Lifestyle Editing: Participatory Culture

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 …

In the Media: Location influences meaning

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 …

Analyzing Everyday Rhetoric: Hate and Love

I stumbled across this at my university yesterday: Doors 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 …

The Practical Guide: Commonly Misspelled Words

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 …

In the Media: Jezebel’s Take on Modern Body Image

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 …

Forms of Rhetoric: Applause

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 …

Lifestyle Editing: The Phenomenon of “Want”

One of my most recent experiments as a health blogger was to challenge myself to eat a strictly vegan diet for one month. There were a number of motives for why I did this, the main one being that I was interested to learn from first-hand experience if this could be a healthy way to …

What makes a magazine appealing?

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 …

In the Media: Effective Marketing Strategies

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). The reason why …

Analyzing Everyday Rhetoric: Anatomy of a Text Message

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 …

The Practical Guide: The Upslides and Downslides of PowerPoint

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 …

Forms of Rhetoric: Dress, Style, and Self-presentation

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 …

Defining food: real food vs. processed

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 …

In the Media: Rhetoric of the G20 Summit

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 …

Forms of Rhetoric: Writing on the Environment

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 …