In an effort to create something readable and enjoyable, I’ve thought through everything I wanted in this blog. I tried writing to “the audience”, a group of scholars that aim their sights on solving the worlds biggest issues, but that form of writing is more work than pleasure. Maybe, I lack the capacity to place the genre of the professional blog appropriately in the space of my head that holds such niceties of life like cupcakes and puppies. In any case, my attempt to find invention in this blog has not resulted in anything other than growth. For me, I would rather spit the idea out and watch as 1000 people correct me than never type a single word. With that all said, I wanted to pose an idea I’ve been working on with a working title called: rhetoric of the self or self-rhetoric.
The idea has been undoubtedly thought of and probably consists somewhere in the annals of a university library or collection of dissertations. I don’t care. Simply put, this blog is meant not for “the audience” I had originally hoped, but a different one, a more humble and casual one, the “Everyday”. Of course, what rhetoric form does everyone use everyday? The one you reserve for yourself.
I might be stealing this from I.A. Richards, a foundation New Criticism scholar, but I believe that rhetorics primary purpose is to resolve issues in communication. Self-talk, is a type of dialogue that happens internally. So, what happens when you have communication issues internally? What argument style works to resolve these internal issues?
Have you heard someone say: “I gotta get myself psyched up”? How about “I look in the mirror and tell myself (blank)”? These are acts of self-rhetoric. Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry said, “…you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ well, do ya, punk?”, Harry was just asking the man he was about to duel, to commit to an act of self-rhetoric. Granted, the character’s seeming monologue is something much larger in the context of the movie, but I digress.
At the beginning of this post I wrote about me looking for enjoyment in a blog. I had to figure out multiple arguments to persuade a reluctant side not only to overcome, but to thrive. Enjoyment was the golden key for me to action. There is an old saying that goes, “a salesman has to believe in the product they’re selling”. Really, they just need to believe the argument they would tell themselves. What we tell ourselves becomes invariably important as we attempt to communicate with others. Those initial internal arguments are a reflection of both what we understand of ourselves and our audience.
I wanted to differentiate self-Rhetoric from Psychology. The two follow many of the same pathways. Psychology incorporates behavior in a given contextual situation. Meanwhile, Rhetoric is an act of finding and utilizing in a given situation the available means of persuasion. In this light, Rhetoric is a more specific approach to communication versus the essence of person.
For now, attempting to define self-Rhetoric is all I’m willing to do in this post. I’ll try my best to start another post about applications of self-Rhetoric and the intersectionality it has with mundane rhetoric and genre usage. Thank you for reading.