Finish a two and a half hour lecture, head to the hotel for some decongestant and Emergen-C. Then type a blog post. Party time. Exactly how I imagined post-PhD life.
This trip to Cornell University has really sparked a lot of things to write here. I really enjoy coming here and teaching these students about rhetoric. It's not just coming to the hallowed ground of Wilchelns or anything like that (something like that). It's more about things like a sense of purpose, or a sense of doing that thing that you thought you were training for in graduate school - spreading the joy of the perspective that you take for granted, but shouldn't.
There's a lot to do, a lot to do. But right now I have to go to bed. Had a great dinner at the Statler Hotel here on campus as usual with my great friend and colleague Sam. We talk about teaching debate as the sun sets over the campus behind us. Then it's off to his class. It's the only class with rhetoric in the title offered at Cornell, at least speech communication style rhetoric. I bet there are a ton of composition people. One day, future allies in a unified program that will dictate the entire scope of the university, I hope!
Now I wonder why I come out here and do this every year. Why bother? What's it for? What's the point when we have such obvious problems on my own campus? Before my talk my student texts me about a Government professor who says evidence is simply "facts." No justification or explanation as to what that means. No sense of epistemology. Just facts are evidence, evidence is the facts. No ability to discuss it either with someone trained in rhetoric (my student). Of course, he's a lawyer in his other job. God save us from Universities that think lawyers automatically make good teachers of law, persuasion, or anything for that matter. Most lawyers aren't even good at practicing law, which is why there are so many slinking around as adjuncts, taking jobs away from actual teachers.
I digress. Why come out here and do this? I am not sure. But I have a number of possible reasons. All to come over the next few days. Can't stay up and write tonight as I'm meeting Sam again at 7AM to say farewell until the spring to do this again.
Teaching about rhetoric's abilities makes rhetoric able. Saying the thing makes it so. I had a room of pretty disinterested folks really nodding and smiling by the end. I took a lot of liberties with rhetorical history and theory, but I think that even you, O professional rhetorician will find some value in the lecture. Posting it possibly tomorrow if I can get around to it.
Cornell is such a nice spot. Really great. Makes me feel a bit nostalgic for Texas A&M. Didn't take enough photos but it's go, go, go when I'm here. Next time. There will hopefully always be a next time.