Saturday, February 6, 2010

Audience

The MWF class went well yesterday (Friday) but I was stuck how "political" our discussion got even though we were just talking about the issue of audience as a rhetorical device. But maybe I shouldn't have been surprised. I showed them two versions of articles written just after Malcolm X was assassinated -- one rather conservative (noting how the man who assassinated him had to be "rescued" from the "mob") and the other more left-leaning I suppose (personalizing the man). I think students figured out which was which but it was a difficult conversation and so many of them didn't seem to understand what I meant by "Democrat" and "Republican." Or maybe they were confused as to how your personal perspective can shape the language that you choose to use when you write any sort of text. I am not sure but I was shocked that so many of them couldn't even identify major politicans by their political party (i.e. Obama, Biden, Blago, etc) or even what broad designations these alliances seem to suggest. So I went in to the class thinking we were just going to talk about language choices with audience expectations BUT I left feeling like I opened up a political can of worms (I sensed that some of the students were quite uncomortable with the class discussion).

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