Rhetorical Analysis

In “Why Our Memory Fails Us,” Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris, both psychology professors and writers, begin the article in a formal tone by explaining a situation that occurred with Dr. Tyson which suggests that our memory is not always an accurate source. Dr. Tyson as said in the article was “blinded by his faith” and because of that his entire memory of a quote by George Bush was distorted. Dr. Tyson’s recollection of the quote was false regardless of his “explicit memory” of it being said, but he simply apologized and moved on. The more serious issue Simons and Chabris propose when it comes to our memory morphing is when it comes to more serious issues for example, witness testimonies in a death sentence or criminal case, is the memory of a witness enough to rely solely on?

Simons and Chabris’ article has strong appeals to logos. They used a lot of strong facts and valid studies from credible sources. The paper by Henry Reedier III and K. Andre DeSoto that Simons and Chabris used as an example explained their idea of the deceitful memory in a very clear way. The study showed the link between confidence and memories and showed that people were extremely confident when they strongly believed they were right regardless if their answer was wrong. This example shows how deceiving the mind can be even to ourselves, as said in the article, you never think to second guess your own memories. With this example, they are showing how confidence and wrong memory can prose a big issue when dealing with more serious issues as said before. Another strong point shown was how politicians in the public eye are sometimes caught misremembering occurrences. The politicians could all be lying or their memory of the moment could just be altered based on what they are exposed to and influenced by. By using this example, Simons and Chabris are calling politicians to action to be both honest in their dealings and open to the notion that they may misremember things. Simon and Chabris’ stress their point that the memory changes and we should accept when we make mistakes. Their closing sentences supported their point saying, “We should be more understanding of mistakes by others, and credit them when they admit they were wrong. We are all fabulists, and we must all get used to it.”

NYT Picks:

The top three NYT picks are all concise, objective and thought provoking. I enjoyed reading them  following the article because it made me to continue thinking about the topic in different lights. Each commenter had a different way of understanding the article and all three had intriguing ways of interpreting the message which is very relevant to the topic of the article.

Readers Picks:

The readers picks are extremely different. They are not objective, not thought provoking and messy. Some of the comments were not even focused on the writing or subject matter and simply focused on Bush or irrelevant points in the article.

The NYT ranking approach is definitely effective and is definitely necessary. In order to have a comment section that pulls readers and commenters, it is important to have a system to rank the irrelevant and rude comments and to bring about the good and thought provoking comments.


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