Toward a Rhetoric of Insult by Thomas Conley

By Thomas Conley

From highschool cafeterias to the ground of Congress, insult is a very common and ubiquitous cultural perform with a protracted and earthy historical past. And but, this such a lot human of human behaviors has infrequently been the topic of geared up and finished attention—until Toward a Rhetoric of Insult. seen during the lens of the examine of rhetoric, insult, Thomas M. Conley argues, is published as immediately delinquent and the most important for human family members, either divisive and unifying.

Explaining how this works and what precisely makes up a rhetoric of insult activates Conley to diversity around the big and wonderfully colourful background of offense. Taking in Monty Python, Shakespeare, Eminem, Cicero, Henry Ford, and the Latin poet Martial, Conley breaks down quite a few varieties of insults, examines the significance of viewers, and explores the benign aspect of abuse. In doing so, Conley initiates readers into the realm of insult appreciation, allowing us to treat insults now not completely as technique of expressing enmity or disdain, yet as attention-grabbing elements of human interplay.

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Toward a Rhetoric of Insult

From highschool cafeterias to the ground of Congress, insult is a very common and ubiquitous cultural perform with a protracted and earthy heritage. And but, this such a lot human of human behaviors has not often been the topic of prepared and complete attention—until towards a Rhetoric of Insult.

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16. 17. Greed and prodigality Taking bribes Pretentiousness Unacceptable sexual conduct Hostility to family Cowardice in battle Aspiring to tyranny Bankruptcy or other financial embarrassment Cruelty to fellow citizens or allies Plunder of private or public property Oratorical ineptitude To this list, we might add, in view of Second Philippic, 18. Stupidity (There is a useful discussion of these in R. G. M. ” What the list represents is an inventory of available topics that, as Cicero tells “Cicero Junior” in the Partitions of Oratory, a speaker should review to find available material for the arguments at hand.

Now we must bear in mind that most of these terms can be used ironically or even as terms not of abuse but of endearment— depending, of course, on the situation or scenario. But we saw before an example of how a term that is normally a term of abuse, “slut,” has undergone a rehabilitation of sorts. ” In his book (Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word [New York, 2002]), he points out, correctly, that “nigger” is not uncommonly used in the African American community as a term of familiarity or even of endearment.

Nothing is worn smoother than Hedylus’s cloak: not the handles of old Corinthian bronzes, not a shin polished by a ten-year shackle, not the skinned neck of a ruptured mule, not the ruts that cleave the Flaminian Way, not the pebbles shining on the beaches, not a hoe polished by a Tuscan vineyard, not the yellowing gown of a dead pauper, not the shaken wheel of a lazy muleteer, not a bison’s flank shaven by the cage, not the aging tusk of a ferocious boar. ] The pertinent loci here seem to be nos.

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