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American Rhetoric

American Rhetoric



The Power of Language Activity



http://www.americanrhetoric.com/rodmanphase1.htm



Dennis Rodman and the Art of the (Metaphoric) Screen



Phase #1:



You are about to experience truth -- someone's version of it. Several years ago a now-infamous incident occurred in the world of professional basketball. The participants included a basketball player, a referee, a cadre of players and coaches, and ten thousand or so fans. You are about to read two different accounts (or versions) of the same incident. You will likely see some differences between them, although the differences lay not so much in matters of "fact" as in the strategic use of metaphors and other rhetorical devices by which each account is given its particular rhetorical character. As you read them, consider the effect that each version is likely to have on audiences who did not actually witness the event(s), and, who experienced only a single written version.

Screen Version #1



Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman faces yet another suspension by the NBA for his dangerous tirade in Saturday night's game at Chicago. Rodman was ejected with 1:31 left in the first quarter after receiving his second technical foul. Rodman then proceeded to head-butt referee Ted Bernhardt, catching him just above the left eye. In typical fashion, Rodman then ripped off his shirt and stormed around the court, pausing briefly to knock over a water cooler in front of a group of stunned young boys before finally leaving.

Screen Version #2



Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman faces a suspension by the NBA for his wild and theatrical behavior in Saturday night's game at New Jersey. Rodman was given his notice of leave with 1:31 left in the first quarter of Saturday's game after receiving his second technical foul. Rodman appeared to have bumped an official during a heated discussion over the foul. Consistent with past heroics, and to the delight of the Chicago faithful, Rodman then removed his shirt as he paraded around the court before finally exiting stage left into his team's locker room.

Phase #2:



So, is Rodman a Lunatic or some kind of Anti-Hero? Let's look closer. Put on your  "Metaphoric Goggles" and view each version as a professional rhetorician or "wordsmith" would. Might as well; the folks who wrote these versions are counting on you not to use them. It would give too much of their trade away. Go ahead. Be a rebel.

Terministic Goggles On!



 

Screen Version #1



Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman faces yet another suspension by the NBA for his

[dangerous tirade]

in Saturday night's game at Chicago. Rodman was

[ejected]

with 1:31 left in the first quarter after receiving his second technical foul. Rodman then proceeded to

[head-butt]

referee Ted Bernhardt, catching him just above the left eye.

[In typical fashion]

, Rodman

[ripped off]

his shirt and

[stormed]

around the court, pausing briefly to knock over a water cooler in front of a group of stunned young boys before finally

[leaving

] the court.

Terministic Goggles On!



Screen Version #2



Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman faces a suspension by the NBA for his

[wild and

theatrical behavior]

in Saturday night's game at Chicago. Rodman was

[given his

notice of leave]

with 1:31 left in the first quarter after receiving his second technical foul. Rodman appeared to have

[bumped]

an official during a heated discussion over foul.

[Consistent with past heroics]

and to the delight of the Chicago faithful, Rodman then

[removed]

his shirt as he

[paraded]

around the court before finally

[exiting stage left]

into his team's locker room.


Dennis Rodman and the Art of the (Metaphoric) Screen



Phase #3:



So, you've seen how language acts as a filter or "screen" through which truth is both colored and experienced. Language screens filter truth in the way that different shades of glasses filter light. Consider, then, in light of what you've seen, the following questions:

#1: Is there really such a thing as "pure truth" when considered in light of how

humans

use and abuse language?"

#2: Is the "truth" merely a matter of "reporting" the "facts?"

#3: Had you been an eye witness, would your version of this drama constitute

the

truth? On which view of/from language?

Rhetorical Lesson: Whatever counts as truth is, in part, a function of the way we use language to exert persuasive (i.e., rhetorical) influence over others. Truth, in this view, is both process and product of our rhetorical practices.


Screen Version #2



Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman faces a suspension by the NBA for his wild and theatrical behavior in Saturday night's game at New Jersey. Rodman was given his notice of leave with 1:31 left in the first quarter of Saturday's game after receiving his second technical foul. Rodman appeared to have bumped an official during a heated discussion over the foul. Consistent with past heroics, and to the delight of the Chicago faithful, Rodman then removed his shirt as he paraded around the court before finally exiting stage left into his team's locker room.

 

My Metaphoric Screen Version



Top of Form

Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman faces a suspension by the NBA for

his in Saturday night's game at Chicago.

Rodman was with 1:31 left in the first quarter of

Saturday's game after receiving his second technical foul. Rodman

appeared to have during  .  

Consistent with and Rodman then

his shirt and the team's locker room.

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