Open Topic: Is Visual Rhetoric Uncontrollable?

What is visual rhetoric?
If we back track we can take a look simply at what the meaning of the word rhetoric is.

Rhetoric- the art of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion.

That’s right. Persuasion.

Whether its a speech we hear from our Sunday sermons at church or a friend explaining his opinion over lunch at the cafe with you. All of these opinions, these arguments serves a role of a persuaded stance in your minds and whether or not you acknowledge it or not, it shapes who we are.

However. Not all things are unstoppable or uncontrollable.
From the time we are born up until we have awareness on the world around us we have this awesome gift of Freewill.

And since that Freewill operates within us everyday we can choose to agree and disagree with thousands of different versions of rhetoric everyday.

Someone can tell you that they believe even white lying is wrong and you shouldn’t (under any circumstances) lie ever. Someone else can say that you should become a vegetarian because your destroying our world with meat production.

Everything you hear is within a fleeting moment and you can choose whether to allow these things to convict your life or not.

Now back to the question:
What is visual rhetoric?

So say you like political cartoons, or comical drawings that make a joke or you watch an infomercial that tells you should donate now to the local animal shelter foundation and it shows pictures of mistreated animals.

There’s an impact. Some form of persuasion was done. Whether it or not towards you. There was one to someone else.

Which begs the question:

Are we allowed to turn off what we see as quickly as we can tune out what we hear?

But before we get to that let’s take a look at this for a second:

According to a text titled The Rhetoric of Visual Argument written by J. Anthony Blair

It states:
“Now some hold that there can be no visual arguments or visual uses of arguments in the traditional sense of an argument.
….There are two central reasons offered against the very possibilities of arguments being visual. One is that the visual is inescapably ambiguous or vague”

You’ve heard it before. You can’t trust every picture you see because the media distorts our view.

But the question isn’t about whether the argument is truthful but the fact these visual images: Visual avenues of persuading something of a view, an opinion, could be more powerful than the verbal?

We can choose to ignore listening to someone preach down our throats about something we don’t like. But even if we see a suggestive picture with a strong point could we shake it off like how we can shake what people say?

Think about it.

People believe those Facebook stories but believe it MORE when the story includes a picture that proves the story they’re telling.

Would you feel more creeped out if someone attempted to verbally described how they saw someone die for before them?

Or if they had a picture of the incident in moments before they witnessed the death?

Just like the incident in the NYC bus station.


Now this picture had an interesting slash morbid view especially when they were captions involved.


This was a real event taken place and this picture went extremely viral. Where a bystander saw the man be pushed into the tracks seconds away from the train coming. It’s also controversial as to why he didn’t save him versus taking a picture. ( In his defense, He only had 22 seconds)

The news story is here. if you’d like to read how the story progressed:

And although this death is horrific and tragic. There was a lot of buzz of the New York Post covering the story and responses a lot of blast for emphasizing the death in the angle it did.

The caption persuaded people into thinking of the picture with amplified message along with the raw feelings it gave many readers.

And that’s also another point: The picture itself stirred more buzz than the actual man being killed.

So, is visual rhetoric something we can filter in and out of our minds or does it hold more power than we allow ourselves to believe?



Today’s Case is taken place in a modern fashion court trial fashion, However the twist to this story is that there are no charges being brought against this man named Binjamin Wilkomirski, but a question of ethics and morality.

It was November 5, 1998 and I saw the Judge, my disputer and the opposing side’s stand.
Judge sits down.

Judge: You may be seated. *Smile*

Judge: Does the State Disputer have an opening statement?

The State Disputer stands up and I look over anticipating the fear.

State Disputer: Yes, your honor.

State Disputer: Your Honor, opposing counsel, members of the jury may it please the court. This case is about nothing else but lying and plagiarism. This case is about a man named Wilkomirski a writer who wrote his supposed “memoir” of the tragic and traumatic experiences of the Holocaust and had it published in the year of 1995. Within his mind he was stating the truth but in reality ladies and gentleman Wilkomirski was not apart of any of these events. His book was written in the year of 1995 and went to the publishing company of a non-fiction, memoir. Non- fiction ladies and gentleman that’s how you know that there should be honest statements written in this book. The definition of honest means free of deceit and or untruthfulness but soon you’ll see Binjamin is free of nothing.

*Attorney walks over towards his table and pulls out book*

*Waves it in the air*

You’ll hear in court today that Binjamin Wilkomirski was not born in the right time era nor born in the correct place to make these statements, that he continues to state that his words are true even though they are not. Ladies and Gentleman, justice has no room for liars. Wilkomirski has lied to hundreds of people stealing memories that belong to true Holocaust survivors. That alone ladies and gentleman is unethical and wrong. And something needs to be done about that. Thank you.

State Disputer sits down.

Judge: Does the defense have an opening statement?

Yes Your Honor.

Your Honor, Members of the Jury may it please the court. I’m standing here today to ask you one statement: Allegations and Misconceptions. If my client, the defendant, Binjamin Wilkomirski claims that he did in fact witnessed the statements he wrote who are we to say that he did not? We were not there during the Holocaust but Binjamin Wilkormski is stating that these events are true. Don’t let the prosecution twists your idea of what is being stated as the ‘truth’ here. Because within this testimony you will hear that Wilkomirski is providing connections and uniting the hearts and mind with all of humanity to one tragic even that even him, himself, was touched by. Wilkomirski’s job as a writer is to connect people to their heart and minds to one idea concept that otherwise we wouldn’t even think about. I want you to question if a writer like Wilkomirski is doing his job as a writer and not as someone reporting facts. That Binjamin Wilkomirski had a bigger aim in mind and that he succeeded and with that there is nothing unethical with that. Thank you.

Judge: Thank you. Will the Defense call it’s first witness?

Defense Disputer: Yes your honor, we would like to call Wilkomirski to the stand.

I stand up and I walk over the witness bench I take a deep breath as I open the door and sit in the chair next to judge while the jury gets to stare and glance at me from my right. My attorney walks toward me and smiles.

State Attorney: Mr. Wilkomirski I know we’re already familiar with each other but how about you introduce yourself with the court?

Me: My name is Binjamin Wilkomirski.

State Attorney: Now Binjamin Wilkomirski where were you born?

Me: I was born in Swizterland but I was orphaned and secretly switched in an orphange another family that I grew up in Latvia.

State Attorney: Okay Mr. Wilkormirski in your knowledge when did the Holocaust start?

Me: I’ve been trained for these answers: It started in the year 1945, I remember the anger and the Latvian Military clearly.

State Attorney: Alright, Wilkomirski what do you think about the book you’ve written?

Me: All of these statements are the truth, I wrote memories exactly as I call them and I place them on paper, I am no fancy poet. I write truth and nothing of it.

State Attorney: Okay Now just for the jury’s clarification, I think it’s important to talk a little bit more about your family background. Are you Jewish?

Me: Yes I am.

State Attorney: And you were orphaned and switched with another Jewish family is that correct?

Me: Yes this is correct.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the jury about yourself Wilkmorski?

Me: I wrote the book committing close to my memory and my memory stands as truth in my mind and therefore it should stand as a truth to your minds as well. If my book touched the heart of yours do not hate against my heart and what it suffered.

State Attorney: Thank you. No further questions on your honor.

Does prosecution have a cross?

Yes you honor.

Hello Mr. Wilkomirski.

All of them liars and poets and change and bring things out with their careful words that they spell towards the jury. It’s not right. It’s not what I did at all.

Now Wilkomirski, you’ve stated that your name is Binjamin Wilkomirski?

You’ve stated that you’ve been adopted correct?


You’ve been familiar with the agency correct?


Does the name Bruno Doskkler ring a bell to you?

Me: Can I continue with these meshed memories?

Does it Binjamin?

Yes, it-it has been a long time ago name.

Long time ago Mr. Binjamin?

Yes, it’s quite distance within my head.


Mr. Binjamin are you familiar with an Elena Lappin?

Yes I am…..

You say you state things as close memory as possible correct?

Yes this is true.

So Mr. Binjamin…..or should I say Bruno, if I were to ask you to identify Elena Lappin would you be able to?

Objection your Honor relevance? How does the defendants recognition of another person pertain towards today’s case?

A response?

If Binjamin’s recognition of Elena Lappin is apparent I will then bring in her own writings of his history and events that further prove my theory of his unethical writing.

Judge turns: Overruled.

‘Lock’ed Sundial : A Short Story by Jasmine Gayle

Bruce was a beautiful man. Beautiful in whatever  way you may categorize that. But this Bruce, beautiful as he may be on the outside, he had darkness on the inside, as we all may have. His darkness was exposed to me around the time he died and this is the story of Bruce Locked into a sundial.

It started on a rainy day in Ithaca college, 1960. Bruce was a music major. He was dressed in a white dress shirt, a yellow tie with black slacks, and black shoes carefully stroking his bow against his violin in the rehearsal room.

I was walking by the rehearsal hall way on the first floor of the music school. Hearing someone play the violin. I know Bruce usually practices around this time of night. So I casually walk over to a door that is slightly open, stands near the door and knock,

“Bruce buddy? Is that you?”

The violin keeps playing. It was the classical piece “Bolero” by Ravel; calm and soothing, as well giving a pretty sunny and happy feel to the  hallway.

I knock again, “Bruce, buddy? Open up, it’s me.” Their was a brief pause and then violently the music changes into Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.

I couldn’t really explain it but the music grows into an even darker tone and it didn’t sound anything similar towards Beethoven’s 5th Symphony except….noise. Scractching and scarring as if he was ripping the violin into pieces as if lightning was striking Bruce’s violin instead of a bow. My hand carefully inches towards the doorknob, but the door swings open and I see Bruce; not sitting in the chair but closer to the door.  His stance blocks all vision further into the room.

Bruce shines his bright sunny smile, “Oh my dear friend how are you? I thought I heard you.”

Bruce’s friend stares at Bruce curious, “What’s going on in he-”
“I have to go, sorry. I’ll meet you back in the apartment.”

Bruce shuts the door carefully. I turn back around struken by what I had witnessed and what I heard. Horrific lightning sounds and his sunny sunny smile.

Bruce’s friend never asks Bruce what went on that night and Bruce seemed pretty normal behaved until two weeks later at the orchaestra performance.

Bruce walks out the shower and into the living room,  smiling his sunny smile. Drying his hair with his towel, Bruce states “I’m hoping tonight will go well.”

I look up at him, studying his face.

“Yes, I hope it goes well too.”

Bruce continues to dry his hair and walks away. I felt the urge to possibly ask him what happened to him the other night for it is so strange for Bruce to act so violent, but for some reason I decided to leave it alone. And oh, what a mistake that was.

Bruce walks back out into the room, nervous and sweaty this time,

“Listen, okay? I  honestly don’t feel so alright.”
“It’s probably the nerves. The performance tonight. I feel as if something grand is going to happen.” I try to reassure him.

“What are you talking about, Bruce?” Wondering if it had aything to refer to the night of his obscure violin playing.

“My parents…” Bruce mutters. Bruce’s vagueness was truly startling. I stare further at his face. His hair wet, not from the shower, but from sweat. He was afriad.

“Tell me, Bruce what is going on?”

“I got into an argument…” He breathes.

“An arguement with whom, Bruce?” I shake his shoulder. He starts to shake me off.

“Uh well, the argument was bad.”

“Bruce. C’mon now man, you’re talking crazy. Now tell me about the argument who was it with?” My eyes darted at Bruce.

“My father.” Bruce finally gazes up at me.

“What happened between you and your father Bruce.” I pulled him over towards the couch. Bruce was still in his towel, his head in his hands. He shot up pacing back and forth.

“The Man was going on about Sports and how I should be into ‘Sports’ Broadcast or Radio Television or something of the like. This is while I was practicing, you know for the performance tonight.” Bruce toned agitated and frustrated as he continued pacing.

“I was playing my pieces Bolero, nice and happy, ya know, trying to block out his ridiculous entourage of him talking about how I should be into sports, I never liked sports! Then I played Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Bruce chuckled. “I tried to hush him out of my ears, mocking a bit if you will.”

I continued to nod, finally making sense of the violin playing.

“And then, he got closer to me.. started yelling: ‘All things to you are games under the sun! You think nothing great of anything except your music!’ I was playing more violently as this part, I didn’t realize how close he was to me at this point, but..” Bruce stopped his pacing and sat down abruptly on chair on the other side of the room.

I shot and went quickly towards him.

“Bruce…you can tell me anything you know.”

Bruce looked up at me: “I pulled back my arm and my bow cocked him into his windpipe. He fell to the floor and I stopped playing. I checked his heartbeat and he was dead. I didn’t tell the police the truth, nor my mother. I just kept it to myself.

Looking at Bruce differently now. I realized I should have been gentler with him revealing this dark secret to me.

You know what was bizarre about that night Bruce? It was sunny and then when my father dropped to the floor. The sky grew dark and all I saw in the distance was lightning.

We took a look at the time and it was 20 mins before the performance.

“Bruce I will help you, but you have to focus on your performance now, uh- I’ll”

“Don’t do anything I’ll be fine.” Bruce picked up the edge of his towel and wiped his face with it. He smiled, his smile so bright, “Everything will be okay.”

But I knew deep down that Bruce knew everything will not be okay.

I was late to the performance because I did not want my presence to remind Bruce of the secret he laid on me. I decided to see him after the show. When I felt it was time,  I headed outside to walk towards the concert hall, it was rainy,  seeing crowds of people at the far end of campus toward the fountains instead.

I received news that Bruce Lockey ran out during the performance and was struck by lightning. I was in utter shock, knowing that it was the guilt and the fear that he’d be punished for his father’s death.  My heart tore apart and for the first time I felt nothing of tears fill my throat as I walked back to my apartment, not withstanding the sight of what I’ve seen.

Weeks passed  by where I received phone calls and letters that described the ‘condolences’. Even Mrs. Lockey hugging me telling me where she had lost both of her rays of sunshine in her life and that’s where it hit me to dedicate a Sundial.

It was planted in the same place where Lockey was struck, I didn’t want anyone not to remember him. He was full of sun and shine and I hope his legacy would go on forever, just like time.
It was as if his soul was locked into the Sundial and I could’ve swore that when I’d walk pass by it I can hear the happy music that he played that night.

Bruce Lockey '60 A Gift From his parents. He Loved The College
Bruce Lockey ’60 A Gift From his parents. He Loved The College