Rhetoric in Grammar

I thought yesterday’s class regarding grammar was interesting because it totally relates to rhetoric. Adjusting the level of grammar you’re using to your audience is just another persuasive technique. By using a familiar type of grammar, you can make you’re audience feel comfortable. When writing a blog, like I am now, I feel less restricted in my grammar usage and language. For a narrative, it is a more relaxed piece of writing. For that type of writing, it is not necessary to have perfect grammar otherwise it will come off as too formal.

When writing a paper for a class, I feel more inclined to make sure my grammar is as formal as possible. I want to be professional and use my best grammar. For a paper for my science courses, I need to use a specific grammar and type of writing to fit that need. When I write a research paper, I need to use specific jargon to appeal to the audience. By appealing to the audience, I am further using rhetoric.

You can even relate rhetoric in grammar in everyday speech. I speak completely differently depending on if I am speaking to my friends, my parents or grandparents, or my professors. When speaking to my friends, it is similar to narrative, informal writing. Which makes sense because if I am writing a narrative I am generally basing it to a informal audience, as I do when I am speaking. When speak to my bosses or professors, I have a more formal language to try to relate to them, similar to formal writing.

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Is Google making us stupid?

Google is changing the way we think. To say it’s making us stupid is not fully accurate. I personally feel like I don’t need to fully memorize anything these days because I can always google the information. Even professors these days will not make us memorize things like dates or the elements on the periodic table “because you can always google it”.

That being said, I think we are also smarter with google. We are learning more and more everyday because we have an immediate answer to any question on our minds. Before google, people may have questioned certain things, and were too lazy to look it up or could not find the answer in a specific book. Now that is not the case. People can aimlessly search for anything on the Internet.

I think the worst part of google is that the Internet has a lot of false information. As mentioned in class, a common site to use is Wikipedia because it’s always one of the first hits. Wikipedia is a site where you can alter the information on any given page regarding a certain topic. Because people are lazy, they choose the first thing that google presents- which normally is Wikipedia.

This lack of searching and sense of entitlement for information is a problem in our generation. Instead of making us stupid, it’s making us lazy. Instead of searching in books for answers, all it takes is a click of a button, which can be a blessing and a curse.

Rhetoric in Art

I thought our tour with Isabella through the Uffizi Gallery was incredible. I learned so much about the time period and religion in such a short span of time. I felt as though seeing the art gave me an understanding of the time period, even more so than reading history textbooks in high school. I always thought to myself that I was not much of an “art person,” but after that tour, I felt like I learned how to interpret art how we interpret literature. I found our class discussion that day also very interesting regarding education. It makes total sense that art was so prevalent in that era due to the lack of education. Because so many people were illiterate, books were not common. Art was common, to appeal to the illiterate audience.

I think reading art has become a lost art, in many ways. We are not raised with art, and not taught to think in those creative ways any more. It is more common for us to discover rhetoric in text versus in art. However, I wonder if we grew up being taught the rhetoric of art, we would understand rhetoric in text even more thoroughly. I also wonder why we don’t interpret art more throughout schooling, as a way of teaching history, because as I said before, I learned much more than ever before.

Manipulation Through Rhetoric: Ethical or Unethical?

During class we discussed if rhetoric was manipulative, and also how it can be used ethically and unethically. Rhetoric is an art of persuasion, and sometimes persuasion can be used to manipulate someone into doing something they did not want to do. Manipulation can occur ethically or unethically, therefore making rhetoric both ethical and unethical. Ethical ways of using rhetoric could include sharing pros and cons of a specific medicine, while an unethical way to use rhetoric would be to not share the side effects with the patient before prescribing the medicine. By leaving out this information, you are manipulating the patient and taking advantage of them. Another example would be through the news. Different channels or outlets take portray different sides of the story, leaving viewers not fully informed. These channels have an agenda, taking political sides specifically during this past election. By having these channels, people are less apt to change because they are continuing to watch like-minded people. This could be seen as unethical, as a boundary to personal growth and openness to other’s ideas.

I think rhetoric has a bad reputation purely because manipulation has a bad reputation. Which led me to look up different definitions on Merriam-Webster for manipulation:

  • “To control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage”
  • “To change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one’s purpose”

These definitions both have negative connotations with “control” and “change.” This led me to believe that rhetoric is more often than not used to unethically manipulate the audience.