Peace Building Rhetoric: Ask Mrs. Obama, the Media, or Jesus Christ, for Guidance!

Peace building Rhetoric

Mrs. Obama, former USA’s first lady chose an interesting name for her book – Becoming. A rhetoric for continuity, ongoing, something perpetual. The title of the book, whose reading is still in the bucket, is a lesson in rhetoric.

Rhetoric – an art that uses a whole range of tools ranging from persuasion, garb, silence, conquest, and so on – is the media’s lifelong passion. 

In a world saturated with media offerings, rhetoric draws the audience. Those headlines and titles that herald sensual drives such as love, hate, conquest, submission, and so on.

Given that human beings have sophisticated forms of rhetoric, it is an interesting subject of inquiry. 

The rhetoric process is sensual in the sense that it is initiated and directed at the human common senses, i.e., seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling.

Human courtship, the sort that leads to intimacy, for example, begins with sensual encounters. 

Courtship rhetoric includes dearing terms such as honey, dear, babe, and so on. How different would courtship be if such terms were replaced with cusses – like motherfucker, creepy, and so on?

What, no alternatives though, if Mrs. Obama chose a different title for her bestseller.

Two personal growing-up experiences come to mind. The first, during my basic schooling, was through corporal punishment for being ‘shy.’ Teacher said it was rude to avoid greeting him and withdrawing gaze from his.

Later, in a graduate class, for being nosy – asking pesky questions in favor of more talk than writing. The professor, nonchalantly and devoid of any corporal measures, delivered a targeted, hurting, and humbling sarcasm.

Both cases represented misplaced rhetoric. No garb was needed. Just look at the teacher and respectively accept or offer greetings, and; just take down notes and do the necessary research later, respectively.

In a sense, profane cussing and swearing in the arts may entertain but with the risk of permeating mainstream life.

In the mainstream, the cuss words themselves seem to have a course of their own. The example of courtship comes, with accompanying sensual rhetoric, to mind.

In the ‘art’ context, profanity is funny, entertaining, defying the mainstream, adventurous and absurd, and so on. Doing without it would be normal and non-newsworthy.

Drawing the line is the work of the sort of wisdom displayed by Jesus when interacting with the unholy – the prostitutes and adulterers, for example.

In John 8:4 and 5 (KJV), ‘they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?’

In today’s ‘cock-sucking’ rhetoric parlance, such a movie, for example, would provide comic relief. However, in the real and practical setting, the offending lady would be lucky for such a high-profile hearing by the King.

The jury and the judge would likely be the offended husband’s – fatal or maiming sucker punch. No comic, nothing entertaining or peaceful. 

In a delicate process like peace building, Rhetoric, you could say, is a delicate art requiring Christ’s (sort of) wisdom.


Extra Sense and the Joke that Went Too Far

In the African Politician’s DNA

The ability of human enterprise is limitless. Generations keep pushing boundaries. Every couple of generation considers the previous ones primitive. Quite markedly generation preferences change over time. Yet human beings have remained the same. Any evidence of change, it can be said, lies in the perceived enhanced abilities of humanity. Today, humanity has managed to break physical boundaries by establishing a virtual world. With a mobile phone in your hands you can hold an instant conference.

In a classic case of miscommunication, Tham, a best office performer known for attending to his tasks aptly, texted his wife. Tham worked every day the week producing magnificently for his firm. He finished writing his text message and hit the send. His boss, standing in front of Tham, was calling for an impromptu conference late in the day. On the other end his wife Monica was at home attending to her newly born child. She flapped open her phone. The message read: ‘this guy at the front needs to be shot; but I left my gun in the drawer.’ It was meant to be a joke about his boss.


The wife headed for the drawer and confirmed the pistol right in the middle of the drawer. That is the time she heard her baby, in need of comfort from her, cry. The she heard some movement at the front door. She remembered the message she had just read about someone at the front. She tip toed to the front door, raised the rod and, as her husband had demonstrated at the shooting range, fired. On the other side of the door she heard a thud. She, almost simultaneously, let out a cry that attracted the neighbors. An unconscious, unidentified adolescent male lay by the door. The police managed to capture his fingerprints before he died.   

Monica, unable to bear the crime of murder, was overcome with grief and unable to describe the chain of events. The king invited Tham to make his submissions. His voice quaking with fear of the judgment that lay ahead of him, he gave his narration.

“I was referring to my immediate boss who was waiting for me in front of my office.”

“Can you read for us what you wrote,” bellowed the king.

Trembling like a reed, words coming through his teeth, Sam read slowly: this guy at the front needs to be shot; but I left my gun in the drawer.  

“Whatever that meant.” The king was visibly angry.

“I was jokingly telling my wife to deliver me from my boss who was delaying my going home to her.”

“Who was the person who got shot?” It was evident that the king was not entirely buying the story.

The alleged, buried unmarked, thief who was shot remained unknown for lack of a litigant.

A decade down the line in 2006 unidentified male fingerprints, and DNA was traced to a prominent family of an African politician.

“It is in their blood.” A blogger commented.

Two questions remain unanswered. One, what sort of sense made Tham talk of someone at the front of his family home when he was quite remote from his home? Two, how could a joke go too far?