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    You’re Such a Lovely Audience

    genesimmons.jpgQuote:  “Kubler regards fan interaction as an obligation that is cultural, almost ethical.”  Writer Clive Thompson in the Sunday New York Times Magazine .

    Figure of Speech:  eunoia, disinterested good will.  From the Greek, meaning “well mind.”

    It’s not “almost” ethical, Clive.  Rhetorically speaking, fan interaction is ethical.  It enhances one’s ethos, or public image.

    If you want a group of people to follow you, make them believe you’re willing to sacrifice for them—that you’re disinterested, unbeholden to any interest other than the audience’s.  Rhetoricians call this benevolent strategy eunoia.  It’s the only term in English that contains all five vowels.  It’s also one of the essential characteristics of a persuasive ethos.

    In our increasingly self-centered culture, we mistakenly use disinterest as a synonym for “uninterest.”  Thank the gods for one rock guitarist who instinctively knows the difference.  Tad Kubler, who plays with the rock group Hold Steady, has a page on MySpace.  He’s such a devoted blogger, answering messages personally, that the audience chants his MySpace screen name, “Koob,” at concerts.  Having “friended” him, they’re part of one big Koob tribe.

    Blogs in general tend to be more of an ethical medium than a logical one — more tribal than analytical.  People desire a bond with the successful blogger at least as much as they want to learn from him.  Figarists, of course, are the exception that proves the rule; which makes you a member of a very exclusive tribe.

    Snappy Answer:  “Ah, the virtuous rock star.”

    For more on eunoia, see chapter 8 of Figaro’s book. 

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    Reader Comments (2)

    Is sequoia considered english? Is eunoia? I thought it was greek.

    May 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike
    Originally, yes, but the ancient Greeks currently aren't using it. On the other hand, a growing number of rhetorically educated people are. If the Greeks come back, they'll experience deja vu--to use an English expression.
    May 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro

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