A new rhetoric: Essays on using the internet to communicate by Mr R E Stewart

By Mr R E Stewart

The essays during this e-book study where of electronic communications or "rhetoric" in glossy tradition. They recommend that, just like the printing revolution ahead of it, the net is shaping tectonic cultural move, yet is at the moment stuck among conventional technocratic methods of pondering, and the extra unpredictable terrain of human behaviour.

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Importantly, the attention fixed on the technology has made it a means and an end in itself. A large number of blog posts are about blogging or whatever the latest development or technological trend might be, just as a high proportion of tweets and wikis have technical content. This is hardly surprising since technologically minded people are most likely to understand, and be familiar with, the way the technology can be used, and so will use it to talk about their work. Still, it swings arms with more than a hint of something professionally narcissistic, as though a new technology carries with it an invitation to reflect on it, and write about it, and in doing so this justifies or consolidates the purpose of the technology.

They will come about because the technology empowers people in new ways, giving them the freedom to participate or have a much more active stake in the world that is immediately around them. In the world of publishing, the internet has the potential to channel new voices and so challenge a monocentric imbalance in the public zeitgeist. In the world of politics the internet has the potential to give power to a broader range of people, and challenge the concentration of power in a distant and distorted elite.

The status, not just the language, of Love's Labour's Lost is ambiguous. Outwardly, it is a comedy. The King of Navarre and three attending lords with-draw from the world and publicly mortify all bodily things, including the company of women. Instead they will steep their minds in the philosophical life of study, language and learning. But as soon as all of this is enshrined in law, it collides with a world all too inconveniently real. The King is straight away in a diplomatic tangle, when he recalls that the King of France's daughter – with a retinue of ladies – approaches, apparently to conduct a territorial negotiation.

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