A few weeks ago I was talking with Comm prof Felipe Korzenny about my return to grad school after 20-something years and he surprised me and warmed my heart by saying, "Welcome home." Tonight was further evidence of that intellectual and spiritual homecoming as I basked in a 2-hour discussion of the rhetoric of the left and right wings of American politics, the rhetorics that create and maintain and our sense of a duality (and not a plurality) of choices, the role of mere words in the creation of political realities that constrain the dropping of bombs and the funding of abortions....
Twas bliss, and prof Danielle Wiese was our goad and personal fitness trainer and cheerleader, brimming with energy and joy as she led an overstuffed classroom (easily 25 students, impossibly huge compared with my sweet memories of 6-person seminars) through a brief summary of U.S. political history and a thumbnail sketch of American rhetorical bipolarity, concluding with a delicious review of -- of all things -- logos, ethos, pathos, syllogisms, and enthymemes.
As we made our brief introductions around the crowded table, I was struck by the number (and youth) of political operatives present, though I shouldn't be, for this is Tallahassee, after all. Legislative staffers, political coordinators, PR-firm employees -- from both sides of the aisle. Plus a cabal of poli sci and interactive media grad students, many of whom are doing their last six weeks of Master's coursework in this ephemeral summer session.
And me, Joe Greybeard, the guy who's so old it's almost cute, apparently.
Outside, as dusk fell, I reminded myself that there will only be eleven more times that I will walk to my antique VW bus in the sultry summer evenings of my first doctoral class. Oh, to be able to immerse myself in these moments!
P.S.: OK, well, yes, I'm feeling a bit Whitmanesque this evening. No matter; I am large.