Volume 4, Spring 2013
Welcome to the fourth volume of Relevant Rhetoric: A New Journal of Rhetorical Studies. Each submission is carefully peer reviewed by members of the Editorial Board. This volume’s essays are truly excellent. For submission information, please visit the relevant tab from the menu above. Enjoy the essays in Volume 4, just click on the title to read the article (it will open in a new window as a .pdf file).
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If you’re looking for previous volumes/articles, please visit the Archives tab above. The other tabs provide information about the journal’s philosophy, submissions for future volumes, and the editorial board.
Index of articles for Volume 4:
- William L. Benoit, “The Wanderer” and “Runaround Sue”: Rock and Roll’s Double Standard for Romantic Relationships
–This essay analyzes two rhetorical artifacts from the early 1960′s: popular rock and roll songs by one artist that tell stories about romantic relationships. I argue that these songs reflected and promulgated an inappropriate double standard of appropriate norms of behavior in dating for men and women. Specifically, a woman who dates more than one man is condemned as a tramp, whereas a man who dates more than one woman is celebrated as a stud.
- Eric Sentell, Changing the Channel: Analyzing the Rhetoric of the Fox News Effect
–According to multiple studies, people who obtain their news exclusively from Fox News possess less accurate knowledge of current events than people who do not consume any news sources. In this apolitical analysis, I identify multiple rhetorical strategies that may explain the cause of this peculiar “Fox News effect”: the rhetoric of polarization; presenting a unified point-of-view; rapid redirection; rapid delivery of information; frequent repetition; and decontextualizing claims.
- Jill M. Weber, “Needy Families” and “Welfare Cheats”: The Rhetoric of Family Values in the 1961-1962 Welfare Reform Debates
–This essay explores how both conservative and liberal policymakers and advocates invoked family values rhetoric during debates over three key welfare reform policy proposals: the 1961 Aid to Dependent Children—Unemployed Parents (ADC-UP) program, the Kennedy administration’s initiative to temporarily expand federal public assistance benefits to children in two-parent homes where both parents were unemployed; the so-called “Newburgh Plan,” one small city’s plan to reduce welfare costs and minimize the number of families on the city’s welfare roll; and the Public Welfare Amendments of 1962, the Kennedy administration’s proposals to extend theADC-UP program, expand welfare coverage, and increase funding for rehabilitative services. Although the participants offered competing depictions of welfare families, both liberals and conservatives contributed to a negative image of impoverished single-parent families as morally deficient and socially undesirable. In the process, they laid the foundation for even more intrusive governmental intervention in family life in the future.
- James Dimock, Daniel Cronn-Mills, and Kirsten Cronn-Mills, Climbing Brokeback Mountain: A Wilderness-Civilization Dialectic Reading
–Brokeback Mountain altered America’s cultural landscape. We approach the film from a critical rhetoric perspective, demonstrating how frame selection is a rhetorical act that furthers specific textual interpretations. Our approach illuminates distinctions between a natural-artificial dialectic and a wilderness-civilization dialectic. We argue the natural-artificial dialectic limits the narrative and constricts any understanding of the film. The wilderness-civilization dialectic provides, we contend, a more robust, compelling, and ambiguous space for reading the text.
- Bruce Loebs, Charisma: The Key to Hitler’s Rhetoric
–This essay describes Hitler’s unquestioned skill as a public speaker by explaining how he projected himself as a charismatic leader. Hitler once declared, “everything I have accomplished resulted from persuasion.” Rhetoric was the key to Hitler’s success. Charisma was the key to Hitler’s rhetoric. I will describe several topics relevant to his ethos, illustrate Hitler’s acknowledged skill as an orator, and, using German sociologist/economist Max Weber’s definition and description of charisma, focus on four main characteristics of “the Hitler Myth.”