FSCJ Context Important in Any Rhetorical Analysis Situation Discussion

Link to essay: https://cel.fscj.edu/LOR/enc/1102/7/docs/Backpacks…

In a fully developed short essay (minimum of eight paragraphs in length), please answer all of the questions below and post your essay to the discussion forum. Your work should include an introduction, a body of supporting evidence, and a conclusion.

Remember that you are having a conversation with your peers in this particular genre of writing, so adopt an appropriate tone and vocabulary for an audience of contemporary college students. Edit your work for clarity, punctuation, and usage, and don’t forget to comment on the works of two peers in order to earn full credit for these discussions.

Questions for Analysis

  1. What is Carroll saying about the nature of rhetorical analysis? How do the fundamentals of rhetorical analysis figure into your life, both as a student and as a citizen? Describe a pair of specific examples in which these concepts might play (or have played) a role in your participation in those areas.
  2. Using at least one citation from Carroll’s essay, comment on the role of context in framing contemporary arguments. Is there enough contextual background on news stories, speeches, advertisements, and other areas of rhetoric in today’s digital information culture? How does the Washington Post’s proposed feature of the “Knowledge Map” (noted in the Shan Wang article) enrich the contemporary news environment.
  3. Finally, in the second half of your essay, explain to your classmates the general features of your research argument. Using the taxonomies of reflection in the previous section as a guide, answer the following questions in your final four paragraphs:
    1. What did you learn about your topic that you didn’t already know or that was surprising to you?
    2. What is an area that you would like to improve upon as a writer moving forward, and which aspect of your research argument are you most proud of?
    3. Finally, how do you see the subject of your research argument changing over the course of the next ten years? Where will it be in a decade’s time?

    After answering the questions above, respond to the two discussions below from two other students. The replies must be done separately from each other. The response to the two discussions should be at least three full paragraphs. Response includes a salutation and a valediction, and the tone and content are appropriate and respectful. Response includes at least one piece of outside research via hyperlink to advance the larger discussion.

Discussion 1: Rhetorical analysis is seen in everyday life whether we notice it or not, and media is a perfect example of this. Media is where we see it the most, on television, in movies and even in music it is all laid out there for us. Carroll mentions this when she states “Media is one of the most important places where this kind of analysis needs to happen. Rhetoric—the way we use language and images to persuade—is what makes media work”. And I agree her, because with the rise of social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram as Carroll mentioned “media is constantly asking you to buy something, act in some way, believe something to be true, or interact with others in a specific manner. Understanding rhetorical messages is essential to helping us to become informed consumers, but it also helps evaluate the ethics of messages, how they affect us personally, and how they affect society”. In an indirect way she is saying that with so much information out there due to media there is no reason to automatically take something at face value, for example, in the Axe body spray commercial for men it is understood that if a man sprays Axe body spray that women will be all over him. However, with research it is easy to discover that it is not scientifically proven that any form of pheromones has any effect on humans sexually, according to George Preti of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, researchers as well as fragrance companies have been hoping to find a human sex pheromone for decades, but so far, the search has failed.

However, I do believe Carroll is valid in her ideals about rhetorical analysis, she has some of the same ideals as me. In her reference to media, she is saying that the nature of rhetorical analysis is that the media is using it to push certain ideals to consumers, for example in Carroll’s essay she used a deodorant commercial that perfectly sums this up. In the example Carroll used she stated, “in a commercial for men’s deodorant that tells you that you’ll be irresistible to women if you use their product. This campaign does not just ask you to buy the product, though. It also asks you to trust the company’s credibility, or ethos, and to believe the messages they send about how people interact, about sexuality, and about what constitutes a healthy body. You must decide whether you will choose to buy the product and how you will choose to respond to the messages that the commercial sends”. With the internet being so accessible though, as a consumer we have the power, and we can discern what the facts are and what is fiction. Propaganda is so easy to believe, but we have to be smart consumers, do our research, and understand context.

After I read that pheromones are not actually scientifically proven yet, it made me think about how rhetorical analysis figure into my life, I have been in stores and saw advertisements for lotions that contain pheromones to attract people, but it is all propaganda. Science says otherwise, and the only thing that can disprove science is science, so I completely understand what Carroll what is saying about the media being the biggest contributor and the biggest influence. Another example of this is what I call student propaganda, it is how students are told through their school career that college is the path to success, but that is not true according to research, in the times we are living in college is not needed to be successful. (The numbers show that 50% of students who start a bachelor’s degree never finish. And the average student loan debt for students in America is $30,000, college degrees are becoming more expensive each year. You must effectively mortgage your life to pay the price of a certificate, and the return on investment for these college degrees is often much below the burden of debt acquired. A college degree will not guarantee you a high-paying job, and it will not even make you a skilled leader with a shot at the corner office. Developing skills such as leadership, decision making, people and resource management takes real practice and experience. These are skills which cannot be acquired in the classroom). Therefore, research is important, and I liked that Carroll used media as an example, because we get fed so much propaganda we forget to stop and think about what we are consuming.

along with media, rhetorical analysis, and propaganda comes context, and context is like a main ingredient in a dish. Without the main ingredient the dish would be subpar and hard to swallow. Well, it is the same with context, understanding it can be the difference between making a valid argument and just making statements without facts. For example, in one of Carrolls citations she cited “The Media’s Influence.” Perfect Illusions: Eating Disorders and the Family. PBS. 2003.Web. 27 July 2009. She used this citation as context when she talked about the media influence of rhetorical analysis to make her arguments. For example, in this citation it states that all media images and messages are constructions. They are not reflections of reality. Advertisements and other media messages have been carefully crafted with the intent to send a specific message. Advertisements are created to do one thing: convince you to buy or support a specific product or service. This in its context which is the influence of media goes along with what Carroll when she stated, “media is constantly asking you to buy something, act in some way, believe something to be true, or interact with others in a specific manner”. So although Carroll used context to validate her arguments, the media does not always do that correctly. For example, news, articles, and social media outlets have used their influence to spread a false narrative without context. An example of this is on Sunday, December 4, 2016, a shooting incident occurred at a pizza shop in northwestern Washington D.C. during the middle of the day, this was in a busy but peaceful shopping district, and the shop was filled with families. A man brought a rifle into the shop and began shooting. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and the suspect was arrested, but the motive for this crime and the circumstances that triggered it were shocking. The pizza shop, called Comet Ping Pong, had become embroiled in a strange situation due to an event that had occurred about one month earlier. There were false tweets widely spread on the net claiming that this pizza shop was the base for a pedophile sex ring involving Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a former Secretary of State, and members of her campaign. The operators of the pizza shop began receiving threats from right wing activists who believed that the reports were true.

This incident is why context is important in an argument, because false information can lead to devastating consequences, so I enjoyed reading Carroll’s essay for that reason, because she took the time to make sure the contexts for her arguments were factual and educational. Reading her essay gives me some insight on how I should conduct my research argument, Carroll’s essay is in the same ballpark as my own argument which is that social media is essential for our livelihood. Carroll inspired me to do this topic and I learned a lot in doing the research for it. For example, I learned that social media has solved numerous homicides, one of them was solved with only a picture posted on Facebook. In the picture a young lady by the name of Cheyenne Rose Antoine of Saskatoon, Canada made (Links to an external site.)headlines in January 2018 for her selfie, but this was no ordinary photo: It was key murder evidence. Antoine’s friend, Brittney Gargol, 18, had been found dead on the side of the road in March 2015 with a belt near her body. Saskatoon Police honed in on a pre-party selfie Antoine posted on Facebook earlier that night of the two. They thought the belt Antoine was wearing looked like the one found at the crime scene and suspected it was the murder weapon; their theory later proved to be correct. Antoine pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was convicted. She received seven years in prison. Antoine’s conviction sparked a larger conversation about the role of social media in crime-solving and evidence-gathering. Kevin Urbanczyk, chief of operations at the Michigan City Police Department in Michigan City, Indiana, tells A&E Real Crime that social media is lending a voice to crime victims and their families. This was useful information to learn for my argument, because this makes the context of my argument valid, another interesting piece of information that I learned is that more than half of the surveyed agencies reported that they have specifically contacted social media companies for evidence in investigations. Specifically, 76 percent of agencies use social media to solicit tips on crimes and 70 percent use it to gather intelligence for investigations.

In finding out these facts through my research and reading Carrolls essay an area I want to improve on in my own writing is context more specifically explaining the context of what I am writing. This is important to get right because in an argument the audience needs to have a clear and concise understanding of the material, and without valid context the argument can get misconstrued which is not what I want when it comes to my writing. However, as much I need to improve, I am proud at my ability to do research and make sure that my arguments are always something that is logical and makes an audience think and or question something that they believe was correct. I really enjoy argumentative pieces that make me think, so that is what I want to accomplish with my audience. And with the context of my research argument involving social media, I think it will be interesting to see how social media will change over the next ten years. I do not think my argument will change much, but I do believe that social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram may become a part of police training, and or police force. It may even get to point where anyone who has a social media account must register it so that if the police do not have a criminal record of you, they have a database of all your social media, which I think will help catch criminals faster. I think that would be interesting, and I can see something like that happening in the next ten years.

In reference to all the research I have done including Carroll’s essay, rhetorical analysis is complicated to understand sometimes, and writing it is even more complicated depending on the circumstances. However, writers like Carroll make it a little less scary, and I think when it comes to writing we tend to overthink it which complicates thing, that is something that I must learn not to do when it comes to my argument, because I have learned any argument with context that is valid speaks for itself and there is no need to overthink. I’m also very passionate about anything that I write, and I want my audience to feel that. I may not be able to convince everyone with my argument, because context can be valid, but that doesn’t mean an audience will believe it. So, my ultimate goal with my research argument is to educate, inform, and hopefully make people think, and I hope I do that well.

Discussion 2: Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, we are constantly bombarded by rhetorical situations and have been for many years. It may have changed form quite a lot through the last century, but it is not a new practice what so ever. As Carroll perfectly illustrated “In the fourth century BCE, Aristotle was teaching the men of Athens how to persuade different kinds of audiences in different kinds of rhetorical situations.” Now while the men of Athens lacked newspapers, television, and Twitter the practice and utilization survived and thrived. Now with the birth of the internet there is more rhetoric and context than any of us could ever hope to consume in a lifetime. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram just to name a few of the giants in the industry, now add that to the already oversaturated mix of media in existence. The real question lies in how are we as consumers digesting all this and are we accurately analyzing this as we should be? Carroll highlights another really interesting point when she says, “Media is constantly asking you to buy something, act in some way, believe something to be true, or interact with others in a specific manner. Understanding rhetorical messages is essential to helping us to become informed consumers, but it also helps evaluate the ethics of messages, how they affect us personally, and how they affect society.” As applicable and helpful as the rhetorical messages may be, there is an equal or possibly even great chance for this to be used in a harmful context, so we must remain vigilant.

“We have, of course, heard that you “can’t judge a book by its cover,” but, in fact, we do it all the time.” Carrol adds. Everyone likes to assume they are non bias, but this is simply not true since everyone carries with them a lifetime of experiences and personal opinions. This is not necessarily a negative thing, but rather something everyone should be mindful of to prevent disillusions. It is perfectly natural to have these kind of short cut analysis at first glance, but in developing a more analytical mindset you can look far beyond what you see. I will give two examples that expand on Carrol’s idea of the initial judgement of the professor. If you were to enter a classroom slightly early and see the professor dressed sharply, hard at work setting everything up perfectly, and welcoming everyone in, you would begin making those assessments in more than likely a positive way. However independently, if a professor showed up late, dressed sloppily with hardly anything prepared, that may have a negative connotation. With all this said, we must also remember that no two students will have the same view of a professor since they have their own opinions and ideals. In fact the more well put together professor may have a terrible rhetoric and not be any good at conveying information to students effectively damping the learning experience. If this was the case and our more dumpy professor could be in fact a better educator, with a sharper more defined rhetoric and contextual examples that make more sense to students.

I loved the example Carrol provides here in terms of context, “Once you have established the context for the rhetoric you are analyzing, you can begin to think about how well it fits into that context. You’ve probably been in a situation where you arrived way underdressed for an occasion. You thought that the dinner was just a casual get together with friends; it turned out to be a far more formal affair, and you felt very out of place.” This near perfectly exemplifies how much weight context carries. If you were to show up as a guest speaker to a fundraiser about childhood obesity and began to talk about your views on gun control, you will lose a good portion of that audience. When we start to analyze situations like this, we can see how deeply interconnected context is with rhetoric. They are different sides of the same coin, and it is near impossible to get one without the other.

Now when it comes to contextual background on news stories, speeches, advertisements, and other areas of rhetoric in today’s digital information culture, I think all accountability has been lost. Now this for several specific reasons, but the most apparent is the idea of click bait. If you are not familiar with this term, it is the same idea of tabloids that would have grand titles such as “BRAD AND ANGELINA AT BREAKING POINT”. Then the very next week “BRAD MOVES OUT”, it is all about catching peoples eye and prompting curiosity for monetary value. However, thanks to the internet it has never been easier to pull this dirty media trick off. With the click of a button now you can view every headline from every single media outlet on God’s green earth. The fuel to keep everything moving along is the advertising that is slid in throughout all of these clicks. Advertisements that use rhetorical messages are now littered everywhere and you will be overdosed on them before your first cup of coffee in the morning. Just remember that with every link and item viewed there is usually an unapparent price tag attached.

So how do we hope to combat bombastic headline statements with little to no contextual background? The Washington Post’s proposed feature of the “Knowledge Map” is honestly a pretty darn good start. This prototype of weaving current stories with micro links imbedded within the story to give contextual background is a powerful idea. This gives people more opportunity to not just be passive consumers, but active and involved intellectuals with their own ideas. We are starting to fully realize and utilize all the awesome might that the twenty first century has provided us. But, with this great power there is a power for misuse and skew. With any media consumption we are again subject to rhetoric that may not fall exactly in line with Aristotle’s logos. Instead we could be subject to a pathos deviation that Carrol defines as “emotionally manipulative or overly sentimental”. Again we must be mindful in our consumption of all forms rhetoric.

Now to switch up gears a little and use the taxonomy of reflection to evaluate my own research argument. Now while conducting my research something that really caught me off-guard was how much statically data there was considering how much of an underground crime it is. My research will be conducted on the horrific crime against humanity known as human trafficking. It was shocking that we have all this information on it , yet we are completely blind to the majority of it. When it comes to writing I am not overly thrilled about writing in an argumentative way, but I do think it will a good literate challenge. Especially with the topic I choose being so heinous, it may be easier to get more of a stance enabling better rhetoric.

The topic itself is what I am most proud of when it comes to my research argument. I think it is a really dynamic one and there is a lot to go over and examine. Over the next decade I can not say it will honestly go anywhere, so it will still be relevant. People have been doing crimes against humanity since the dawn of man and I can not see that stopping or even slowing until more is done. But, the more we talk about it and promote general awareness, the more it brings with it a wave of hope. “Aristotle articulated three “artistic appeals” that a rhetor could draw on to make a case—logos, pathos, and ethos.” Throughout my research I will attempt to weave this trinity in an argumentative way that promotes my listed goals above.

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