Brian W. Davidson

sharing things I enjoy

Modern Rhetoric

Walking past the playgrounds this week, overhearing the conversations as class started — multiple times over the past few days I’ve noticed students practicing the art of rhetoric.

I heard some lower, elementary school students on the playground repeatedly saying, “Bro said [fill in the blank]!” One girl said it multiple times in a row, sounding really awkward. But, of course, that’s why she was practicing it. She was striving to get the timing right and persuade her audience that her observation was laugh-worthy.

I heard a ninth grader doing something very similar with “That’s such an L [fill in the blank]!” This time too it was the awkward repetition of the expression over the course of a minute or so that got my attention.

These instances combined with the ever present echoes of “Yooooooooo!” — said with that unmistakable inflection that communicates the speaker is highlighting something outrageous, out of place, or offensive — convince me that students regularly practice rhetoric whether we have a class for it or not.

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