Engaging Listeners in Problem Solving: Deliberative Rhetoric in the Podcast
Mrs. Thompson stands on stage at a University of Michigan conference in 2004, holding a letter in her hands. Her shaky voice belies her strength and focused intentions, as she leans her sixty-year old body over the microphone to speak. “Dear Miss Buchanan,” her voice rings out, slowly reading a letter that fired an African American teacher from the local school system. Mrs. Thompson’s words unroll a profound social paradox: the integration of white students into black schools after the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education verdict illogically caused an increased segregation of black teachers. This policy (that had large and lasting unintended consequences) is one of the many examples of deliberative rhetoric that the podcast Revisionist History addresses.
Podcasts such as Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History and Manoush Zomorodi’s Note to Self, engage with, and extend, the deliberative rhetorical form. Aristotle defined deliberative rhetoric as a persuasive genre that identified problems (typically within the Greek polis) to then recommended policies for change. While the content of these podcasts adhere to this classical deliberative form – detecting issues and proposing solutions within their episodes – the podcast’s form allows for a modern update and extension of this process. Through sound edits, colloquial narration, and music, the podcast encourages new and extended listener participation, where audience members are prompted to solve presented problems themselves. My analysis of Revisionist History and Note to Self will begin with the classical courtroom setting of deliberative rhetoric and then extend into more nonconformist spaces like the Internet, illustrating the new shapes and settings deliberative rhetoric takes on in the podcast, as well as the reach this medium extends to listeners to solve problems on their own.
Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History, aims, as he explains in the introduction of each episode, to illuminate “things overlooked and misunderstood.” As its title suggests, the podcast reconsiders and then revises the dominating narratives that compose history, often turning to court cases that made substantial changes within United States legislature. The “Miss Buchanan’s Period of Adjustment” (“BPA”) episode, aired on the podcast’s second season, directly re-enters the deliberative space of the courtroom, examining the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court case that had declared classroom segregation illegal. The “BPA” episode first recounts the formal Brown deliberative process, then engages the verdict of the case, and ultimately restarts another round of deliberative rhetoric that encourages listener participation.
The “BPA” episode, after summarizing how the Brown family sued the Topeka School board when their daughter was banned from the local white school, reveals that the Supreme Court Justices voted on school integration for a fundamentally racist reason: to prevent the persisting “psychological inferiority” of black students. This national decision to eradicate institutional racism was fundamentally prejudiced, failing to put white and black students on equal educational planes. This persisting racist sentiment manifested itself in integrating teachers, as schools failed to incorporate black teachers into now integrated classrooms. The podcast, after challenging the Brown verdict, reveals that leaving teachers out of school integration has prolonged racial biases within the educational system today, and that black students are often left without consistent mentorship in many of their classrooms. Revisionist History then identifies this as a new issue, starting a second wave of problem solving for listeners to define race (and modern classroom relations) themselves in the future lying beyond the podcast.
The podcast’s formal elements – which include sound edits, heteroglossic “examples,” narration, and music – kick-start this second round of problem solving, transforming the podcast’s content into an interactive deliberative process. The sound edits summarize the Brown court proceedings and challenge the verdict of the case, while the heteroglossic “examples,” narration, and music prompt listeners to begin the second round of problem solving of teacher desegregation. First and foremost, the podcast’s sound editing technology revisits and summarizes court proceedings, using audio footage from interviews and from the trial itself to explain the case. Gladwell transforms old interview tape into MP3 form, editing it into a publishable track for modern listeners to consume. By featuring raw audio footage from interviews with the Brown family as well as statements from the Supreme Court Justices when delivering their verdict, Gladwell transports listeners into the trial’s historical space, an old decision beating aloud and alive in one’s headphones to increase current investment with this issue.
The podcast’s sound editing technology also creates heteroglossic conversations that prompt listeners to confront and reconsider the intent, and implications of, the Brown verdict. By placing two voices side-by-side in a singular audio track, Gladwell’s sound edits situate historical voices into new conversations, inciting listeners to newly differently hear (and challenge their understanding of) the players within this historic case. Listeners hear Mrs. Brown’s weary female voice explain that she was suing the Topeka Board of Education “as a matter of principle,” refusing that Jim Crow laws dictate where her child would be educated. Though she loved the all-black Monroe school, she did not want race to be the reason her daughter had to travel an unnecessarily far distance for racial reasons alone. Gladwell features a sound bite from a Supreme Court Justice, whose loud dominant voice provides a different rationale for the historic verdict. Gladwell then quotes the Supreme Court’s decision, which declared segregation unconstitutional for its “tendency to retard the education and mental development” of black students, who are naturally “psychologically inferior.” As Gladwell summarizes, “Leola Brown said, ‘We’re fine! We just want some control over our lives.’ The Court said, ‘You’re not fine at all. You’re educational and mental development has been retarded, by your inferior schooling.’” The sound editing technology, by directly juxtaposing these audio testimonies, demonstrates the cacophonic misunderstandings behind this verdict, revealing the Brown case had fundamentally racist roots.
These heteroglossic sound edits that unite the voices and words of Mrs. Brown and the Supreme Court Justice also disrupt historical power dynamics. Though Mrs. Leola Brown’s less powerful voice would have traditionally been left out of the deliberative process (and even if it had been included, would not have been granted equal weight in determining the final verdict), the podcast gives her full power to speak and reveal why she had championed for integration in the first place for listeners to hear and personally process. That Mrs. Brown and the Justice’s different voices – one female and black, one male and white – provide different reasons for the case and its verdict, gives shape to a larger issue about interracial communication during that era. Blacks and whites, as the podcast subtly demonstrates, were unable to participate in an effective conversation. Their voices join in an unproductive dialogue, aggravating and silencing each other in a massively fruitless exchange. In this respect, the form of the podcast, the divergent sound of dissonant voices, speaks to the content of racial disharmony the podcast addresses.
Furthermore, the sound editing technology creates heteroglossic “examples” that propel the podcast from summary to advocacy for change. The “example” is a rhetorical tool commonly used in the deliberative genre, prompting listeners to survey relevant information and then inductively arrive at a proposed solution (Aristotle 29). Gladwell uses sound edits to provide listeners with a plethora of relevant information that necessitates a reconsideration of modern race relations in the classroom. He features sound bites from the historic Brown case, then discusses the Lincoln High School in Missouri that also saw dozens of black teachers fired post-integration, and even features recent academic scholarship from Vanderbilt University about race and mentorship in the classroom. These “examples,” when combined and edited into a singular audio track, engage in an internal conversation that communicates the ongoing need to critically examine the racial and power dynamics within the classroom. After hearing these “examples,” listeners are encouraged to inductively arrive at, and propose, their own solutions to this persisting problem in the United States today. Just as the sound edits unite voices that vary in power, the sound edits also connect voices that span across time, making the issue a pressing one for listeners today to solve.
Though the podcast’s sound edits whet listeners’ interest in, and knowledge of, this ongoing issue of teacher segregation, it is Gladwell’s narration that places the onus on the listeners to actively purse solving these issues themselves. Gladwell’s narration typifies the podcast as deliberative in two ways: it successfully communicates the magnitude of an issue, and then guides the listener’s ear to solve the presented problem. Though Gladwell had created heteroglossic “examples” that showed the on-going prominence of racial classroom tensions, his narration signifies their importance. This is made evident when he says, “She’s uppity! An uppity Negro! Of course they don’t want to keep her, because they understand the same thing Leola Brown understands, and all the many academics who study what actually happens to black kids in the classrooms understand, which is that educational equality is a function of who holds the power in the classroom.
Gladwell repeats the word “understand” three times in this sound bite, organizing the “examples” of Leola Brown and academic study to convince his listeners of their importance. In referring to Ms. Timeny as an “uppity Negro,” he dons the colloquial language of the time, becoming a more accessible rhetorician. He augments his ethos, his credibility and trustworthiness as an orator, becoming increasingly persuasive for his listeners to pursue solving this continual problem of teacher desegregation. As Aristotle explains, an “orator must be a competent judge of virtue and character,” and must also have a “thorough knowledge of emotions (or passions)” (xxxii). By relating himself to his listeners, Gladwell communicates the pressing nature of “psychological inferiority” in the current moment of modern racial education.
But Gladwell doesn’t just want listeners to reconsider, and be critical of, the past flawed verdict, but also encourages them through tone, inflection, and deliberate silence, to engage with this issue in present time. Gladwell’s narration takes an active role in this piece, his breath and words a functional part of the narrative propelling it forward. His quiet rushed tone and instructions for listeners to pay close attention to certain sound-bites and parts of the narrative illustrates an investment in connecting with the audience, with hope they’ll take responsibility to solve the issue themselves. Gladwell inserts opinionated comments such as, “Yeah, right” (specifically when old voices predict “all will work out for the best” when instituting a fundamentally racist policy) to illustrate the need to solve an ongoing controversy. He tells his listeners to go back and re-listen to certain parts of the podcast, saying things such as “I think you can see what’s coming…” to have listeners take an active role in constructing their own understanding and conception of history.
Though Gladwell’s narration nods to the deliberative rhetorical technique in considering issues with an equal thoughtful hand, ending his syllables crisply and cleanly in a markedly judicial and academic manner, his oration is intentionally entertaining. Gladwell removes the mantle of “expert” from his shoulders in the way he employs his voice to narrate the podcast. In particular, Gladwell’s changes in volume and pitch transform the concern of the past into a stimulated action plan for the future. He often functions as a judicial levelheaded academic (as was characteristic of traditional deliberative rhetoricians), recounting, “The Brown decision was all about children. The signature memories of the Brown era are all about black children being escorted into previously all-white schools.” By dropping his voice in volume to then immediately say, “We should have been talking about teachers,” Gladwell transforms from an academic into an engaging radio host. This sets his opinionated narration apart as unique to podcasting, the sound edits and the orator’s narration working together to redefine the listener’s relationship to the topic at hand. In mixing a lawyer’s critical eye with a radio host’s intrigue, Gladwell creates a new space of entertaining audio that directly engages listeners, encouraging them to take the problem of segregation seriously, one that needs rectification in the present day.
Not only does the varying tone of Gladwell’s voice affect the verdict, but the music also transforms the deliberative process in the way it encourages listener engagement. This is yet again another aspect of a podcast’s form that inhabits and extends the deliberative genre. When Gladwell is recounting the flawed nature of the Brown case, there is the sound of hurried violin to create suspense. There are the low tones of a deep cello when Gladwell introduces the concept of the case. This instrument alerts listeners of the seriousness of the topic; its smooth and somber tones prime them to consider the issue with the utmost sincerity and respect. A xylophone plays after Gladwell first discusses modern race differences in the classroom, and somber guitar music again plays when Gladwell talks about how few black teachers there are, to say that this fact is a “tragedy.” The xylophone is still pensive, albeit more upbeat, again priming listeners to associate the urgency of the beat with the urgency of the problem, lively in pace and speed, encourages listeners to lean in and more energetically consider the issue at hand (as well as brainstorm their own solutions.) This music transports listeners to a problem-solving state of mind in a way that classical deliberative rhetoric cannot, an exciting multi-sensory experience that brilliantly communicates the magnitude of these new problems to solve.
The podcast is particularly successful, as a storytelling tool, in the way its form speaks to its function, the way the sound bites can engage to take the shape and give the sound of the topic it addresses. The internal structure of the podcast episode speaks to the actual adoption and transformation of the deliberative process. The play is bookended with the same sound bites, featuring audio of Mrs. Buchanan, the sixty-year old woman speaking at a conference at the University of Michigan discussed in the beginning of this chapter. She reads a letter the Superintendent sent to fire an African American teacher “due to uncertainty about enrolment next year.” Listeners, when they hear this sound bite again at the end of the piece, understand the Superintendent and the “period of adjustment” his letter describes entirely differently. They understand that the “adjustment” the teachers are experiencing is that of school integration, now understanding that it wasn’t white students, but rather black teachers who, as Gladwell says, “bore the cost of integration.” Listeners also consider the letter’s final words, that “whatever happens will ultimately turn out for the best for everyone concerned,” with a more critical eye. If the past integration efforts had further segregated blacks and wbhites in the classroom, where does society now stand with regards to race and education? The podcast invites listeners to answer that final question themselves in the way they define their own relationship with those in their race.
Gladwell does not provide a solution through this adapted form of deliberative rhetoric. He does not provide suggestions on how to change the climate of racial tensions in schools, failing to deliver any form of verdict. He leaves this issue open-ended as an invitation to his audience members, so they may pick up where he left off, writing their own ending to the podcast and creating a new racial future beyond it. Will everything “turn out for the best for everyone concerned” in a modern day and age? That is for listeners to decide. The open-ended nature of Gladwell’s piece, combined with sound bites, colloquial narration, and music, inadvertently goads listeners to enter the podcast to make these decisions for themselves in the future that lie ahead.
Revisionist History’s “Miss Buchanan’s Period of Adjustment” episode is a model for how audio platforms enter and transform the deliberative rhetorical process, placing the onus on the listeners to solve the problem to define a new model of interactive storytelling. Because it addresses an actual courtroom trial, it inhabits a space closely related to that of classical deliberative rhetoric. However, podcasts are not limited to courtrooms, in settings where they can directly confront the classical deliberative style; the audio medium transforms many locations into settings for productive change.
Note to Self, a weekly podcast hosted by Manoush Zomorodi from WNYC, is such a podcast. Rather than enter the classical courtroom deliberative space directly like Revisionist History, Note to Self solves problems in the wake that technology leaves in its interactions with mankind. The podcast’s “Privacy Paradox” project, through a series of five mini-episodes aired in February 2017, addresses the problematic relationship human beings have with Internet privacy. In classical deliberative fashion, the “Privacy Paradox” project identifies the problem of humanity’s inconsistent (and often contradictory) behavior online. It examines the paradoxical relationship humans have with Internet privacy: though many are hesitant to give their information away online, they rapidly sign “Terms and Conditions” to waive protection rights, and then uses the audio platform to prompt listeners to again solve this issue themselves.
Although the “Privacy Paradox” project does not take place in the typical courtroom space like Revisionist History’s “BPA” episode, its structure is more classically deliberative. It relies heavily on rhetorical “examples” so that listeners can inductively arrive at their own solution to their personal relationship to Internet privacy. Each of the project’s five mini-episodes functions as a rhetorical “example” within the greater “Privacy Paradox” problem. The “What Your Phone Knows” mini-episode explores the issue of highly aware metadata, the “The Search for Your Identity” episode focuses on one’s online advertising profile, the “Something to Hide” piece discusses on how the computer guesses your personality, the “Fifteen Minutes of Anonymity” episode reviews how we shape our behavior based on the Internet, etc.
Each mini-episode informs listeners of one facet of the Privacy Paradox and then presents listeners with a short “challenge” to address it. In Mini-Episode One, Zomorodi first teaches her listeners about metadata, or the information iPhone apps extract from cellular devices. Zomorodi then challenges her audience members to explore their personal meta-data settings, explaining the ways users can dig through their settings to discover which apps have access to what kinds of information. Zomorodi, in this episode and the four to follow, simply gives her listeners resources to learn more about Privacy Settings, never once telling them that having (or even not having) certain privacy boundaries is a good or bad thing. Zomorodi reminds listeners, “Remember, this week is about where you draw the line with what you are okay with. And all of our lines are going to be in different places,” illustrating how the listener is invited to uniquely define the problem they wish to solve themselves. The structure of the podcast encourages listeners to use each of these mini-episodes as examples to solve their paradoxical relationship to the Internet.
To explain humanity’s problematic relationship to Internet privacy, and to make the project a listener-centered, interactive process, Note to Self employs the podcast’s formal elements such as sound editing, narration, and music. Like Revisionist History, Note to Self’s “Privacy Paradox’s” sound edits create heteroglossic conversations that shape (and give a human quality to) the problem presented at hand. These heteroglossic conversations sound markedly different from those created in Revisionist History. Note to Self places sound bites (quite literally) side-by-side in these conversations; the juxtaposed voices appear to be joining in an immediate exchange, often speaking on the same topic, in the same sentence (and occasionally, in the same breath.) Note to Self’s “The Case for Privacy” introductory episode (that kicked off the “Privacy Paradox” project) begins with a heteroglossic conversation. Listeners first hear a father concerned about his sons’ Internet safety, then witness the voice of a woman who cannot escape her abuser on the Internet, and finally hear a younger female voice speak about struggling to successfully delete Facebook from her personal devices. These voices edited together create a community of voices to solidify the problem of Internet security and privacy, showing listeners they are not alone in these contradictory privacy relationships; this grants legitimacy to the podcast’s mission of addressing it.
The heteroglossic conversations scattered throughout “The Privacy Paradox’s” entirety are successful in two main ways: on the one hand, they help the Privacy Paradox feel like a universal problem shared by all; on the other, they mimic the topic of the podcast (the private self within the Internet’s larger public sphere). In hearing all of these recorded voices and testimonies sent through the Internet, clearly and intimately within our own headphones, listeners experience the same privacy breaching, the same receipt of coveted information that so many others fear. In this sense, the technological form of Note to Self’s “Privacy Paradox” project gives shape to the content of this podcast, the social Internet world the podcast scrutinizes. The heteroglossic existence of voices illustrates a community of Internet users that are all experiencing the same frustrations and vulnerabilities online. In uniting these voices in a conversation, Zomorodi gathers humanity in an awareness of the extent of the “Privacy Paradox,” bringing all together in a single unified front as we define the Internet and electronic usage in the future.
Zomorodi’s narration in Note to Self extends the deliberative rhetorical genre in gently enforcing listeners to make their own decisions on the presented problem of Internet privacy. Just as Gladwell’s narration stirred up the necessary encouragement for listeners to identify the rhetorical examples and arrive at their own inductive conclusions, Zomorodi’s narration goads listeners to both identify and then solve identified issues. Zomorodi uses colloquial language as Gladwell does, but rather than being a theatrical, adapted historian, Zomorodi is a clear and focused storyteller. She explicitly declares her role as a storyteller in the podcast: after introducing the “Privacy Paradox,” silencing all audio so listeners sit in silent suspense, she then says, “Once upon a time, privacy meant something very simple, ‘Leave me alone!’” Zomorodi addresses her listeners as if they are gathered in one shared space to hear the story or the “tale” of the Internet, as she frequently changes her volume, whispering to show emphasis or to make a point. Zomorodi whispers twice in the Introduction episode to Note to Self. She first says, “well, everybody, we have a plan (whispers deviously). A plan to take back your online life, and some control over some of your digital information.” She then whispers, when concluding a short segment in her “Case for Privacy” introductory episode, “Don’t go away.”) By whispering, Zomorodi gives shape to the privacy aspect of the Privacy Paradox Project. Her voice reflects the topic she discusses, a nonconformist (yet effective) storytelling technique enabled by the audio medium.
Just as in Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History, there is earnestness in Zomorodi’s reports, particularly through her series of rhetorical questions when she first introduces the podcast. She asks listeners, “And what if we decide we’re not okay with algorithms affecting every aspect of our existence? We don’t want to opt out or go off the grid, but is there a better way? A way to put us, the people, back at the center of the web?” In posing these questions to her listeners (without expecting, or even wanting them to answer them) she invites them to ponder for themselves their own relationship with Internet privacy, prompting them to be personally responsible towards identifying problems and proposing solutions. The form of her narration, her insistence on telling this story through the podcast medium, speaks to the content: as listeners hear a human voice pierce through a digital medium, they are reminded to preserve humanity in the digital age.
Rather than simply showcase sound bites from old audio as Gladwell had, Zomorodi directly engages her guests in an interview on tape. Zomorodi’s podcast allows listeners to then hear the construction of her conversations with guests, lending itself to a more accessible listening experience. She speaks with Professor Alessandro Acquisti and the behavioral economics of privacy to give shape to the Privacy Paradox, speaks with another Harvard Professor about “surveillance capitalism” and how the Internet is fundamentally changing the economy, interviews philosophers from Oxford University, Elan Gale, the executive producer of the Bachelor, and even Sir Tim Bertens-Lee, the creator of the worldwide web. Again, the form of these interviews speaks to the content of the podcast: Zomorodi makes the interviews and conversations transparent just like the Internet Zomorodi wishes to create, an open and honest dialogue between advertisers, the government, and citizens logging in online.
The music in Note to Self adds another layer of reality and urgency to this problem solving podcast. Note to Self is self-consciously technological, using features such as digital sound effects and highly skilled sound edits to mimic the technological environments that its listeners live and work in. The podcast medium extends the deliberative form by incorporating technological sound bites to give listeners a better understanding of the problem they are both defining and solving. The music becomes part of the heteroglossic conversations, sound edited next to testimony to become an effective facet of her storytelling method. Underneath the human voices explaining their relationship to Internet privacy (refer to the sound bites above) are faint (yet distinct) technological noises. Unlike Revisionist History, these noises are not from familiar instruments such as the cello, xylophone, or guitar, but are instead produced on the computer. These technological noises consistently underpin Zomorodi’s entire “The Privacy Paradox” project, even as she changes topics within the five mini-episodes. This sound does not attract overt attention, but rather subconsciously reminds listeners of the ever-pervasive nature of the Internet. Just as the sound consistently runs throughout the entire podcast, human beings are consistently interacting with the Internet and risking their own privacy.
Beyond these subtle undertones, the loud, more traditional music Zomorodi incorporates into the podcast’s heteroglossic conversations give the story more shape and depth, allowing the medium to be far more transformative and persuasive than the former classical form. Zomorodi uses the tune of high-pitched violin noises to talk about the “creepy feeling” people get when they sign “Terms and Conditions” and waive their protection rights online, associating her words with the suspense and anxiety high-pitched violins typically induce. She does this twice throughout her episodes when talking about the often uncanny or ominous feelings Internet users often get, consistently pairing sound with her narrative to extend the rhetorical genre. Similarly, when interviewing Elan Gale, the executive producer of ABC’s The Bachelor television show, she includes a sound bite famous on the show, the “Will you accept this rose?” question at the final Rose ceremony. She allows the television show’s famous line to make Internet privacy a relevant issue for private and public citizens alike. Because listeners do not have any visual stimuli in listening to his podcast, Zomorodi makes the audio itself very colorful and interactive to grasp, and hold onto, the listeners’ attention. The sound bites and music become parts of heteroglossic conversations, causing her podcasts to culminate in a far more persuasive rhetorical act. Because listeners can hear actual human instances and proof of the problems she addresses, they are more inclined to address and confront the problem presented.
Zomorodi takes the podcast’s form one step further to redefine deliberative rhetoric than Gladwell had in Revisionist History, directly engaging with her listeners and soliciting their participation. Her efforts to engage with listeners began even before the “Privacy Paradox” series was produced. A month before these episodes aired, Zomorodi sent out a “Privacy Survey” to listeners. Zomorodi refers to this data in her podcast, addressing her listeners and how they felt about Privacy security online. This seeking and employing of data makes the conversation of Internet Privacy very accessible to her listeners, encouraging their engagement in a way that typical deliberative forms could not. Beyond this, Zomorodi encourages listeners to be an active part throughout the entire podcast: as listeners are experiencing the episodes, she invites them to record their reactions to the content (as well as to the challenges) on their Voice Memos app, to then send them in to the Note to Self e-mail address. These results are in the final “Privacy Paradox” results show, a heteroglossic explosion where listeners report their own experiences with the challenges. Note to Self also made a “fill-in-the-blank” “Terms of Service” sheet, where listeners could follow their guide on how to best set the conditions for one’s own personal form of legislation on how to comport oneself online. The “Privacy Paradox” project culminated into a multimedia production: not only did listeners receive these episodes every day in a week, but they were also invited to sign up for a newsletter with information about the information and challenges presented. The “Privacy Paradox” episode is still an active series on WNYC and Spotify, as listeners can still engage with their privacy, can refer to these challenges, still sign up for these newsletters as they continue to grapple with their ever-changing relationships to their Internet privacy.
Just as audio emanates strong and powerfully from a speaker, travelling from the site in concentric circles like waves in a pond, deliberative rhetorical policy solutions too have a far, expanding reach. Rather than stand on high ground in the acropolis so that all may hear this policy debate, the podcast localizes this discussion in one’s headphones, targeting the problem directly in the listener’s ear for them to directly solve. Rather than passively hear Gladwell and Zomorodi’s words and sound edits pacing through their headphones, listeners are spurned to engage with the podcast’s content and advocate for change. Whether they address the ongoing issue of teacher desegregation, or create their own Internet privacy “Terms and Conditions,” listeners transform audio sound waves into tangible solutions for their lives lying beyond the audio track. By inciting a form of active, participatory listening, the podcast makes their listeners members of a new audio polis, as listeners become active participants in the solutions they create.
The podcast’s adoption of deliberative rhetoric then changes how humans understand the classical rhetorical process. Revisionist History and Note to Self show deliberative rhetoric to be an accessible and interactive: this problem-solving experience is not limited to white, Greek, male landowners (as it was in the classical system), nor is it solely open to those currently operating in legal or political lobbying environments. Rather, deliberative rhetoric is available to anyone with a podcast humming softly in their headphones, blasting through their car radios, on the background in the kitchen. Deliberative rhetoric has neither died in the polis, nor is it limited to places where one must have a law degree, but is rather alive and well for listeners as an increasingly accessible form of public discussion and problem solving.