Friday, January 28, 2011


Short post, but I'm busting y'all.

I'm taking a rhetoric class this semester and am beyond excited about this course. I nearly exploded when he handed out an op-ed piece about the Tucson shooting--not because it was about the shooting, but because it was a political piece. Though--and probably because--I've no strong stance on whether or not the likes of Beck and Palin deserve any real direct blame for this tragedy, I had to hold myself back.

That was fun. Even more fun was contradicting everyone the next day on a different piece. I've been in the house for so long, away from what I love to do that you can't fucking shut me up now.

Anyway, part of the class is collecting pieces of strong, interesting, weak, etc. rhetorical pieces and annotating them, analyzing them. We're supposed to find a focus within the next month. Until then, we're supposed to find a variety of things to present to the class.

There are so many things I could focus on. I thought about politics, I thought about advertisements, I thought about niche magazines. Upon arriving home today I thought of using Mumford and Son's "Little Lion Man."

But that's beside the point.

Y'all know what a goldmine the church is. Rhetoric? Oh my god, it's everywhere. In fact, just the other day we received a "your daughter is turning 8!!" letter from the church (so that's why they wanted to know our address...). I was surprised by a small reaction I had from that letter. Guilt doesn't go away easily.

General Conference talks. Official newsroom responses to General Conference talks. Deseret News. Emails. Pamphlets.


Now I don't know if I want to expend this kind of energy on the church, but it doesn't matter. This class just might be the death of me. I'm in heaven.


  1. Cool! Do you believe that people in the church use these rhetorical techniques deliberately, or is it simply engrained in the religious culture?

  2. LDS Inc. -- that's like the rhetoric motherlode. I can hardly wait for you to report back.

  3. Forgive me if my replies are a bit chaotic. I'm formulating them at the moment but have little time to really polish them.

    Ahab: Probably both, but as a cynic and as a person who knows that good writers write deliberately, I'm thinking it's mostly the former.

    Then again, one could argue that one feeds the other, that it's cyclical.

    Consider the matter of how much cog-dis a person is willing or NEEDS to ignore if their position is high enough. There's a topic on whether or not the top leaders get that this thing is all a sham. My argument is that even if they do, we'll likely never know it. They are in too long, too deep, and coming out is just unfathomable. It's hard enough on the lower-end.

    If a writer for the church has issues with their belief-system, they may be threatened (to be fired, ex'd) so they continue in their course. Others may have been influenced so long by previous writers of the church to write they way they do. It takes a long time to look at the newsroom and see what is wrong with the articles once you've seen the light, so to speak.

    The culture of the church's former PR department may influence the current PR writers' rhetorical techniques. Does that make sense? Good rhetoric (even if of ill-intent) shapes the thoughts of those who are on the receiving end. It could be like being prone to picking up accents more quickly than others.

    So even if one is currently shelving (their questions/doubts) and is already employed OR if one already believes THE CHURCH is of no blame, they will write as such. They will either be convincing themselves by recruiting other poor saps.

    Again, if they know it's a sham but can't get themselves out for whatever reason they will continue to bury themselves by writing as if it isn't a sham. They will deceive others to protect themselves.

    CD: it's like they've shouted "Gold!" I wonder, too, if there are any members in my class. Cough.

  4. Lisa -- Yes, that makes sense. Thanks for the analysis.