Since I study rhetoric, the question people most often ask me is "what is rhetoric?" Usually I give a long answer dealing with the history of Western civilization, starting with the Odyssey and going right up to the current political season.
This post is a simpler answer. If you listen to the radio at all, you already know what rhetoric is. You can find a few definitions of rhetoric on the web, such as here, but, following Aristotle's advice, I'll use previous knowledge (popular songs) on my audience to bring to them new knowledge (what rhetoric is). Here are the top five pop songs that have rhetoric as their subject matter:
1. The Police - "De Do Do Do De Da Da Da." Key lyrics: Poets, priests and politicians/Have words to thank for their positions
2. Extreme - "More Than Words." Key lyrics: What would you say if I took those words away/Then you couldn't make things new/
3. Berlin - "No More Words." Key Lyrics: You're talking and it all sounds fair . . . I'm still listening and still unsure
4. Simon & Garfunkel - "Sounds of Silence." Key Lyrics: "Fools", said I, "You do not know/Silence like a cancer grows/Hear my words that I might teach you/Take my arms that I might reach you"
5. Tears for Fears - "Sowing the Seeds of Love." Key Lyrics: feel the pain/talk about it/if you're a worried man/shout about it/open hearts/feel about it/open minds/think about it/everyone/read about it . . . read it in the books
in the crannies and the nooks there are books to read
Of course, most of these songs take a rather negative view of rhetoric, but that's Plato's fault. If anyone knows of any songs that take a more positive view, please let me know.