War, Words, and Why Television Pundits Need to Pay Attention in Freshman Comp

I can't quite figure out how to create links yet (nor provide a proper title for my blog entries), but I thought I'd direct your attention over to the latest posting on Ted Remington's blog "The Rhetoric Garage," ( http://rhetoricgarage.blogspot.com ) wherein Professor Remington discusses the current rhetoric surrounding the occupation of Iraq, which-- as the author points out-- is not actually a "war" as we traditionally understand the word. Basically, Professor Remington talks about how this rhetoric of war has warped our understanding of what's actually happening in the Middle East, all to the Bush Administration's advantage. After all, most Americans would probably agree that "ending the occupation" is a good idea, but they're a lot less inclined to say so if you frame the issue so that such an "end" would be tantamout to "losing the war."

Ted Remington, for those of you who aren't aware, is a rhetorician who became something of a celebrity a few years ago when Sinclair Broadcasting vice president/ cretin commentator Mark Hyman singled him out in one of his "The Point" commentaries as a typical pinhead elitist university professor that folks like Bill O'Reilly and David Horowitz would like to protect us from. Professor Remington's alleged crime was being "soft on plagiarism"-- this charge, of course, turned out to not be... what's the expression? ah yes... even remotely true by anyone's standards; Hyman himself was later forced to issue an apology for his lies. You see, Remington's real "crime" was operating a blog called "The Counterpoint," dedicated to exposing the logical fallacies, manipulative language, and flat-out lies spewed out on a nightly basis in Hyman's "The Point" commentaries.

Mark Hyman later retired from public life-- apparently, he got tired of having his ignorance exposed on the Internets on an almost-daily basis. I don't know where Hyman is these days, but I like to imagine he lives in a cave, alone, toothless, drinking corn whiskey when he can scrape up the money and sobbing a lot. Probably not, but hey-- it's my fantasy. Leave me alone.

The Mark Hyman story is a good example for students in freshman composition, actually-- obviously, Mark Hyman didn't learn the basics of logical argumentation when he was 18 and-- presumably-- taking comp himself. Later, that lack of knowledge came back to embarrass him. The lesson? Pay attention when your instructor is explaining terms like "ad hominem attack," "red herring," and "intellectually dishonest." Otherwise, your fiercest critics-- who, by the way, are much smarter than you-- will continue to have a voice in public political discourse long after you've retired to your cave in disgrace.

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