About

Every human utterance is rhetoric because, from my particular theoretical perspective, all human utterances are speech-acts meant to persuade. In an academic, non-pejorative sense, rhetoric is the effective use of language.

Effective to what end? There are lots of answers to that question, and you now know mine: persuasion. The quality of a rhetorical performance can be anything from sublime to insipid, but what is most important is to decide if rhetoric is working to persuade and, if it is, how it is working to persuade.

Rhetorica¬† is my attempt to explain the persuasive tactics of the various forms of our American conversation. I’m especially interested in examining documentary film and the news media because those are my teaching areas as a Professor of Media & Journalism at Missouri State University. I no longer do standard academic essay writing/publishing. In 2014, I began a journey into documentary filmmaking. I am now on the creative track of academic publishing. In other words, I make films instead of write essays.

As I learned early in my journalistic career before becoming an academic, there is no such thing as an objective point of view. And the ideal of fairness is almost as elusive. But I will always attempt to be fair according to standards that I will try to make plain. I will try to reveal my biases when I think they intrude on my critiques.

My credentials? I am, as I indicated above, a former journalist and current academic. I earned my Ph.D. in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City; my co-disciplines were English (rhetoric) and political science.

I hope you find the information on The Rhetorica Network useful.