Recently, I read an article within which the author wrote on disarmament as form of dismemberment. While the article was not academic in nature, it did cause me to think about the Second Amendment in relation to the human body.
This article is one through which I hope to start a conversation about the relations between the overwhelming amount of legislation geared toward increased “gun rights” (one of these alleged rights is that of concealed carry of a firearm) and the rhetoric surrounding the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Second Amendment has historically and is currently being used as a rhetorical device that “pro-gun” activists, lobbyists, and politicians have used to either consciously or unconsciously assert that the firearm is a type of bodily organ, an essential part of the human body.
hLast week Grey Anatomy’s actor Jesse Williams gave a passionate speech about several aspects of being Black in America after receiving BET’s humanitarian awards. In addition to talking about the Black Lives Matter movement, he also implored Black to people to drop materialism and become more involved in the current civil rights struggle. His speech was praised by many in the African American community and shared throughout social media. However, there was a segment of the Black community who questioned both the authenticity and authority of Williams to give this speech because he is biracial with light skin and blue eyes. Read more…
One summer I agreed to be on a triathlon team with my sister and her husband. She would do the swimming, her husband would do the running, and I would do the biking. Just one problem: at the time I did not have a bike. Nor had I ever biked a distance anywhere near what I would have to do in the race.
But I did, on occasion, jog a few miles, and we thought it would be fun. Plus I had the resources to buy a bike and a few months to get in shape. Did I have triathlon readiness? Or, as I’m framing it, did I have the ability to re-invent myself into an acceptable triathlon biker?
To answer that question, I had to just do it and see. There were no tests that could reliably predict my readiness.
I wasn’t the only one interested in readiness. Our current public education standards want students to learn College and Career Readiness. And this may sound great, but how does one determine something like ‘Readiness’?
Please forgive the ambiguity of the title; it stems from personal frustration rather than a desire to entice readers. This article began as an attempt to talk about a recent incident in which Jessikka Aro, a Finnish journalist, asked her audience to share their stories of encounters with the pro-Russian “troll army.”
But from there, I was Alice.
The research led down a dystopian rabbit hole, and I fell past scenes that ran the gamut from the 3 year prison sentences for Al-Jazeera English journalists to the four hundred-million-plus propaganda posts generated by the Chinese government-sponsored 50 cent army. The looking glass, it seems, was darker than I remembered.
The more I hear about the opportunities of our connected world, the more I simultaneously hear about the terrors it induces. And I wonder, what are the rewards for speaking up? What is the cost of bearing witness? Read more…
Politics are nearly unavoidable this time of year. In the last few months, the GOP and Democratic candidates have spoken at rallies, held town halls, and participated in debates (sometimes not so well). Amidst the political scene, I often find myself in discussions with friends and colleagues about who’s said what and the extent to which we agree. In these conversations there inevitably comes a moment where some form of criticism is brought against a candidate. Perhaps not surprisingly, some reproach is often directed toward one of the Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton. Interestingly, on several occasions a male in the group, gesturing in my direction, will suddenly rein in their criticism of Clinton with, “Oh—sorry, no offense.”
This does not offend me. Often their arguments are well reasoned and to my mind make no personal attacks. Why then, would they think I might be offended? While my own work has considered Clinton as a case study to examine issues of identity and representation in the media, more often than not the people from whom these statements come are not aware of that fact. So what is it? Why do they assume I would be offended?
Without realizing it, assumptions like these are frequently made in political and everyday discourse—particularly in relation to women. Interactions such as the one described above represent just one instance where the taken-for-granted can cause confusion, and sometimes disagreement. In this presidential election, it’s difficult to go a day without hearing something about who I should vote for, so I’d like to break down a few assumptions that are often made about female voters:
You may have been watching the Republican debate on February 6th and felt a moment of déjà vu while listening to Marco Rubio rail on Barack Obama. If you didn’t watch the debate, you likely have heard of Rubio’s “glitch” as it’s been dubbed (and mocked by a Twitter account, Marco Rubio Glitch). This suggests Rubio has been revealed to be robotic, programmed or that he is otherwise non-human. Rubio’s repetition of almost exactly the same line four times (and twice in a matter of minutes under pressure from Chris Christie), pulled back the curtain on the difference between rhetoric and pure bullshit.
Repetition is a powerful rhetorical strategy that, explained by any rhetorician’s best buds, Perelman & Olbrechts-Tyteca, increases the feeling of presence in an audience. Done well, repetition sticks in our heads like the chorus of “Who Let the Dogs Out” has been stuck in mine for the past fifteen years. Political oratory would lose one of its most powerful rhetorical devices without repetition. Think to our most famous American speeches: MLK, Jr’s “I Have a Dream,” and FDR’s “I Hate War,” for example. In Obama’s 2011 jobs bill speech, he repeated the line, “Pass this jobs bill” eight times (found, surprisingly, in a rhetorical analysis of the speech on Forbes.com). Of course, advertisers also know well the power of repetition, doing whatever they can to make a jingle stick, and this lesson can be deployed in many other situations where we seek to gain the adherence of minds (as George Costanza knows well).
So why did Rubio’s repetition fail so miserably?