Lachrymator: Persuasion's Tear Gas
"*Lachrymator*: Persuasion's Tear Gas," experiments with the role of democracy in the rhetoric of objects. Where "being moved to tears" is often associated with experiences of *pathos*, recent brutal police responses in American cities figure being moved to tears as the product of an involuntary bodily response produced tear gas. Considering such a substance---scientifically designed for the sole purpose of producing pain---serves as a limit case for the commitments of an object-oriented rhetoric. Through theoretical metaphors of carpentry (Bogost), parliament (Latour), and ambience (Rickert), the conceptual vector for considering the rhetoricity of nonhumans is inclusivity: bringing objects to the table of a deliberative, democratic rational persuasion. As tear gas rains down on protesters across America, this paper asks if democratic deliberation is the best model for thinking about the rhetoric of *these* objects. Further, this paper constructs a "dark persuasion" following a thread of horror from OOO (Harman, Morton) to an emerging weird philosophy of horror (Negastrani, Thacker, Ligotti). Thinking darkly about nonhuman rhetoric constructs objects as producers of rhetorical effects not through calm deliberation but through violent collision. In this dark rhetoric of objects, we find responses like Bree Newsome's removal of the South Carolina flag to be *the* rhetorical strategy for dealing with the darkness of rhetorical objects.
Pilsch, Andrew (2017). Lachrymator: Persuasion's Tear Gas. Available electronically from
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