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How's Your Rhetoric?

Worked On Those Tropes Lately?

     
7:08 pm on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I love to listen to a good speech. Unfortunately, great orators are rare. Churchill is one of my favorites, in part due to his use of classical rhetoric. How many speakers can you remember using rhetoric well? Churchill used all of the classic techniques.

Anaphora
Antimetabole
Antithesis
Assonance and Alliteration
Brachylogia
Cacaphony
Catachresis
Epistrophe / Antistrophe
Epizeuxis
Litotes
Metonymy
Oxymoron
Paradox
Paronomasia
Periphrasis
Scesis Onomation

We're lucky to get speakers now that use alliteration, and I think they only use that as a mnemonic device. So have you brushed up on your rhetoric lately? Could come in handy for copywriting.

11:57 am on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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A lttle off topic but nevertheless to be recommended ..Richard Burton reading "UnderMilk" by Dylan Thomas ( the BBC radio version ..from the 50's or 60's I think ) ..

Listen to it and I think you'll see why I made the connection ..

Back on topic ( sort of )..W.C.Fields...

Churchill ..agreed

3:14 pm on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I always enjoyed listening to MLK, Jr.

There are a couple of others whose names alone would start a big broohaha. I'll just say that my enjoyment came from style and not content. ;)

4:14 pm on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Apart from the obvious orator that nearly everyone agrees was a fantastic speaker yet loathsome, I've found a couple of politicos to have flashes of brilliance. Tony Blair comes to mind. Ronald Reagan's inaugural speech was pretty good, Clinton's "Education of Youth" was fantastic but most of the recent politicians seem to lack any enthusiasm for speaking, let alone any training in rhetoric.

Do you think rhetoric is even recognized by the audience now? Or do listeners just assign a pass/fail grade to speeches? Recently, it seems rhetoric has been given a bad rap. As witnessed by all the "just rhetoric" condemnations in the media. Of course, in those cases, I'm not sure the people making the "just rhetoric" statements are using the same definition I use.

Is rhetoric part of the instruction for trial lawyers?

4:36 pm on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Is rhetoric part of the instruction for trial lawyers?

Not when I went to law school.

4:44 pm on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I find that odd. Of course, classical education has long since been relegated to the dustbin in favor of technology-based, specialized instruction. It seems to me that debate and oral summations would benefit greatly from classical rhetoric.

<added />My sense of courtroom drama might be influenced by Perry Mason and Vincent Bugliosi. ;)

2:07 am on Mar 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Being passionate, persuasive, and inspirational in your speaking is the antithesis of political correctness.

Just my 2 drachmas...

9:45 pm on Mar 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Do you think rhetoric is even recognized by the audience now?

No.

Re: Political correctness... That's one problem. Being verbally persuasive is regarded with suspicions that you're trying to manipulate people (Clinton being called "Slick Willy" for instance). Which, of course, you are, and I fail to see why that's necessarily a bad thing.

It's fine for advertising agencies to manipulate the bejeezus out of the public, under the rubric of their clients' "right to do business," so perhaps it's only OK if you're selling something.

3:14 am on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Off topic, but not really, is my favorite part of any speech... ever.

"rout'n 'em out 'n bringin' 'em ta justice"?

I imagine the "Doe in headlights" look as it's being said. I find it humorous, yet it depresses me at the same time, and still yet... part of me is enraged. What ever happened to the days of just speeking?

I supposed it's justificated if yuh dun gots lotsta money?