Anybody hear the "synathroesmus" in
ths clip by Colbert?
Here's another one from Salon writer Alex Parene: "At this point TED is a massive, money-soaked orgy of self-congratulatory futurism."
Epistrophe of the Day: “The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.” — Elie Wiesel
The proper way to differentiate between like and as is to use like when no verb follows (2). For example, Squiggly throws like a raccoon or It acted just like my computer. Notice that when I use like, the words that come after are generally simple. A raccoon and my computer are the objects of the preposition.
If the clause that comes next includes a verb, then you should use as. For example, Squiggly throws as if he were a raccoon or It acted just as I would expect my computer to behave. Notice that when I use as, the words that come after tend to be more complex.
You generally hear like used in everyday speech, so that helps me remember that like is the simpler word—or at least it is followed by simpler words. As sounds stuffier and is followed by a more complex clause that contains a verb.
Use Grammar Girl as an online resource for other usage questions you might have. She has a good, common-sense way of presenting most issues.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
The Memory Palace. JH
talks about it in his book on p. 256, but he calls it a "memory villa".
This article does a nice, succinct job of explaining how it works. See if it works for you. Sarah Ma sent me a link today that references the BBC series Sherlock and also provides some good detail about how this method works.
EQ Tip of the Day: Remember 'perception checking'? You might have a hunch about what's on some one else's mind, but it's always good to check. Ask questions like, "It looks like you're feeling down about something. Did something happen?" If someone says something, and it seems as though he expects you to read between the lines, don't be afraid to ask a question to get some clarification.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Yes We Can. In
class I excerpted a part of Obama's speech after his primary defeat in
New Hampshire to provide an example of the use of the 'epistrophe'. This
is one of Obama's best rhetorical moments.
Here's the original speech.
You will also see that he uses the yes-we-can repetition also as an 'anaphora'--beginning
sentences and clauses.
Here's the will.i.am version:
Monday, May 6, 2013
Iain McGilchrist on the whole-brain theme and how humans make meaning--or don't:
EQ Tip of the Day:Take control of your Self Talk. Research suggest the average person has about 50,000 thought every day. Every time one of those thoughts takes place, chemicals are produced in your brain that trigger reactions felt throught your body.
There is a strong relationship between what you think and how you feel, both physically and emotionally. Because you are always thinking (much like breathing), you tend to forget that you are doing it. So if you have some self-talk bad habits, it might help to change them. For instance, instead of I always or I never, say this time (I screw up); instead of "I'm an idiot, say "I made a mistake".
Thursday, May 2, 2013
David Rose in a TED talk on pitching to venture capitalists like him. The whole thing is worth watching, but you can start at the five- minute mark if you want to save some time (h/t Billy Rex):
EQ Tip of the Day: On a similar note: Is the look that your are projecting to the world one that you have chosen, one that your mood created or one that you tend to lean on by default? What you project reflects how you feel, and it's up to you to understand it.
For instance, what you wear sends a pretty clear message about how you feel. Wearing old sweatpants and ratty T-shirts and having disheveled hair every day tells the world you've given up, while overdressing for every occasion and never missing your weekly haircut lets people know you are trying too hard.
When you meet new people are you aloof and cool, or are you overeager to please? Be aware of how your emotions affect your demeanor, and think about whether they are helping you or undermining you.
Jargon Phrase of the Day: "Judgmental Heuristics". A storeowner has some turquoise jewelry that isn't selling well, so she lowers the price. It sells even worse. She leaves on a trip and her assistant mistakenly doubles the price, and the items sell out.
Why? Because people make judgments, especially when they are not experts, using heuristics, an alogrithm or stereotypical formula that has worked for them in the past. In this case, it's expensive = good, or higher price means higher quality.
Years ago I asked advice from a more experienced speechwriter than I about how to set fees. He told me how he once was almost hired to write a speech for a company CEO, until he blew it by stating that his fee was $3000. The CEO said, "Sorry, I want a $5000 speech."
Can you think of other examples where people use these stereotypes or formulas to make judgments? [Adapted from Robert Cialdini, Influence: Science and Practice
For budding entrepreneurs, the U.S. looks like the king of the hill for years to come. This nation has all the traits new companies need to succeed: top universities; a consistent rule of law; an entrepreneurial culture; a huge market; and a government that is broadly pro-business, regardless of which party is in power, [Andreesen] says.
"China is very entrepreneurial but has no rule of law," Andreessen says. "Europe has rule of law but isn't entrepreneurial. Combine rule of law, entrepreneurialism and a generally pro-business policy, and you have Apple." (Source)
Entrepreneurism is where it's at if you are living in America. It's what business is all about. So this weekend as you think about ideas for your business plan, remember this isn't just an academic exercise.
EQ Tip of the Day: Know who and what pushes your buttons. Your buttons are bound to be pushed by a wide range of people and things. It could be certain people, particular situations (like feeling scared or caught offguard), or conditions in the environment (like noisy offices). Make a list of them. Objectify them. Write about them in the journal you're all keeping now.
When you have a clear understanding for who and what pushes your buttons makes these a bit less difficult to deal with because they come as less of a surprise, and you can develop a more effective patterned response to them. But then ask yourself--why do these things bother you so much? Is it the situation or is it you? (Adapted from Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Bradberry & Greaves)
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Here's Susan Cain's TED talk:
Quote of the Day:
common use of comprise as a synonym for compose or constitute is a wanton
and indefensible weakening of our vocabulary.”--H.W. Fowler
Sunday, April 21, 2013
The Power of Marketing
Agnes Kim sent me an interesting article [scroll down] that explains how it became acceptable to treat the preposition 'like' as a conjunction. It's largely rooted in the widespread proliferation of the Winston cigarette slogan, "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should":
Newspapers condemned Winston's slogan, The New Yorker published a poem deriding it, and [TV news anchor] Walter Cronkite refused to read it on the air. Not because he'd be promoting rolled-up lung rot, but because the slogan used the word "like" instead of "as."
You see, the use of the word "like" as it appears in that slogan was seriously frowned upon back in the day. The word "like" had two uses: You could use it as a preposition (to directly compare two nouns) or as a regular old verb. You couldn't use it as a conjunction, as in the joining of two clauses in a sentence. When conjunctionating, you were supposed to use "as," as in: Winston tastes good as a cigarette should.
But Winston didn't give a sh*t about their grammar, or about the public outcry, or about a cranky Cronkite. They gave a sh*t about sales, and in that respect, their advertisements worked like a charm. The more people complained, the more Winston ran the ads, and the more people saw the ads and talked about them, the more they wanted those sweet, sweet Winston cancer sticks. Winston even put out playful commercials poking fun at the grammar controversy.
As for the word "like," it also became more popular. And yeah, it continued to piss off English teachers everywhere. But the biggest slap in the face to stuffy grammarians came in 1961, when Merriam-Webster changed the definition of "like" to also make it a conjunction, and cited Winston's usage in their reasoning.
That's why I never recommend Webster's if someone asks me which dictionary to buy. Get American Heritage or New Oxford American.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Chiasmus of the Day: Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and I remember more than I have seen. --Benjamin Disraeli
EQ Tip of the Day: Self Awareness Strategy--You feel what you feel; it's what you do that matters. So don't judge your emotions as good or bad. Just try to understand them. What a particular feeling pointing to.
Iain McGilchrist on the whole-brain theme and how humans make meaning--or don't:
More on Semicolons:
Use a semicolon between independent clauses joined by a conjunctive adverb
(e.g., nevertheless, however).
They browsed carefully
through reference, however, no clear answer appeared.
Heroes have fallen on
hard times; for instance, the men of Dale.
Spelling bees were her
specialty; nevertheless, she failed to spell “urbiculture” correctly.
J. M. Barrie is most
famous as the author of Peter Pan; however, I prefer his ghost story "Farewell
Miss Julie Logan".
Life is long; the work
of a scholar, however, is never done.
Why is the however in
the first senctence correctly preceded by a comma and not a semicolon?
Life is long; the work
of a scholar, however, is never done.
Why is preceding the however
with a comma in this sentence incorrect?
They browsed carefully
through reference, however, no clear answer appeared.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Take what Jim Collins says
to heart. It's not just about bosses; it's about the way you run your groups:
As we'll see in future classes, advertizers use rhetorical technique all the time. Here's an example of the 'anadiplosis' we discussed in Class 5:
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Hilda Black Tips
Hilda was a client in
the past, but she chose not to use your tax prep services this year. She
tried to save money by preparing her taxes herself.
You have the conversation
in question recorded, so there is no dispute about what actually was discussed
in the phone conversation in April.
A tax-deferred account
is one in which income can be sheltered until retirement. If you put $2000
in an IRA, for instance, you don't pay any tax on that amount in the year
that you shelter it. But you will pay a tax when you withdraw it when you retire. You don't
pay, though, if you move it into another similar shelter.
You need to find a proactive
approach. Don't be defensive or reactive.
Your grade on this assignment
will depend more on the effectiveness of your sentences. Show me you've
learned something from our discussion of sentences in class.
Best way to keep problematic
words correctly in mind is to memorize model sentences like the ones listed below to use as a template.
The dog often lies here
by the fire.
The dog is lying by
The dog lay by the fire
for over two hours.
The dog has lain by
the fire since breakfast.
The counselor's advice
affected my thinking about dropping out of school.
The CEO effected significant
changes in budgetary policy within a week of taking office.
His chewing me out had
quite a negative effect on my motivation.
I don't like your affect,
you ill-tempered, surly grump.
The team comprises fifteen
Fifteen members compose
(not comprise) the team.
The team is composed
of (not comprised of) fifteen members.
Figures of the Day
Anadiplosis: using the AB, BC, CD structure to lead to a compelling punchline idea. Used by Otter in the student court scene from Animal House. Another example:
Watch your thoughts, they
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Hypophora: a rhetorical question that is immediately anwered by the speaker:
Is this any way to run and airline? You bet it is.
Use the Problems, Goals, Audience format I put up on the board and just
fill in the blanks.
When you are trying
to define the issues, look at them in this case as being arranged concentrically,
with some issues more at the periphery influencing the most important
issue in the center.
When defining objectives
think about them in two categories: reactive--what you have to do at
a minimum to put out the metaphorical fires--and proactive--what possibilities
are there to go beyond the status quo ante.
When defining the audience,
the most important element is to define the need, because what you choose
to include in your summary should be determined by its usefulness in
meeting your boss's need.
Outline hints: You
need to have at least two major subtopic headings structuring the body
of your outline. These subtopics should be equal in importance. The biggest
challenge in this part of the assignment is envision how you will make
this document into a useful tool. I'll have more to say about that on Tuesday.
Remember, your goal in
this assignment is to create a document that will be more useful or helpful
for your boss than the original article.
One of the great American commonplaces is that America is the land of opportunity and social mobility. Is that really true? Here's what Nobel Prize winner in economics Joseph Stiglitz says about it in a Salon interview. Substitute the word "commonplace" where LP says "myth".
LP: There’s a persistent myth that America is still the “land of opportunity.” Why is that myth so prevalent, even in the face of so much evidence to the contrary?
JS: Well, there are two reasons for this. One of them is that the myth is so much part of our sense of identity as Americans that it is devastating for us to give it up — for us to say we are less of a land of opportunity than old ossified Europe. It was one of the things we were most proud of, and clearly, it’s not true. When you have something that’s so inconsistent with your self image, it’s really, really hard to face the facts.
The second reason has to do with the nature of evidence. Everybody knows examples of people who make it from the bottom or the middle-bottom to the top. And our press talks about them. The media calls attention to the successes. But when they call attention to successes they don’t say this is one of a million or one of a thousand. In fact, the reason they write about it is because they are so unusual. If most people did it, it wouldn’t be an unusual story. So, in a sense that’s how our media works. It encourages us to think of the exceptions as the norm.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Clip of the Day: Taylor Mali
After watching this clip read this article entitled "Arguing about Language" that discusses the criteria to evaluate whether changes in language are progressive or regressive.
Can you find the mistake?
"It's certainly possible that there was some other motivation -- there
is such a thing as palace intrigue -- but for the most part it's safer
to assume that in a crisis a president isn't going to appoint someone whom
he thinks is making things worse."
Whomever from The
Myself, and I. "Don't say myself if you mean me or I. Me
is a perfectly good and acceptable word. I think myself is misused so
often because as people are speaking, they become uncertain about whether
the word they want to use is me or I. They retreat into myself because
they think that's correct in every circumstance." Read
Rhetorical Words of the
Tactical Flaw, Aporia, and Dubitatio:
Admitting that you don't know. Establishes that you're not an arrogant
know-it-all, that you have doubts, that you're sincerely seeking answers.
It invites the audience to start coming up with its own answers:
"I'm not sure what
to think. I was really taken by surprise."
"I don't know what to say. I'm speechless."
"I'm stuck here. Help me out."
Don't use this tactic unless you already have a lot of credibility with your audience:
Washington Defuses the Newburgh Conspiracy
Following his address Washington studied the faces of his audience. He could see that they were still confused, uncertain, not quite appreciating or comprehending what he had tried to impart in his speech. With a sigh, he removed from his pocket a letter and announced it was from a member of Congress, and that he now wished to read it to them. He produced the letter, gazed upon it, manipulated it without speaking. What was wrong, some of the men wondered. Why did he delay? Washington now reached into a pocket and brought out a pair of new reading glasses. Only those nearest to him knew he lately required them, and he had never worn them in public. Then he spoke: "Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country." This simple act and statement by their venerated commander, coupled with remembrances of battles and privations shared together with him, and their sense of shame at their present approach to the threshold of treason, was more effective than the most eloquent oratory. As he read the letter to their unlistening ears, many were in tears from the recollections and emotions which flooded their memories. As Maj. Samuel Shaw, who was present, put it in his journal, " There was something so natural, so unaffected in this appeal as rendered it superior to the most studied oratory. It forced its way to the heart, and you might see sensibility moisten every eye." (Source)
Friday, April 5, 2013
If you are enjoying Thank you for Arguing, you will also enjoy this artcle about Jay Heinrich in Fast Company, entitled "Screwing Up Could Be Your Best Career Move." It's an article about flipping problems into opportunities, the role of apologies, and controling the tense--the theme of Chapter 3, which you should be reading now. Check it out.
Thursday, Aril 4, 2013
Dear Mr. Goodwin:
I am writing in response to your August 15 email
questioning the $108.00 in overdraft fees charged against your account.
Upon receiving your email we investigated why , and we would like to explain why a miscommunication between you and the United Oregon Bank led to the imposition of
In your email, you mentioned that you had instructed
the United Oregon Bank to transfer $45,000 to your account
here on August 1. It did not, however, make the transfer until August
10--which explains why on August 8 we charged your account for the overdraft.
We value your account with us, Mr. Goodwin. You have been
one of our most reliable and valued customers, and we understand that
miscommunications like this happen from time to time. On this occasion
we are happy to refund to you the $108. But please contact United Oregon
to be sure that they send future transfers on the date you specify.
Perhaps an overdraft line of credit would be appropriate
if you anticipate this kind of miscommunication in the future. You might
also consider consolidating your accounts in such a way as to make these
transfers unnecessary.We’ll have one of our personal bankers contact
you in the next week to see if we can help you to meet your banking needs
in a more streamlined way.
Note that this revision makes the misunderstanding issue the "crux", and adds a proactive dimension by seeking to flip the problem into an opportunity and move with Mr. Goodwin beyond the status quo ante.
Tuesday, April 25,
Read for Discussion in Class 3: "The Righteous Mind, by Jon Haidt. This is required reading. See link in the left column.
Words of the Day
accepted values of a community summarized in adages, and cliches. "The
children are our future." "Freedom isn't free." "Everyone
has a right to choose." "I'm living the American dream."
Amplification: Word pile on: “Entertaining, thrilling, completely addictive, and
a little scary.”Adding detail after detail to make your case, and
when the audience thinks you're done, you say, "And that's not all--I'm
just beginning to tell you how wonderful X is.
Instead of challenging your opponent's facts or assumptions, you concede
that he is right. This has a disarming effect, and makes him feel that
he has been heard and is well understood. You then either change the subject
or use those facts or assumptions as the foundation for the argument you
want to make. Good example: In Up in the Air, the Clooney character
concedes that his brother-in-law-to-be is right about marriage being pointless.
He changes the subject to focus on the real issue, which is whether he
wants a future in which he is alone and scared. He changes the tense. This
is how you felt last night when you were lonely; How do you want to feel
tomorrow and the next day and the next?
A figure of speech that structures elements cleverly in an ABBA pattern.
You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country
out of the boy. Boy = A; Country = B.
Anthithesis (syncrisis is a type of antithesis):
Figure of speech that compares opposites."Not that, but this." It
can be used to redefine terms, change the subject, or reframe the discussion
on terms more favorable to your argument: "It's not manipulation;
it's instruction." "It isn't just a matter of faith; it's a matter
of science." Also: "We support the victory; they decry the cost."
Anticipating your opponent's counterargument: "Some will say . . .,
but I say . . ." In the movie "All Quiet on the Western Front," a
militaristic German schoolteacher tells a class of boys, "Perhaps
some will say that you should not be allowed to go yet - that you have
homes, mothers, fathers, that you should not be torn away by your fathers
so forgetful of their fatherland...by your mothers so weak that they cannot
send a son to defend the land which gave them birth."
Dan Pink video clip on motivation watched in Class 1:
March 29, 2013
Welcome to Strategic
Communications for Spring Quarter 2013.
I'll be using this space as the quarter progresses
to summarize and amplify points that
I make in class with verbal commentary, video,
and other supplementary materials. Check in at least once a week
to make sure you're up to speed.
It will probably
take me until next week to
get all the relevant links updated, but the ones that are live now
for the resources available here.
assignment links will be activated the class day I introduce the
if you miss class, you should know what the assignment is.