Showing posts from September, 2012

Low Country Boil Simmers With Heat and Excitement

Slide over Margaret Maron and Rita Mae Brown, a new southern mystery writer, Susan M. Boyer , just appeared on the scene.  In the vein of Maron's Deborah Knott and Brown's Harry Harristeen, Boyer's Liz Talbot snoops and investigates murders and other crimes in the small island town of Stella Maris, South Carolina.  In Boyer's first novel of this guaranteed-to-be series, Low Country Boil , we meet Liz as she chases a rabbit through Reedy River Park in Greenville, SC.  Of course, the rabbit is really a man dressed as a rabbit.  After Liz and her private investigating partner serve said rabbit with a subpoena, they head for a relaxing beer, but the unexpected appearance of a ghost from her past and the sudden news of her grandmother's mysterious death interrupt Liz's relaxation.  Determined to discover her grandmother's killer, Liz packs up and moves home to Stella Maris, a small island off the coast of Charleston. Just like her predecessors, Boyer knows t

Understanding Political Rhetoric (Part II)

In my last post , I defined rhetoric as the art of persuasion and revealed that we use rhetoric in every form of communication. This is an important point with the ongoing political campaign in our country.  As promised, I'd like to continue this line of information by explaining how people effectively use rhetoric to sway your decisions.  Again, remember, rhetoric is neither negative or positive, it's how we use rhetoric that determines whether it's good or bad.  ( If you missed the last post, you may want to click the link above.) Speakers and writers first consider their purpose when putting together a message.  What do they want their audience to do based on this information?  The answer guides them towards what's important to include and what should be left out.  Second, they identify their audience.  Who are they?  What do they know about the topic?  How do they feel about the topic?  A study of the audience's demographics becomes essential in this phase. 

Understanding Political Rhetoric

Now that the political conventions are over get ready for an onslaught of political rhetoric.  If we're not prepared to interpret it, we might get caught in the maelstrom.  Or you can hide in a hole until after election day. I teach rhetoric in many of my training classes because it's the basis of communication.  It surprises me how few people understand rhetoric, much less know how to pronounce the word.  Those who at least recall hearing the term, recall news anchors referring to the rhetoric of the White House or the rhetoric of the GOP.  Because of its use regarding politics, I've found that most people assume rhetoric is negative. Rhetoric is neither negative or positive.  It's how we use rhetoric that determines it's polarity. Rooted in ancient Greece's Senate, rhetoric stems from the philosophers' efforts to determine what makes communication effective.  Even two thousand years later, the foundations of effective communication haven't change