Digital Rhetoric

The fairly self-evident bottom-line point here is that becoming good at anything worth becoming good at takes a lot of time.

Alex Reid

Writing has always been a significant part of my life as soon as I could read. I’ve always been a better writer than speaker because I think there is a novelty to taking time to prepare your words and say what you really mean which in a lot of in person social interactions isn’t a luxury you can take without people thinking you didn’t hear them or that you’re ignoring them. The first “book” I ever wrote I was about 6 or 7 and I had ripped tiny squares of paper and stapled them together on one side as the binding and narrated one of my common reoccurring nightmares which I also illustrated. Later I got my own computer and one of my first priorities was getting Microsoft Word so I could start to write in a digital format. I gathered all my friends emails and signed up for an independent publishing website where I wrote love stories and horror stories and poetry. The first time I wrote something that was supposed to be inherently persuasive and a call to action was in 7th grade when my friend and I were talking and she told me her professor at her christian school said something off-color to one of the muslim students in the class. I remember being so upset that I composed a two page email without any personal opinions and strictly adhering to supported evidence from the bible on why that was wrong and why that professor owes her an apology. When I had my dad proof read it i’m sure he thought I was going to be a politician. Later in my life I realized rhetoric was something I was noticeably good at simply because I had been doing it all my life without realizing it. Im not necessarily amazing with prose or storytelling but when I am passionate about something or believe in it the rhetoric ends up being pretty powerful. I started to get into poetry simply because I loved all the different ways you could manipulate a poems form and rhythm to make the reader feel what you feel and how it wasn’t necessarily the tangible words of the poem that move you but a culmination of all the techniques you used and the words being like the tracks on which the rhetoric could find its way to you. Similarly, I love Plato. I’ve read his philosophy on god and morality and my favorite theory he ever came up with was his theory of forms which states, “the non physical represents the most accurate reality.” I like this because it’s a concept we have been taught since the beginning in simpler terms like “don’t judge a book by its cover” and things like that. Personally I see this theory of forms is applicable to most things like poetry because it is the non physical or the atmosphere of the poem that makes you feel, not the actual words. If you could know for a fact if you double space it could make someone feel sad or put ‘love’ in a poem many times it would make people reminiscent then it would just be a formula instead of rhetoric. I hope that makes sense. Gorgias, like many of Platos work, is a wonderful example in a way that discusses the rhetoric directly as well as being rhetoric itself that brings it into this very meta plane of existence. Right in the beginning, we see a concept talked about by Alex Reid that I quoted above, in Gorgias about what makes a person an expert, “O Chaerephon, there are many arts among mankind which are experimental, and have their origin in experience, for experience makes the days of men to proceed according to art, and inexperience according to chance, and different persons in different ways are proficient in different arts, and the best persons in the best arts.” This leads into a whole web of other discussion on true vs false arts and good and pleasant being mutually exclusive in some cases. Either way, we are really being impacted by the musings of a philosopher and a concept he has created, the words are just what delivers the message; which is what rhetoric is to me.

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