Linguistic Turn Continued in the Postmodern Complex: Situation and Action Dilemma

Reading Bitzer, Vatz, and Biesecker leads me to the idea that rhetoric situation provokes action and permits different actions. The linguistic turn gives language an unprecedented privilege to shape and to construct, but postmodernist philosophy deconstructs this safe link between language and reality/matter and historical events. Therefore, we struggle due to our inability to present reality to the fullest, and we continue to misunderstand each other because we all want to grasp our own realities that are defined by our own histories and languages. According to comments on news reports, according to the status quo of the whole world, the current era is one that which is chaotic, yet we have to rely on our conscience to unite together as one. We are facing a dilemma of rhetoric, of different levels of situations/contexts, and different actions. I really want to go ahead with light speed and see what happens next. I really wish that our world will become a better place through the effort of us, the rhetoricians. To claim that we are the primary discipline is easy, but to carry the burden of leading all the disciplines to save the whole world by rhetoric is difficult. Classroom practice seems the hope to solve the problems.

Bitzer continues classical genres of forensic, deliberative, and epidemic rhetoric(2), from which he defines the situational nature of rhetoric(3). He further argues that “rhetoric functions ultimately to produce action or change in the world”(3-4). I really love his idea that rhetoric is a “mediator of change,” which is both on the level of the mind and action(4). Reading this immediately reminds me of how I wished to make my classroom to become a place of debate and how students should become mediators of China’s social progress by using rhetoric and composition. In encouraged them to start blogs and other forms of social networks. The internet is really  an amazing thing to know the world without traveling. This also immediately reminds me of Dr. Hocks’ Computer and Composition course, which requires each of the students to start a blog. I can see that this is really a way to change and persuade the audience. I am excited to have such a blog because I become an actor on the stage of the internet where I can communicate and exchange ideas extensively with people who speak and read English. I mean, I therefore gain power through blogging by controlling a specific rhetorical situation(5) on my blog and in my writing. The part that I really love is toward the end of Bitzer’s subjunctive mood. He reemphasizes the importance of rhetoric as an indispensable part of the world, and that rhetoric should not be confined to the simple craft of persuasion. Besides, I guess by emphasizing situation, he is actually denouncing the practice of New Criticism’s overlook on historical context of any piece of literary work.

Vatz reassures Biter’s views on the rhetorical situation and puts forward that we should pay attention to the reality that dictates situation. His creativity lies in his idea that rhetoric should be the “supreme discipline”(161) because it creates knowledge. This idea is pervasive in our discipline’s literature. I guess it means that we are still not being paid attention to? What should we do to give the “scientists” a really good lesson rather than just claiming the fact to rhetoricians? I have been doing my part via my rhetorical senses to my husband who is a physicist, and by persuading my classmates in the technical writing classroom, and may be in the classroom later on.

When I finished the two and began to read Biesecker, I had a strong feeling that  situation is really important and we have to connect all the historical events and maybe people together in order to get closer to reality. For instance, I have been reading Baudrillard’s  Simulations(translated version) which was published in 1983. I found Biesecker’s ideas quite similar to what Baudrillard says. Maybe people in the same historical context think similarly unless some genius mind really goes beyond one’s time. Baudrillard’s pessimist tone on the impossibility of accurate description of the real and hyperreal ends in simulacra, meanwhile, Biesecker emphasizes “différance” and hails Derrida’s contribution to rhetoric because he provides her a premise for another perspective, or, power to act differently(124-125).

I am recovering from my headache, and I am happy to have Dr. Holmes and so many brilliant classmates who inspires and teaches me. Matt did a really great presentation! That picture is hilarious.


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