Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's Everywhere!

I realized I've been talking about documents without really saying what a document is. Now, I know, dear Imaginary Reader, that a document seems like a fairly obvious thing, but trust me, it's more than that.

You see, everything is a document. I mean, sure, a memo is a document. But so is a book, a website, a poster, a bumper sticker, a decorative pillow, a napkin... everything! Because everything uses and is and draws from rhetoric. Try as you might, you just can't escape it.

For example, I watched The Incredibles the other night. Perfectly innocent, a nice little family film about (in the composer's words--what? I watched the bonus features, too) hugs and explosions. No rhetoric to deal with there, right?


I just read a hugely left-wing, rather biased article bashing The Incredibles, and then got into an intellectual discussion (well, alright, a rant) with a friend about how the article was skewed, how it mis-represented the movie (interpellation is one thing, but this person was completely changing certain plot points), and what the movie is really about. And all of that is rhetoric. You can't escape!

So from there, my friend and I start talking about stereotypes in children's films, and how Disney girls tend to be unhealthily thin while the guys tend to be ridiculously buff, so we grow up thinking we'll find our prince or princess who can't actually physically exist the way Disney sets us up to look for them. See? More rhetoric.

Or, for example, when I call home to complain to Mom that I'm still sick, and she tells me to think positive, that's rhetoric. The note that I put on the door of my apartment that says "Don't forget your phone!" is rhetoric. Every single communication and interaction you ever have with any part of the world is rhetoric. So, no, there's no escaping it. You can choose not to think about it all the time, though... which I would actually recommend, if you intend to stay remotely sane.

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