Challenges to Masters of Rhetoric and Speechifyin'

Subject: Challenges to Masters of Rhetoric and Speechifyin'
From: "Melody Akins" <melodyakins -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 15:49:37 -0600

Jean Hollis Weber wrote on Wednesday, March 06, 2002 12:11 AM
Subject: Re: THANKS! Re: It's time to go

> Eric asked for suggestions on how to deal with this. In addition to
> agreeing with many posts pointing out that we should all police ourselves
> (and how to do that), I have another suggestion. I don't know if this is
> practical or not, but is there a way for a group of people to act as list
> moderators, taking turns to deal with problems, so that Eric isn't stuck
> with the whole job? HATT has five (I think) people filling that role, but
> the setup at yahoogroups is different. TECHWR-L is, after all, a
> privately-hosted and -run list. Obviously if Eric did want to share the
> pain, the other people involved would all need to have similar views on
> interpretation of the rules.
---------->End Snip


I don't presume to have any 'answers' to anything. However, I do have a few
things to say:

1) I'll be reading along with an open mind, and BOOM! I'll hit a piece of
rhetoric or an inflammatory phrase. To me, rhetoric is
sound-and-fury-signifying-nothing, and appeals only to the emotions (whether
base or noble), so I quit 'paying attention.' Mind is shut. Right there.
Period. In fairness, I'll usually skim the rest of the message to see if
there is a change of mood or delivery system. If there is not, I won't
bother to try to read for 'meaning' or 'content.' There is just too much
thoughtful, carefully-crafted writing on this list for me to waste my time
on that which is not.

2) I invite all on the list who love the sound of their own words--and who
sometimes mistake material crafted for reading, for material that is
intended to be heard--to join me in taking up the following challenges:

** Challenge When Posting: I won't post anything until I have removed
all rhetorical content. (I live with a political activist, so this is not
hard for me!!) No fair slinging phrases that sound like something out of
the '50's 'Communist witch hunts' 'STC lemmings' (examples of rhetorical
phrasing). The 'argument from name-calling' (Charles Sanders Peirce's Essay
On the Fixation of Belief) is the weakest of all arguments, serves no useful
purpose, causes folks to tend to be unreceptive to all material from the
poster, and--if continually indulged in--tends to make both writer and
reader feel 'drained,' if not downright ill. At least, that's how it works
for me.

**Challenge When Reading: I will remind myself to place principles
before personalities, and read with an open mind. If I am offended, I will
give myself time to think (as has been suggested) before responding. I will
use emotion, where it is connected to a particular person or post, to FUEL a
reasoned response, rather than to CONSUME it. I will also remember that
there is a big difference between a 'response' and a 'reaction--and will
save the 'gut reaction' for the focus groups, where it might earn me some
extra cash!

CONTENT! We must have CONTENT! <falls off soapbox and dislocates jaw>

End of sermonette. Hope everyone hangs in. I have learned/am learning a
lot, and I want to stay!

"Take the Shoes Off Your Mind!"(c)

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