What constitutes a sell-out?

In my Rhetorics of Identity class, we have been discussing the concept of participatory culture. This is the notion that we all are involved in the culture around us, and we can’t help it.

Even if we don’t buy into a product, because we are aware of it and we understand the meaning and universal discourses associated with the product, we are participating.

The example used in class was the iPod.

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Pyramid of Giza vs. Pyramid at Cahokia.

Kenneth Burke says that we see the world through terminological screens and that every act of selection is an act of reflection but also an act of deflection. When we focus on the beauty, size, and brilliance of the Great Pyramid of Giza, we neglect to look at other works of art: such as the Pyramid at Cahokia, which was “the largest structure ever built in the United States until the late twentieth century”

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I stumbled across this at my university yesterday:

PB040184Doors leading into Lockhart Hall

I found this to be incredibly compelling. I’m not sure what inspired someone to write the words “Hate” and “Love” on the tops of these double doors. Probably it is much the same as what inspires people to write on bathroom walls (Westwood? Want to chime in here?). It’s a beautiful form of expression and it is really fascinating how a person may choose one thing over another to write when they leave their mark on a wall.

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I cringe when people misspell words on purpose. “Kewl” instead of “cool,” “nite” instead of “night”… there’s no real need to misspell these words. They aren’t so much shorter that it saves time (the former might actually take longer to scrawl out, if writing by hand), and to me it just seems to butcher the English language.

There are, however, times when we misspell words accidentally, due to the trickiness of silent or double letters,

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A couple of months ago, Jezebel posted an article detailing the narcissism of modern women. While this article is, to some extent, tongue-in-cheek, it also addresses a very real concern: our bodies have changed considerably in the last 50 years, causing the way we view and express ourselves to change, and this isn’t necessarily a good thing. It works the other way around, too: the way we view ourselves has changed, causing our bodies to change along with our new-found confidence.

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Political speeches weren’t always about vocal audience reaction and applause. Now, however, one of the main ways that we show our appreciation and approval is with applause. Speeches are written with deliberate pauses to give the audience the opportunity to applaud partway along.


President Obama can hardly finish a sentence without the crowd breaking into applause. He can’t even blow his nose in public without being applauded for it.

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Magazines are a highly competitive industry. Women’s magazines, in particular, are very competitive because of the number of top-selling magazines. Most of them have a focus on fashion, beauty, celebrity gossip, and health/well-being. They also often include recipes, relationship advice, “real life” stories, and weight-loss advice.

Magazines rely a lot on the look and feel of the cover as a key selling point. They are situated near the check-out counter in most stores,

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As a health blogger, I receive a lot of food products from companies that wish to promote their products. Over the past year, different food companies have generously given me pomegranate juice, chocolate, applesauce, gum, peanut butter, tea, iced tea, soup, and more chocolate (the last three have yet to be reviewed).

effective marketing strategies

The reason why all of these generous food companies send me their products is,

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A misplaced comma. A forgotten exclamation mark. Too many smiley faces. Poor sentence structure. Any of the above can spell disaster when it comes to relationships which revolve around texting.


Today’s fast-paced world means that nearly everyone relies on text messaging to communicate. But because it is so impersonal, it’s easy to come off as cold, detached, flippant, or overly-earnest. You can’t see the other person’s reaction to your text,

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Visual aids are a powerful rhetorical strategy for giving presentations. Like any kind of rhetoric, it is how we use it, rather than what we use, that dictates how effective or ineffective it is likely to be.


PowerPoint is an especially tricky option. Most people love PowerPoint: it’s easy to learn how to use, it can be helpful for the presenter as memory cues while they’re giving their lecture or speech,

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The rhetoric of self-presentation speaks louder about us, in many cases, than our voices ever can. What we wear and how we wear it is associated with certain assumptions. First impressions are made before we even open our mouths.

In Mimi Spencer’s 101 Things to Do Before You Diet, she discusses this very issue. Getting to know both our personal strengths and weaknesses is helpful so that we can emphasize our strengths and play down our weaknesses.

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I talk a lot about my philosophy of eating real food and avoiding processed “food.” I think that the majority of the time I do a fairly good job of living this philosophy, as well. But every now and then I come up against food which I have a tough time defining. What do we need to take into consideration when it comes to defining food?

Some foods are obvious. A Lean Cuisine frozen meal is processed.

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The results of last week’s G20 summit have been summarized, discussed, and analyzed at length across a variety of mediums over the past few days. It’s worth taking a look at how the strategies of the rhetoric used at the summit effected change within it.

One of the biggest changes resulted from President Barack Obama’s urge for the Group of 20 leading world economies to work on international cooperation. The G20 leaders agreed to shift power in the International Monetary Fund so that developing countries will have more of a voice.

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One of my classes this year is entitled Studies in the Rhetorics of Non Fiction. Specifically, the focus is Writing on the Environment.

Writing on the Environment, or Nature Writing, as it is also called, often brings to mind two styles of writing: first, the intensity of, for example, a Greenpeace report; and second, the flowery passages written by great writers of literature from hundreds of years ago.

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