Ranting — a fine way to end up flat on your face

ranting-color-istockThe rant is an obscure English dance step.

You’ll find discussions of it on arcane folk dance sites, one of which noted that at a recent social dance, when the caller announced a dance that included the rant step, people on the dance floor fled to the sidelines.

In English dance, ranting is difficult, exhausting — and sometimes dangerous: there’s a foot-crossing part where you can easily trip and fall flat on your face.

Isn’t it odd how much this all sounds like a description of the ranting that turns up on TV, radio, emails, and blogs?

I doubt ranting has ever changed the mind of a single member of the opposition (unless through intimidation). And if you agree with the ranter’s underlying premise, the rant seems even worse because the inarticulate, one-sided spewing undercuts the credibility of more intelligent presentations of the issue.

There are many rhetorical devices writers and speakers can use to persuade readers and listeners to their side of an argument. Ranting does not number among them.

(I rather like dicaeologia, though.)

2 responses to “Ranting — a fine way to end up flat on your face

  1. When I started in technology in 1994 I worked in IRC chat and email support for an ISP. At the time, flame wars were all the rage, especially among geeks.

    What I notice now, 15 years later, is that ranting and flaming mostly occur on sites frequented by teenagers or people who have only scratched the surface of how they can communicate over the internet.

    Rants are so 1990’s


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