Rhetoric is about choice. Plain and simple. The study of rhetoric concerns itself with what Aris-totle famously penned as the “available means of persuasion.” That is, when you want to getsomething done in the world -- be it convincing a friend to come to a party, getting a certainperson to see you a certain way, or rallying a downtrodden nation into recovery -- you have acertain repertoire of tools at your disposal: certain techniques, objects, shared ideas, and actionsthat will help you get something done. Think of it as similar to constructing a table. For somepeople, they only own two tools: a hammer and a screwdriver. These people are going to strug-gle to make a nice, sturdy table. For others, their knowledge-base of tools is more expansive, asis their collection in their garage. In addition to a hammer and a screwdriver, these people havea table saw, a leveler, and a sander. Needless to say, the table these people craft is going to be farsuperior. Same thing goes for communication: the more one is able to see and use the availablemeans of persuasion they have at their disposal, the more effective the message will be and themore likely their outcome to happen. Effective rhetoric, indeed getting things done in the world,is about making the right choices for the right person at the right time for the right purpose.
This project asks you to create and justify an object of persuasion that calls for making ofcrucial decisions: a mixtape.(Of course,cassettes are out of production so your “mixtape” willtake the form of a CD or an8tracks.complaylist.) Culturally speaking, the sharing of mixtapeshas usually been associated with a romantic relationship: unable to communicate their feelingsthrough verbal speech acts, boys and girls turned to mixtapes to “deliver their message” in away they could not. Careful, precise decisions are made in terms of what song to start with (toset the tone), how to balance the popular with the cheesy, the mainstream with the under-ground, and also how to balance songs the creator loves with songs the creator thinks the re-ceiver will respond to most.
This assignment does not require such a narrow exigence for you, though. The mixtapesneed only focus on an event or theme, as broad or speciﬁc as you wish: they could take the formof a top ten, a manifesto, or really anything. The main thing is that the choices of songs on theplaylist are carefully thought out and that the mixtape has a very speciﬁc purpose (goal) andaudience.
Prof. RichardsComposition II1