Saturday, September 18, 2004

From Nietzsche to Bono in only 5 paragraphs while thinking about Rhetoric

A thought brought about by my literary criticism reading, which is nicely complementing my rhetorical theory class, and also remembering what Jonathan mentioned in class - humans speak in metaphor.

Nietzsche says: sensuous first impression . . . filtered through language into metaphor . . . neatly cubbied into classification . . . for a more human and conventional world. (All to sustain a lie.)

So, considering this, why rhetoric? Rhetoric comes in an effort, by the man of reason, to convince others to perceive their experiences in terms of a certain metaphor so that their attitudes and actions reinforce the world of reason or the convention upon which his human metaphor has been built. I'm thinking of the church which says, you don't have need, you have lack of faith.

All this is opposite the man of intuition, the artist, someone who according to Nietzsche, "confuses the cells and classifications of concepts by setting up new translations, metaphors . . ."

Does the artist, the man of intuition, stop being artist and become the man of reason, the rhetorician, when others begin to classify their own experience in terms of his metaphors? Does he stop being an artist and start becoming a rhetorician? Can rhetoric be stepped into accidentally? Are there reluctant rhetoricians?

I remember reading somewhere how Bono, lead singer for U2, was irritated with the way some evangelical Christians were taking U2's lyrics and using them to say his spirituality matched up with theirs, and were inspired by his lyrics to continue in their Christian way of living. I guess he didn't want his metaphors, his art, to be used to reinforce the Christian metaphors and classification system. Or maybe he didn't want to be seen as someone "with a message," but someone with an original metaphor.

Do we have here a reluctant rhetorician? A miffed-at-being-misclassified rhetorician?

2 Comments:

Blogger vv said...

Are we to assume that the man of intuition is no longer a man of reason, simply because of his own intuitive nature? This seems somewhat naive on the part of Nietzsche; it could be argued that there are no men of intuition without them first being men of reason, or they are both by consequence. The separation between the two seems arbitrarily drawn to make another point, but I don’t think it means that there are indeed separations. I imagine it is more like concentric circles that overlap to various degrees, depending, of course, on the individual.

Nietzsche says: sensuous first impression . . . filtered through language into metaphor . . . neatly cubbied into classification . . . for a more human and conventional world. (All to sustain a lie.)

Isn’t that what Nietzsche is doing himself; “neatly cubbied into classification?”

As for reluctant rhetoricians, this:

Kinneavy - Language is discourse, and rhetoric happens sometimes out of necessity

Covino- rhetoric gives rise to potentially active texts.

With regard to Bono:

Is he the rhetorician? Or did he simply provide content for the rhetoric of others?

September 18, 2004 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Renee said...

And I imagine that Nietzsche drove himself insane because he fell so short of his own assertions. Or maybe insanity was the only way he could live them out.

September 18, 2004 at 2:57 PM  

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