Writing Bodies: Rhetorics of the Flesh

Using the awesome power of the Random Sequence Generator, I’ve come up with the following performance schedule:


  1. Mike, Noah & Casey: “Midas”
  2. Trisha & Jon: “Erysicthon”
  3. Meghan, Seth & Jess: “Myrrha”
  4. Travis, Mandy, Ryan & Annie: “Erysicthon”


  1. Dan & Caryn: “Midas”
  2. Devin & Glori: “Orpheus & Eurydice”
  3. Ben & Bobby: “Eros & Psyche”
  4. Syd, Ross & Ali: “Orpheus & Euridice”

When it’s your group’s day to perform, be sure to bring enough copies of your annotated script for each of your actors to have one, and for your group to be able to markup and make notes as the performance progresses.

IMPORTANT! If you want me to make copies for your group, you need to get your script to me by 10:30am on the day of your performance, and let me know how many copies you need.

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Category: Assignments, Blog News

As the semester winds down, the stress and craziness ramps up. So, to help with the insanity, here’s a handy checklist of what’s due, and when.

  • JEREMIAD: make sure you get this to me by Thursday, Dec. 3rd
  • MY LIFE AS AN AVATAR: get this to me no later than Tuesday, Dec. 8th
  • METAMORPHOSIS MARKUP: this is due by 8am on Dec. 17th

As always, if you have questions, just ask.

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Category: Blog News, Rhetoric

As we’re working on our annotations for our scenes from Metamorphoses, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how other artists take a whole lot of random (?) stuff and smoosh it all together into something that, almost, kinda, makes perfect sense.

I am, of course, talking about Lady GaGa’s new video, “Bad Romance.”

Each moment is filled with significance, strangely enough. And there’s also an awful lot of affect on display, which suggests to me that it would be ripe for a rhetorical analysis.

Lucky for you, Dodai on the Jezebel blog has beaten you to it. Enjoy Dodai’s twisted, snark-tastic shot-by-shot breakdown of this masterpiece of modern videography.


Sorry for the late notice, but I’m bravely fighting off the plague and would rather not share said plague with you. So, class is cancelled today. We’ll meet again on Tuesday.

I’ve updated the Course Calendar to reflect this. You’ll see that we’ll continue our discussion of The PowerBook on Tuesday, November 10th, so bring your ethos, logos and pathos examples (2 of each) with you to Tuesday’s class.

This weekend you have the following assignment: Spend at least 45 minutes in Second Life this weekend. Your mission:

  1. Develop an avatar you like.
  2. Find 5 places in Second Life you think are interesting. Add them to your “picks” tab on your profile.
  3. Create a second, different look for your avatar. This second look should be noticeably different. Use your inventory system to create a folder for each look. When you’re finished, you should be able to drag the folder from your inventory onto your avatar to change your avatar’s appearance all at once.

If you don’t have a computer of your own on which to run Second Life, and you can’t beg, borrow or steal a friend, roommate or family member’s computer this weekend, Professor Nancy Welch has open office hours in A206 on Thursdays from 5:30-6:45pm. Feel free to use the lab then. Just tell her that I sent you.

I hope you’re all feeling better than I am, and that you have a great weekend.

See you Tuesday.

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Category: Readings, Rhetoric

Today we’re looking at the religious aspects of Howl and Phaedrus, and how those affect and are affected by the rhetorical goals and strategies in each piece.

To kick us off, I bring you a passage or two from Andrew M. Greeley’s 1986 novel: God Game:

… the little kid’s plea, “Momma, tell me a story,” is really a desperate plea for meaning. The astonishing. amazing, and confusing phenomena which impinge on the child’s consciousness seem inexplicable, chaotic, terrifying. Momma’s story puts some order into the confusion, some cosmos into the chaos. Religion in its raw and elemental manifestation plays a “momma” function: it tells stories which suggest that there is order in the confusion, meaning in the terror, cosmos in the chaos. Religion, in short, is a cosmos-creating activity or it isn’t worth a damn and isn’t even religion. (pg. 8)

And one more:

Every theologian is a storyteller and every story is about God, one way or another, despite what the local Cardinal of your choice might tell you. (pp. 16-17)

Greeley is a Catholic priest, a professor of sociology at the University of Arizona, and an unimaginably prolific author of fiction and non-fiction.


Check this out! BoingBoing is reporting that a group of sixth graders in Sweden have filed a complaint against Toys R Us alleging that the 2008 “Christmas catalogue featured “outdated gender roles because boys and girls were shown playing with different types of toys, whereby the boys were portrayed as active and the girls as passive.” Is that awesome or what?

The article continues:

The group’s teacher explained to the local Smålandsposten newspaper that filing the complaint was the culmination of more than two years of “long-term work” by the students on gender roles.

Thumbing through the catalogue, 13-year-old Hannes Psajd explained that he and his twin sister had always shared the same toys and that he was concerned about the message sent by the Toys”R”Us publication.

“Small girls in princess stuff…and here are boys dressed as super heroes. It’s obvious that you get affected by this,” he told the newspaper.

“When I see that only girls play with certain things then, as a guy, I don’t want it.”

New Scientist magazine is running a flash fiction contest — and they want YOU to enter.

The rules are simple: set your story 100 years in the future, and tell your story in no more than 350 words. Then send it to New Scientist and await your sure-to-arrive-soon fame and fortune.

And, if you need help generating ideas, David Malki has created an Electro-Plasmic Hydrocephalic Genre-Fiction Generator 2000, which is sure to provide you with winning ideas for years and years to come. (Malki is the creator of the Wondermark: An Illustrated Jocularity online comic. If you’re not reading it every week, you should be.)


Given our recent work with Aristotle’s Poetics, I have no doubt you’ll find much of interest in the E-PHG-FG2K.

(Click the image to go to Wondermark and view the E-PHG-FG2K in biggie form.)

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Category: Assignments, Blog News

There have been several questions now that the first assignment has come up, so here’s the definitive answer: YES! You may e-mail your work to me. The Lorax (who speaks for the trees) loves this idea, and encourages you to e-mail everything you do for this class to me.

So now you know. I’ll always take hard copies, but we all win when you use e-mail.


Here’s another video clip about the health care reform debate, but this one is an example (as the post title indicates) of a skilled rhetor practicing his craft. In this instance, it’s Senator Al Franken (D-MN), talking to people at the Minnesota State Fair.

Watch how Franken takes note of the kairos of the moment and adjusts his speech to it. Also watch how he uses example and dialectic (logos alert!) to make his case. Finally, where do you notice him using appeals to ethos? Interesting, no?

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Category: Readings

If you’re having trouble getting a copy of Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Poetics, here are links to two free online versions that use the same translations we’ll be discussing in class.

If you’re going to use the online texts, be sure to take extensive notes during your reading and to bring those notes with you to class.

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