Chapter 1 Notes

The definition of rhetoric:

Messages that rely on verbal and nonverbal symbols that more or less intentionally influence social attitudes, values, beliefs and actions.
What is your first reaction when I use the word murderer as opposed to defender? The choice of words a rhetorer uses influences our immediate reaction to who the rhetorer is and what message we will recieve.
How is the rhetorer conveying right and wrong to the reciever? Is smoking perceived as a good relaxing pass-time or a bad cancerous habit?
Rhetoric may target our beliefs. Opinion polls may be used to suggest that a situation or practice is either good or bad. This could influence the doubt in one's belief.
What was your reaction when AT&T listed a text number so an individual could give $10.00 to Haiti? One reaction I noticed was "Fuck AT&T". This made me feel the person didn't believe in the cause. Is the person mad at AT&T for some other issue? Maybe the point is that we have millions of people in our society that are out of work, homeless, and need assistance also.

Rhetoric is a very powerful tool. A person walking down the street is using rhetoric to influence the way other people perceive them. If you see an individulal dressed in a nicely tailored suit would you believe them to be a businessman or a terrorist? Rhetorical messages presume that there exists the ability to have a choice.

Rhetoric abounds in our daily lives. Rhetoric profoundly influences how we perceive and respond to our world and beyond. Rhetoric is more powerful than a nuclear bomb in that it may affect more people than the bomb itself. Think about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. How many millons of lives have been affected throughout the world from the results of those actions?

When you see a swastika, do you have a positive or negative reaction? If you see Shrek are you scared or do you laugh? If you see a skull and crossbones how do you react? Symbols are used from the time we are delivered from the womb to influence a reaction from us. We are taught to fear or feel safe. We react in the way we were influenced to react, usually. Symbols can be verbal and nonverval stimuli used by a rhetorer. The movie the DaVinci Code is an excellent example of the use of symbols.

Not all information is rhetoric. The use or presentation of the information may be rhetoric.

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