Raymie McKerrow, in discussing six principles of critical rhetoric, names two that I particularly find interesting. Principle four centers on the fact that naming things is a way of interpreting them (105). There is some truth to this. I usually try to find humble words to say what I'm discussing. I could call a college a school, a university, or an institution, and I choose to call it a school more often than not. There is some degree of interpretation in the word I choose. If I call it a university, then I am differentiating it from primary schools, secondary schools, and other types of colleges. I decide on "school" because I prefer to connect college education to education in general. I was learning before I came to college and will continue to do so after graduation. "School" implies that continuity for me. This principle can be extended to countless other matters where interpreting a word implies what that concept means to the speaker.
Principle six concerns how "absence is as important as presence in understanding and evaluation symbolic action" (107, emphasis in original). McKerrow relates this to the fact the prime TV is missing a variety of body types and races. This is problematic for countless reasons, the main one being that the U.S. population is diverse, and mainly featuring white people of average height and a specific type of physical appearance is not acknowledging the true reality of the range of individuals in this country. McKerrow implies that rhetoric can consist of what is not shown or not discussed, not just what is presented. I'm thinking of our previous discussion of women being excluded from the rhetorical canon. While I still think the present is more important than what's in the canon, I consider how in that case, what is absent is communicating something. And thus my hope for future discourse is that women and men would both be represented strongly.