Not Just Western Rhetoric

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Wei, Yong-Kang. “Ethos on the Web: A Cross-Cultural Approach.” Writing the Visual: A Practical Guide for Teachers of Composition and Communication. Eds. Carol David and Anne R. Richards. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press, 2008. Print. 146-67.

Two versions of ethos in historical West:
Platonic = individual quality of the rhetoric
artistic = portrayal that creates ethos (as suggested by Aristotle)

Plato’s notion of character, that a person must be true to his/herself in order to learn and share truth… (147)

Platonic ethos = place where language and truth become incarnational (quoting Baumlin 148)

Aristotle says persuasion ought to be based on the language (logic) of the argument, not the ethos of the rhetor. (148) What does that say for us?

Western ethos =/= universal

Chinese ethos shifts from individual to community (148)

“Harmonic rhetoric … speaks to positioning oneself fitly in the world” (Wei 149).
appeal to ethos is historical, abstains from appealing to individual (149)
appeal to authority builds ethos (149)

West: language and reality can be separated
China: language and reality are integrated (149)

Chinese rhetoric makes no appeal/connection to truth (150)
truth is a non-issue in ancient Chinese thought?

classical Chinese rhetoric (metaphor) = bamboo hypertext (150)
“nonlinear, open ended, collective, multi accentual, interactive, and networked” (Wei 151)

ancient Chinese writings appealed to a master, not necessarily written by a master
so writings of the same master would be inconsistent, because not actual author
purpose, subject matter, rhetor, and context differed (151)

significance of bamboo hypertext: authorship moves away from self-structure (Wei 151)

collective authorship = self-effacement (151)

Wei talks about ethos in the visual.

Western rhetoric, ethos is individualistic
Wei says “focusing on creating character or ethos” (Wei 152).
I say, no, on “portraying character or ethos.”

quotes and discusses Buchanan (152)
“projecting the self through artistic manipulation” (Wei 152)
I think Wei is saying portrayal, not truth. However, is portrayal of an aspect, rather than the multi-faceted whole, a lie or simply a limited truth?

Chinese ethos based on non-individual aspects:
ancestors
history
culture
Dao (153)

Western rhetoric is a problem for Chinese because “separates the design of an individual work from its environment” (Wei 153).
There is no context for a work? That doesn’t seem right.

“the Western ethos of visual design is clearly seen as something from within” (Wei 153)
Really? Does Wei mean that ethos comes from the design itself?

For China, context is important. A golden temple needs to be created in respect to the space and purpose. (153)
I think this is also true for GOOD Western design.

Chinese visual design requires the minimalization of humanity seen in the work. (154)
“demands ability to … erase traces of human effort” (Wei 154)

Western ethos is individual and belongs to individual. Not so Chinese.
Is this why they don’t recognize copyright?

Chinese art “values how pieces of design should relate to each other and to the surrounding world” (Wei 154).

Chinese and other non-Western “communication relies on the context to deliver messages” (Wei 155) –citing Edward Hall
context delivers message versus rhetorical triangle without context

Western = visually expressive, elaborate (155)
Chinese = simplicity

Chinese design “valued for being integrated with nature and environment” (Wei 155)
Think Arts and Crafts guy who did house falling waters–Frank Lloyd Wright.

Chinese “design does not have to declare itself in full” (Wei 155)

doing less is more (156)

Western ethos is becoming collective online (156).

“Western sites where the creation of ethos relies heavily on the visual appeals of graphics” (Wei 157)
I have seen this in my fyc and business writing classes, when students present their evaluations of bad websites. They often focus on the graphics and visual appeals.

visually overwhelming = individualistic (Western) (158)
white space = calm (Chinese) (159)
gives Screen shots of these

“Western websites are more content-specific” (Wei 161)

“Western websites tend to exhibit a disconnection from the cultural context” (Wei 161). Example: Bud Light site in UK “Whassup” (162)

Multimedia matches Western ethos, is what I got from 164.

Western ethos can USE the cultural, historical, authoritative, but they are less respected. (165)

Questions for comparing/contrasting Chinese and Western websites given on page 166.
(Three sets of questions.)

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