Modern Day Rhetoric

After reading the first three chapters of Heinrichs book, I was excited to share with my family and friends the new things I was going to be learning this semester. Every time I explained rhetoric to someone they would laugh and ask if learning how to use rhetoric is going to make me get my way even more often than I already do now. Even though their comments and assumptions aren’t incorrect, I feel like when you explain rhetoric to people today they automatically assume that rhetoric is used selfishly because of its definition. Even though people can use rhetoric negatively, it can also be used in positive things like securing a business deal and it can even help make a writer become better at their craft. Mastering rhetoric is the essential skill of leadership because it teaches people how to speak and write persuasively while also making them more likable.

In my meme, I expressed that if you know how to use rhetoric correctly some people might assume that you’re spoiled because you always get what you want, but in reality you just know how to persuasively communicate with others which ends up giving you the outcome that you wanted in the first place. I believe that rhetoric can be associated with a negative connotation because of the way some politicians use it. It can be hard to disassociate rhetoric with politics if you’ve only ever heard of things like Donald Trump’s use of rhetoric on Twitter and then when you go on his Twitter you see the extensive list of tweets put out by the president.

Plato’s list of rhetorical canons, called Classical Rhetoric, is simple, but it can still be applied to modern day meme making. The first on his list is Invention. When it comes to memes I took invention as the process of picking your picture for your meme. You can’t understand the meaning of a meme without understanding the meaning of the picture in the background. When creating, or inventing your meme, it’s important to select a picture that helps explain the mood of the text. I went through several pictures before I decided to select the picture of Trump because I felt like it completely fit the message of my meme. The next canon on Plato’s list is Arrangement. Arrangement is important when placing text on a meme. If your text is covering an important part of the picture in the background, the person looking at the meme might not fully understand its purpose or meaning. That’s why I put the text on the top and bottom of the picture so you can still see Donald Trump who is the focal point of the meme. Plato included style in his list and I used this while creating my meme when I was deciding which font to use. I ended up going with the basic meme font that every meme on the internet normally uses because I felt like it would make it more obvious to someone that this picture/post was in fact a meme not just a picture of Donald Trump with text around it. Memory has a lot do with memes. Whether you’re remembering the meaning of a picture or the common format of a meme, memory is so important not only to the creator of the meme but also the person reading it. Delivery is the last canon on Plato’s list. As long as you create a meme that has a clear message, which is possible by making the text and the picture related, your message with be delivered to your intended audience.

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