This Blog Post Is A War

Blogging, as a practice, exists as a one-person discourse.  It can turn into a two (or more) person discussion with comments, but in many cases a blog post is written, posted, and then never directly modified after that.  Depending on the nature of a particular blog, it can end up as a stand-alone piece of writing, in which case it can be seen as similar to a book or other published work.  Other blogs, of course, directly encourage comments and discussion.  The writer can decide whether or not to allow comments, whether to filter the comments (such as by deleting spam, flaming, or other negative posts), and whether to reply to them.  Thus a blogger has full control over whether their post remains a one-person discourse or a ‘conversation.’

As we learned, there is a difference between whether a discussion is considered a conversation or an argument.  Thus a blog post (and the resulting commentary) can also be considered either a conversation or an argument.  In this case, I consider this blog post to be an argument.  I am making a point (that this blog post is an argument), I am offering evidence to support my point (by describing the ways in which it is an argument), and I am attempting to persuade any readers to accept my point of view.

(The fact that it’s an argument about whether it’s an argument is rather meta.)

Obviously, this particular blog post is likely to generate responses (since they’re required for class participation anyway).  Regardless of the nature of the responses, I feel confident that I can continue to apply the ARGUMENT IS WAR metaphor to this blog post by claiming THIS BLOG POST IS WAR.

You might be inclined to disagree with this statement (which, if you do, automatically makes me win, since you’d be arguing).  If you disagree with me that THIS BLOG POST IS WAR, we would have opposing viewpoints, and I would be trying to convince you that mine is correct.  Even if you choose not to voice your disagreement, the THIS BLOG POST IS WAR metaphor still applies; I could claim victory without resistance, which is what happens in war when one side surrenders, and surrender is one of the valid conclusions to the WAR metaphor.

There is, however, another possible perspective.  You could claim that by agreeing with me, this would be only a conversation (not an argument) since there needs to be conflict in order for it to be an argument.  However, if you take this perspective, there are only two possible outcomes, both of which would lead to your defeat.

1. You disagree with me and claim that this is only a conversation, at which point you are making an argument against my point, and have thus been drawn into my argument.  We would then be on opposing sides trying to convince each other, and thus the WAR metaphor will have been satisfied.

2. You can decide to agree with me in order to keep it as a conversation.  However, by agreeing with me, you will be taking the stance that THIS BLOG POST IS WAR.  My goal, as stated above, is “attempting to persuade any readers to accept my point of view.”  If you agree with my point of view, I have accomplished my goal, and thus achieved victory without a fight.  Thus, even if you attempt to hold only a conversation instead of an argument, you have played into my hands, and thus I prove my point that THIS BLOG POST IS WAR.

Perhaps this is why the WAR metaphor is so prevalent in our society (such as the WAR on drugs, the WAR on poverty, and so forth).  While there are some people who like to claim “it takes two to argue,” I’ve demonstrated here that this simply isn’t the case.  If one person attempts to argue, and the other refuses, they are playing into the metaphorical concept of WAR as already discussed.  This concept extends into the WAR metaphor further by the idea that one side in a conflict can choose to surrender without a fight; they are still considered ‘conquered’ even if they never attempted to put up any resistance.

Categories: class activities | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “This Blog Post Is A War

  1. I’m not sure if I agree fully if this blog post is a war (in terms of metaphor, of course). I agree that you are trying to prove a point and have evidence, but unless someone leaves a comment disagreeing (offering other evidence, as I am technically doing now) then I wouldn’t refer to it as an argument (or war). George Lakoff and Mark Johnson write that the metaphor “argument is war” structures the actions we perform in arguing (p. 4). Therefore, I’d say that a blog post, well this one in particular, is not creating any action (except for my current interaction!).
    All things aside, you could definitely argue that this blog is defined by a conduit metaphor. Lakoff says this metaphor claims ideas as objects, expressions as containers, and communication as sending (p. 10). As we talked about this type of metaphor in class as well, it’s easy to see almost every conversation and interaction through this lense of a metaphor. By that definition, the blog post would be a container with many different objects in it.

    • I can’t find the specific page this was on, but they addressed the idea of a stand-alone piece of writing as still counting as an argument. Such as how a thesis paper is a written argument trying to persuade your audience. By that extension, I can still apply the war metaphor to a blog post thatnever receives a reply .

  2. Devon

    I can definitely see how this blog post could be a war or at least inciting war. The tone sets the stage (look a metaphor!) for it really–you are presenting an argument and already expect backlash, therefore you set it up in a manner that is challenging to readers. This puts it into the perspective of “war” automatically. If challenge and war are terms we see as linked, we can understand how this blog post works as war. But does this blog post work as war without a readership? Obviously we are commenting, thus creating a debate, but if this was never read could it be a war? A thesis paper is read for the purposes of a course by the professor, at least, and is responded to whether in writing, speech, or even in the mind of the professor. There is a silent form of communication between the writer and the reader which causes questions to be raised, challenges to be met, arguments to be had–war is implicit even if it is not obvious to everyone. If a blog post, such as this, is only ever viewed by you, isn’t more of a “call to war” rather than an actual war? If there isn’t anyone to surrender or lose, there is no winner.

    • We also have the phrase “An army of one” And the ideas of an “internal debate” And “arguing with yourself.” Thus the WAR metaphor can be used when a single person is engaged in a written debate. I had to “fight against my own self-doubt” And “convince myself” that I was right. Therefore if no one ever read my argument, the war metaphor would still apply on an internal level.

  3. I don’t know if I would agree that the refusing to play into an argument counts as the metaphor of war/being conquered. It kind of commutes the idea of neutrality. Lots of nations have simply not gone to war and not been conquered. SInce this isn’t an actual war, you can’t come over and alter my feelings in any way. If you appear at a metaphorical border and posture, and I ignore you, what happens? Nothing to me, because this is a metaphor. I can remain unchanged by the war metaphor. It kind of falls flat because unlike real war, nothing is forcing me to react/interact.

    • Except that the “war” is not against you. It is between my argument and the possible counterarguments. If you remain neutral, you watch from the sidelines while I conquer the enemies of doubt or flawed logic, thus fulfilling the war metaphor.

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