WIP week 3

I am so excited for this project. Last year in my AP english class, we looked at several ads that tried to be very persuasive and we looked at their rhetorical strategies. Most of them were boring ones that have the same old strategies, but this one was hilarious (and easy to analyze). This was a poster/ad made for Burger Kings in the Singapore markets. Burger King has since said that they hired a foreign advertising agency to produce this ad, and that it does not reflect their feelings and they do not want to exclude anyone by showing this ad. Yet they still kept it going for a good part of 2009 (I may have to double check on that year).

Please keep in mind that this ad is NOT FAKE. It is a real ad, and the description/caption on the bottom is hilarious. Please let me know your reactions to this one because it sure is funny. Aside from the funny aspect to it, I believe that I can effectively analyze the rhetorical strategies of this poster and produce a great report based on this ad. Here it is:

 

Current Events Heros Week 3: NFL Refs

For anyone that already knows the whole ordeal with the NFL replacement refs and how the regular refs are back, then lets just take a moment to exhale slowly and be relieved that the replacement ref fiasco is over. For those who haven’t heard or don’t know the details, here it is:

Several months ago the contract for the standard NFL referees was expired. The NFL itself is simply a committee/collection of team owners who collectively make the rules and manage the league, including the players and the referees. If you recall last year, the NFL lockout was because of a contractual dispute between the owners (NFL) and the NFL players association (the actual players). This current referee problem was a dispute in the formation of a new contract between the owners and the referees. The details of the entire conflict are very complicated, but essentially the refs felt they deserved more money for their services and more money put into their pension plans because of the rising cost of living. The owners did not want to pay the refs as much as they were asking, so you have a lockout between the refs and the league. As a result, the NFL was forced to hire refs from other non-NFL leagues around the country who were less skilled and knowledgeable about the NFL rules.

One ref calling that the Packers caught it, while the other signals Seattle got it

At first I wanted to believe that the refs won’t change the game, but my hopes were crushed. There were many instances of when the refs were clueless about a rule or blew a call, but the worst one came Monday night in the Green Bay-Seattle game. On the last play of the game, Seattle tried for an end zone pass that would turn their five point deficit into a one point lead as time expired, giving them the win. Well in a confusing play with many bodies trying to catch the ball from both teams, the refs missed an obvious penalty that would have killed Seattle’s chance of scoring and winning. The refs also said that Seattle caught the ball and scored, while many believe that the player did not catch it. All in all, it was a terrible officiating night for the replacement refs and they gave the win to Seattle over several mistakes that would have given Green Bay the win.

This was probably the final, and biggest, straw that destroyed the camel’s back because on Wednesday night, the owners and the refs came to an agreement for a contract that will keep the refs in the league for at least eight more years. Thank you NFL refs for coming back and restoring the integrity of the game.

 

*Information taken from CNN and ESPN. Image from CNN.com

RCL Opinion article

For this week’s RCL blog, I chose an article from the New York Times titled, “5 Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now.” The link if you would like to read it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/27/opinion/5-reasons-to-intervene-in-syria-now.html?ref=opinion&_r=0moc.semityn.www

 

This was an interesting opinion article that is exactly what the title makes the article out to be. The authors of the article start off with a brief intro on Obama’s foreign policy shaped by his actions in the Libya crisis. They say that Obama is known for going quickly in and out of countries instead of intervening in the long term with countries. Then the article goes on to provide 5 reasons we should go quickly in and out of Syria.

I don’t believe that this article is effective in getting its audience to side with the authors’ opinions. The authors use a primarily logos based argument to try to persuade its readers that Obama should take out the president of Syria. The article provides reasons that include giving the U.S. a tactical advantage in the middle east, making allies with anti-Syrian middle east countries, and controlling the Islamic conflict in the middle east. All of these reasons are sound, but the method of presenting these reasons are flawed.

The authors almost just list the reasons with brief explanations after and do not make much of an attempt to persuade the readers one way or another. Instead the authors should have presented the information in a way that put out a sense of urgency and appealed to the reader’s sense of patriotism and humanitarianism. They should have added more text that implied that if we didn’t take care of the Syrian problem, that the United States would become less of an international power, and that many civilians will continue to die under the current Syrian president. Simply naming reasons without any appeal to the reader’s emotions is hardly effective and would not convince many to side with the authors, regardless of how logical the reasons are.

Work in Progress 2

Overall, I was pretty happy with how my speech went. I didn’t rehearse the speech much, but I didn’t want to over rehearse and make the speech sound memorized. I wanted it to have more of a candid feel where I was more giving a presentation rather than a speech. I believe I delivered my speech to the best of my ability, but am not sure if my content was great. Most people who had artifacts of civic engagement talked mainly on what the artifact was trying to get people to do. I was under the impression that we were supposed to talk about that, but also talk about the strategies it used and the argument it was trying to make. I focused mainly on the rhetorical aspect of my artifact because I had concluded that it was not effective at promoting civic engagement. I hope that is acceptable and that I didn’t focus too much on the rhetoric of the poster and not the engagement part of it. We’ll see how it all turns out. I was very impressed by a lot of the speeches this week. The bar was set high for those who still need to speak and for the projects we do throughout the semester.

Romney: Truthful or Wrong?

The answer is a little bit of both. We’ll start with the truth. It is very true that there are a large proportion of Americans who not only use, but rely on the extensive network of social programs the government puts out for those in need. It is also true that Romney would most likely cut spending on what he claims to be unnecessary social programs that hurt the economy, cause the government to spend too much money, and that cause people to rely on the government instead of getting a job and stimulating the economy. There are many people who believe that they could not survive without the vast number of social programs the government provides, and therefore will vote for a president that will not only keep the current social programs, but will probably expand the social programs at the expense of the national debt (and not the American middle class because he promised not to raise taxes on anyone that makes less than $200,000 a year). That said, I believe that there is some truth in that Romney will certainly not win a big chunk of the electorate because of his economic policies.

Where was he wrong? I think he made too big of a generalization in grouping the whole 47% together. There are those who don’t pay taxes, but are not completely dependent on the social programs and who may vote for Romney for his social stance, not economic. I can promise there are people out there who don’t pay taxes, but plan to vote for Romney because of his stance on issues such as abortion. I don’t think Romney worded his point correctly and don’t think he should have cast off the entire lot of people who don’t pay taxes. His audience was wealthy campaign donors, and it’s important to be blunt and real with your donors. But I don’t believe it was smart to generalize all people who don’t pay taxes. His point was valid, but his delivery was flawed.

Political Hack of the Week

Political Hack of the Week:

OBAMACARE

It was only a matter of time until I found something to rip apart and rant about. This week’s chapter of American Political crap is Obamacare, and this one is good. New estimates came out this week stating that the number of Americans that will be hit with the “tax penalty” for not having the proper insurance when Obamacare takes effect in 2014 is nearly double than the previous estimates. When the bill was being debated on the floor of the congressional houses, it was estimated that nearly 4 million people would be hit with Obama’s mandate and be forced to pay a penalty for being uninsured with healthcare. A new estimate shows that number is to be over 6 million now.

This is not a huge proportion of the population, however the new study also shows that over 80% of those hit by the penalty will be middle class: the middle class Obama has vowed to protect. The middle class that is the beating heart of our country. The middle class that, if making less than $200,000 per year, Obama promised not to raise taxes on. But this mandated penalty isn’t a tax, right? Wrong. How else could a mandate from the government that forces each American to buy insurance be constitutional unless the Supreme Court rules that it isn’t a “mandate” but is however a “tax”. To me it is all just a sick game of broken promises and the stretching of constitutional power. Nowhere in the constitution does it allow the government to mandate people to own health insurance. Sure, most states require one to buy car insurance, but that should be allowed because driving a car is optional and a privilege given by the government. Obama’s entire premise on Obamacare is that healthcare shouldn’t be a privilege, but a public commodity. I just don’t understand how it is constitutional to make people pay health insurance or be hit with a harsh penalty (or “tax”).

The last time we saw an expansion of social federal power like this was when FDR set in all his New Deal policies. I also don’t understand how middle class Americans can be for Obamacare when Obama himself said he wouldn’t raise taxes on them, and yet between 4-5 million middle class Americans will be hit with this “tax”.  Maybe I skimmed over the part of the Constitution that allows the government to restrict personal freedoms in creating a coveted “National Healthcare System” that won’t provide any real benefits to Americans than they have right now. I welcome comments, especially those who disagree. I take a one-sided stance on this because I simply can’t comprehend the logic to the other side to it. Please let me know what you think.

 

*Image and Content from the Huffington Post and Associated Press

 

Work In Progress 1

This speech assignment is an interesting one to me mostly because it is so vague. We have to find an artifact of civic engagement and talk about it for 3-4 minutes. I plan on writing myself some guide questions based on classroom discussions in order to make this speech. Some questions I have come up with are:

How does the artifact promote civic engagement?

Who would identify with the artifact? Who wouldn’t and why?

What argument is the artifact trying to make?

Is the argument implicit or explicit? Is it effective?

 

Thats what I have so far and I believe that I can talk about all those points and fit a 3-4 minute speech. I Wanted to find an artifact that was after WWII (because that seems to be the norm for propaganda and civic engagement artifacts) but I didn’t necessarily want a contemporary artifact so I found a gun control poster from 1981 that was formed in response to John Lennons murder. I liked the topic of gun control because the debate over it is pretty much the same and as alive today as it was in 1981. The poster lists stats of  the number of handgun deaths in 1980 in other countries, then lists America’s total which is  almost 100 times the others. Then it says God Bless America in a mockery of our national pride. The poster wants the viewer to assume that because America has more handgun deaths, that we need more handgun control. This is however a simple, yet great, logical fallacy. The poster compares U.S.A. to countries like Israel and Sweden, countries that have a significantly smaller population than the U.S. and therefore the “total number of handgun deaths” is an invalid statistic. It wants the reader to assume that because there are more handgun deaths, we are a more murderous country, which in fact is false. Just because handguns are more popular of a murder weapon here doesn’t mean that other countries have a smaller murder rate and that they are “better” than the U.S.

This propaganda poster is very interesting in the sense that at face value, it is intrinsically motivating. But just a small amount of thought into the numbers and the true argument that the poster makes, destroys its credibility and makes it for me, an ineffective poster. The purpose of the poster is simply to get people to support gun control laws and be more involved. I don’t think I will have any trouble with this speech aside ffrom the conclusion. Anyone have any suggestions on how to end it?

DO THE RIGHT THING

Where do I even start with this movie? Going into it I knew it was an 80s movie but by the title I had just assumed it was a standard movie narrative with a happy ending. I was way wrong. Even though it was not what I expected, I loved the movie. I think it was perfectly made by Spike Lee and it really helped convey his argument to his audience.

I think his argument was simple in that he just wanted the audience to think about what the right thing to do is when it comes to racial inequality. I don’t think he advocated a certain point of view, and he did a fantastic job making a film that was not bias toward a solution. However, he produced a film that, although obviously fictional, had a documentary feel to it and allowed the audience to form their own opinions on what “the right thing” truly is.

Some people criticize his “broken” plot style, and his over emphasis on bitter and seemingly worthless arguments, but I believe that these were purposeful techniques that added to the quality of the movie and contributed context to his theme. The “all over the place” camera style and plot line were created by Lee to create the feeling of chaos in the environment of the film, and chaos in the mind of the audience. I believe his cinematographic style alludes to the fact that the issue of racially equality is chaotic as well.

All of the empty rhetoric, and crude language in the film are not only contributing factors of the film’s message, but are completely necessary for the film to get the correct message across. Without it, the severity of the issues presented would not be as intense and the overall mood of the film would not be the same.

Lee’s Do The Right Thing is nothing short of a cinema masterpiece and is deserving of all the awards it received.

Hero/Hack Week 1

So its the start of a new week, and the first week of RCL blogging. This one is for the passion blog and I want to take a minute to let people know what to expect from this blog. Its pretty dry to say that current events is my “passion” but I do find current events pretty interesting and important to keep up on. Every week this blog will be dedicated to assigning one person/company/group as either a political or news hero, or a hack. I plan on alternating each week with heros and hacks, but that could change if I NEED to do a hero or hack a certain week. I thought it was a pretty good idea, however I cannot take credit for it. This is similar to an assignment I had to complete my senior year of high school in my AP government class. The hero/hack I do will be slightly different, but the same kind of concept. So here goes week one (I though I would start on a good note with providing a hero):

HERO OF THE WEEK

Chris Stevens, United States Ambassador to Libya

Among three other Americans at the U.S. consulate in Libya, Chris Stevens was killed in  in one of the most senseless and heartbreaking American civilian attacks in our lifetime. Several hours before the consulate was bombed, the embassy in Libya was overrun by Libyan nationalists who were responding to an anti-Muslim video that apparently surfaced in the U.S. Why is Chris Stevens a hero? Because he died serving our country. Service to our country comes in many forms, not just military. Stevens had been active diplomatically for years in Libya and was a driving force for the democracy movement there. It is a shame that one has to die for something we all take for granted here: freedom of speech and religion. The Libyan government as well as the U.S. government have vowed to not stop until Stevens’ death has been brought to justice. But is that really the right course of action? Don’t get me wrong, this man certainly did not deserve to die. But sometimes I feel as though American foreign policy goes way past the interventionist line and provokes Muslim and Anti-American groups that only promotes more violence. Shouldn’t there be another way to fix these problems? Military action is certainly okay if our country, or one of our strong ally countries is threatened, and by Stevens’ death it is obvious we are threatened. But did we bring this upon ourselves? Can we point the finger at them, or they point it at us? Is there even a finger to point, or are we just fighting for the sake of our national pride now? I’m only eighteen so I can promise I don’t have all the details of why we intervene in counties. So maybe if I did, I would be on board and say the Stevens’ death was an honorable and necessary one. But for now I question and doubt. Did he really have to die for this country?