All posts by tyguy5150

T-Money Show Episode 2!

Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of the T-Money show. I am your host T-Money and today we have two very special guests. Please welcome rhetoric and composition!

Rhetoric and composition are two disciplines in the field of English which are multimodal and interdisciplinary. Multimodal means they usedifferent modes of inquiry (historical, theoretical, interpretive, critical, and observation-based)” (McComiskey 2). Interdisciplinary means “the field has always drawn on work in other disciplines (psychology, sociology, linguistics, literary theory, etc.) as part of its initiating of questions, arguments, and ways of reasoning” (McComiskey 2). 

Rhetoric sounds like a scary word, but can be defined as the art of making an argument. Argument doesn’t mean a fight, an argument is the point you are trying to make and rhetoric encapsulates all of the tools at your disposal. Rhetoric has a history as old as time. In Ancient Greece, rhetoric was taught to scholars as an important foundation such as math or science. As time went on, rhetoric eventually vanished from school curriculum. This led to schools teaching composition as the foundation for English classes. Composition is like baking a cake. You take an idea, plan it out, write about it, and you have a finished product. While this sounds like a good idea, it led to writing in schools becoming formulaic, stale, and devoid of the artist in their creation.

 This all changed in the 1960’s as a new decade brought new idea. “In 1964, Robert Gorrell and others convened a meeting at the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) to discuss this new interest in rhetoric and its linkage with composition (Gorrell).” (McComiskey 3). This conference had a profound effect and soon others scholars were exploring rhetoric and composition in order to generate new ideas at English studies. They focused on things such as: “topics places for discovering arguments, status finding the type of issue in dispute, kairos the right or opportune moment for certain arguments” (McComiskey 4).

Following this, rhetoric started to be taken more seriously as a discipline. 

This is the part where things start to get good. In the 1960’s and 70’s rhetoric scholars starting to embrace rebellion. They (rightfully) argued that writing was being taught as a product in schools with the end result being a letter grade. Rhetoric scholars said that writing should be looked at as a process from when someone has an idea all the way to the finished work. There are many steps in the writing process and they more important to learn than how to write a paper that gets an A everytime. Janet Emig identified 2 important parts of the early writing process called prewriting and planning. Prewriting can be anything that helps start your creative process and planning is about getting your ideas in order before you start your draft.

An important part of rhetoric is considering your audience. I believe if we all look back on our education, we can see that most of the time our audience was our teacher. This is all well and good when you are writing something like a research paper, but what happens when you are writing a creative work? For example, I have a poem called “Kill the Boomers. Save the Millennials.” The title is poking fun at the fact that headlines claim millennials have killed everything. The poem talks about how the world is unfavorable to millennials and we are struggling to survive. It talks about how boomers had a lot more advantages then we had and they are living well. The poem talks about getting rid of the boomers so the millennials can ensure a future for our generation.

When I perform it to people my age, they love it. They cheer and repeat the kill the boomers line. What do you think happens when I perform it in front of boomers? They hate it! Imagine if I turned that poem in for a school assignment, most teachers would say it’s garbage. And I would never write that poem for a school assignment because I know that it would not get an A. How can academic writing prepare us for the real world? In my poems, I go against the grain of what poetry should be because I know my audience does not want to hear poetry that fits into a neat little box and plays by the rules.

Another thing that my “Kill the Boomers. Save the Millennials.” poem does is speak to the current times. Just like Bob Dylan said “The Times They Are a-Changin’”. This is a way to use rhetoric to convey an argument. A key feature of rhetoric is that it speaks to issues in society. “In the 1980s, a rhizomatic spread of theory, research, and new pedagogy occurred, called by some the “social turn.”” (McComiskey 14). This idea brought writing forward as something that was shaped by society and could be used as an agent of change. I got the idea from my poem as a direct result of the way society was for the boomers and the way society is for the millennials. I channeled the frustrations of an entire generation.

On paper, my poem isn’t all that impressive. But when performed live, it is a sight to see. It resonates so strongly with a millennial audience. The poem was written to be performed. It was written to inspire my generation to come up with ideas on how to change our shitty situation. In order to understand rhetoric as an agent of change, all we have to do is look at politics. There are people who become President who are fucking awful. Look at Trump. How could anyone vote for him? He was a master at rhetoric. He stoked the fires of hate and had the people in the palm of his hand. He wasn’t afraid to say the hateful racist things that many people in America were thinking. He used carefully coded messages to instill violent racist ideologies in his followers.

On the other side of the coin, you have people like Obama who used the power of rhetoric for good. Being the 1st Black President of America is no easy feat. Obama used powerful rhetoric that hasn’t been seen since the days of Martin Luther King. His message of hope and social change resonated with so many people. He inspired America to do the impossible through carefully crafted rhetoric.

There is much more to talk about in the field of rhetoric and composition. But we are out of time today on the T-Money show. We’ll see you next week.

Works Cited (Not properly formatted, I know >_<)

English Studies: An Introduction to the Discipline(s). CHAPTER TWO (Pp. 106-136). Rhetoric and Composition. JANICE M. LAUER Purdue University

Who Am I?

Hello everyone! I am Tyler Clark aka T-Money. I never thought I’d make it this far in my educational journey. I dropped out of middle school once, high school twice, and college twice. Why you may ask? The answer is mental illness.. I have suffered from major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder my whole life. Unfortunately, this was not diagnosed until I was around 15 or so. I had an extremely difficult time going to school and being around my peers. Of course my mom would say this was just “nerves”. This led me to missing many days of school because I simply could not handle my undiagnosed anxiety.

Fortunately for me, I was always a good student. Even though I missed a lot of classes, I was able to pass my classes. When I got to 8th grade, the dam finally broke. My anxiety caused me to be so terrified of school that I just stopped going for a month straight. I refused to go to school and asked my mom to take me out of school and homeschool me. She did so because she did not have any options. While I was relieved that I did not have to suffer from the anxiety of being around others at school, homeschooling wasn’t for me. It did not provide the educational experience that I was looking for. 

I had to make the impossible choice of going back to school and dealing with my anxiety. I made it through 8th grade and graduated middle school. Of course my family moved after that, so that ment starting a new high school where I didn’t know anyone. Guess how that went with my anxiety. I attended freshmen year of high school for a total of one week and then stopped attending completely. This is when I was labeled as the bad seed. They said I was “oppositional defiant”. Rather than understanding my anxiety, I was labeled as a bad child. So I was put in programs for children with behavioral issues. 

I never completed my freshmen year of high school and we moved again when the new school year started. While I was technically a freshmen, I was able to start as a sophomore because I did very well on the placement tests. I was always a high achiever in school because it was all I had and I took pride in learning. To my surprise, I actually made it through my sophomore year somehow, but everything fell apart during my junior year. Anxiety and depression reared its ugly head and I dropped out of school once again. Luckily for me, I was able to attend night school and get my high school diploma. 

College was next on the list and I don’t think I have to tell you it was rough. I started community college. I was receiving treatment for my mental illness, but it was still very hard to deal with. In keeping with my track record, I dropped out of community college not once, but twice. I started working at an independent record store that sold music and comics. I worked there for 10 years and made my way to manager. I planned to open my own store eventually and thought I had life figured out until one day when the boss decided to sell the store. I was devastated and had no direction in life.

So of course I decided to return to school. Given my track record with school, I thought I was a fool. But I had no other options. I went back to community college and got my Associate’s. After that I went to Kean. I decided to major in English because I have always loved poetry. Instead of focusing on what jobs I could get or how successful I could be with a degree in English, I decided to follow my passion.

As it turns out, this was the right move. During my time at Kean, poetry has become my life. I started performing at open mics about 2 years ago. I found a community of like minded people and I have a reason to keep making art. We call ourselves the NJ Poetry Renaissance and you can find us on Instagram. We reject the idea and conformity of what poetry should be. Instead, we embrace the working class and reject the elitists. In this scene, I have met some of the greatest poets to ever exist. They are the ones who are unknown to the academics. I have found a 2nd home among these artists and I couldn’t imagine life without them.

I also self-published a chapbook in my senior year at Kean. It was my way of dealing with the grief of losing my best friend to suicide about 2 years ago. Until that time, I was unable to write about the subject because I did not think that I could do it justice. In time, I found my voice and was able to say the things I needed to say. I can make the chapbook on demand if anyone wants a copy.

As you can see, I chose to emphasize the parts of my journey that were difficult and uncomfortable rather than talk about myself in a more positive light. This is because we all struggle behind our masks and I chose to embrace my struggles. Rather than hype myself up, I want all of you to see where I came from. It wasn’t pretty but that makes it all the more amazing that I am finally in grad school. Making it all the way to grad school is an achievement for anyone, but with what I suffered through, it’s a miracle.