Revision—Rhetoric

Argument and Rhetoric are inseparable

Despite my pretense that they can be graded as separate categories, Argument and Rhetoric are as inseparable as fist and fingers. Just as I can’t describe a fist without speaking of tightly curled fingers, I can’t describe Rhetoric without explaining how it persuades readers to accept an argument. Even so, I try to grade the fingers and the fist.

The Style Aspect of Rhetoric

Example 1

Uncorrected Drafts suffer from imprecise language that inhibits interpretation.

[When read aloud, the following paragraph sounds like mostly comprehensible conversational speech, but viewed on paper, it is peppered with grammar trouble and peculiar phrasing that make comprehension very difficult.]

The NPR broadcast was very interesting and what surprised me is how the claims were accurately correct in my opinion. I would have never thought of how money can change so drastically in time. In the past, we were exposed to using gold as a currency, then to paper bills and now an electronic transaction. In today’s world, society does claim to use paper bills and coins for small matters, but at the same time we already progressed, using digital cash. A prime example, paying bills, in which society pays bills using a computer and that consist only information it’s seems surprising to know now how easily any amount of a transaction can be paid off or transferred. There is no physical money being involved. The closest idea that I can think of using paper would be is sending checks through the mail, but that’s highly rare nowadays.

[The highlights indicate every phrase that needs to be corrected. Red and purple are not particularly significant, but two colors are needed to call out individual phrases.]

Corrected Drafts make clearer statements that are easier to interpret.

The NPR broadcast was very interesting, and what surprised me was that the claims were correct in my opinion. I never realized that money had changed so drastically over time. In the past, we used gold as a currency, then paper bills, and now electronic transactions. Today, although we claim to use paper bills and coins for small matters, we have already progressed to digital cash. We pay our bills by computer; those transactions consist of information only. At any time, all or part of a bill can be paid off or transferred without any money being involved. The only way we use paper now is to send checks through the mail, but that’s highly rare nowadays.

Rhetorically Effective Drafts persuade readers to accept a premise.

The NPR broadcast told the story of money correctly. I was surprised to learn that money had changed so drastically over time. In the past, we used gold as a currency, then paper bills, and now electronic transactions, each time using a more abstract version of barter. Today, although we claim to use paper bills and coins for small matters, we have mostly eliminated those last physical objects in favor or digital cash. We pay our bills by computer using information only, nothing physical. At any time, all or part of a bill can be paid off or transferred without any paper or metal currency at all. The only way we use paper now is to send checks through the mail, but that’s increasingly rare.

Rhetorically Effective Arguments prove more complex theses.

The NPR broadcast told the story of money correctly. It illustrated that money, already an abstraction, has grown increasingly more abstract, as have our lives in general. Before money, we traded cows for corn, but transactions were limited to what one trader had that another trader wanted. With the advent of gold as a currency, trade flourished because the gold could represent cows or corn or any other valuable commodity. It was an abstraction, a symbol of needs fulfilled. Next paper bills, with no inherent value, represented gold. Now electronic entries in a bank branch database represent dollars, each step more abstract than the previous. Today, we don’t trade, use gold, or for the most part use currency: we pay our bills by computer using information only, nothing physical at all. Like the work we do (which increasingly is not physical labor but mental exertion) it’s no coincidence that our cows are also now abstractions. The closest we get to the animal is the shrink-wrapped meat ground and extruded so that it no longer looks like anything that lived.


Example 2

Uncorrected Drafts suffer from imprecise language that inhibits interpretation.

Money, money, money. The extremely complex and arguably fictional foundation of our economy. I always wondered growing up how did a piece of paper with some inscriptions and fancy images become the social fabric of our world? When you put a U.S dollar bill side by side to monopoly money you understand that one is worth something and the other isn’t. Although, monopoly money like “real” money is simply paper from our trees. Therefore, we must question, why is money valuable? Pre Colonial era we traded among each other valuables in which each person needed. We valued precious and rare metals or jewels such as diamond, gold and silver. We valued goods as currency and only cared about items which every colony needed. If a man had a pig but needed a cow he would search for that person that needed a pig and had a cow. This exchange of goods made perfect sense and never involved a paper bill and a complex system of valuing that bill. Money in its self has no real value to it, it isn’t rare and its not pretty. We the people make money valuable, we make the value “real”, but should we?

Corrected Drafts make clearer statements that are easier to interpret.

Money, money, money: it’s the extremely complex and arguably fictional foundation of our economy. I always wondered growing up how a piece of paper with some inscriptions and fancy images became the social fabric of our world. Even a child who puts a U.S dollar bill side by side to Monopoly money can understand that one is worth something and the other isn’t, even though “real” money—like Monopoly money—is simply paper from our trees. Is it because one is issued by the US government and the other by the Parker Brothers Company that makes one of them valuable? In pre-colonial times, we traded among each other valuables which every person needed. We valued precious and rare metals or jewels such as diamonds, gold, and silver. We valued goods as currency and only cared about items which every colonist needed. If a man had a pig but needed a cow, he would search for the person who needed a pig and had a cow. This exchange of goods made perfect sense and never involved a paper bill or a complex system of valuing that bill. Money in itself has no real value to it; it isn’t rare, and it’s not pretty. We the people make money valuable. We make the value “real”; but should we?

Rhetorically Effective Drafts persuade readers to accept a premise.

Despite its importance to all our lives, we have to admit money is a fiction. Children are right to wonder how pieces of paper with some inscriptions and fancy images run our world. They know but can’t grasp why one dollar bill can be traded for candy at the corner store while the other is worth nothing, except in Monopoly. What they do understand is that the houses in Monopoly aren’t real, but the money doesn’t seem so different from the bills we use for groceries. 

In our early history, we traded valuable things directly. If a man had a pig but needed a cow, he would search for the person who had a cow and needed a pig. This exchange of goods made perfect sense but was clumsy and sometimes impossible to manage. Substituting precious and rare metals or jewels for cows and pigs, we were able to trade with everyone, whether they had cows or not. Money in itself has no real value to it, but we agree to make it valuable for convenience. While it no longer represents gold, the money we use today has value only because it is issued by the US government and not the Parker Brothers Corporation.


The Argument Value of Rhetoric

Rhetoric Can Reveal or Hide Arguments

The fact that there is a giant ball of limestone sitting in the middle of the ocean somewhere still being claimed by someone who is deceased is unsettling to me. That is like me having 500 dollars and throwing it in the ocean. When the money washes up onto shore and someone picks it up, it would now be theirs. Nobody can just go pick up the giant ball of limestone and claim it.

This paragraph may contain a valid argument, but the language obscures it. The analogy misses the point of the story of the sunken fei. Nobody will ever retrieve that “money,” but its physical presence or absence is of no longer of consequence to its owner.

Let’s try a different analogy for the limestone disc at the bottom of the ocean. Donald Trump has created a value for his name. Unlike banks that pay huge naming fees to have NFL stadiums named for them, Trump can get developers to pay him millions to attach his name to a project. His name is not an object like the sunken fei. Its insubstantiality doesn’t matter at all. And neither could anybody steal it and be richer. If he’s a billionaire, it’s because he can sell his name for a billion dollars whenever he wants to.


Brevity and Clarity

Don’t Give Readers Time to Disagree

A first draft may contain many capable sentences that make reasonable individual points, but if they don’t transition well from one idea to the next, and if the goal of the argument is not identified in advance, readers are free to follow any path that distracts them and never arrive at the summit you want to guide them to.

1. The value of money is the mental reassurance of wealth.
2. One might question what mental reassurance of wealth has to do with money.
3. Simply it is the way we track value.
4. We are reassured that the money we have can purchase a curtain amount of things.
5. We place a value on money to keep track of things it can purchase.
6. The psychological or economic value of money may change with currency variations, but the money will always be worth something.
7. Over time, America’s relationship with the value of the dollar has evolved.
8. In the early 20th century, it granted a request from the French to convert their dollar assets into gold.
9. Granting that request gave the impression that the US dollar was weak.
10. The French believed that their money was worth more than the U.S. dollar.
11. The French wanted something they thought was worth having, so they asked for gold.
12. Even though the gold was worth no more than the equivalent value in US dollars, the French were not convinced that the dollars were “worth their weight in gold.”

First, combine the sentences for better effectiveness.
[1-6] Money reassures us of our economic wealth. While the volume of goods and services it can buy will change from time to time, knowing that we have enough to meet our needs is reassuring.

Then, provide the needed transition between the sections.
But even money can vary in value compared to other currencies.

Then, combine the conclusion sentences.
[7-12] When the French began to doubt the stability of the value of American dollars, they demanded the US convert their dollar holdings into gold.

Most of your individual claims can be made in a word or two so that the sentences provide their own internal transitions.


Sufficient Scholarship

Example 1

Over-reliance on Personal Perspective

So what makes these pieces of paper we call dollars have value? well because people in society decided to make it have value. This method of currency was created to make the trade of goods easier and faster to manage. After reading “The Island Of Stone Money” one can notice that the inhabitants of Uap had a similar system to the one we use today. Today technology has advanced so much that we can now digitally manage, distribute and hold our money through mobile apps and online websites. whether one prefers using credit cards, Pay Pal or bank apps a physical dollar is a place holder for that digital number on any of those digital outlets. Now comparing Uap’s method to our current method the people of Uap used the stones as their physical placeholder to replace their word. Essentially creating a word for product system. Whilst currently people are using a pixel for product system.

Rhetoric and Scholarship are inseparable in your case, MyStudent. You’re trying to thrive on observation and speculation alone, without bringing any evidence or support from the rich material at your disposal. You cite only the Yap, and you do so in a way that assumes your readers are all familiar with Milton Friedman’s article. They’re not. They haven’t listened to the NPR podcast. They have no idea what you’re talking about. They know only what you tell them. So tell them what you learned and help them understand.

2 thoughts on “Revision—Rhetoric”

  1. In class today we talked about writing a revision for our visual rhetoric assignment. We also talked about taking paragraphs and making them stronger by rewriting them. You have to dissect parts of the sentences and replace them with better language. We talked about abstractions and how that our animals are just meat and that they are all abstractions when you look at the real animal. We talked about that an essay is like a tour guide they will guide you through and set it up beforehand. Rhetoric can reveal or hide arguments and we once again talked about the stone money situation and how if someone picks it up is it really theirs.

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