Thoughts on genre, language, grammar, and other
rhetorical and linguistic norms
rhetorical and linguistic norms
And 5 Things NOT to Do
I am feeling heartsick and enormously sorrowful after yet another, and another, mass shooting in the US.
We all are.
Like others, I want to DO something about it. Not just analyze it, talk about it, feel bad about it. Another one is coming. More mass shootings are coming. I want to DO something that will make them come less often, allow fewer of them to happen.
But what can I do that will actually make any difference? Because I’m also, like others, feeling hopeless and powerless. I'm writing another post after another mass shooting. I even had a category of blog posts to add this one to--"mass shootings"
That's just wrong. Nothing is changing
Many of us have been doing many things that don’t work, that reinforce our sense of powerlessness.
Here are 5 things NOT to do:
That can’t stand. We have to take action. Meaningful, purposeful action.
Here are 5 things TO DO that have a better chance of making a difference:
And vote for all who support stricter gun control legislation and vote against any who resist gun control and instead blame immigrants or mental health systems or even hateful tweeters instead of proposing and supporting specific gun control laws
Yes, other issues matter in every election, and yes, other systemic issues contribute to mass shootings, but we have to act together in overwhelming numbers and soon to get military weapons and ammunition out of the hands of shooters before any other actions stand a chance of being effective.
We have to do what we can NOW to limit the number and damage of mass shootings.
You don’t have to agree with me about which policies to support, but I know you too feel the devastation.
Find solutions you believe in, whatever evidence shows might work. You can search congress.gov for federal proposals that have been introduced and legiscan.com for proposals in all 50 states as well as Congress.
Push for those solutions to the people who can make them happen. Vote for those people who commit to making them happen.
Send laws in addition to thoughts and prayers.
And send a message. VOTE
Gee, did you know that tomorrow are the US midterm elections?
How could you miss it?
As part of my drive to help people become aware of the ways language, texts, and genres influence us without our noticing, I’m compiling another list for you to ponder—or add to.
What genres are shaping our votes—and whether or not we vote?
Here are a few:
Political ads (including Smear tactics, Racist ads, Inflammatory ads) on radio, tv, social media
Bot phone calls (aka political ads)
Tweets from politicians
Campaign literature (hung on our doors, handed to us at the grocery store, mailed to us)
Voters’ guides (League of Women Voters, local community guides, your favorite news source)
News stories about the economy, migration, the Supreme Court, racist killings, tweets, and … pick your favorite topic
Political discussions at work, at the dinner table, with friends
Political arguments at work, at the dinner table, with friends
Voting Rights Act—oh no, wait, that one’s gone, and it was just a single, powerful, text
Voting restrictions (signature matching, photo IDs, home address requirements, purged voter registries, prior felonies, and so on and so on and so on)
Get out the vote phone calls
Excuses for not voting (too busy, too tired, my vote doesn’t count, it’s all rigged, I don’t like any of the candidates)
Responses to excuses for not voting (ask your employer for time off to vote, ask for a ride, go with friends, if not a candidate then support the democratic system, and on and on and on—VOTE ANYWAY!!)
Polling places (especially their locations—see Dodge City in my own Kansas, long lines in Atlanta, Georgia, and other big cities, and so on and so on)
Free rides to polling sites
Discounts from Uber, Lyft, for rides to the polls
Voting machines (electronic, paper trail or not, party ticket option or not, and so on)
Voting booths (and all that image represents)
Ballots (and sample ballots viewable ahead of time)
“I Voted” stickers
“I Voted” social media posts
I’m sure I missed many bits of language influencing our votes, but most important is what influences whether you vote.
Pay special attention to the genres encouraging you to vote, trying to make it easier for you to vote. Be especially critical of the genres inhibiting your vote, encouraging you not to vote.
Don’t let any of these genres—or anything else—keep you from voting.
If you need information—about where to vote, what’s on the ballot, voter ID requirements, or anything else—you can get that information from the US government here
(So you know the credibility of that source, here is the US.gov URL: https://www.usa.gov/election-day )
If you live in Lawrence and need a ride, email me and I’ll get you to your polling place.
So just one final word: