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Happy Trails, Bucaroos.

Posted on 2014.06.09 at 11:01
...until we meet again.

Originally posted by doctor_treat at 4240 FINAL PAPER
COMM 4240: Rhetoric, Culture, & Ideology

THE DAILY SHOW with Jon Stewart seems a fascinating illustration of all the promise and perils of our postmodern media age, and perhaps as good an example as any of mainstream "culturejamming" nonetheless enjoyed by liberals and conservatives alike. That is, as noted in some of the media coverage below, THE DAILY SHOW offers "fake news" as both witty entertainment and biting political satire... yet it is also a profit-driven entertainment commodity that must ride a fine line between shrill political "agitation" and harmless cathartic chuckles as it appeals to a wide range of mainstream audiences. If culturejamming is Meme-based communication (mimesis = an imitation, a copy or representation of something 'real' or natural), then perhaps image-based argument like TDS can be used as "enthyMEMES" or tacit counterpropaganda with the potential to subvert the status quo? Or is the joke on those who think it is more than “fake news” as profit-driven entertainment??

Choose an episode of TDS [or perhaps THE COLBERT REPORT] for rhetorical analysis by triangulating Real's Case Study Method (imitate the form and format he illustrates with the last chapter). Utilize rhetorical probes from the Real textbook to enrich your Case Study Analysis of your own ritual participation in viewing the program. More specifically, your analysis should demonstrate your mastery of concepts and theories from the course and your readings to address these questions:
(1) In what ways is The Daily Show “postmodern”? What is the agenda of TDS, according to Stewart and his producers? [Historical/Ethical]
(2) In what ways does the program function as Hegemony? That is, in what ways does TDS perpetuate status quo cultural values even as its satire challenges others? Use examples and commentary from articles as support. [Production Hegemony]
(3) Is TDS “culturejamming” or not? Applying concepts and theories from Real’s book, does this comedic commodity spectacle encourage active rhetorical citizenship or passive spectatorship? Does the Postmodern humor, irony, and satire of TDS encourage participation via critical skepticism or does it merely promote apathy via political cynicism? [Textual]

Follow directions and guidelines for Ex. B, p.280! The paper should be 6-8 pages, typed, spell- and grammar-checked, following proper APA citation format.

Theorizing Culture Jamming and Meme-based Communication

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert faked it until they made it. Now they may truly be the most trusted names in news

THE DAILY SHOW articles archived for easy access!!

COLBERT roasts Bush and White House Press Corps

Stewart vs Kramer on the Economic Crash

gun blazin'

3340 Rhetorical Methods -- Ideological Criticism

Posted on 2014.04.25 at 13:29
Originally posted by doctor_treat at 3340 Rhetorical Methods -- Ideological Criticism

"Napalm," by Banksy

Ideological critiques of Disney




...and what the heck is Postmodernism? A Primer.


4340: Final Paper -- Your Political Taxonomy

Posted on 2014.04.25 at 12:37
Originally posted by doctor_treat at 4340: Final Paper -- Your Political Taxonomy
For your final paper, draw upon Hahn's "5 evaluative criteria" from chap. 14 to offer your own Political Taxonomy. Engage specific concepts from Hahn's text as you describe and discuss. Feel free to integrate your own evaluative criteria (for example, I'd mentioned that I find "communicative competence" and "intellectualism" more important than Hahn's "ability to deal with stress" as elements for "Personality" and "conflict style" for "Leadership") as you engage the major concepts identified by Hahn. You should also discuss a specific political issue that is an important concern for you (i.e. tax cuts, health care, global warming, etc) to show how your Political Taxonomy (esp. epistemology and axiology) can help you evaluate and theorize specific policy choices.

7-10 pages, APA citation, due Friday May 2.


Persuasion or Propaganda?

Posted on 2014.02.07 at 16:22

Hey, thrill-seekers, it’s time to start thinking about Hahn's take on mediated political labeling (chap. 3-4) with “the power of form” (chap. 5) and "strategic language" in politics (chap. 6) to examine the relationship between persuasion and propaganda! Head over to the propaganda critic website to get introduced to the topic with examples.


Your paper for next week will examine *one* of the following case studies to answer the question posed at the end of class: What difference is there, if any, between persuasion and propaganda? If your answer is “ethics,” then what *specific* rhetorical tactics and strategies are ethically questionable or perhaps irresponsible? In answering these questions, you should rely upon course readings and some scholarly definitions or expert outside sources with examples from a selected case study to illustrate the rhetorical strategies you uncover.

Use the rhetorical techniques from the “Propaganda Critic” website and Jowett’s historical survey to frame your paper, imitating the copious examples he offers for whichever method you're using. You should choose one of the case studies (The fall of Saddam's statue, Saving Pvt. Lynch, or ABC's 'The Path to 9/11'), or perhaps bring something of your own. You then bring in the propaganda articles and NCA ethics guidelines as needed to answer the question "What difference is there, if any, between persuasion and propaganda?" Feel free to research independently to see if some expert can offer helpful guidance. Our class discussion had settled on some tentative conclusions so your paper is you weighing in on how *you* now make distinctions between them. 5-7 pages, typed, APA or Chicago format.

"The masses find it difficult to understand politics, their intelligence is small. Therefore all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points. The masses will only remember only the simplest ideas repeated a thousand times over... The function of propaganda is, for example, not to weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for. Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it favors the enemy, and then set it before the masses with academic fairness; its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly. "
~Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (Chapter 6)


(1) The toppling of Saddam's statue in Bagdad was a staged media event?
“Army report confirms Psy-Ops staged Saddam statue toppling” http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/641

(2) Saving Private Lynch story 'flawed'?

(3) ABC's "The Path to 9/11" as Right-Wing docudrama?
-- Days before its scheduled debut, the first major television miniseries about the Sept. 11 attacks was being criticized on Tuesday as biased and inaccurate Republican propaganda by bloggers, terrorism experts and a member of the Sept. 11 commission, whose report makes up much of the film’s source material.
The six-hour miniseries, “The Path to 9/11,” was shown on ABC two nights in September of 2006. The network has been advertising the program as a “historic broadcast” that uses the commission’s report on the 2001 attacks as its “primary foundation.”

What the critics are saying about “The Path to 9/11”:

A 75 year history of social science research has yielded much valuable insight into propaganda and persuasion.

The Pentagon's Hidden Hand in TV analysis

Stephen's logical fallacies website.








RFK's eulogy of MLK Jr, 1968

Posted on 2014.01.24 at 16:00
Originally posted by doctor_treat at RFK's eulogy of MLK Jr, 1968
Originally posted by doctor_treat at RFK's eulogy of MLK
Originally posted by doctor_treat at RFK's eulogy of MLK
Robert F. Kennedy's Eulogy for MLK
Amid the tragedy of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King on Thursday, April 4th, 1968, an extraordinary moment in American political history occurred as Robert F. Kennedy, younger brother of slain President John F. Kennedy, broke the news of King's death to a large gathering of African Americans that evening in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The gathering was actually a planned campaign rally for Robert Kennedy in his bid to get the 1968 Democratic nomination for president. Just after he arrived by plane at Indianapolis, Kennedy was told of King's death. He was advised by local police against making the campaign stop which was in a part of the city considered to be a dangerous ghetto. But Kennedy insisted on going to speak to the unsuspecting audience and, in all likelihood, his powerful words prevented a riot. He delivered the speech from a flatbed truck.

The Speech


who's drivin'?

COM 4340 Rhetoric & Politics paper #1 guidelines

Posted on 2014.01.22 at 15:53
Originally posted by doctor_treat at Rhetoric & Politics paper #1
This first paper is intended to stimulate thinking about your own political philosophy (or perhaps lack thereof). Most undergrads are just beginning to awaken to their own “political consciousness,” so I expect you may have some wrestling to do as you negotiate your presumptions and beliefs while reading Hahn. As a position paper, you will want to explore your political philosophy (“politics in principle”) and political ideology (“politics in practice”). Most folks aren’t strictly either Conservative or Liberal, but instead “a little bit country and a little bit rock’n’roll.” Now that you’ve read the Constitution & Bill of Rights, and examined differences between historical understandings of Liberal and Conservative political philosophy, you should be ready to tentatively enter the political conversation despite nagging questions and contradictions.

Like any college paper, it should follow a basic argumentative structure and demonstrate your grasp of readings and course concepts (presumably from chapters 1 and 2). Other than that, I'm leaving room for you to roam since it is supposed to be about you articulating *your* emergent "politics" in light of Hahn's typology.

More specifically, you can use questions #1 and #2 from chapter one (p.11) to jumpstart thinking about your politics “in principle” and “in practice” on the Freedom-Order paradigm. Your paper should start with basic questions like: How did you "sort" with the online measures for political ideology, and were there any surprises or shortcomings? How do my politics resonate with Hahn's distinctions between "Liberal"/"Conservative"? To what degree do you agree with Hahn's portrait of the ideological "wrongheadedness" in both Liberal and Conservative politics today? What political issues are most important to you? Should all American citizens have mandatory military service (Israel requires 2 years), and where do you stand on policy issues like The P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act or the warrantless NSA surveillance or Guantanamo Bay detentions? Finally, how would you describe your "politics," and how has Hahn influenced your perception of political ideology?

Your paper should be 5-7 pages in APA or MLA format, TYPED and stapled, in order to be eligible for full credit. As expected of most college papers, you should use 12pt font, 1” margins, spellcheck and grammar check. The paper is due IN CLASS on the date noted in the course syllabus, and NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED.

gotta reload

What is your political profile?

Posted on 2014.01.19 at 11:16

Here are several tests for measuring your political profile, along with a few questions you should be able to answer that help evaluate its methodology. Choose 3 and bring a summary of your findings to class for discussion!


1. Whom created the test? Group or partisan affiliation?

2. What variables does the quiz measure? How many questions does it include, and inclusive of what dimensions or topics?
What does it purport to measure, and how?

3. Are there any criticisms regarding bias, methodology, or omissions?

4. According to the quizzes taken, what is your political profile? How does it jibe with your self-perceptions?

5. Which issues do you find yourself more conservative about? More liberal? Moderate?

PEW Research test on Political Typology

This Political Philosophy Quiz measures several spectrums

A list of several quizzes, the first two being most well-known

Can your preferences in dogs, Internet browsers, and 10 other items predict your partisan leanings? | TIME.com


Spring 2014 Rhetoric with Doc Treat

Posted on 2014.01.17 at 09:16
Originally posted by doctor_treat at COM 3440 Public Address Studies!!
Originally posted by doctor_treat at COM 3440 Public Address Studies

Contemporary Public Address is a hotly contested notion. The eloquence of speakers such as Daniel Webster is long gone, some say. Others point to orators such as John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Ronald Reagan to show that public address is indeed a thriving art despite the bumper-sticker mentality of the mass-mediated world in which we now live. Has mass media forever altered audiences into passive consumers duped by unscrupulous pundits and challenged by educated critics *OR* has it always been thus? Courses will explore and examine several contemporary speeches as case studies, from both the mainstream and the margins, examining them for their rhetorical artistry and political effectiveness. We will also discuss key issues about the study of Rhetoric– the ethical dimensions of public address and democratic deliberation, the criteria we use to evaluate speeches and speakers or texts, the contested limitations on free speech and public expression, and the influence of mediated mass communications upon deliberative citizenship.

Welcome to the semester, Rhetoric thrillseekers! The first week will use the following readings to explore the question: What is Rhetoric and Rhetorical Criticism?

Karlyn K. Campbell, "A Rhetorical Perspective"

Karlyn K. Campbell, "Elements of Descriptive Analysis"

Notes on Carey's "Communication as Culture" paradigm

Barry Brummett, "Rhetorical Methods in Critical Studies"

Hart's Narrative Reasoning

Over 250,000 civil rights supporters attended the March on Washington D.C.

Background and analysis:

The New MLK Monument

"It is important to contextualize King in this way, to properly situate him, to immerse him in the currents of contemporaneity, and to remind us that the sense of community so many experienced and hoped for in the civil rights movement was never completed, in part because King was so idealized, modified, marketed, and mythologized until the deeper implications of the movement were dismissed."

"Textbooks promote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through three master narratives: King as a messiah, King as the embodiment of the civil rights movement, and King as a moderate. Collectively, the three master narratives of King offer a sanitized, noncontroversial, oversimplified view of perhaps one of America’s most radical and controversial leaders."

Originally posted by doctor_treat at 3340 Rhetorical Methods -- Ideological Criticism

"Napalm," by Banksy (2004)

Ideology is often defined as the structure of beliefs, principles, values, and practices that are used to define, organize, and interpret reality. As a method for examining the unifying "systems of ideas" that structure perception and interpretation, Ideological Criticism is concerned with the ways in which cultural practices or artifacts often produce certain identities (roles, rules, or power relations) AND knowledge (Ideology is "meaning in the service of power") for cultural participants. Because texts are sites of struggle over meaning, Ideological Criticism thus investigates the ways in which meaning is mobilized via symbolic forms for rhetorical functions, questioning the "dominant meanings" and vested interests of the prevalent power structure and its privileged members. Representations of class, race, and gender are examined in terms of the 'structures of meaning' and 'structures of feeling' that impose material political inequities. Often, ideologies are invisible and seemingly "natural": we simply don’t realize that our thoughts and actions are being shaped by sets of implicit assumptions, myths, or ingrained beliefs. Moreover, certain ideologies can become “hegemonic,” which means that they represent a kind of coercive social control or “manufactured symbolic consent” over us to the degree that we come to accept and actively "participate in the material conditions of our own unhappiness." By contrast, counter-hegemonic texts seek to actively challenge or subvert a dominant ideology by calling into question the "naturalness," historical inevitability, or moral contradictions of hegemonic beliefs or values.
Because ideologies rarely announce themselves —nothing seems out-of-whack or unnatural about many of our assumptions— the critic’s job is to reveal how a particular ideology is embedded and embodied in cultural institutions (organizations, businesses, schools, etc.) or in artifacts (objects produced by society, media, software programs, etc).

According to Sonja Foss (2004), “the primary goal of the ideological critic is to discover and make visible the dominant ideology or ideologies embedded in an artifact and the ideologies that are being muted in it” (295-296). For Foss, Ideological criticism looks at the construction of specific perspectives structured within an artifact. Almost any artifact can be examined, but popular culture artifacts are most often scrutinized to reveal the covert persuasion or tacit propositional arguments being presumed or naturalized within the text. To analyze the ideology lurking in an artifact, rhetorical critics examine group membership, ritual activities, persuasive goals, implied values/norms, subject positions and relational identifications, with particular attention paid to symbolic elements being presented in the artifact which structure possible meanings. The critic then extrapolates suggested or associational elements that embed unobvious meanings within the artifact, looking for contradictions or power relationships that are misdirected, naturalized, or omitted. By attending to the "presences" and "absences" structured as meaningful in a text, critics evaluate and assess how meanings, presumptions, mythic narratives, or strategic omissions may promote the power and interests of dominant groups even as it elides or suppresses those of subordinate groups. At the end of the day, Ideological Criticism is interested in how the "systems of ideas" in texts are haunted by a selective past, tainted by power interests, and advocate politically-charged worldviews both overt and covert.

For interesting examples of lurking ideological structures, see these articles:

Identifying and applying the methodological procedures of Ideological Criticism from Foss, briefly offer your own rhetorical analysis of the Banksy image "Napalm" (posted above) using the D.I.E.T. formula (describe, interpret, evaluate, and theorize) for writing an analytic essay.

First, briefly identify the method's presumptions, units of analysis, and procedure in a concise paragraph. Second, utilize the D.I.E.T. formula in clearly labeled sections, examining the presented elements, suggested elements, and underlying (counter-hegemonic) ideology being implied in Banksy's image. Finally, concisely narrate the counter-hegemonic critique that Banksy seems to be offering with "Napalm," and explain any tacit rhetorical purposes you think may be at work in this provocative image. In one or two sentences, what central argument is being implied about American democracy and/or Capitalism? What rhetorical actions are audiences being tacitly called upon to challenge or even change?


Ideological critiques of Disney




...and what the heck is Postmodernism? A Primer.

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