Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Eliot And Ashley Show

Sometimes things just happen to occur at the exact moment where it can be beneficial to you as a teacher. Don’t get me wrong. I do not wish any ill will on anyone, have no hard feelings for anyone and do not want to capitalize off of the misfortunes of others. Still, when things happen in society that leads to everyone talking, if I can work it into my lecture, I will do just that.

Enter New York’s soon to be Ex-Governor Eliot Spitzer, and the woman who is quickly becoming one of the best known names in New York, Ashley Alexandra Dupre. It so happened that as things were unfolding, I was working on putting my lecture about persuasive speaking together.

The event worked perfectly in terms of a number of things. First up is what types of topics can be used for a persuasive speech. Just a few of the possibilities based on Spitzer and Dupre include if the governor should have resigned, how serious of a problem is infidelity, should Ashley Dupre come forward with more information, can Dupre and should she look to use her new found fame to help further her career. Other possible topics include if Spitzer’s wife, Silda, should leave him and if prostitution should be legalized.

I tell my students they need to be aware of the ethics involved in public speaking. The Roman orator Quintilian defined rhetoric (persuasion) as “The good man speaking well”. That means, as far as he was concerned, if you are not arguing for just, moral and right causes, you are not engaged in true rhetoric (persuasion). What ethics have to be considered in this case?

How about the emotional appeal. This is certainly an emotional issue to most people and, as a result, many of us will be moved to act or feel a certain way on this topic based on emotion alone.

I am sorry the Eliot Spitzer is going through this right now. I am sorry that Ashley Alexandra Dupre is going through this right now. I am sorry that everything has to play out in the public eye. Still, if it was going to happen, I appreciate all parties involved being considerate enough to make the timing work for my lecturers.