Rhetorical Analysis Study- Karina Taylee

[State thesis in first sentence.] The fact that certain people can reach a large public audience does not guarantee that everything they say or believe are fact and those that are depicted as so are true. It also does not mean that this is evidence of inadequacy or a malicious agenda as a blunder in memory can often be the culprit of fictions statement. It would not be fair to label  someone as a liar or an idiot when what they really need is an audience who reacts with patience and understanding that they are humans capable of error like everyone else.


One of the greatest arguments that Chabris and Simons use in their work is that malice is seldom the reason behind people saying faulty information [Relate to rhetorical triangle.] . Whether it is a mistake, a misquote, or what seems to be blatant fabrication of facts, people can be overly critical of the person in question and blame their mistakes on cruel intentions versus laps in their memory.  The authors use people in the public eye, focusing heavily on Neil Degrass Tyson, George W. Bush, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, as examples because “[these people] are often caught misremembering their past, in part because their lives are so well documented”. [use of ethos]

[Analyze rather than summarize. How do the authors use the rhetorical triangle to convince the reader and how do they support their arguments?] They cite and describe specific studies to legitimize their case, as well as to avoid misremembering information themselves. With these studies, they debunked what people thought of the nature of memories and compared them to a game of  “telephone”, something that most people have some sort of familiarity with and can make the way memories work easier to understand. Essentially, they detailed how when someone remembers something, it is more accurate to say that they are remembering the last time they remembered it instead of what actually happened; the more they remember an event, the more it becomes distorted and can turn into an inaccurate account of said event.

[Analyze rather than summarize.] Politicians and public figures are not immune to this fault and it is inevitable that they will publicly state something that is completely untruthful, such as when Clinton told a story of how she had to leave Bosnia due to a violent incident whilst being First Lady, even though no such occurrence happened. She was in Bosnia, but “she was met with children, not bullets”. But Neil Degrass Tyson is a scientist, and even though he misquoted former president Bush, he stated there was a bigger chance of being wrong than right, and that he owed Bush an apology because that is the nature of a scientist: to doubt themselves until there was enough evidence for his case than against it. The duty of the public is not to judge or attack those who make a mistake, but to understand that cases of honest wrong doing is human, while still demanding that people take responsibility for their mistakes, even the honest ones, and enforcing that intentional manipulation is unacceptable. This does not have to be done with snarky comments or obscene language, but with empathy and stern forgiveness [use of pathos] .

[How do the commenters use the rhetorical triangle to make their points?] Proof of this can seen in the third most popular comment under the “Readers Picks” tab, where Jacob Sommer says that purposeful misinformation “should be considered outliers instead of representatives” It is not fair to say though that every reader got the same out of this article as the second most popular comment starts off with a direct attack on George W. Bush in which Keith Dow blatantly defies any statement of George Bush’s intelligence, and quotes several saying in which Bush has said something most people would probably not consider intelligent. Dow takes these few instances of what cold be pure human error and makes them the sole model of Bush’s entire political career, the complete opposite of what Sommer, and probably  Chabris and Simons, would prefer.


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