I recently attended a kind of mini-seminar on one of my favorite authors, someone who crosses the lines between rhetoric, philosophy, literary criticism, sociology, history, and politics. Everybody was talking in terms of rhetorical analysis and social critique, which was refreshing. They were also trying to gain historical perspective, which is fine, but I could not understand their approach, since I haven’t read the same books. Their expressed political positions were progressive and sympathetic with socialism or neo-Marxism, which was a little annoying, but typical. They were patriarchal and male chauvinist, yet gay-sensitive, which was funny to me, and also typical.
The attempt to grapple with issues using rhetorical analysis reminded me that I naturally think that way, and that it is possible to be around other people who think that way, rather than associating with people who think that rhetorical analysis is pointless because they think “rhetoric” is stupid, shallow, or deceptive, like everything else in the World Wide Pig-Wallow.