Catching Fire: Not A “The Hunger Games” Reference

In today’s world, it is common to believe that “everything has already been thought of” or “everything you need to say has already been said.” This is very true, in some respects. When writing a paper for a class, we draw upon respectable sources and use their arguments to support our position. Rarely is anything written that is a brand-new concept. We live in a society that is well connected and creative in the sense that we use the works of others to generate a “new” response. The meme known as the “Grumpy Cat” has been recomposed to creatively relay a message.


In this example, the person who uploaded the image for the first time probably did not anticipate the viral fame and twists put on this image that would follow. I really liked how Lawrence Lessig expressed the idea of remixing and how writing is a way to remix culture. He defines remix as “what we do when we mix together culture or knowledge, and then give others the opportunity to re-express that which we have mixed… culture is remix, knowledge is remix, politics is remix. Remix is how we as humans live and everyone within our society engages in this act of creativity.” This can be hard to do intentionally, and happens more often than not by accident. How can I make something with the idea of recomposition in mind? To me, I believe that the genre has a lot to do with this concern. A long-written document (white paper, lab report, essay, etc.) may be used as a reference for someone else’s work; however, it is unlikely that another person will try to re-purpose the piece. I think that graphics and music are the most common pieces that are likely to be recomposed. In addition, shorter pieces (blog, editorial, press release, etc.) provide an opportunity to be recomposed if they evoke a strong emotional response in the viewer. Something boring will not be recirculated.

My second campaign piece is a flyer that will hopefully draw viewers to my blog. In my opinion, it evokes a gloomy, eerie feeling from the viewer. I anticipate this response; however, someone with a different background or mindset could have a completely different perspective. For the revision of this piece, I will make a greater attempt to produce something that can be recomposed to fit the issues of “scientific uncertainty.” If I can accomplish this, I believe that my campaign will succeed.

Lastly, delivery and rhetorical velocity are crucial in determining whether or not a campaign catches fire or dies immediately. Luckily, we are born in an era where information can be distributed and re-purposed almost instantly with the click of a button. I like how Ridolfo and DeVoss define rhetorical velocity; specifically, how it “refers to the understanding and rapidity at which information is crafted, delivered, distributed, recomposed, redelivered, redistributed, etc., across physical and virtual networks and spaces.” Instead of producing my flyer as a physical printout, I can use the internet and social media to distribute it more quickly. It would be more beneficial for me to work with science and technology “giants” (popular Facebook groups and popular Twitter accounts) to help relay my message quickly and effectively. Posting from my personal accounts would be a waste time since I have ~500 total followers/friends. These accounts can help me reach millions of people, which is the key to keeping a campaign going. Since my target audience is parents, I could also tap into “parental help” groups/accounts as well. For example, there are Facebook groups such as “Kids Health” and “The Average Parent” where a community of parents help instruct one another and offer suggestions. My campaign is centered around recommendations on how to reduce a child’s exposure to electronic radiation. These resources are not ones that I had previously considered, but they may help improve the rhetorical velocity of my campaign.

One thought on “Catching Fire: Not A “The Hunger Games” Reference

  1. This is a very interesting point on rhetorical velocity that didn’t occur to me when I was reading Ridolfo and DeVoss’ piece. While they can be absolutely absurd in some cases, memes have become very relevant in today’s pop culture. Some have be posted for the purpose of remixing, while others were simply photos that were posted that transformed into a meme. In both cases there a rhetorical velocity is created, either by the person who originally posted the image or by the person who originally remixes the image.
    I agree with the point that you brought up about using your personal account to raise awareness about your campaign. Even though most of your followers are probably your friends, they may not necessarily be the audience that you are trying to reach. Realizing how to best reach your audience is very important in rhetoric.

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