I recently finished writing a book about the role of rhetoric in our everyday lives. Whether it is a conversation in a cafe, a rant in a pub, or a great speech in political chamber, you are bound to find rhetoric sneaking around backstage pulling strings, dimming lights and occasionally opening a trap door.Continue reading “How to Apologise for Killing a Cat”
I think it is safe to say that if you have done something that evokes an angry tweet from Donald Trump you’re winning at life. His tweets are famous for their manner, their meaning and their outright chutzpah!
Some people laugh at his tweets, others praise him for his frankness, and some are outright horrified by what he has to say. Whatever your views are, it is impossible to deny that he is a colossal figure and what he says matters.
But politics aside, the rhetoric behind his tweets are fascinating. Before I go on, I will quickly mention that it is easy to think that rhetoric is only found in grandiloquent speeches delivered by eloquent speakers and that it isn’t used in the realm of twitter. But that would be wrong. On the contrary, rhetoric is used everywhere, and by everyone – and that certainly includes Donald Trump on twitter. Continue reading “The Rhetoric of Donald Trump on Twitter”
I recently gave a TEDx Talk all about rhetoric at the University of Cambridge and a member of the audience approached me with a very interesting question. He said, ‘I am Turkish. Are all of these rhetorical devices you talk about applicable in Turkish as they are in English?’.
Whilst I must admit that I am not too well versed in the intricacies of the Turkish language, I told him that I am sure that most of the rhetorical devices I spoke of in my speech are transferable – for example, the rule of three (tricolon) tends to be universally applicable across most languages. Continue reading “Rhetoric and the confusio linguarum”
Imagine it is August 28th 1963 and you have traveled to Washington DC to hear Martin Luther King Speak. He’s 30 minutes into his presentation and he says, ‘now as you can see on section C of slide 37….’ It just wouldn’t be the same. This is because slides ruin good speeches. In fact, countless good speeches have been butchered by the pestilence known as PowerPoint. I’ve sat through many ‘talks’ in which the speaker at some stage or other started reading the illegibly small text from slide 42 with their back facing an unenthused audience who can barely conceal their boredom. Ironically, in most cases, PowerPoint is neither powerful nor to the point. Continue reading “Death by PowerPoint”