From Hero to Buffoon: Kenneth Burke, Evan Mecham, and Donald Trump

  Words and deeds that were considered by many to be anti-Semitic, homophobic, racist, sexist, and pompous to a fault marked [Evan] Mecham’s brief career as governor of Arizona. In stark contrast, others deemed Mecham to be straightforward, honest, and gallant for being able to boldly proclaim their socially conservative doctrine…To many conservatives, Mecham was a hero… Continue reading

Modern Political Communication and Rhetoric (Syllabus)

Classes start at The George Washington University next week, which means another spring of ranting about rhetoric and conversations trying to make sense of the campaign season. And as always there will be Aristotle. Given current political events, should be an eventful semester. Below is the current working draft of the syllabus with most of the logistics redacted:… Continue reading

Donald Trump, Archie Bunker, and Broken Toilets. The Logic of American Politics.

Donald Trump continues to do well in the polls because people agree with what he says. This sounds obvious, but a lot of the experts in the political and pundit classes keep wondering the same thing: “How can Trump be popular when he’s so obviously nuts?” Some blame reality television, hyper-partisanship, partisan media, and a… Continue reading

FINAL EXAM: Modern Political Communication and Rhetoric

This semester’s course in contemporary political rhetoric in The School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University started in January with Aristotle’s Rhetoric, worked through Kenneth Burke, Richard Weaver, Ernest Bormann and others, then looked at contemporary analyses of rhetoric and war, the rhetoric of apology, and other case studies, and ends… Continue reading