Evolution of Rhetorical Manipulation

Katie Kelly

I’m not a fan of the term the author’s coined. Considering they went through the trouble of further defining and clarifying velocity in a literal sense and then proceed to very loosely apply it to the topic of rhetoric. I was hoping for something a bit more quantifiable (not in the sense of numbers but something identifiable; see where my issue is with loose application of concrete terms?). The authors discuss delivery but do not expand on what enhances or slows this velocity and a large chunk of this article was only peripherally related to the subject in the title. Manipulation of content and rhetoric is a topic that needs to be explored more, but the approach via ‘rhetorical velocity’ only made the subject matter that much more difficult to find among the weeds.

Ram discusses this act of rhetorical manipulation in the sense of academics where it is evident and prevalent. The need to lay a basis for a paper one is writing comes from prior papers that also reference earlier papers for their own basis, and so on till the beginning of time. This means that an author is only giving a small window and frame of reference to previous conclusions, or only utilizing the parts they need or benefit from. Destiny pointing out the critical question of “Is it worth the time to do this?” when trying to think ahead for third party use of one’s content is something very interesting linked to the idea of academic referencing. The idea is to be perpetuated throughout literature so as an academic author you want to be referenced as many times as possible. As they say, “I don’t care what you say about me in the papers, just spell my name right”.

So what is with this idea of perpetuation in relation to manipulation of rhetoric? I always think of the book The Selfish Gene when it comes to this type of thing. The need to carry on one’s “self” or work is present in all things. Including rhetoric. Consider that the purpose wasn’t to be continuously referenced and your work perpetuated, then perhaps it is worth the time to try and write to counter act third party interpretations and ensure that your intended message is the only one understood. Would the third parties who are set on using the information as they see fit just learn new tactics to counter act and tear apart the measures taken to make one’s rhetoric solely the author’s? That is the evolution of these type of things after all, to perpetuate the work and acts done. Manipulation only becomes more sophisticated the more barriers you prop up.


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