Rhetorical Analysis

Memories are the only thing left of the past. While having something physical makes the memory physically there per say [spelling], it’s the memory itself that one yearns for. Despite having all these wonderful and dreadful memories, they aren’t perfect pictures of the past. Each time a memory is recalled its [spelling] altered just a bit. Evidence shows that even the most emotionally charged memories aren’t perfect. Though people are in denial about admitting one’s memory is faulty, our memories are easily manipulated. How one feels on the basis of recalling a memory is enough to alter it. Evidently, Christopher F. Chabris and Daneil J. Simons wrote a very interesting piece on this matter. Through the use of logos, pathos, and ethos, the article does a terrific job telling people that our memory is fallible, I think.

Memory is nothing but a faint idea of the past. Through the use of ethos, Christopher F. Chabris and Daneil J. Simons really compelled this argument in their article, Why Our Memory Fails Us. What better way to prove an argument than saying that even leading scientist and former Presidents made mistakes due to false memories. Using highly praised icons of todays [spelling] world is a great way to make a point. Stating that Neil DeGrasse Tyson made an accusation against Bush being prejudice against Islam because of a faulty memory is a perfect use of Ethos. Using well renowned [hyphen] scientists and presidents is a great way to get people to think “if they made mistakes why can’t I?” Chabris and Simons continued by quoting Dr. Tyson saying “I have explicit memory of those words being spoken by the president. I reacted on the spot, making note for possible later reference in my public discourse. Odd that nobody seems to be able to find the quote anywhere.” Further using Ethos to prove that our memory is not 100% reliable no matter who you are. A hint of pathos was also added to the article during the example of former President’s George w. Bush’s mishap with his memory. Chabris and Simons said Bush misremembered what he saw on 9/11. Claiming he saw the first plane hit the north tower when really he was told about it [These statements do not quite show pathos. While 9/11 was an emotional incident, these statements are more logos based because there is no use of any form of empathy or emotionally-charged words]. Adding the emotional connection everybody has with 9/11 would’ve further pushed their argument in their favor. This being really the only use of pathos, Chabris and Simons mostly relied on the use of facts and credible people. Using incident after incident, it was clear they were going for a more straightforward tone, stating that memories aren’t flawless. The top 3 comments were very credible, citing sources and making logical points; using both ethos and logos. Neil DeGrasse Tyson being one of the top comments is justified in itself. The other comment contributes proof to their statements with one that rebuttal Chabris and Simons’ “Dr. Tyson, Mr. Bush and Mrs. Clinton are all intelligent, educated people” with sources of numerous incidents where Mr. Bush didn’t say the smartest things. The top 3 NYT picks differ in the sense that the reader’s choice seemed to mostly rebuttal the article, saying that some people make honest mistakes. The NYT picks seem to be very well written and add to the article. The third comment tells of a journalism class where the professor incites some sort of incident and tell the students to record what they saw immediately after and even then each story is different. I personally think their approach to ranking comments is effective due to the fact that the comments are all adding a little something to the story. Whether it’s about a journalism class that proves the article right or a point of view that’s telling us we’re all in denial about our memory being wrong. Each comment seems to be very interesting which differs from those of the reader’s pick.


Rhetorical Essay by Paulina Maurovich

IDS 3309: How We Know What We Know

Paulina Maurovich


Rhetorical Essay

Thesis statement: In the article “Why Our Memory Fails Us,” both psychologists Chabris and Simons discuss through the use of logos, being the most used, ethos and pathos the complexity of the human memory and its capability of being wrong.

Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons discuss in their article “Why our Memory Fails Us,” the most used and abused ability human beings have: their memory. The heavily relied article on logos [word order: The article relied heavily on logos and tried] tries to show the readers the ability in where memory can detriment [word choice: worsen?] the situation a human finds themselves in rather than aid it. The psychologists, through the use of logos, make the point that people tend to misdirect or misremember their memories allowing them to have erroneous views on an idea, a person, or an event. The use of facts, quotes and case studies is what allows the point the authors are trying to make to come across and to make an impact on the readers. The use of logos is what created the evidence to the argument that human’s memory [wc: human memories tend or a human’s memory tends] tends to fail and sometimes they can pinpoint different memories, mix them all together, or blatantly invent them. This is shown when the author mentions the case with George Bush where Dr. Tyson, accused the president of being prejudiced against Islam and later argues he got this quote from his own memory. When in reality the one flawed was Dr. Tyson as his memory misconstrued what George Bush had said, incriminating him for something he did not commit. The use of ethos, the credibility of the author or authors in this case, is shown at the bottom of the article where the professions of both authors are written out. This is what shows the expertise of the authors and their ability to write knowledgeably on the subject. The use of pathos, appealing to the emotions, is not used as much of the logos due to the subject of the article. However as the authors speak to directly to the reader and sometimes use scary ideas like “experiences have led to false convictions, and even death sentences,” allow the reader to become in touch with their emotions and have an emotional response to the article [wordiness].

As for the comments, the reader’s picks seem to be vaguely based on the facts mentioned on the article and more based on the personal opinions of the readers. The Reader’s picks rely on a hatred of Bush, a link to a Facebook page of personal opinions and personal opinions of the importance of this failed memory and their effect on the human kind. On the other hand, the NYT picks seem to be carefully picked from a bunch of silly not well defined comments. They bring more positive comments to the article and if the person disagrees, as ‘magic is not real’ says they at least combat the problem they have with more facts and case studies on the subject. [proofread paragraph and make it more concise]

Rhetorical Analysis of New York Times Article “Why Our Memory Fails Us” and Commentary

Thesis Statement: A moment is not really important until it’s a memory, especially when the memory impacts so many others, at the same time, if there is no evidence the only way to believe a memory is to trust.

This article is based on memories, which may be an emotional subject to many; however, the writers’ tone of voice is appealing to ethics. According to the article, people can be “blinded” by biases. Chabris and Simons use an example to strengthen their argument when writing about Dr. Tyson, who thought President Bush wasn’t blind by religious bigotry. Instead, they explain how Tyson was fooled by his own memory. Tyson heard Mr. Bush announce one thing but everyone disagreed, without delay Tyson defended his memory. If someones [someone’s] memory is challenged, that person may start to act as if they are completely right and everyone else is wrong. When it comes to memories, you can hardly ever support them with evidence, unless the memory was recorded in someway. In other words, memories are rarely seen through a logical perspective. Since evidence contradicting memories hardly happen, we ethically rely on confidence and trustworthiness for the accuracy of a memory. The writers compare the accuracy of memories changing over time to a children’s game, Telephone. Studies show that even the most emotionally charged memories can become inaccurate but people stick to them with the most confidence. 

In the article, “Don’t Read the Comments” by Krystal D. Costa, she states that “we can get angrier online then we might in the real world.” Costa uses a simile to explain how reading comments is like watching an accident; you can’t stop it from happening and it’s hard to look away. In addition, Virginia Heffernan, in her article “Comment is King,” points out that, yes, comments are not refereed, yes, they might not be reliable; however, they might not play a big role for readers but they sure do for writers.

The top three readers’ comments showed other perspectives on the accuracy of Tyson’s memories. The first comment is written by Tyson himself including two facebook links, one displaying email exchanges with federalist and a second link explaining the anatomy of his public talks. The second pick from Keith Dow, includes a link with verifiable quotes from Bush. The third comment picked was from Jacob Sommer who wrote how negative experiences can lead others to think it was on purpose rather than a mistake. [great summary but where’s the “rhetorical” analysis? logos? pathos? ethos?]

Unlike the readers’ picks the comments for the top three NYT picks were more interested in what the article was about rather than the example the writers used about Tyson. In the first comment, Peter C. thinks it is horrifying to know that when someone forgets a memory, they’ll deny it even happened. The second comment is from someone who does not think the problem is memories at all. The writer thinks people should just describe what really happened and the reason it happen, instead of making inferences. In the third comment Elizabeth points out that even though an event can just happen and many people witnessed it, if they were all to explain a few seconds after what went on, the details from each persons memory will vary immensely. [great summary but where’s the “rhetorical” analysis? logos? pathos? ethos?]

Johanna Perez – first assignment

Johanna Katherine Perez Villasmil

How We Know What We Know

Frederick Blevens and George Pearson

August 31, 2017

An Analytical View of The NYT’s “Why Our Memory Fails Us”

(Thesis: In this article we see that Chabris and Simons rely greatly on facts rather than on the emotions of the reader, both commentary sections are alike in the way that all statements add intellectual knowledge on the topic being discussed.)

The New York Times’ op-ed contributors Chabris and Simons offered their argument regarding Neil Degrasse Tyson’s story, which wrongly recalled a statement made by George W. Bush in a speech after the 9/11 terrorist attack. Both Chabris and Simons argument [argue] that Mr. Tyson’s own biases were into [in] play in the act of [replace “in the act” with : when] remembering what Bush actually said. They build their case by providing quotes in their argument that support the fact that Tyson’s memory was erroneous and in fact built by a compilation of several speeches previously made by Mr. Bush.

In this article we see that Chabris and Simons rely greatly on facts rather than on the emotions of the reader, which is a great example of their appeal to LOGOS and ETHOS given that they rely on the logical proof to build on their credibility. As authors, their tone seems to be very analytical and trustworthy, which ultimately allows the reader to support their argument given that they provide reliable evidence.

When taking a look at the top reader’s comments, we find that Mr. Neil Degrasse Tyson himself wrote a comment as an attempt to discuss about [delete about] the whole argument and give more as he said, “notes”, on the topic. Next to his remark, we find more comments like the one written by Keith Dow, which much like Chabris and Simons’, appeals to LOGOS heavily with an extensive dose of evidence. Also, there is Mr. Jacob Summer’s [spelling] comment which in contrast to the previous commenters, makes a better appeal to PATHOS than to LOGOS or ETHOS, it appeals more to the writer’s beliefs than anything else. [run-on sentence]

On another section, we find the New York Times’ picks for best comments, which includes the contributions of users like Peter C, magicisnotreal, and Elizabeth. What all three of these commenters have in common is that they all make a clear appeal to the PATHOS part of the rhetorical triangle; which in turn makes their comments more engaging to the reader and seem to get their point across with effectiveness. [How were magicisnotreal and Elizabeth’s comments pathos-based? Examples needed]

Both commentary sections mentioned previously are alike in the way that all statements add intellectual knowledge on the topic being discussed, what they vary on is in the way they appeal to the audience, given that their use of the rhetorical triangle is noticeably different from one contributor to the other.

In my personal opinion, the New York Times’ way of ranking people’s comments very effective because all comments found in their section were of intellectual background and actually contributed to the topic in question with knowledgeable attributions. I also believe that it is needed for them to offer their top picks given that nowadays there are many “trolls” in the internet that make effortless observations that are not at all helpful, respectful, or even relevant to the subjects being discussed. For the NYT to provide us their top picks is very helpful to keep the conversation going on a more academic level.


Rhetorical Analysis: “Why Our Memory Fails Us” by Chabris & Simons

Thesis Statement: While creating an argument from beginning to end, Chabris and Simons give examples on how your own memory can be deceiving. 

According to both Chabris and Simons, our own memory is something that needs to be taught and careful with. On their article, “Why Our Memory Fails us” published in 2014, [no comma] in the New York Times, they often go over on how even with being overly confident on a memory, not always it is correct [make more concise].

Chabris and Simons start the article by simply talking about how Dr. Tyson, a tv host from a series called “Cosmos”, misinterpreted and quoted ex-President George Bush wrongly. Then they begin to argue, that it wasn’t George Bush who was wrong, it was Dr. Tyson himself for believing and was relying on his own memory for facts [re-write into two concise sentences].

According to Chabris and Simons, “Overconfidence in memory could emerge from our daily experience: we recall events easily and often, at least if they are important to us, but only rarely do we find our memories contradicted by evidence, much less take the initiative to check if they re right”, they start building up this confidence on how even if you’re overly sure of what you think happened, maybe it really didn’t [run-on sentence]. Making it seem as if we really cannot rely on our memory to be sure.

On NYT pick’s, Elizabeth, commented on how this situation is being examined in the beginning of a journalism class. Instructor gives a scenario, and students have to write about what they observed. Obviously, everyone has a different opinion on as to what actually happened. So, that only concludes that everyone can have their own opinion when it comes to our memory. Not everyone will have the same result.

Simons and Chabris both rely on studies and some comments that they can see for themselves on why the mind can be so deceiving. By using ethos, they mentioned on how psychologists like, Henry L. Roediger III and K. Andrew Desoto were part of this experiment to see how well people would recall words form [spelling] lists they had to study. Also, mentioning on how psychologist Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett conducted another experiment on that same matter. Not only are Simons and Chabris providing us with facts on how the mind can be so tricky, but they also make sure to add lots of credibility and reliable sources so that their view can be even more credible. After almost bringing us home with facts, and reliable sources, the authors also make sure to add on how, “we should be more understanding of mistakes by others, and credit them when they admit they were wrong”. Making sure to add their emotions to the mix [sentence fragment].

While not everyone had the chance to be on the spotlight with the “best” comments,  like the NYT picks and readers picks, these comments were easily ranked because of their strong opinions. Ranking comments like the top picks from the article, were the best idea. They are straight to the point, giving quick and easy to read insights.


Works Cited:

Chabris, Christopher F., and Daniel J. Simons. “Why Our Memory Fails Us.” New York Times. N.p., 01 Dec. 2014. Web.



Rhetorical Analysis of Chabris and Simons’ Article “Why Our Memory Fails Us”

The three appeals, logos, pathos and ethos are effective devices used by writers to persuade readers into supporting their arguments, as explored through the article “Why Our Memory Fails Us”.

In the article titled “Why Our Memory Fails Us”, Chabris and Simons discuss the inaccuracies of memory. The authors’ thesis argues that memory can be imprecise and falsified due to various factors. They then conclude that we are all “fabulists”, or humans who make errors, and propose a principled approach when dealing with human errors.

Throughout the article, Chabris and Simons effectively used the appeals to persuade and convey the main message to their readers. Both writers are psychology professors, which help add credibility to their arguments as the subject is within their field. Moreover, the variety of sources mentioned strengthens the reader’s understanding of the situation through offering different viewpoints, such as from officials like Hilary Clinton and news reporters. The authors strongly use logos to strengthen their arguments, such as presenting a psychological study when discussing how confidence can affect memory recall. Furthermore, they also use quotes from authorities such as President Bush when comparing against Dr. Tyson’s false memory. The authors use a clear and formal tone, which helps convey arguments to the readers. Additionally, aspects of pathos are present through the real-life events described, such as eliciting fear in Hilary Clinton’s false memory. The language used is eloquent and professional as they use many specific terms such as “flashbulb memories”. Also, the article is well organized with each factor being stated one-by-one and supported with ample sources. Overall, these features create an insightful and pleasurable reading experience for the readers.

The top three comments of the article are convincing to the audience because of their direct relevance to the article. Firstly, Dr. Tyson’s comment is convincing because he presents himself in a reliable and fair manner through linking his Facebook posts, which further elaborates on his situation. He adopts a neutral tone and focuses on his ethos to attract the reader’s attention. In another comment, Keith Dow opposes the author’s statement about President Bush and thereby evokes dissatisfaction. The commenter uses logos and pathos by stating negative quotes said by the president as supporting sources, which attract votes from people who are possibly displeased or against President Bush’s leadership. Another commentator applies the article’s content to his personal life and how he deals with human errors, which adds value and trustworthiness to the arguments in the article.

Similarly, the top three New York Times picks utilize logos and pathos effectively to gain readers liking. The comments draw on real life experiences that the commenters have experienced, such as Peter C and his movie beliefs. However, a commenter has also disagreed with the article by stating his opinion that mental laziness causes memory failure because people don’t grasp the importance of objectivity. Overall, the NYT approach to ranking comments is effective in removing internet trolls and mindless arguments. The comments should be filtered because it ensures that the audience obtains a balanced and enriched understanding of the subject rather than causing confusion and reliance on certain emotional claims.

[Excellent job!]


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