The Rhetoric of Cool, the Lost Art of Thank You Notes, and the Problem with Popular Language

Field Notes headerThis week, we’ve collated a variety of articles — some more academic than others.  Click the links to read more!

Classical Rhetoric up in Smoke:  Cool Persuasion, Digital Ethos, and Online Advocacy 

According to the site’s intro, this webtext explores “what happens when the classical means of persuasion meet the cool tactics of a digital interface and take a beating in the process.”  Originally published in Kairos:  A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, Dr. Mark Pepper uses the digital form to publish a wealth of interesting information about the history of ‘cool’ and the ways that multimodal technologies influence our available means of persuasion.

The Found Art of Thank-You Notes

This New York Times article does a bit of genre analysis on the thank-you note.   Thanks to Jimmy Fallon, the humble, handwritten note is having a bit of a pop-culture moment (“Thank you, apostrophes, for being pretty cool even though you can sometimes be a bit possessive”).  The Times asks if digital technology has changed the thank-you note — is it now acceptable to send a thank-you text, email, Snapchat?

Gawker is Trying to Use “Adult” Language.  Good Luck to Them

Gawker CEO, Max Read, recently declared that his writers need to mature their word choices when writing for the site.  He has banned popular internet slang such as FTW, amazeballs, and pwn in an attempt to make them all sound like “regular adult human beings.”  However, The New Republic takes issue with Read, arguing that today’s slang is tomorrow’s regular adult human language.

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