John Macksoud's Other Illusions: Other Inquiries Toward a Rhetorical Theory
John Macksoud's Other Illusions: Other Inquiries Toward a Rhetorical Theory (Paperback)
Craig Smith has provided an introduction and edition of John Macksoud's Other Illusions. This posthumous work, completed in 1973, reinforces a strain of relativistic theory that retrieves the Sophists and extends through Jacques Derrida to the present where many of us deal with constructed realities in our rhetorical theories. Macksoud was also offering a warning about pseudo-scientific research, a Philipic against the quantitative approach to communication theory. He not only attempted to reveal the rhetorical nature of their use of the scientific method, he tried to show that science itself was at base rhetorical. In form, the short book threatened the established order of the academic community. The book uses anecdotes, sayings, stories, and even jokes to mark off sections and to initiate new lines of thought. These devices were deemed subversive rather than performative because they are rarely, if ever, used in academic prose and because the messages they carry undercut normal ways of thinking.
About the Editor(s):
Craig R. Smith was a student and colleague of Macksoud’s before Smith started his own teaching career which took him San Diego State University, the University of Virginia, the University of Alabama Birmingham, and finally to California State University, Long Beach. In between these academic positions, Smith served as a full-time speechwriter to President Gerald Ford (1976) and Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca (1982). He also served as a consultant to CBS News for convention, election, and Inaurgural coverage. Currently, along with being Chair of the Department of Film and Electronic Arts at California State University, Long Beach, he directs its Center for First Amendment Studies.