readings of Ancient Rhetoric.

For example, rhetoric is used in advertising. How you might ask? Well rhetoric is not only used in written language but also unwritten language like body language (nonverbal cues and facial expressions), symbols, logos, colorization, and even design or arrangement of a piece of work.

In June 2014, Pantene (a premium hair care company) launched a ‘Not Sorry’ campaign that illustrated the spoken rhetoric of how women are constantly apologizing.

Pantene, Not Sorry| #ShineStrong YouTube 2014.

The campaign goal is to get women to stop apologizing and be confident in their responses or comments to others whether it be at work, at home, or at school. Pantene sends the message that with great hair comes great confidence. They also use digital rhetoric with their usage of hashtags in their campaign, #ShineStrong.

So how does this advertisement display rhetoric?

A canon is something that is official or well regarded in a specific discourse. In this case, we must take a look at the canons of rhetoric (invention, arrangement, style, memory, delivery) to understand the significance of this advertisement. Pantene invents an argument about women not being confident enough to express their real feelings without saying ‘sorry’, arrange it in a campaign, use the brand and company style to promote this concept as well as their product, and deliver it in the form a memorable commercial.

What’s the big deal?

When we take a look at gender and the differences in how men communicate and how women communicate, we come up with a conclusion that women apologize more and don’t always speak with a certain tone of confidence. This could psychologically come from the idea that women are suppose to be subservient to men and therefore, speak softer and/or don’t speak with the same level of firmness as men.

Pantene has several articles written by various magazines as responses to their ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ campaign about why women apologize more and shouldn’t. This article approves an agreement with my argument by saying that we (as women) have reached a tipping point with how much we say sorry to others. The author, Jessica Bennett, even talks about a feminist podcast that she forwarded the link to her friend and when her female friend finally got a chance to read it she replied with, ‘Sorry I didn’t reply sooner.’ Jessica goes on to say that women use the word ‘sorry’ as a crunch to explain themselves or apologize sincerely when they don’t need to.

I agree with situation because whether we are presenting an argument that is meant to appeal to ethos, pathos, or logos, we shouldn’t have to apologize for ourselves. We should just accept whatever is happening at that moment in time and ask our question, make our statement, speak our minds freely without always mistaking ourselves as less important when our words are just as valid and just as important as anyone else. I feel like Pantene has done a great job of bringing up this issue of women apologizing as well as selling their product to us.

This is only exploratory blog post number one for the semester. So stay tuned for more blogs, posted every week on Sunday nights. Share your thoughts with me on rhetoric by replying below.

 

Sources:

Crowley, Sharon. Ancient Rhetoric. Massachusetts: A Viacom Company, 1999. Print.

Pantene. “Not Sorry| #ShineStrong Pantene.” Online video clip. YouTube, 18 Jun 2014. Web. 22 Aug. 2015.

Bennett, Jessica. “I’m Sorry, but Women Really Need to Stop Apologizing.” Living. Time Magazine, 18 Jun. 2014. Web. 22 Aug. 2015.

Benvenuto

Welcome to my blog site where you will explore with me the various definitions and applications of classical and modern rhetorical history and theory. You will find that I make connections between written, spoken, and read literature as well as thoughts or theories that have been created by philosophers such as Platos, Aristotle, and Isocrates. We will also explore the wonders of the internet and social trends during this adventure together. So have your devices charged up and ready to tweet, insta, or whatever it is you do.

**Please be reminded that language is constantly being created and that in order to understand social and cultural references and have effective communication for the modern world, we must interact and play with the ideas of various methods, ideologies, and works from before our own time.**

I hope that you all enjoy my blog.

Thanks for reading and don’t hesitate to share 🙂

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