Chapter 4: The Michigan Central Train Station

In this chapter, Rice is interested in using photography, film, weblogs, as well as the Michigan Central Train Station (MCS), to develop a theory of response as “a rhetorical feature of the network that is also a methodology” (183). Rice frames response as a rhetorical act by invoking Llyold Bitzer’s claim that every exigence requires a response, thus a rhetorical situation is born (149). Pushing back at the common belief that a solution must be, or even can be, inherent in every response, Rice situates the MCS as a site that a discourse of problem-solution swirls around, yet it continues to defy proposed solutions. Examining circulated images of the MCS in photographs, film, and on the message board of the weblog “Detroit Yes!,” Rice is interested in the spatial dimensions created by these layered responses that foster a social process of identity creation; through this layered, inter-relational process, a networked response is created. Rice is clear in his claim that though this method of a network response may not produce solutions, it does produce creative activities.


Chapter 5: 8 Mile

The rapper 50 Cent frames this final chapter as in his song “Places to Go” he names 8 Mile as a borderline where decisions are made (189). Rice thus extends 8 Mile to serve as a border metaphor where a rhetor makes decisions to move forward, and possibly back again. Both new media and rhetoric hinge upon decisions, decisions based on questions that may ask: What design, for which audience, for what purpose, and so on. The age of new media, Rice writes—after Marshall McLuhan—affects decision making because those of us who are digital consumers also have greater opportunities to be producers of knowledge, and these opportunities of production requires continuous decision making(199).

However, Rice reminds the reader of the myth of progress raised in previous chapters, and sets forth an idea of “good enough” where new media and digital production and pedagogy—the theory of the network—does not purport to do “better” than other methods (206). This “good enough” gesture can also be connected to Rice’s exploration of hyperbole as a rhetorical gesture where hyperbole can, in a surprising turn, not promise progress, but rather offer the “curative fiction” of Victor Vitanza where hierarchies of truth, such as the grand narratives of Detroit, are destabilized (214).