RhetoricLee Speaking
Anec-don’ts and Insta-fails: Storytelling, social media marketing, and Jenna Kutcher of Goal Digger–RhetoricLee Speaking Ep. 13

Anec-don’ts and Insta-fails: Storytelling, social media marketing, and Jenna Kutcher of Goal Digger–RhetoricLee Speaking Ep. 13

May 26, 2020

An anecdote is not a story. An anecdote is a quick, “this thing happened to me.” An anecdote is a one-dimensional series of facts that people call a story when they don’t know better. An anecdote may have had a point. It might even have some concrete detail. But the one thing it doesn’t have is the one thing that a good story can’t exist without:

Plot. Structure.

What’s missing from the anecdote is what we call in rhetoric “vicarious experience.” The whole reason stories exist is to trick my brain into believing that I have experienced something that I haven’t experienced. When I listen to a really good story, my brain processes the experience as it would if I had been doing the play by play of the story myself--not exactly, obviously, but approximately. 

Not understanding that isn’t really your fault, though. You’re getting a lot of superficial, profit-driven advice.

Like the platitude-fest called the Goal Digger podcast, created, not surprisingly by some social media influencer business guru person named Jenna Kutcher. Episode 13 analyzes the “storytelling” advice from Kutcher, reveals it to be just advice about anecdotes and Instagram captions, and discusses the importance of creating vicarious experience in your stories.

Then I leave you hanging until Episode 14 to learn how to write a really stellar story. But I do play you a clip from Fight Club, so we’re even.

Read the blog version

Watch the YouTube version

*Learn more at https://rhetoriclee.com 

*Follow the show on Facebook and on Instagram @rhetoriclee for more teasers, highlights, and awesome graphics

*Don’t miss an episode. Subscribe on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, on Google Podcasts, on Stitcher, on Youtube, on Spotify, or via RSS

*Take 20 seconds to leave a short review and 5 star-rating (I’ll even take 4 stars, I’m not greedy). Reviews help future #rhetoricnerds find the show!

*Have mixed feelings about the show or think I may have stepped in it? Let’s discuss on social media or at rhetoriclee@gmail.com.

Some Pain, Some Gain: Chris D’Elia’s “No Pain”, Cancel Culture, and Personas

Some Pain, Some Gain: Chris D’Elia’s “No Pain”, Cancel Culture, and Personas

May 13, 2020

Corny-ass comedy: I'm here for it!

Comedian Chris D’Elia’s new standup, “No Pain,” which premiered on Netflix a few weeks ago and was unanimously a let down to everyone who analyzed it. D’Elia has been a mid-level stand-up for a while now. He really took off last year as the host of the podcast, “Congratulations with Chris D’Elia.”

At its best, “No Pain” transgresses and pokes fun at the expectation that people have to suffer to be interesting. That’s a totally worthy theme. D’Elia even jokes that when he tells people he has suffered, people suddenly find him interesting. This is the best of what comedy does--make fun of an implicit bias that you didn’t even know you have so that now you realize you have it. And the suffering artist is a pervasive and deeply problematic cultural bias--just ask Charles Bukowski or Robin Williams. Oh you can’t, they’re dead.

D’Elia won’t commit to just being the dorky nice guy stand-up comic. That’s why his voices and his persona are all over the place--he’s conflicted about his style even though, as far as I can tell, there’s no reason for him to at all throw in the hard flex other than what I’d guess is probably the stand-up-comic celebrity version of peer pressure. 

D’Elia has done me a favor because he’s written a stand-up in which his WORST material is when he’s ragging on how “nobody can say anything anymore” which means I don’t have to PC police him because the joke is even more NOT funny than it is offensive. 

And the worst part is, D’Elia could be a very good nice guy comic and the world could use some of that right now. You clearly have thoughts swirling around in that peer-pressured brain of yours that are worth salvaging. 

Read the blog version: https://rhetoriclee.com/some-pain-some-gain-chris-delias-no-pain-cancel-culture-and-personas/

Watch the YouTube version: https://youtu.be/EQ9Qn5Ai6wE

*Learn more at https://rhetoriclee.com

*Follow the show on Facebook and on Instagram @rhetoricleespeaking for more teasers, highlights, and awesome graphics

*Don’t miss an episode. Subscribe on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or via RSS

*Take 20 seconds to leave a short review and 5 star-rating (I’ll even take 4 stars, I’m not greedy). Reviews help future #rhetoricnerds find the show!

Have mixed feelings about the show or think I may have stepped in it? Let’s discuss on social media or at rhetoriclee@gmail.com

RhetoricLee Speaking Podcast–Banishing Banality, One Speech at a Time–Trailer

RhetoricLee Speaking Podcast–Banishing Banality, One Speech at a Time–Trailer

May 13, 2020

What’s up Rhetoric Nerds! Welcome to RhetoricLee Speaking--a podcast about banishing banality, one speech at a time.

I am your hostess with the mostess, Lee Pierce, she/they pronouns, lover of rhetoric, professor of communication, and loather of cliches.

Join me most Tuesdays on YouTube, your favorite podcast app, or my blog at rhetoriclee.com for a whirlwind tour of the banality in culture, politics, and whatever was on Netflix at 3am.

Be sure to subscribe wherever you watch or listen so you never miss an episode. And I’d love to connect on social media--I’m @rhetoricleespeaking on Instagram and @rhetoriclee everywhere else. 

I promise to follow back but mark my words: if I see one vapid-ass quote about living, laughing, or loving come across you’re feed...Dueces

*Visit https://rhetoriclee.com for show notes and more

*Follow the show on Facebook and on Instagram @rhetoricleespeaking for more teasers, highlights, and awesome graphics

*Don’t miss an episode. Subscribe on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or via RSS

*Take 20 seconds to leave a short review and 5 star-rating (I’ll even take 4 stars, I’m not greedy). Reviews help future #rhetoricnerds find the show!

*Have mixed feelings about the show or think I may have stepped in it? Let’s discuss on social media or at rhetoriclee@gmail.com.

Drink Analogies Not Bleach + Fresh Prince, Obama, Trump’s Lysol Moment

Drink Analogies Not Bleach + Fresh Prince, Obama, Trump’s Lysol Moment

April 28, 2020

Get a great list of fast and dirty strategies for constructing a kick ass analogy and listen to me mini rant about how Democrats ought to be out visiting the victims of bleach poisoning, sympathizing with those poor people who are so terrified that grasp at a desperate solution, instead of shitting all over them for being idiot sailors led by Captain Idiot on the idiot cruise.

Kicking off with Britta’s hilarious explanation of analogies from the recently revived Community, RhetoricLee Speaking is all about analogies this week--the good, the bad, and the structurally sound criminally negligent.

An analogy is the comparison of two things, tenor and vehicle properly called, for the purpose of transferring a single idea. Or as Britta puts it after Jeff hits her with the mansplaining, “an idea with another thought’s hat on.” Analogies are similar to metaphors except their idea isn't immediately apparent but with metaphors the idea is usually relatively self-evidence. Sometimes analogies are called extended metaphors for that reason.

When analogies go well they produce understanding, enjoyment, and the translation of a complex idea. When they go bad, they look like Dr. Phil trying to explain to Will Smith how sex is like cars cuz abstinence.

When analogies go well you get Obama’s classic cars analogy from the early years of the 2012 campaign as people were shouting across the country about the Republicans, “you can’t have the keys back!” 

Which begs the question: what kind of analogy was Trump’s implicit comparison to hand sanitizer during his so-called “Lysol moment” last week? Structurally sound but criminally negligent.

Read the blog version: https://rhetoriclee.com/drink-analogies-not-bleach-fresh-prince-obama-trumps-lysol-moment/?preview_id=381&preview_nonce=cf188603d9&preview=true&_thumbnail_id=387

*Follow the show on Facebook and on Instagram @rhetoricleespeaking for more teasers, highlights, and awesome graphics

*Don’t miss an episode. Subscribe on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or via RSS

*Take 20 seconds to leave a short review and 5 star-rating (I’ll even take 4 stars, I’m not greedy). Reviews help future #rhetoricnerds find the show!

Have mixed feelings about the show or think I may have stepped in it? Let’s discuss on social media or at rhetoriclee@gmail.com. Know more at rhetoriclee.com

Tiger Kink Part 2 of 2–Tiger King, Transgression, Trump

Tiger Kink Part 2 of 2–Tiger King, Transgression, Trump

April 21, 2020

Part 2 of a 2-part episode defending only the first ⅗ of the very first episode of “Tiger King.”: A piece of cultural criticism as epic as “Tiger King” is not.

Tiger King bashing--which is not the same as nuanced cultural criticism--is demophobia to the core. Demophobia means a fear of the demos.

Tiger King gives you pleasure, at least in the first ⅗ of the first episode, because it toes the line of kink--of queer transgression around sexual identity and practice. Not in a mean, sad way but in a fun kind of loving way

Talking about wanting to get peed on--which he’s almost certainly into--might have been the only thing Trump could have said that would have lost in the election? Why? Because we spend way too much effort as a society shaming people for basic, fun, transgressive instincts like being peed on, having gender subversive identities, experimenting with language, or doing anything else, especially when we’re young, that might mess up the tidy binaries we all spent too much time defending between straight/gay, woman/man, us/them, appropriate/inappropriate, and so on and so forth.

Thus we arrive at the ultimate disappointment that will be Tiger King’s demise: the playful kink transgression sketched in the first episode, where viewers first get to test the waters of their pleasure with the text, quickly gives way to mean-spirited.

Tiger King works the same way. It feels good because it rehearses a bunch of stereotypes you have about rednecks and drug addicts and women. Sitting around immersing yourself in misogyny and stand-your-ground entitlement and the cult of personality doesn’t feel good but it does feel good. It’s a cycle of mean-spirited perversion. But that’s not all it is. No, there’s also something beyond the pleasure principle, which is playful transgression and kink and gender and genre bending.

Read the blog version:http://rhetoriclee.com/tiger-kink-part-2-of-2-tiger-king-transgression-trump/

ENJOY THE SHOW?

*Follow the show on Facebook and on Instagram @rhetoricleespeaking for more teasers, highlights, and awesome graphics

*Don’t miss an episode. Subscribe on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or via RSS

*Take 20 seconds to leave a short review and 5 star-rating (I’ll even take 4 stars, I’m not greedy). Reviews help future #rhetoricnerds find the show!

DIDN’T ENJOY THE SHOW?

That’s cool. I’m not for everybody. I would still love to hear from you on social media or at rhetoriclee@gmail.com.

Tiger Kink Part 1 of 2—Tiger King, Media Cliches, Queer Country Renaissance

Tiger Kink Part 1 of 2—Tiger King, Media Cliches, Queer Country Renaissance

April 14, 2020

Part 1 of a 2-part episode defending only the first ⅗ of the very first episode of “Tiger King.”

Part 1 you will get today, which is an episode that achieves what we in the critical world call a “ground clearing.” See, when something is as popular as Tiger King, and as radically mis-read, you can’t just jump in with an alternate interpretation. You need to clear some ground first, move away some cliche cobwebs to make space for another idea. The second episode--coming to you Tuesday next--will be a reading of Episode 1 of Tiger King that is kinky and queer in the most literal and interesting senses of the word. 

From “missing the point of the big cat trade,” to “alien and strange,” to “snubbing the underprivileged,” this episode is a tour of the more insightful of the uninsightful media cliches trying to explain the love of Tiger King to the people who love it without actually explaining all that much.

Along the way are a few clips from Joe Exotic’s albums including “I Saw a Tiger,” “Here Kitty Kitty,” and “Pretty Woman Lover.” Also: Rebecca Black’s 2010 “Friday,” which will make sense later.

Along the way we discuss the etymology of the word bizarre, the paradox of queer country renaissance, and the misuse of the word irony. For the record, there is nothing ironic about anything I saw in this episode; I am earnest through and through, from the tops of my appreciation for Joe’s baby tiger snuggles to the bottom of fake Carole Baskin’s silver meat platter. 

I earnestly appreciate all of it; I earnestly validate none of it.

Read the blog version

ENJOY THE SHOW?

*Follow the show on Facebook and on Instagram @rhetoricleespeaking for more teasers, highlights, and awesome graphics

*Don’t miss an episode. Subscribe on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or via RSS

*Take 20 seconds to leave a short review and 5 star-rating (I’ll even take 4 stars, I’m not greedy). Reviews help future #rhetoricnerds find the show!

DIDN’T ENJOY THE SHOW?

That’s cool. I’m not for everybody. I would still love to hear from you on social media or at rhetoriclee@gmail.com.

Face the Counter-Facts—Trump, COVID, Denial, Brooklyn Nine Nine

Face the Counter-Facts—Trump, COVID, Denial, Brooklyn Nine Nine

April 7, 2020

For all my baby ears out there who can’t use their imagination; this episode contains spoiler alerts for Season 6, Episode 18 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

When Sgt. Terry Jeffords announces to his beloved Brooklyn Nine-Nine that he’s “not in denial, he’s in deNIAL,” everyone looks at him as if he’s crazy. “Is Jeffords broken?” Captain Holt asks Detective Diaz.

Except Jeffords isn’t crazy. He’s using the rhetorical figure of antanaclasis--breaking against reflection--in which a single word or phrase is repeated, but in two different senses. Jeffords is living in two simultaneous states--the current reality in which he is being transferred to another precinct and a counterfactual hypothetical in which he is remaining at the Nine-Nine--and is using antanaclasis to give expression to that condition. It’s a condition we all experience all the time. Jeffords is the rational one. Diaz is the one peddling the useless cliche: “face the facts” to try and break Jeffords out of his supposed lapse in reality.

Rosa telling Terry to face the facts is about as useful as urging the President on Twitter to “face facts” about the growing body count, not to mention hard hit to collective morale, of Coronavirus. Because denial denial isn’t a factual contradiction--it’s a very powerful rhetorical strategy.

The problem with Trump is not that he doesn’t face facts. The problem is that he faces facts. And these are the decisions that he makes.

Read the blog: http://rhetoriclee.com/?p=339

ENJOY THE SHOW?

*Follow the show on Facebook and on Instagram @rhetoricleespeaking for more teasers, highlights, and awesome graphics

*Don’t miss an episode. Subscribe on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or via RSS

*Take 20 seconds to leave a short review and 5 star-rating (I’ll even take 4 stars, I’m not greedy). Reviews help future #rhetoricnerds find the show!

DIDN’T ENJOY THE SHOW?

That’s cool. I’m not for everybody. I would still love to hear from you on social media or at rhetoriclee@gmail.com.

Speak Like You Give a Fuck–Profanity, King’s Speech, Thug Kitchen, Losing 100 Pounds w Phit N Phat

Speak Like You Give a Fuck–Profanity, King’s Speech, Thug Kitchen, Losing 100 Pounds w Phit N Phat

March 31, 2020

I’m going to pose the radical idea that people can be polite, maybe even civil, and still sprinkle in some profanity. That said, while too much cursing may not necessarily be uncivil, it does, at a certain point, become overkill.  A good example is the cookbook Thug Kitchen, subtitled: “eat like you give a fuck.” The presumed edginess of profanity in public takes over actually saying anything interesting.

You can be cliche by having no opinion and just saying things are nice and cool or you can be cliche by saying horrible, offensive shit to people.

What, then, does thoughtful profanity look like? I discuss two examples, First up is the weight loss podcast “Losing 100 Pounds with Phit-n-Phat.” The host, Corinne Crabtree, does the best job of defending the f word that I’ve ever heard. Second is Colin Firth’s defense of a PG-13 rating for the Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech, despite the profanity filled scene in which the Prince overcomes his stutter.

If lady-boner-mark-darcy-commander-of-the-order-of-the-british-empire-Colin-Goddamned-Firth thinks that families can and ought to rally together over a cathartic f-bomb dropped strategically amidst a historically sound Oscar-winning period film, then, well, who the fuck are you to say otherwise, really?

Click to read the blog version of the episode

ENJOY THE SHOW?

*Follow the show on Facebook and on Instagram @rhetoricleespeaking for more teasers, highlights, and awesome graphics

*Don’t miss an episode. Subscribe on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or via RSS

*Take 20 seconds to leave a short review and 5 star-rating (I’ll even take 4 stars, I’m not greedy). Reviews helps future #rhetoricnerds find the show!

DIDN’T ENJOY THE SHOW?

That’s cool. I’m not for everybody. I would still love to hear from you on social media or at rhetoriclee@gmail.com.

The Evil of Banality + Nazis + The Blacklist

The Evil of Banality + Nazis + The Blacklist

March 24, 2020

Cliches are rhetorical weapons of mass destruction. 

In 1963, Hitler’s second-in-command, Adolph Eichmann, was tried for war crimes in Jerusalem. In attendance at the trial was Hannah Arendt, a philosopher and journalist and also a Jew who managed to escape Europe during Nazi occupation. 

Arendt, who is brilliant, unsurprisingly made a lot of brilliant observations. Foremost among them was the degree to which Eichmann’s ability to put six million people to their horrifying deaths depending on his ability to think in any nuanced or creative way about what he was doing. Arendt’s report on the trial gave birth to the phrase “the banality of evil,” which means, quite simply, that the most depraved acts are authorized by the most superficial ways of thinking.

In her words, “The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think; that is, to think from the standpoint of somebody else. No communication with him was possible, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against the words of others, or even the presence of others, and hence against reality as such.

Now, obviously, plenty of people go about their days using all manner of cliches and do not turn into Adolph Eichmann. The point isn’t that banality automatically yields evil but rather that evil is not possible without the insulation from critical thought that banality provides. 

Read the blog: http://rhetoriclee.com/the-evil-of-banality-nazis-the-blacklist/(opens in a new tab)

ENJOY THE SHOW?

*Follow the show on Facebook and on Instagram @rhetoricleespeaking for teasers, highlights, and awesome graphics

*Don’t miss an episode. Follow the show on Spotify and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or via RSS. Find the show on other platforms using linktr.ee/rhetoriceespeaking.

*If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, please take 20 seconds to leave a short review and 5 star-rating (I’ll even take 4 stars, I’m not greedy). 

DIDN’T ENJOY THE SHOW?

That’s cool. I’m not for everybody. I would still love to hear from you on social media or via email at rhetoriclee@gmail.com.

Rock Bottom Girl + Brittany Runs a Marathon

Rock Bottom Girl + Brittany Runs a Marathon

March 16, 2020

This is RhetoricLee Speaking, Episode Five. Brittany Runs a Marathon... and I run into real trouble believing she only ran it because she hit her rock bottom.

Nothing demonstrates the seduction and disappointment of the rock bottom cliche better than the movie, Brittany Runs a Marathon, released last year on Amazon Prime. The movie tells the story of a hot mess millennial who, “hitting her rock bottom,” turns her life around and runs the New York City Marathon. The problem with the narrative is that there’s nothing about a “bottom line” that inherently motivates people to change. Why? Because bottom lines are RHETORICAL constructions; they’re made up. My bottom line is your Tuesday and there are heroin addicts shooting up blown out veins who are like, “bottom line? Where.” 

We keep the rock bottom fantasy alive because it allows us to believe that if we just keep doing what we’ve always done--which is precisely avoiding practicing new ways of thinking--we will eventually fuck up badly enough that the rock bottom will arrive and that will just MAKE us run the mile or put down the bottle or call the lawyer. 

Read the blog version of the episode

ENJOY THE SHOW?

*Follow the show on Facebook and on Instagram @rhetoricleespeaking for more teasers, highlights, and awesome graphics

*Don’t miss an episode. Follow the show on Spotify and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or via RSS.

*If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, please take 20 seconds to leave a short review and 5 star-rating (I’ll even take 4 stars, I’m not greedy). 

DIDN’T ENJOY THE SHOW?

That’s cool. I’m not for everybody. I would still love to hear from you on social media or via email at rhetoriclee@gmail.com.