Friday, April 18, 2008

day one - exams begin!

I guess the only good thing about them beginning, is knowing that I'm only 5 days away from being finished. I have my rhetoric exam today and I feel pretty good about it. I think it's mostly just going to be historical analysis questions. I was very surprised by just how much I enjoyed this course. Perhaps it's because rhetoric is a useful tool in many areas of my life. After all Katula said that any modern lawyer would benefit from knowing Quintilian's theory of emotional appeals. I'll concur, it has been useful. What I found most interesting about 20th c. theory is that it began to look at rhetoric is a totally different light. In that we are all innately rhetorically beings who intentionally and unintentionally use rhetoric is our daily lives. I suppose this is true, especially with reference to the process of self deliberation, which is highly rhetorical.
I was watching Boston Legal this past week, which is a prime illustration of what good rhetoric is in the court room. It inspires me to want to be a better speaker now, and then to harness that power in court, to make a speech that is truly moving and persuasive. There's just something so impressive and captivating about a really good orator. I think it's because it's a skill that very few people have naturally mastered and don't want/need to work at it. Maybe this is the root of Obama's appeal that no one really want to recognize. Yes the man is a good orator, but what is the true substance of what he is saying? What is really behind the words that seem to be convincing so many during the campaign thus far? Perhaps this is a question too complex to be addressed, but will unravel with time.

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