A 1561 depiction of Rhetoric, apparently used to invite dramatic groups (“chambers” of rhetoric) to a dramatic gathering.

This medium post serves as a sort of artist statement and how-to for @RhetoricTweeter, a tactical media Twitter Bot that aims to prompt reflection and wonder from academic rhetoricians on Twitter as we consider how digital media technology, advances in AI, and online communities influence our work.

I created this twitter bot as a final project for a Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities Intro to Digital Studies Seminar taught by Jason Farman.

I’m a graduate student in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland, and I’m to blame for any of the errors/issues from the…

Lindsay Tomac’s editorial in the March 8, 1996 issue of The Mooring Mast (Pacific Lutheran University’s student newspaper)

“I am concerned that with the excessive number of homosexual-based programs sponsored by PLU we are creating an atmosphere where students no longer feel comfortable voicing their beliefs for fear of condemnation. Now the tables have been turned and our focus has been lost.”

Am I masochistic or pragmatic to ask for condemnation?

In today’s world, we are incredibly segmented — each of us surrounded in our own ideological purity circles due to filter bubbles and a lack of public space for community interactions.

And that’s why — unfortunately — I think it’s important to come out: You’ll get condemned.

Photo illustration of Margie Witt (’86) by Oliver Johnson

“I just really didn’t want to be identified as one label: and now I am.”

News flash: there were gay people at Pacific Lutheran University before there was a Center for Gender Equity, a Queer Ally Student Union, or any celebrations of a pride week. Major Margaret Witt, who will give the Meant to Live Lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, in the Scandinavian Cultural Center, is one of them.

Major Witt (known as “Margie”), who graduated from the PLU School of Nursing in 1986, was forcibly outed and subsequently dismissed while serving as an Air Force flight nurse. …

(Janet Van Ham / HBO)

Bill Maher is a comedian—host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher—known for being Islamophobic and misogynistic and very, very atheist (italics because he’s like an atheist evangelist) or, as Salon puts it: “a straight up bigot.

Milo Yiannopoulos is the editor of Breitbart News (formerly chaired by Stephen K. Bannon, who is now the White House Chief Strategist — you may know him from twitter as #PresidentBannon), the conservative alternative news website that is commonly referred to as breeding ground for the alt-right populism sweeping across the globe. …

I’ve found it easy to be lulled into complacency regarding my activism in this period of time. Sure, it’s more clear than ever about how effective and important activism can be, but when you’re just chillin’ on a college campus in the one of the least-churched, most blue locales in the U.S., it’s much easier to just lament to your like-minded, well-educated friends about how fucking pissed off you are about whatever bullshit CNN, New York Times and Guardian notifications you got today that sent you into a fury you had to consciously control.

(Lord, the rise of an attention…

There’s something permanently stamped on my wrist. It’s Washington state, inked in black, with a heart cut out in the middle revealing my white skin. It’s not uncommon to see a similar design stuck to the back of the occasional Subaru around the state — I think REI sells them — but mine isn’t placed in full view to communicate my love for the Evergreen state.

When Referendum 74 passed in Washington state, making same-sex marriage legal, I bought a T-shirt. It had the design that now rests on my wrist in the centre, surrounded by the text “Love wins.”…

That’s Oslo! (Thanks, selfie stick.)

You need to travel while you’re in Europe, they say. It’s so easy! The flights are so cheap, the airports are straightforward and you only need a backpack.

Well, they don’t tell you too much about getting to the goddamn airport. They don’t want you to know about the struggle bus.

(DJ Khaled? Anyone? This blog post is a month late, so my cultural references can be delayed, right?)

Sophia and Bonnie on the bridge at Hinksey Park // 16 Jan

“IT’S A TRAIN! IT’S A TRAIN!” Sophia, Sierra and Siobhan shout with childlike excitement.

They’re perched on a bridge in Hinksey Park, just a few blocks south of our flat at 76 Chilswell. It was a lazy Saturday and our best idea of what to do with our time was go to a park; we enjoy being loud, awkward college-aged children, this time with the added benefit of our accent placing us clearly as foreigners.

The bridge overlooks about four train tracks, where varying passenger and cargo trains go rushing underneath the feet of the bridge-goer. It’s long — with staircases, even — and just wide enough that Alex’s wingspan can’t touch edge-to-edge.


Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square // London, 10 Jan

“I HEAR IT’S FROWNED UPON,” Alex says, responding to my suggestion we take one of those #lutesaway ‘Twelfies.’ “Apparently, It looks like you’re conquering the place or something.”

We had this conversation early in our trip, sitting on a bus, looking at Instagram. I had forgotten about it, as I do about sportsball whenever possible.

A few short days later, we’re about two hours into our first London excursion. We’ve all climbed up on the lion-guarded Nelson’s Column, ready for a group picture.

It’s game day.

Walking the streets of Oxford // 5 January

AS I WRITE THIS, THERE’S 7 HOURS AND 48 MINUTES LEFT OF OUR ALMOST-10 HOUR FLIGHT. We’re roughy 1,000 miles from Seattle.

I was distractedly watching a less-than-stellar movie (“A Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” for the curious) and looking around to my nine peers as they attempt to entertain themselves. A smile spread across my face and I let out more than a few less-than-masculine giggles.

We’ve known we’d be going on this trip for the better part of one year. After a fall semester with its fare share of unofficial meet-ups and official meetings, plenty of daydreaming has been dedicated to what happens after these ten hours.

The alarm we set for 12:30 (London time) 4 January is about to abruptly wake…

Matthew Salzano

in search of the disorderly and marvelous. Communication Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland, College Park. matthewsalzano.com

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