The Diary of a Mad Rhetorician
Over 450 chiastic comments ... never in print before! And, for the first time here, discover how chiasmus implicitly and explicitly explores aspects of our sexuality.
But also, take the time to first read through the e-book's Introduction, reproduced below:
[screaming at the top of his lungs]
"I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"
(so saith Howard Beale, played by Peter Finch in the film Network )
A woman carries a fetus for nine months, give or take, and produces a beautiful babe – a fact for which we should all be truly thankful.
Without really thinking about it – literally and figuratively – I carried this long and winding narrative around in my head, and my diaries, for nine years before I felt sufficiently confident to produce something that made some passable sense – and which would maybe provide some entertainment for those who, like me, are fixated with words that sound the same and their rhetorical derivative, chiasmus.
So, now, I can present this third volume to the many patient supporters of my chiastic efforts – and apologize to those few who took the trouble to send me samples of their own chiastic comments and waited ever so patiently to see their efforts come to published fruition: mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I hope you enjoy what you find therein, as I do hope the same for all other readers.
It nearly didn’t happen, though.
My dilemma came down to this: having produced two prior ebooks about chiastic quotes and rhetorical notes, and realizing that the format and construction of both were, at best, only just adequate to the task, I decided I wanted to do something completely different. Not having the talents of the Monty Python ensemble, however, I simply thought about it endlessly, it seemed, and eventually put it all into the too-hard-basket; until, late in 2010, I realized I would wind up in a basket unless I stopped dithering.
So, as I was writing those last words – stop dithering – in my diary, I suddenly paused as that funny feeling went up and down my spine: I’d reached a proverbial eureka moment. Furiously, I searched for all my diaries, eventually finding them in a cardboard box at the bottom of a cupboard in the walk-in clothes closet. How did they get there, I wondered? Never mind; I now had them all in front of me, from 2002 (the year I started to keep a continuous diary) to 2010 – nine years of chiastic ruminations mixed with a complete jumble of social, sexual, political, psychological and economic commentary about – what else? – the human condition.
Maybe, I said to myself, I can now provide much of the context of all my chiastic concoctions, thus allowing my readers to know exactly – or approximately – how I came to construct almost all of them. I say ‘almost’ because some of my diary entries are less than satisfactory and, I have to admit, even illegible to me. As a writer – well, yes, I should know better, I agree (as an explanation, I might have been ill-disposed, some of the time of writing.)
Anyhow, I regarded the context as an important, even fundamental, aspect of this work – because I am convinced that anybody, with enough thought about a topic, can produce an original comment using chiasmus. And knowing the circumstances surrounding my own commentary, I decided it would be sensible to allow all readers into my inner-most thought processes. So, I hope that you, dear reader, agree that my decision was sensible, although tardy, to say the least.
Diaries are funny, though, and I’m not the type of diarist who produces a copper-plate narrative. Hence, it became obvious that it was just not practical to transcribe all of my commentary, as is. Not only would that be boring, tedious, repetitive, ordinary and just plain dull, it would miss the point of bringing chiasmus more alive, more pertinent and more accessible to all readers. In short, I had to reconstruct my winding thoughts into a constructive and, I hoped, somewhat instructive narrative.
So taking up my mental axe, I hacked away at all the texts, using only those parts (well, okay – a few other comments, also) that specifically referenced all of the chiastic comments I created in those nine years – some four hundred and sixty or so – and all of which zero in on my favorite targets like politicians, religion, philosophy, family, war, society, lawyers and so on. Occasionally, I have included extended commentaries (aka angry rant) to help support that contextual framework.
Some chiastic constructions, however, just did not satisfy me enough to warrant inclusion in this volume, I thought. I pondered my options for quite a few hours. Eventually, recollecting what Jackie Chan did with his movies, I had another eureka moment: I’ll take out the less-than-satisfactory comments and put them back in as out-takes. Maybe somebody will have a giggle or two at those that misfired. Hence, at the end of each chapter, you’ll find a section headlined Out-Takes.
Now, realizing that not every reader needs or wants to wade through how I constructed this comment, or what factors caused me to create that comment, I felt I should also make it easy for any reader to quickly scan through the text to find all chiastic creations in the shortest possible time. This was achieved simply by bolding all such efforts, thus: I am my epitaph – my epitaph am I (by the way, I’ve reserved that headline for my fake marble headstone after I’m dead – my almost-perfect, chiastic, self-referential joke).
For readers who would appreciate even more commentary about chiasmus, you might want to read the series of essays you'll find in the drop-down menu at top of page, under Articles.
Perhaps the aspect that will provide more appeal to many readers is the knowledge that, for the first time, I have included chiastic comments with explicit sexual content and connotation. I’ve deliberately held back these racy and raunchy items, biding my time, until I was ready to produce this volume. You will find them, in bold, sprinkled throughout this narrative and perhaps when you least expect it. Some literary purists, though, might feel I’m debasing the long history of chiasmus by including such touchy material.
So, will some of my comments offend? Well, I don’t set out to offend, of course, because I’m simply exploring the many literary avenues of chiastic expression; and I hope all readers will view them from that perspective.
Finally, as some readers would already know, the proposed title for this volume was to be a prosaic effort thus: Cry Chiasmus ... and let loose the blogs of words: Volume 3. Catchy, yes; informative, I guess; but bland, I’m sure you’d agree. I wanted better, a bit more zing; but didn’t know what it should be (Oops, those previous sentences form a rhyming verse – an accident, I assure you). Only when I’d started into the text did it come to me, because I saw that I was venting a lot of anger about the state of the world, physically, and how it operates, economically and politically. Hence, I’m mad (angry) – even quite mad – not MAD (crazy); although, I suppose some might accuse me of the latter. So be it.
I think that makes the quote at the top, from the movie Network, so appropriate. Hence, at my age (seventy plus), I guess I’m still a bit hard to get on with, I know, but well, I can still get a hard on a bit ...(Aaah, gotcha! You clever person, you! :-) (sorry, for public viewing, adult content redacted). So ... get the ebook if you want to know how I finish that particular chiastic constuction - and many others similar.
As a final comment, following this Introduction, you’ll find nine Chapters with the year as the title for each; an Epilogue - sort of - completes the book.
Roger J. Burke
P.S. I’d recommend trying to get Network and watch it. It’s still an effective commentary on global media and, for its time, a warning about the future that is now.
Just click here now to download Volume 3 - The Diary of a Mad Rhetorician.
And do, by all means, invite others to follow your lead.
Copyright © 2000-2017 Roger J Burke All rights reserved.