This week I on my way to class I encountered a source of rhetoric and civic from a rather well known but despised source on campus. I am talking about the famous Willard Preacher who spouts out his ideologies for all to hear in front of the the Willard building.
Having a class in Willard, I encounter the preacher often but until recently I haven’t began to think in depth about his messages. Like most people I talk to I find that his ideologies are somewhat ludicrous and occasionally offensive. However, underlying rhetoric and civic life can be found if examined deeply enough.
I would have to say that the preacher’s attempt at using rhetorical persuasion is not very efficient as he often comes off as somewhat crazy. He occasionally offends people during his messages by stereotyping college students which diminishes his persuasive impact. Although his rhetoric is lacking, it provides a means to examine what good rhetoric entails.
As students walk by as he proclaims his ideas, they view him as an example of how not to present a rhetorical argument. They get a sense of what is effective and what is not through negative examples. Some students who are daring enough can even attempt to test their rhetorical skills by having a conversation with the preacher. He functions as a practically unavoidable dose of rhetoric.
The Willard preacher also promotes civic engagement by giving students a means to bring up topics of conversation. It is sometimes awkward to begin talking about religious and societal views to other people. Beginning with a short conversation about the Willard preacher provides a segway into meaningful civic discussions with others.
Although the Willard preacher can sometimes be extreme in his attempts to engage in ideological discussions, he is a good means to analyze and promote rhetoric and civic life. So next time you pass the preacher giving his usual talk about pre-marital sex try not to ignore it but rather look at is as additional exposure to RCL outside of the classroom.