Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Other Men's Flowers and the Art of Persuasion - NYTimes.com

We read Cicero in 3rd year of high school.  Everyone read Cicero because everyone studied Latin. We learned hyperbole, apostrophe, ad hominem attack, and many more modes of argument - as we dissected Cicero's First Oration against the conspiracy of Lucius Catilina in 63 B.C. It begins

WHEN, 1 O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now? Do not the nightly guards placed on the Palatine Hill—do not the watches posted throughout the city—does not the alarm of the people, and the union of all good men—does not the precaution taken of assembling the senate in this most defensible place—do not the looks and countenances of this venerable body here present, have any effect upon you? Do you not feel that your plans are detected? Do you not see that your conspiracy is already arrested and rendered powerless by the knowledge which every one here possesses of it? What is there that you did last night, what the night before—where is it that you were—who was there that you summoned to meet you—what design was there which was adopted by you, with which you think that any one of us is unacquainted?
Other Men's Flowers and the Art of Persuasion - NYTimes.com:
by Sam Leith
 "Rhetoric, simply put, is the study of how language works to persuade. So any writer seeking to make a case, or hold a reader’s attention — which is more or less any writer not in the service of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — has something to learn from it. If the classical orators have modern counterparts in the realm of the written word, pre-eminent among those counterparts are the authors of opinion pieces. Here is persuasion overt, persuasion front and center. The techniques that served Cicero will just as effectively serve modern writers of opinion"

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