The reading I chose was this look into the background of rhetoric during the Enlightenment. Many different ideas were forged during the enlightenment, whether they were completely new ways of thinking, or modifications of old ideas. It's no surprise that, when given the change, rhetoric would be looked at and possibly change for the better.
The particular ideas that came to mind were the "plain" styles that people like Bacon and Descartes wanted more emphasized. By the time I had read and understood the ideas behind such a take for progression I thought it to be a good idea that is very unlikely to work.
My prior studies in philosophy have always been helped by the fact that my first professor didn't just have a doctorate in philosophy. He had one in neuroscience as well. He often talked about how the brain developed and how long it takes to get that frontal lobe going with the "reasoning" aspect of ourselves. The problem with this "plain" take on everything is the fact that our brains developed in a way that the flat-out facts won't cut it for a motivation. As humans, it seems the best we can do is set our minds on something, steer in the direction with reason, and use emotion as a driving force. When we employ rhetoric, we harness the emotions of others towards a greater good assuming we use our reasoning. Same goes for them as a rebuttal. They'll assess the situation using reasoning and push forward with emotion. We do greater things that way. The flat out facts won't always get the job done.
One good example I can think of is the power of faith. I'm not a particularly religious person. I'm actually agnostic. What intrigues me is what people do when they believe in something and somehow, someway, something positive happens. A show that explains this well would be the hit broadway musical The Book of Mormon. John Stewart of the Daily Show couldn't have said it better: It's a musical that somehow satirizes and celebrates that which is religion. Another is The Invention of Lying which allowed a person to harness their emotion in order to cope and continue on.