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Ned Bedinger wrote:
<quote>> Tek, you shouldnt take it so hard.> > You took my prose as obfuscated, pompous. I wrote it in that stilted > academic style to color it that color, because formal rhetoric is an > academic discipline--you can take rhetoric out of the school, but you > can't take the school out of rhetoric.</quote>
You seem to be making leaps unrelated to content, an odd tendency in a field dedicated to meticulous attention to detail. Specifically, I said your comments "could be classified as ... ," which is a long way from either "classifying as," or "taking as."
Formal rhetoric is the equivalent of the line in Michael Korda's old book, "Power," in which he recommended discreetly crossing one's legs during an interview to intimidate the interviewer with a view of one's Gucci loafers. It only works with those impressed with Gucci loafers.
That is, the nuances of language are largely lost on all but others who use words in their craft; the rest of the world doesn't care. A bitter pill, I know, but a reality of life in the 21st century, in which many are more fascinated by the view of Lara Croft climbing a wall than by Sophistry or rhetorical devices (unless you consider Lara Croft as a rhetorical device).
All that said, I like rhetoric. It would be nice if it were worth more in the technical writing field, but its value seems more appropriate in prose, poetry, or (in an obscure way) marketing. It is unfortunate that contemporary rhetoric is often based on introspection; the strategies are those which the creators believe would persuade them, when they should be based on what would persuade others.
Perhaps that is why rhetoricians do so poorly outside of academia; they fall in love with their own creations, and fail to realize they are blinded to the shortcomings of their creations by that love.
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