Stasis theory part 2

In a previous post I noticed that certain sources have a different version of ancient stasis theory than the one I knew to be accurate to Hermagoras.

I initially thought Crowley and Hawhee’s Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students was the source of this difference – namely, the introduction of a fourth stasis, policy, that replaces jurisdiction – but apparently it goes farther back to an article by Fahnestock and Secor in 1985, “Toward A Modern Version of Stasis.” Crowley and Hawhee correctly identify their version as a “hybrid” in a footnote, but don’t mention Fahnestock and Secor. F&S have a textbook that apparently furthers their stasis model.

There is also a reference to George Kennedy’s “reconstruction of Hermagoras’ lost treatise” in C&H, but the text they’re referencing is not in the bibliography. In fact, in A New History of Classical Rhetoric, Kennedy lists the four stasis questions, and they’re the correct classical ones from Hermagoras (98-99).

Now what is the significance of this, you may ask. On one level, I’m just being nitpicky about representing something as classical – and getting the ethos that this bestows – when it is really modern. On another level, though, I wonder if the policy question actually adds anything to the theory. Still digesting that one.

VW stops making the T2


My first car was a late ’70’s Transporter with fuel injection. It developed an astounding 70 horses. No AC and the weakest of heaters. I bought it to make a cross-country trip from Arizona to Massachusetts, which it completed, before promptly breaking down during a second trip to from Boston to D.C. in the winter. It was a gallant, if high-maintenance vehicle; I sold it for what I paid for it, as rust-free VWs are rare in the Northeast. Sometimes I wonder what became of it.


So I have a pair of pliers and a good grip on a man’s healthy molar. He’s yelling and whimpering. My wife, having watched me hook the man up to a car battery earlier, is getting uncomfortable, so I tell her not to watch. In a series of deft maneuvers – with my off hand, no less – I rock the tooth out. It falls to the ground with a wet plop. He’s willing to talk now.

Yes, I’ve been playing GTA V. There is indeed a torture scene in the game, which also involves a wrench and a gasoline can filled with water. It’s satire, of course – the entire game is a satire of Californian/American civilization, with all its excesses and debauchery – and a lovingly detailed and fond-of-its-subject satire at that. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles are a joy to drive, the scenery is huge in scope, and the three characters you get to switch between at will – Michael, Franklin, and Trevor – are all interesting, funny, and nuanced studies in criminal behavior. Trevor, a unique homicidal maniac that I doubt anyone will be forgetting anytime soon, is especially twisted, embodying the lawless open-world spirit of the game in a way that no GTA protagonist has before. And it’s incredibly funny to use him to play golf on the game’s nine-hole course.

I read a review recently, the location of which I’ve now forgotten, that the plot of the game was a cross between Heat (Michael), Boyz in the Hood (Franklin), and Breaking Bad (Trevor). That’s a fair assessment. There are heists, drug deals, meth labs, crooked FBI agents, everything you’d expect. Hundreds of people, especially cops and security guards, are killed and the city barely blinks. But that’s how the GTA universe works. And it’s fun, despite H insisting that I obey traffic lights while driving.

Stasis Theory – Changing?

So I was prepping a quick lesson on stasis theory for my undergraduates and popped online to confirm the four categories. The first link on Google for stasis theory is the Purdue OWL. Unfortunately it is incorrect from what I remembered of  ancient stasis theory – the fourth question is translatio, a question of jurisdiction – not policy, a question of what to do. The second link, the Forest of Rhetoric, gets it right. The third link, The Everyday Writer is back, however, to policy

The guilty party appears to be Crowley and Hawhee’s Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students, which is cited here and there in teaching materials online. What’s going on here? There is nothing in Hermagoras or the Ad Herennium or Cicero to support a ‘policy’ question. Even Wikipedia gets the four categories right. Is this some kind of reinterpretation?