Episode #44: Ultimate Terms in Contemporary Rhetoric

General Introduction
– Nathan Gilmour watches from the stands
– What’s on the blog?
– The sad science of naming links posts
– Listener feedback
– Is anyone still listening?

Weaver and Plato, Redux
– Gorgias boasts—again
– How ultimate terms sway the masses
– What does charismatic mean?

God Terms and Devil Terms
– The movement and destination of rhetoric
– Progress as ultimate end of human existence
– Metanarratives, progressives and liberals
– Science! Science! Science!
– Prejudice and bigotry

Ultimate Terms and Politics
– Just try to analyze ‘em
– Unbuckling the word from the meaning
– Soundbite culture
– Patriotism: the last refuge of the scoundrel
– Live free or die

Religious God and Devil Terms
– Nathan Gilmour, the fundamentalist
– An ex-cathedra pronouncement re: religion
– Whose traditions?
– Why we’re all syncretists
– Nathan praises the Emergent Church for once

Let’s Talk Profanity!
– Thinkin’ ‘bout elimination
– Defecatory and copulatory inversion
– David Grubbs defends vulgarity

Can We Do Without Ultimate Terms?
– Why we need to talk about God, justice, and love
– Rhetoric needs a direction
– Analyzing the terms
A Practical Word to Freshman-Comp Teachers
– Educating on an individual level
– The Mr. Spock confusion riff
– The definition essay
– Legalizing marijuana, man
– Victoria’s undermining of ethnic slurs

7 thoughts on “Episode #44: Ultimate Terms in Contemporary Rhetoric

  1. Charles, my wife actually heard one of her colleagues say that. It’s a common viewpoint at Research-1 schools. I’m glad to be going someplace smaller.

    Mich, I think we came close enough to losing our jobs already. 😉

  2. This episode just may contain my favorite line from the podcast:

    “All I said is it’s not like losing a fight.”

    “You’re not doing it right, Nathan.”

    Loved this episode! All of the Weaver podcasts have been very interesting. I completely agree with the God and Devil terms… hearing people use “religion” or “tradition” (and the others, but especially those two) as a negative term is really frustrating.

  3. Gilmour is right on about “religion” being a devil term. I see it frequently contrasted with “spirituality” as a god term in a polemical code. 

  4. Thanks for listening, HGriff.  I hadn’t even thought of “spirituality” as the foil of “religion,” but you’re right that, in certain circles, that does let one’s interlocutors know which side of the shibboleth one favors.  I had in mind the constellation of terms like “relationship” and “trust” and such that usually get paired against “religion” in evangelical (and especially Pentecostal) talk.

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