Nazi Rhetoric

Subject: Nazi Rhetoric
From: Stuart Selber <sselber -at- MTU -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1993 11:32:11 -0400

As long as we're talking about social/cultural issues and technical
communication, I thought I'd extend Saul Carliner's wonderful remarks about
why it's important for us to consider broad issues beyond conventions. If
you want to examine examples of great technical
communication--communication that is clear, concise, logical, rhetorically
savvy (even beyond considerations of audience and purpose) and so on--read
reports and memos written by Hitler and his officers. (Steve Katz does a
good analysis of Nazi rhetoric in _College English_ (54.3, 1992). I agree
that it's important for us to focus a lot of energy on making our documents
more readable, usable, and useful to our audiences. But, IMO, the *what*
and *why* behind our messages seem to deserve as much attention as *how* we
are going to deliver and present them. I recommend the Katz article. I read
it everytime I think I need a reality/priority check. BTW, *not* for weak


Stuart A. Selber
Department of Humanities email: sselber -at- mtu -dot- edu
Michigan Technological University phone: 906-487-3252
Houghton, MI 49931 fax: 906-487-3347

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