You MUST answer questions 1 and 2. Answer ONE of questions 3, 4, 5 and 6. Answer ONE of questions 7 and 8. The length of individual essays may very but you should aim for a total of ten pages, although you may write more if you wish. (For those of you inclined to recoil in horror from questions 7 and 8, you may choose to answer a second question from among questions 3,4,5, and 6) . 1. Discuss Roland Barthes’ semiology as it is theorized and practiced in Mythologies. Now do the same for Baudrillard’s ideas of simulacra and hyper-reality. 2. What, if any, is the difference between persuasion and manipulation? Is there such a thing as benign manipulation? How do persuasion and manipulation relate to Belief? What do the answers to these questions imply about our understanding of our own humanity? 3. Analyze the rhetorical appeal implicit in advertising or PR campaigns (select your own examples). Arguably, these activities are about selling. How is the role of salesperson both like and unlike traditional rhetorical roles like legislator, advocate, apologist, or poet/novelist/playwright? 4. A great deal has been written in recent years about the state of public discourse. Often at issue is the apparent amalgamation of news, gossip, PR or spin, propaganda, and legitimate political rhetoric. How do you distinguish them? What have been the positive and negative effects of “new” media like on-line versions of traditional media or blogs? Of social media like Facebook? 5. How useful are traditional logical fallacies? Can logical fallacies be deployed strategically? What about traditional rhetorical tropes, including figures of speech and tropes of understanding? What, if anything, do you make of the fact that Aristotle does not appear to have a concept of trope? 6. Our society has an almost mystical faith in the reliability of numbers. Discuss the value and limitations of statistics as evidence. Is there such a thing as a rhetoric of statistics? Be sure to discuss probability and causality. 7. Parody is a great indicator of understanding. Write an epideictic speech arguing cogently in favor of an absurd proposal. The argument itself should be rigorous. 8. CONSIDER the following questions: How do you personally consider what a work means? How do you determine how “realistic” a work is? How important is it to approve of characters in a book? Can you identify with characters you disapprove of? What attracts you to a book you haven’t read? What would make you stop reading a book before you finish it? How prone are you reflect on experience? How do you rate your self-awareness? Do you feel that you understand your own motivations? To what degree does your self-understanding translate into an understanding of others? Of the larger world? What, if any, use do you make of historical knowledge? How great a role does personal experience play in your understanding of the world? Do you consider yourself good at understanding beyond the limits of your personal experience? How trustworthy is memory? Is memory a literal recollection of past events or is it the creation of the present?