What Rhetoric Is

I couldn’t help but think of our discussions of ethos with this one.

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Bitzer honestly said it best. Rhetoric is, in a nutshell, “the art of altering reality”; not literally, not in a god-like sense, there’s no physical reshaping of matter itself into the form of your choosing and omnipotent control of the very fabric of space and time- but y’know, that’s not far off.

Rhetoric is the capacity to influence another’s perception of reality, to alter the way that they view the world around them. It’s basically an art form, where words are the colors and the mind is the canvas. It’s as honest as it is deceptive, operates in a sort of moral grey area, and if we strap on our conspiracy goggles, basically controls every aspect of our lives.

We all know at least one person who’s good at finagling themselves out of a tight situation through clever wordplay and appealing to people’s latent sympathies. Younger siblings are particularly good…

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