Gender as Performance as Communication as Rhetoric By: Chelsea Lonsdale

I’ve got nothing. Well, that’s not true – I’ve got somebody else’s something.

Like this thought:

By looking at delivery from an evolutionary perspective, delivery no longer becomes a tool of rhetoric, but the technology of rhetoric, evolving over time in the same way the system of rhetoric itself has evolved.

I’m looking forward to reading this person’s dissertation.

I’ve been

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sour over a post I had composed last week during a desperately needed two hour nap time from the little (monster) one. Two hours. Of nap time. I couldn’t even remember what I had written by the time I hit publish; you know those periods of writing when your hands take on a life of their own and your mind follows as quickly as it can? One key point that I do recall is on Joseph Williams stylistic aphasia, which is explained in his book titled Style: Toward Clarity and Grace as a regressive stage where a capable writer is reduced to using abstract terms with vague prepositions as a means of navigating an unfamiliar subject or genre. I’m taking a Native American Literature course. I’m finding myself completely unable to express my thoughts in a coherent fashion, both in class discussion as well as in written assignments. This is paired with the problem of privilege; as a white female, I really have little more to offer than the white girl’s perspective on a marginalized people – I am the Indian lover who collects memorabilia bought on the internet as if it somehow makes me more earthy, more centered. I am the twenty something shopping at Orchid Lane thinking I’m practicing sustainability, preaching on fair trade and simplicity. I am the privileged white female who has cable television and more than one

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pair of shoes, I attend college, and my daughter will have food every day (most of which gets tossed in the trash because she doesn’t eat it). I am not only trying to navigate a new genre, I am handicapped by the white (wo)man’s privilege. What words do I have, to critique or comment on the practices and traditions of a people whose life I can’t know? I am limited by my own existence, by my own breath and my own waking, and it’s not only projected onto this particular subject area.

I don’t know if I’ll get to gender as performativity here; it’s more a concept that is permanently housed in my head and it gets thrown in behind everything I do. This week in my other class, we’re looking at “word” and “image” and whether or not they exist as a dichotomy in rhetoric. Wysocki asks what is gained or lost over various communication mediums; how perception factors into the value of those forms, and how they are socially and historically constructed. Her essay is titled “awaywithwords,” and here’s a link with more info from my professor’s blog, (almost) ironically the first link to show up in a search, except google knows that I was on this blog earlier – there’s another topic, actually: how google/chrome can modify search results in order to provide a highly desired outcome and how that plays a role in delivery as technology and vice versa.

Anyway, I’m struggling to come up with anything substantial to write in my Lit class, is my point, and the class was over today save for the final on Thursday afternoon, which is essay based. I’m a grown-up white girl, and I’m complaining about limitations as the paradoxical result of excess.

Here’s another link, on perfectionism, intimacy, and evolution.

I’m writing within the narrow hallways of affordable space and I don’t know how to unpack that.

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