Kenneth Burke defined rhetoric as:
“Rhetoric is rooted in an essential function of language itself, a function that is wholly realistic and continually born anew: the use of language as a symbolic means of inducing cooperation in beings that by nature respond to symbols.”
I am meditating on this as I work on continuing to focus and refocus my prospectus for my dissertation.
Grant Morrison, his book Supergods states:
“We live in the stories we tell ourselves. In a secular, scientific rational culture lacking in any convincing spiritual leadership, superhero stories speak loudly and boldly to our greatest fears, deepest longings, and highest aspirations. They’re not afraid to be hopeful, not embarrassed to be optimistic, and utterly fearless in the dark…We should listen to what they have to tell us” (xvii).
So, channeling Grant Morrison I say this:
“It seems to me that people often find it it easy to dismiss superhero comics trash, sub-literary nonsense that at best is just for kids and at worse offers up a bad influence on them. These people miss the point of superheroes. Superheroes are more than simply their bright costumes, secret identities, and super powers. Superheroes embody and represent something that children know without question and grow ups tend to forget – that there is power in imagination, limitless and boundless that is not afraid to say “yes you can.” There is something inspiring, good, and distinctly identifiable in superheroes and their word-image comic book panels that we all, deep down identify and relate to, if we allow ourselves the chance to say “yes we can.”
Let’s see where this leads…