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Aldo Matteucci February 03, 2013

Brilliant, Bi, simply brilliant. Two comments: first you may wish to expand on the "biblical rhetorical devices" Obama uses. In emerging America preachers formed the political narrative (see David D. HALL: Worlds of wonders, days of judgment. Popoular religious belief in early New England). This tradition underpins much of political discourse today, and is alien to secular Europe. Kairos: when making choices one is to agree on goal, means, and timing. Kairos closes the discussion on the first two, and subtly shifts the discussion to one of timing. This is more blatant "fallacy of false choice" than what you point to later on. It reduces the future to "history in the making". Obama uses Kairos also to lay claim to historical continuity against the Teabaggers who lay claim to ownership of American history. Aldo
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Biljana Scott February 11, 2013

Thanks Aldo, you always stretch my mind in new directions! Agreed, there's lots more to be said about the influence of Black-American sermons on Obama's rhetoric, both with regard to stylistic features such as call-and-response, rhythm and rhyme, and also with regard to their appeal to a collective consciousness which transcends the small-minded obstructivism of the individual, so thanks for the book reference! And thanks especially for your insight on the false-choice inherent in an appeal to kairos - I very much hope you'll write a blog on this subject!

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