Longacker Ch. One and Two

Rhetoric and rhetorical message deals with the probable, the possible, the situational, the contingent, the arguable, the social truths, but NOT with Truth. Men are better than women is not Truth, but truth- something to argue about. the rhetorical messages that we deal with are social and contextual. Not necessarily love letters between partners, created and existing in a social context of human interaction. Situated in the culture and time that we are in now (example: lolcats.com)
Messages are more or less purposeful and directed. Not accidental. Directed at someone as well as at a changeable situation.
You have to be able to change a situation by rhetoric in order for it to be rhetorical. In order for it to be rhetorical it has to be changeable. Rhetorical Exogence: Rhetoric directed toward a specific situation.
Rhetoric tends to shape the way people feel, think, look at and believe more or less overtly. Our question is: How is it doing it?
Rhetoric relies on verbal and nonverbal symbols that may influence our social beliefs and actions. There is more overtly rhetorical and less overtly rhetorical. We can be more persuaded or less persuaded.
Messages make use of material stuff. Sound, written, technology, gesture, other kinds of sound (other than spoken) rhythm, movement, cell phones, fashion, landscape, architecture. some material stuff yields in particular ways: affordances. A doorknob is an affordance. it allows you to turn it and open the door. but by convention you need to learn how to turn it.
Pushing a door without a knob is an affordance. Pulling a door with a handle is an affordance. Restraints.. paper has certain affordances over digital stuff. People like paper because they can arrange a mental space in space by laying things out: you cannot do that with a computer as readily. Digital stuff has different kinds of affordances.. things can be immediately compiled.

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