Rhetoric is a lived art — we use it in all of our discussions when we make arguments. When we write stuff down or record our words, they can be analyzed. There is mass critical discontent about the winner of Season 11 of Top Chef. In the scrutiny of a single television episode, quite a few folks have made visible pathways of arguments presented in the TV show. Salute to freestyle pop culture rhetorical analysis!
Consider the breakdown of the faux-humility presented by contestant Nicholas in Entertainment Weekly by Stephen Lee:
Back in the stew room, Nicholas infuriated me by saying to Nina, “Well, it didn’t happen.” Nina: “What?” Nicholas: “I had to be perfect to beat you.” Just in case anyone was mistaking that for humility, it was NOT. That’s Nicholas trying to look like the underdog so that if he lost, he could just shrug sadly, but if he won, he could do that whole dropped-jaw thing and make it look like some dramatic come-from-behind victory.