Politics and frozen yogurt. Quite rarely would the two topics appear in the same conversation. One appears as a divisive subject for myriad Americans and individuals nationwide, while little controversy surrounds a delectable, trendy dessert. However, a deeper analysis of such broad thoughts yields an interesting comparison. Specifically, the image of an inverted American flag, dating back to World War II, and frozen yogurt prove to possess a common ideology. While deriving from greatly differing sources, both frozen yogurt and the inverted American flag as used in the Netflix series House of Cards urge American citizens to engage in the same thought process: a constant questioning of the status quo. Just because one multimillion dollar company boasts that frozen yogurt is a healthy dessert alternative, or a politician insists that the current government actions are for the best of all citizens does not mean we should simply accept these claims as true and valid. As Americans, the innovators of the world, it is our civic duty to understand exactly what we are engaging in, and weigh the pros and cons before making decisions.
While most people are well-aware of the growing frozen yogurt trend, they can rarely cite the origin of the phenomenon. Frozen yogurt derives from consumer demand for a sweet treat containing less unhealthy attributes than ice cream. In 1981, “The Country’s Best Yogurt” responded to aforementioned wishes by opening a shop which sells soft-serve frozen yogurt. Sales increased exponentially during the 1980s and myriad other companies decided to jump on the rising trend. In the 1990s, Americans strived for high-protein, high-fat diets and frozen yogurt sales declined. However, when John Wudel invented live probiotic powder-based mixes, the froyo trend emerged once again. In this decade, demand for frozen yogurt has reached an all-time high, with large chains and small businesses taking advantage of the trendy alternative to ice cream.
Inverting the American flag has been a sign of extreme distress dating back to rebellion groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and the Nazis, who were the first people to use the flag in this manner. Commonly, those protesting American ideals invert the flag as a show of their disapproval of governmental behaviors, whether this be the ideologies of another party, the corruption which governs politics, or something else. A key example of such use of the flag occurred a few months ago as Americans protested the first Independence Day with Donald Trump serving as the nation’s president. Appalled by Trump’s policies and ideology, they inverted the flag as a display of their disapproval of what America may become under the new leader. When utilized by the show House of Cards, the inverted American flag symbolizes both distress and corruption. A behind- the- scenes look at the Underwood administration reveals the Machiavellian actions the fictional president took to come to power and make the government run smoothly. While appearing as a democracy on the surface, those who dug deep enough uncovered the totalitarian nature of their president, and lost their lives as a result.
The greater meaning of both artifacts derives from an analysis of their rhetorical elements. In the case of frozen yogurt, rhetors become bombarded with sensory appeals, deceptive selection of details, and stellar marketing. Most frozen yogurt companies place a heavy emphasis on the product’s sweet and savory nature, along with the abundance of toppings one can choose from. However, they obscure any negative aspects of the product at the same. They boast a sweet treat healthier than ice cream without revealing frozen yogurt’s high sugar content, fail to address struggles with unhealthy toppings and portion control, and act as if the removal of the probiotics making the yogurt “healthy” does not occur. By marketing a “best of both worlds” healthy dessert without addressing any downsides to it, frozen yogurt companies attract a great audience of Americans who fail to question their claims.
Normally, an American flag symbolizes freedom, liberty, and independence. However, the inversion of the quintessential American icon portrays an upheaval of such ideals. Therefore, distress, abnormality, disrespect, and rebellion stand among the several meanings of the inverted flag. In addition, some find an interest in studying the lack of stars on the House of Cards logo. Do they represent disunity and the dissolution of democracy, or are they simply the product of an artist who did not feel like cramming them into the small logo? One should question the artistic choice just like an American should question his/her government. Overall the flag encourages readers to ponder the true nature of our government. We cannot simply assume that the democracy is all good due to the principles it is founded on, or all bad due to the corruption and disliked political leaders of this time period.
Aristotle’s three appeals play a key role in the analysis of these artifacts in addition. Tying closely to the strategic marketing of frozen yogurt, industries claim that their facts prove that ice cream is far worse for an individual that frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt chains boast the fact that their product is low in fat and calories while containing fiber, protein, calcium, and vitamin D. After hearing this, why would anyone doubt that froyo isn’t a bad option? One can indulge in the sweet decadence without feeling the remorse associated with an ice cream binge, and legitimate nutritional information is on the consumer’s side. By claiming that this info is common sense, the rhetors are encouraged not to question the facts at hand. Overall, logos claims that an individual does not need to scrutinize frozen yogurt because it is “obviously” the more logical, healthy dessert alternative.
Additionally, pathos comes into play on this point. As health conscious individuals, Americans are united by an ideology that making healthy choices yields a happier, more successful individual with a longer life. Consequently, this population will opt for any food choice which is marketed as a feel-good food.
The civic duty of the American population comes into play on a large scale when analyzing the inverted American flag. One who looks at the artifact’s ethos appeals claims that It is the civic duty of Americans to constantly question the actions and claims of their government. The population receives constant encouragement to play an active role in the democracy. The democracy only works if all of the population possesses a grand knowledge of the key political issues at hand. When looking at the logical, or logos, claims, many claim that those who are educated are most always better off than those who are ignorant and uninformed. With a higher education comes a greater pondering of the world around an individual. Just assuming that all he/she views on the news no longer serves as a viable option. It is only logical to question the claims made by opposing viewpoints. Appeals to emotion derive from reflections on patriotic actions. For centuries, people have been fighting for the basic rights and freedoms of American citizens. Soldiers have died in order to ensure a safe, prosperous life for his/her fellow citizens. Instead of sitting back and doing nothing, Americans must respect such sacrifices and play an active role in democracy. Pathos demands a call to action.
Whether considering a choice as simple as dessert, or one as prominent as playing a role in the democratic process, Americans must respond to the call for action and use their great breadth of knowledge to make an informed decision. Through the artifacts of frozen yogurt and the inverted American flag showcased in the House of Cards logo, an analysis of the American duties may be conducted. Both present a surface issue which seems simple without excavating deeper. Advertisements boast that frozen yogurt is a healthy, trendy dessert alternative, and the government claims it is function as well as it can to ensure Americans life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, reality proves otherwise. Frozen yogurt abounds with sugar and increases chances of overeating, while the government hides myriad corruptions on a daily basis. Without probing for the true facts, Americans allow a society to become ignorant and brainwashed. Much like Lucas and Zoey attempted to reveal the true corruption of the Underwood administration in House of Cards, importance exists in exposing the false notion that frozen yogurt prevails as a “health food.”