About PaulMuhlhauser

I'm a rhetrographical docta of English. I'll operate on words, the web, and spam. And most of the time I'm @HarlotTweets!

#DefineRhetoric Competition Update 2.0

We’ve passed our second month of defining rhetoric in 140 characters or less. Rhetoric’s been defined, re-defined, pre-defined, post-defined, most-defined, more-defined, and less-defined. It’s been a whole lotta defined. It’s an activity, clothing, and like milk.  It’s a pun and  a mirror and a niece! It’s even in orbit.

Before you go back to defining, enjoy some of the latest definitions we’ve gotten:

  • Rhetoric is how you hope to talk your way out of a traffic ticket…HOPE. #DefineRhetoric @TheOriginalRock
  • Rhetoric is like the moon. It is, at present, synchronously oriented to the rotation of another body around which it orbits. #DefineRhetoric @Schmeggelz
  • Rhetoric is discourse in lingerie. #definerhetoric @soundb0mb3r
  • Someone left me a voicemail of just some really impressive coughing. #definerhetoric @donorahillard
  • Rhetoric is when “my style’s like a chemical spill/Feasible Rhymes you can vision and feel/conducted in form… V. Ice #definerhetoric @HarlotTweets
  • Rhetoric is a pun on causality. #definerhetoric @postsilence
  • Rhetoric is a selection and deflection of reality. (Inspired by Burke.) #definerhetoric @cdmandrews
  • “Listen to me!” says my niece while holding my face in her hands. #definerhetoric @denisejeannee

There’re 2 ½ months left to #definerhetoric!  Keep on definin’ and cure the rhetorical hangover a summer can give ya by tweeting a #definerhetoric.

Much thanks and great work to all those participatin’ in #definerhetoric!

If you’re interested in #DefineRhetoric, you’ll find instructions here: #DefineRhetoric

Competition Update: #DefineRhetoric @HarlotTweets

It’s been one month since we began our #DefineRhetoric competition!  We’re happy to say that we have added some funny, insightful, and outstanding examples of rhetoric defining rhetoric!  We’ve got rhetoric about rhetoric that’s rhetoric (via @plcorbett!). Whoa! If you haven’t checked out the competition, you’ll find instructions here: #DefineRhetoric

And we thank all our participants so far and hope they continue submittin’ cause there’s no limit on the number of definitions you can submit. Check ‘em out then laugh, cry, and rhetoric all over everywhere and write your own definition of rhetoric so ya increase your chances of winning the prestigious and highly coveted “Definition of Rhetoric of the Year – 2012.”

Here’re a few definitions we’ve received so far-

  • The Borg had it all wrong.  Resistance is rhetoric. @LouFisto
  • Rhetoric: Don’t get it wet or feed it after midnight. @LouFisto
  • Rhetoric = Wearing too much eyeliner after he leaves you. @donorahillard
  • Rhetoric = Any almost-expired birthday cake. @donorahillard
  • Rhetoric is a fancy label for the process and consequences of naming and framing reality. @anokaydane
  • #DefineRhetoric is an act of rhetoric itself, defined through action. Rhetoric outside of action is like Latin, dead on arrival. @plcorbett
  • Rhetoric is when everybody wants some and I want some too. Ow! V. H. Alen  @PaulMuhlhauser
  • Rhetoric is a bag of Halloween candy, sometimes you get the good stuff and sometimes you get apples with razor blades. @TheOriginalRock
  • The role of rhetoric is convincing people of the truth so they can dismiss their ignorance. #DefineRhetoric @TheOriginalRock
  • #definerhetoric: utterly the bass line in Lou Reed’s “Walk On the Wild Side.” Tonight anyway @thatssomcginnis

There are about 3 ½ months to submit your definition of rhetoric to Harlot. Then we’ll select and announce THE definition of rhetoric of the year with the publishing of our next issue.

If you’ve got some rhetorical inflammation and need relief, we prescribe #DefineRhetoric. Good luck!

A Competition! #DefineRhetoric @HarlotTweets

Here at Harlot we’ve determined there have been about 2.24 million total different definitions of rhetoric created throughout human history. Because this just doesn’t seem like enough, we’d like you to play with us and add to that total.

Before our next issue comes out (September 15, 2012), we’ll have collected and taken a look at the definitions and decide on one to be THE definition of rhetoric of the year! Oh, the fame and recognition you can receive!


TWEET your submission now or later but definitely by 11:59 pm on September 8, 2012 to participate! That’s the last day we’ll check Tweets.

To participate, you’ve gotta tweet. If you don’t have a Twitter account, ya gotta make one. Then tweet your brand new definition of rhetoric, your tweaked or remixed definition of rhetoric, or one you’ve liked from a theorist and categorize it with #DefineRhetoric at the end. We encourage you to have fun and play with what rhetoric can mean. Be your own Plato, Aristotle, Aspasia. Be your own Burke, Richards, Perelman. Be your own Villanueva, Glenn, Lanham. And in the spirit of givin’ cred where cred is due, we ask you to try to cite your sources as best ya can when ya tweak or remix or quote directly.

Here are a few obscure definitions we’ve found and added to that total:
Rhetoric is when u got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away and know when to run—K. Rogers. http://youtu.be/kn481KcjvMo #DefineRhetoric

Rhetoric is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car–D. Draper. #DefineRhetoric

Rhetoric is hockey. If you don’t have ice you’re just standing in a puddle wearing skates and pads–Sam Boni. #DefineRhetoric

Rhetoric is ice-cream. If you don’t have 31 flavors, it’s coercion–Baskn Robnz. #DefineRhetoric

And if you get a chance, check out our Tweets @HarlotTweets for journal updates, news and play in the world of rhetoric. Oh yeah—you know, we have some pretty excellent articles about rhetoric too!


+1 and like

I don’t know much about tenure or impact factors and journals. I don’t really know much about how academic journals get rated for prestige, influence, and coolness. But I’ve been thinking about new sorts of ratings for academic publications—especially those DIY publications. I’ve been thinking about those self-published pieces that don’t go through a journal but are published online ready to be experienced. There are some outstanding pieces out there that may not have a home in a journal but are important and need some support and academic cred. I’ve also been thinking about all the work comp and rhet teachers do online. I mean often they are blogging about rhetoric, vlogging about rhetoric, youtubing about composition, facebooking composition and, in general, engaging in academic activities through social media platforms that they never get credit for. So I wonder about liking and +1ng. And I ask ya these questions:

1. Should there be some sort of calculation (impact factor type) for articles, books, and websites based on likes and +1s and tweets ?

2. Could academic prestige be equated to social media numbers?

3. Should social media presence help with tenure?

If the answer is yes to any of the above then ya gotta ask the next questions:

1. Would a like from Villanueva mean more than a like from Muhlhauser?

2. Would a +1 from Yancey be rated higher than a +1 from Brad Pitt?

What would a university look like if tenure were based on social media presence?

Please like, +1, and tweet this post. I’m preparing for the future.


Special Issue

Family Rhetoric

Remember when you asked Dad instead of Mom to see Basic Instinct in the theatre when you were twelve? Remember when you learned to wait for planes to fly overhead so that the noise would drown the sound of your creaking window when you were sneaking out? Remember the time your grandma told you that “this place is nice for how you live”? And remember the time your grandpa said, “you’ll understand when you’re older”?

Now, remember when you saw the Keatons, Huxtables, Seavers, Tanners, and Winslows. The Taylors, Bluths, Barones and the Gosselins and Duggars. Remember these families? Remember how they taught you about being moms, dads, brothers, and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents?

For this issue of Harlot, we are calling for rhetorically reflective stories (rhetflections, if you will), analyses, and critiques of family. We want to learn about communication in that pervasively hidden community where you use rhetorical tactics to negotiate spaces, passive aggressive behaviors, and statements that foreclose argument with an audience of relatives. We want to learn about the rhetorical practices of moms, dads, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents; we want to know about the rhetorical moves that make them what they are. In other words, we want to learn about the rhetoric of family.

This Special Issue provides an opportunity for exploring family rhetorics and the ways in which your own experiences or the ones you see around you rhetorically construct family. Areas of interest for this special journal issue include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

Family in media representations
•• TV
•• Film
•• Web
•• Portraits
•• The White House

Family in social networking communities
•• Forums
•• Blogs
•• Facebook
•• myspace
•• Twitter

Family and
•• gender
•• race
•• class
•• disability
•• transgressions

Expose your insights traditionally (words coupling with other words like an essay, poem, or short story) or non-traditionally (words coupling with video, pics, sounds or multimedia like a film, a website or a speech).

Submissions due:
January 15th, 2011

Submit at

Hunting, Tracking, or just Locating Family

Verizon’s Family Locater is the latest surveillance technology allowing parents (anyone really, but family is the audience being targeted ) to locate their of children through their phone’s GPS device. The commercial shows how happy a parent is to know her child’s location. So parencentric. The commercial forgets kids and assumes that kids are arhetorical and won’t use manipulate this device more successfully than that old school technology—trust.

At any rate, I figure this new technology offers some rhetorical lessons for kids to learn. For instance a kid might practice pareuresis as a way to avoid surveillance—“Sorry, Dad. I was in a rush to get to school and left it at Katie’s house. I didn’t want to miss the physics lecture .“ Nice work here “physics lecture” or school as a primary excuse is a good rhetorical move for “forgetting.”

I can even imagine kids being rhetorical about stashing the phone some place where it looks good and responsible while they make there way to the well, the quarry, or the R rated movie for some real fun. At least that’s what I’d do.

Of course parents will make there own rhetorical maneuvers in response. Maybe a parent would try perclusio—“If you forget your phone again, you’ll be grounded. Then I’ll know where you are.” Or the parent might practice adhortatio—“You need to carry your phone because I love you—carry it because you love me.” In other words, encourage the child (audience) to practice good Locater decorum through threat or guilt.

At any rate, I am going to treat this blog like a public service announcement for parents. Can anybody think of any other ways kids can be rhetorical in their phone use to avoid being tracked…hunted—I mean located? Please make an offerring in comments.

Pork n’ Beans is Rhetorical!

This is what happened.

The night before class—as the teacher later came to find out—a student ate two cans of Pork n’ Beans. The following day was a noisy and humorous one as this student became an object and subject of entertainment through his deviant behavior regarding public decorum. What I mean is he gassed the class, and it was funny!

This student was counting on the effects of Pork n’ Beans on and through his body to speak and use his voice. Seriously. I am being serious.

In this story, I see something important occurring. Kenneth Burke might say, “Food, eaten and digested, is not rhetorical. But in the meaning of the food there is much rhetoric.” What I mean is that he means what is occurring is an overlooked aspect of rhetoric.
While words or pictures aren’t being used, food becomes like a picture or a word in how it’s used on an audience. And just like words or pictures sometimes the effects on an audience or even ourselves may not be what we bargained for—after all sometimes what we say, show, or even digest just doesn’t work like we thought it would.

Check out this Beano commercial:

This is what I see: these are instructions for us that using beano is a rhetorical move for communicating how a person can control his/her body in public—behave appropriately or say the right things. It is similar to saying “Use flatulate, fart is too informal.” You know, “Use Beano, flatulating is too informal. Seriously.”