This is a section from the forthcoming, revised edition of Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy: The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric (Routledge, 2019), by Donald Lazere and Anne-Marie Womack). It is a historical-rhetorical summary and analysis of key sections of “the Powell memo.” The complete text is too long and filled with dated details to reproduce whole, … Read more
What distinguishes an election sign from other signs? The question may not be as vacuous as it might seem.
Consider these signs currently on main street of Del Norte, a town in south central Colorado (population 1,578 and declining). How do we know the red one has to do with a local election?The easy answer is content. Only the … Read more
The day that Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican majority leader, announced that cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would have to be made because they were a drain on the budget, ”the real drivers of the debt,” the proliferation of doublespeak was something to behold.
President Trump and his followers have put on the public rhetorical agenda a supposed opposition between “globalist” and “nationalist” in which the first term connotes the long history of right-wing xenophobic delusions about “the international *** conspiracy,” at various times “Communist,” “banking,” “Jewish,” “world order,” etc. Trump has added the twist of other countries ganging up economically against the US, … Read more
SPEAK SOFTLY, BUT CARRY A BIG STAVE
November 7, 2018
Fact! In September, when Budweiser and Jim Beam introduced their “collaborated” new limited edition Budweiser Reserve Copper Lager, it wasn’t the first beer aged in old whiskey barrels. To name just one brand from a cellar full, the 2014 Goose Island Bourbon County Barrel Aged Stout sells for $13 a … Read more
It’s in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Children in the US learn about it in school. If you grew up in the States, you’ve probably taken freedom of the press for granted your whole life. Can we afford to do that now?
Current State of Press Freedom
Billions of people around the world live under regimes that … Read more
CLAIMING AND DENYING HISTORY
November 5, 2018
October 22 at a rally in Houston, the person elected President of the USA said, “You know, they have a word, it sort of became old-fashioned, it’s called a nationalist, and I say, really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist.”
Words carry with … Read more
I am posting this for Elvira Narvaja de Arnoux, Professor Emerita of Linguistics and Sociology of Language at the University of Buenos Aires who has published widely in Spanish on political discourse. Her comments here indicate that replacement of truth by emotional “truthiness” noted by comedian Stephen Colbert is a widespread political phenomenon.