Rhetorical analysis

In Chabris and Simon’s “Why Our Memory Fails Us”, they presented their arguments using different examples of memory-errors by using popular public figures such as Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson and his confidence in recalling George W. Bush uttering the words “Our God is the God who named the stars.”


Dr. Tyson, insisting that he has an explicit memory of the words that were spoken by President Bush, states, “One of our mantras in science is that the absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence”. With the example of Dr. Tyson, they build their case on the lack of appreciation for our own memories that will lead to bigger problems than a misheard quote of a former president. Chabris and Simon build their case about memory by using politicians as their examples. The authors tone of the article is more so to inform the reason as to why our memory fails us with a collective amount of examples. They don’t reply on the use of emotions but rather on facts and studies from cognitive psychologists Henry L. Roediger III and K. Andrew DeSoto. Roediger III and DeSoto express in their studies that confident and memory were connected to one another. Participants recalled the words on the lists they were given and they were highly confident in their memory —- ‘greater confidence was associated with greater accuracy’. GOOD.


As Chabris and Simon’s used Dr. Tyson as an example throughout their article, it was no surprised to see Neil deGrasse Tyson at the top of the readers’ pick section. For a man who states he has a lot of memories, he gave very few words in his comment and only mentioned two Facebook links to where the discussion furthered even more with over 500 comments on both posts. The second commenter, Keith Dow, only spoke of Bush, stating that his intelligence was faulty and posted a link that redirects to a page using the headline, “The 50 Dumbest Bush Quotes of All Time”. He was so kind as to add a few of his favorites down beyond. Jacob Sommer is the only one of the three to actually write something down without a link attached to it. Sommer talks about Marilu Henner, who has a so-called perfect memory and can recall just about anything. He speaks of seeing mistaken memory before and often calls it an honest mistake, assuming that people don’t tend to mean the worst out of their words. He continues by saying that it’s common for people to take a negative experience and use it for spite before realizing it was a common mistake.

Each of these techniques that were used to make their points across seemed to me as effectively as they could get. Each person had their point said in a different way by using personal experience, Facebook posts to continue the discussions and somebody who believes Bush’s intelligence isn’t really what people think it is.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: