Rhetoric Paper by HC12091202169


									Seth Stephens
Eng. 103s010
M. John
Assignment #2

                                  God Fearing Politics and STDs

       The media that Americans have at their disposal is constantly trying to persuade the

viewer to whatever idea that they feel Americans should adopt. Whenever any U.S. Citizen turns

on their television, they are immediately exposed to a constant stream of persuasive rhetoric.

Being in the film industry or the advertising industry in our society requires one to understand

and be able to actively implement certain rhetoric strategies. The types of rhetorical strategies

used are no secret, though, and can be noticed and analyzed freely. By understanding the

methods that authors and artists use, one will find it easier to comprehend the message that the

author is trying to convey. One of the most highly reviewed and criticized methods of speaking

one’s mind in our culture is the usage of a “Political Cartoon.” Learning to analyze that medium

of expression provides a thorough understanding of Rhetorical Strategies and their uses.

       Political cartoons offer expression towards a very specific demographic. They appeal to

United States citizens that stay up to date with political topics and current events. That is the

general demographic, where as depending on the cartoon it will most likely have an even more

specific audience. Realizing the audience takes the person that is viewing the cartoon one step

closer to analyzing the image, and the better understanding what they are reviewing.

       The cartoons themselves come in many different shapes and sizes. If you draw your

attention to Figure 1, you will find the political cartoon by polyp.org.uk. The image seems

simplistic, but there are many different elements that will interact with the audience’s perception

providing specific reactions and thought processes. One of the first things that you will notice is
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the silhouette of the crucifixion scene depicting Jesus Christ in the front with the caption

contrasting the color of the silhouette to draw attention.

The caption reads “Jesus’ Final Words”. This provides

the audience with a visual of the setting of the cartoon,

considering nearly everyone in our society knows who

Jesus is. Jesus is arranged at the front of the image to

highlight the fact that he is the main focus of the cartoon.

He is making a statement regarding politics, and the
                                                               Figure 1 – This is a political cartoon
                                                               depicting Jesus Christ criticizing the
author bolds words like “don’t”, “twisting”, and
                                                               way “right wing” politicians use his
“bullshit” to emphasize the importance of the words.           teachings. (Geezertalk)

There are lines drawn around Jesus’ illustration depicting a sense of emotional turmoil, more

than likely to make his statement seem exceedingly dire in nature.

       The argument in Figure 1 is for politicians to limit the use of religion for political stances.

Using the shock factor of one’s messiah to grab and hold on to the audience’s attention is similar

to writing using a shocking statistic to grab one’s attention in the introduction of an essay. The

jolt of attention by emphasizing one’s idol as the main character is a strategic way of persuading

the audience to side with the person or thing that they are so respectful of. One is more likely to

follow something they look up to rather than something or someone that they have no ties to.

This is why it’s very important to consider the production’s kairos when devising a way to

convey one’s message.

       Figure 1 is very obvious when it comes to determining how it appeals rhetorically. It

heavily relies on the use of Pathos and Ethos. God (or Jesus, in this case) is supposed to be the

embodiment of all that is moral and ethical. For hundreds of years the teachings of the Bible
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have been looked at as a moral compass that many people use to govern their lives. A very large

amount of our population is humbled by the very image of Jesus. When someone uses such an

idolatrous scene as a theme for their message, it will heavily effect the emotions of those that the

scene would affect by itself.

       The political cartoon in Figure 1 offers a humorous outlook on the current state of politics

in the United States of America. It uses Jesus Christ to set its stance against the usage of

religious figures as a backbone for political movements. Jesus argues against the usage of his

words out of context.

       Manipulating the perception of one’s comic is crucial to securing the response that the

author wants. Using things like bolded words and contrasting the white words on the silhouette

are methods of using the audiences mind in favor of the author. Offensive material is one of the

strongest ways to appeal to pathos.

       Analyzing political cartoons is a great example of interpreting biased information. The

down side to analyzing political cartoons is the fact that the argument is generally one sided. The

point being made is directed specifically at the flaws in a political position or a current event that

affects the nation as a whole. Authors of political cartoons know the bounds of their constricted

demographic, and use the lack of generality to their advantage. With a more condensed target

audience, the material that you use can be fine tuned to appeal to those that you wish to address

or impress. There are other types of media that aren’t quite as biased, and have more variety

when looking at their demographic. The persuasion can be focused on a variety of different

topics as well. Another type of media that can be easily analyzed rhetorically is advertisements.

They are found all throughout our television programs, lining our streets, on buildings, on

telephone poles, etc..
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        Advertisements all are constructed with the intention to persuade the people viewing

them, whether it’s to support an organization or to sell some sort of product. Ads strategically

place text and images based on the type of media and the way that it’s presented. They also use

methods like desaturation of portraits excluding portions that help convey whatever the author is

trying to convey. The kairos of the advertisement can vary depending on the style of writing that

the author wants to use. Understanding the advertisement will lead you to better decision


        Figure 2 depicts a great example of an ad looking to inform its audience of something

that would be considered a threat. They make the main focus of the photograph the male’s face,

while using soft shadows and lighting effects to draw attention away from the woman in the

background, making her a subsequent detail in the advertisement. The captioning is completely

separated from the image itself so that formatting tricks can be used to draw attention towards

the main topic that the author wants the

audience to be aware of. HIV is in a large

font, bolded, and separated from the rest of

the text. It’s obvious that the author is

singling out HIV as the main focus of the        Figure 2 – This advertisement depicts a man faced
                                                 with a potentially life altering decision based on his
text portion of the advertisement. This          actions in the near future. The text is used to raise
                                                 awareness on HIV. (Seeley)
makes the horrors of HIV contrast directly

with the man’s facial expression in the photograph. The rest of the text is in lower case letters,

and the font is exponentially smaller. This does not mean that the text is not important, but the

focus should be on the HIV aspect of the issue rather than the fact that they are in North Dakota.
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The usage of North Dakota in this setting is intended to be comedic relief in a much more serious


          The arrangement of the advertisement plays a large role in the interpretation of the photo.

The fact that the photograph is black and white leaves the reader to focus on the facial expression

of the man rather than the colors in the photograph. The shadow over the woman’s face makes it

to where she isn’t noticed over the male. The bold HIV lettering makes the reader focus on that

as the main focus of the ad. After you understand what you’re looking at, the “joke” leaves you

thinking. Finally, they leave a link so that you may go find more information if you desire.

          The pathos of the images shows the somewhat ashamed look on the female’s face leaving

the audience feeling sympathetic. It’s a choice between fulfilling a primal desire and the

potential effects that it will cause in the future. The image really affects people that can relate to

the severity of the situation. The male shows signs of fear and confusion. He is presented with a

dilemma, and put into a very high risk situation.

          The logos is located within the text specifically. It provides a specific danger that the

audience needs to be aware of. It provides you with a fact that makes should jar a realization of

the viewer’s current location. Just because you’re in a certain place, obvious dangers are located

everywhere. No one has immunity to the risks involved. Finally, it gives you a link to more facts,

and different ways to become informed. Providing what seems to be a credible source makes this

ad seem more appealing. The feeling of security leaves the audience more willing to believe

whatever is trying to be argued.

          The ethos focuses on the scene that is located in the photograph portion of the ad. The

woman is faced with the ethic dilemma of whether or not she should sleep with this man who she

has presumably just met. She does not know whether or not he has any contagious diseases, and
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we don’t know whether or not she has any. The characters are also put in the position of telling

each other. Would they be willing to make a decision knowing it could, and probably will, harm

the other party?

               Rhetorical strategies are used because they are efficient in accomplishing what

they are meant to accomplish. They provide a deeper level of understanding for the audience,

and are used by the author as an invaluable tool. Understanding rhetorical strategies and

implementing them into one’s own writing is the only way to advance the technique of

persuasion and manipulation. One cannot reach his or her full potential without utilizing all of

the tools at their disposal. Making a deep impact is the purpose of any formatted document or

published media, and without striving to achieve one’s full potential when persuading their

audience they will never achieve the sense of connection within that rhetoric triangle require to

make a concrete and lasting stance on a subject.
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Alfano, Christine. O'Brien, Alyssa. Envision. Pearson, 2011. Print.

Geezertalk. "Was Jesus a Progressive or a Conservative?". www.sodahead.com. 2010. Digital. 1 October

Seeley, Shannon. "Print Ad Rhetorical Appeals". Blogspot.com. 2009. Digital. 1 October 2011.

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