November 18, 2012
What do we really know?
In George's piece I found the idea of cultural piety and blindness really interesting. Burke argues that we have become so well-trained "in established cultural values that we are incapable of recognizing these pieties as either a cause of our problems or something that might be changed to solve them" (George 341). Keller also thinks that many of us act in blind conformity to cultural pieties. This reminded of the term cultural hegemony, which basically describes how society is dominated by the ruling class who manipulates society with their beliefs and values so well that those terms or screens become accepted and unquestioned. I think this is where the study of rhetorical theory comes in as it easier allows us to see the "screens" Burke spoke of that are different from ours. Rhetoric allows us to question why it is what we think we know and question the motives of ideas and theories that supposedly influence our language, which in turn affects how our cultures are formed. Theory allows to approach the world with what Helen Keller would call "fresh eyes."