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August 16, 2006

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Section, a-ten-hut!

Sir Tutor Sir, the section is formed. Cadet Edwards AWOL and presumed to be grading papers, as well as suspected of harboring Marxist tendencies and an ugly predilection for continental Theory and FreeBSD porn. All other cadets present and accounted for and eager for instruction.

So, Sir, does the proper study of writing and rhetoric begin with the equivocations of Isocrates, the pandering of Cicero, the doublespeak of Tacitus, the satires of Juvenal, or the adoxographies of Erasmus?

As plebe cadets, we are often called upon by upperclassmen to proclaim various definitions and answers to arbitrary questions (e.g., there are 78 million gallons of water in West Point's Lusk Reservoir when the water is flowing over the spillway), so you might rightly guess that our sentiments lie with Erasmus.

Rhetoric goes back, Cadet, at least as far as Satan's pitch to Eve in the garden. But what your professor probably has not told you, and may not even know, is that rhetoric actually goes back to the creation of the world, for God created the whole world, including the Lusk Resevoir, as a Book of Nature, or Forest of Symbols, that we must spend our lives explicating. As God's creation dies, species by species, it will be your job as a military person to set things right. But first you must find the real enemy. For that you will find your professor quite helpful.

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