Rhetorical Implications Of Modern Political: Research Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy Type: Research Paper Paper: #10485849 Related Topics: Toulmin Argument, Toulmin Model, Bell Hooks, The Tempest
Excerpt from Research Paper :

The speech is full of images and words denoting grand principles, especially "freedom," and the manner in which these are intermingled with the logical arguments and exhortations for support -- and pledges of support -- that have direct literal meanings blur the line between discursive and presentational symbols. Each of Obama's words has specific meaning out of the context of this speech, and each word largely retains this meaning within the speech, but the context of the speech as a whole shifts the meanings of these words and of the entire speech, transforming the symbols into something that appears to have ore substance presentationaly than is substantiated through a discursive examination of the same speech.

An excellent early example of the way Obama melds discursive and presentational symbols is in his first direct reference to the division that Berlin experienced for decades: "And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin" (Obama). The concrete details provided in the first part of the quite give way to the symbolic flame-extinguishing effort, effectively making the concrete aspects of the statement part of the abstract symbolism. In other words, making the discursive presentational.

The essential problem with this is not that it demonstrates a cogent and meaningful use of symbolism by a politician, but rather that this speech is ostensibly wholly discursive, outlining practical plans for the ways in which the United States can better align itself with the international community. Langer...

...

Ultimately, the melding of discursive and presentational symbols systems in this speech did not lead to enhanced meanings as it does in poetry and other artforms, but rather led to a lack of any real substantial or discrete and practically impactful meaning, which is what was needed.

Conclusion

Obama certainly isn't the first politician to deliver a speech that was little more than empty rhetoric. By performing such rhetorical analyses, however, and by becoming generally aware of the rhetorical devices and manipulations that necessarily exist around us, it is possible that we might begin to demand -- and receive -- better from our government officials and hopefuls. A new rhetoric of true substance might tehn emerge in the political dialogue.

Works Cited.

Brand, Peg. "Susanne Katherina Knauth Langer." Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London, 1998.

Langer, S. (1951) Philosophy in a New Key. "Discursive Forms and Presentational Forms"

Liukkonen, Petri. "Susanne K. Langer." Accessed 29 April 2010. http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/slanger.htm

New World Encyclopedia. "Susanne Langer." Accessed 29 April 2010. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Susanne_Langer#Symbols_and_myth

Obama, Barak. "Berlin Speech." Accessed 29 April 2010. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/24/obama.words/

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited.

Brand, Peg. "Susanne Katherina Knauth Langer." Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London, 1998.

Langer, S. (1951) Philosophy in a New Key. "Discursive Forms and Presentational Forms"

Liukkonen, Petri. "Susanne K. Langer." Accessed 29 April 2010. http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/slanger.htm

New World Encyclopedia. "Susanne Langer." Accessed 29 April 2010. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Susanne_Langer#Symbols_and_myth


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