Rhetorical analysis Nicholas Buckeridge

Most articles are written in a way to persuade or somehow get the reader to believe what they say and be on their side through methods of appealing to someone’s pathos, ethos, or logos. The three articles “Comment Is King”, “Why Our Memory Fails Us”, and “Don’t read the comments” all use techniques which can be broken down and analyzed through the rhetorical triangle and rhetorical analysis. This triangle and analysis helps the audience know which direction in which [repetitive] they want their writing to go, and that all depends on the type of audience they want to receive it. It helps to not only organize the thoughts (of the author) but it helps the audience get a clear understand of the message(s) that the author is trying to convey.

In the article, “Comment Is King” by Virginia Heffernan, it informs you of just the kind of hatred, author Anne Applebaum always receives. She is an American political journalist that lives in Poland and makes appearances in the Washington Post and on Slate. Virginia Heffernan states that Applebaum receives comments such as: “Anne gets just about everything wrong, “a lapsed neo-con addict.” One comment was used to pronounce Applebaum as a “literal fool.” This article, as well the article “Don’t read the comments” Krystal D’Costa both talk about how anonymous users get a sense of freedom is commenting on all the things that an author did wrong; [improper use of semicolon] so to speak. But in this article, it’s almost as if Virginia is stating that commenters feel a sense of authority because they can state anything they want, no matter how untrue it may be. But it’s also saying that because of all the negative comments, it makes it impossible to “keep listening for the clearer, brighter, rarer voices” that are being drowned out online. What this article, makes one (like myself) [re-write sentence to make more clear] is the writers sense of pathos. For the reason, that we feel bad for the writers, such as Anne Applebaum, get. When all they’re trying to do is state their viewpoints on different subject matter; just like the rest of us. [Assignment did not request an analysis on Heffernan’s article. Instead, you were to use the knowledge from Heffernan to analyze Why Our Memory Fails Us.]

In the article “Why Our Memory Fails Us,” by Neil Degrasse Tyson claims that President Bush’s prejudice about Islam is [a] “powerful example of how our biases can blind us.” He says that Bush “wasn’t blinded by religious bigotry, but instead fooled by his faith in the accuracy of own memory.” [Incorrect. The authors said that, not Tyson.] This shows that people’s speech can be determined by their own religious beliefs or moral standard to an individual [or group of people]. In the beginning of the article, Neil makes a quote from President Bush, and when asked how he’s sure about the information he’s provided, he states: “I have explicit memory of those words being spoken by the President. I reacted on the spot, making note for possible late reference in my public discourse. Odd that, nobody seems to be able to find the quote anywhere.” At first, one wouldn’t think that’s weird that a recollection couldn’t be found about President Bush saying this. Why? Because of the power of ethos. Neil Tyson has proven his credentials by being, so to speak, ‘the right-hand man [Where is that information coming from and why is it in single quotes?].’ But upon further reading, you learn that Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett conducted a series of experiments that mimicked the “telephone game.” From there, it was proven that down the line, stories become distorted and completed unreliable. Just as was Neil Tyson’s recollection of a statement that President Neil Fragment sentence. And do you mean president Bush?]. It has been tested and proven that one memory over time becomes distorted, and unreliable [Repetitive]. By describing and stating the experiments, case studies and facts about how memory can get distorted over time; [semi-colons separate two independent clauses] this is a use of logos.

The article “Don’t read the comments” by Krystal D’Costa from the Scientific American basically wrote about how being able to share your opinions, anonymously, is beneficial. Because you’re able to get a response in a heartbeat and there are no lasting consequences. But by doing things anonymously, you’re putting a mask on yourself, just to get the satisfaction of ridiculing someone behind the comfort of your computer screen. This is an appeal to ethos because in the article, she makes it easy to persuade the audience into agreeing with her; which helps her establish a sense of credibility towards the audience. Krystal D’Costa always appeals to the use of pathos by describing the sense of “freedom” commentators get from writing hate on a post and not having anyone to answer to; besides the other viewers and commentators online. [Assignment did not request an analysis on D’Costa’s article. Instead, you were to use the knowledge from Heffernan to analyze Why Our Memory Fails Us.]


Blog #1

Chabris and Simon explain to readers that we all make mistakes when it comes to recollecting memories by using an altercation between Tyson and the media to highlight that anyone can make an error of judgement and are responsible to apologize and move on for said error. [run-on sentence]

The article begins with Chabris and Simon identifying and describing Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s public story of his opinion on a speech given by Bush after 9/11, where he said “Our God is the God who named the stars.” The writers use our emotional attachment to 9/11 and the negative outlook most people reading would have on Bush [How so? Examples needed]. Once Chabris and Simon clarify the falsity of the quote, the reader will be inclined to believe that Bush,  used his words to create an “Us vs Them” concept in America’s mind [mind of Americans].

The writer’s are quick to pull us from under the rug when they reveal that it was not Bush that was misinformed, but Tyson that fooled himself. With Tyson’s credibility out the door, it becomes Chabris and Simon’s job to explain how this came to be.  The writers compare Tyson’s reaction to the media to entertainment [word choice: sentence is unclear] that has made a point that people construct their memory based on their biases and confidence. Simon and Chabris support this notion by providing evidence from scientific studies that show that confidence in [a] past memory could lead to a false representation of what happened, leaving us with a morphed memory [redundant].

Now that Simon and Chabris have been able to solidify their findings, they come back to Tyson, who apologized about his earlier statements once he found his error to be undeniable. They continue by saying that all people should recognize their human mistakes just like Tyson did and quickly contrast his behavior with those of politicians. Bush, recounting [recounted] that he had seen the first plane crash even though he was informed after the fact. Hillary Clinton claiming [claimed] to have run away from gunshots on a trip to Bosnia, in reality “she was met by children, not bullets.” Simon and Chabris were able to humanize the politicians and highlight their mistakes, hoping to entice similar practices [word choice: The authors are not “enticing” anybody or anything. Entice has a negative connotation. Exercise simplicity and use caution in your writing.] of self-doubt and credibility.

The top comment on the article is by Neil DeGrasse Tyson himself who posted a link to his exchange with a journalist and a public apology for his mistake, which would resonate with most reader’s [eliminate apostrophe] due to his credibility and sincerity. The second comment bashes the article’s opinion on Bush’s credibility and education by posting a list of his uneducated and inappropriate comments. This popular sentiment of the president’s foolishness would grab any reader’s attention as he also provided verifiable quotes.  The third top commenter uses his own personal experience and outlook on the subject to empathize with people’s ability to make an honest mistake, which everyone has done in their life.

The NYT Picks are more concise and provide more perspectives on the subject rather than the reader’s picks which has Tyson showing us what we know and someone who focused mostly on the writer’s support of Bush’s intelligence. While several of NYT Pick comments are clearly supportive and in line with article’s main message, there is also space for a comment that boiled the main point down to “mental laziness” which brings a unique outlook that could benefit us.


Rhetorical Analysis: “Why Our Memory Fails Us”

Thesis: For example, Dr. Tyson made a mistake and implied that President Bush was prejudice against Islam, he believed his beliefs instead of the facts, and his thoughts contradicted the actual information. [A thesis doesn’t start with “for example”]

The article on the New York Times “Why Our Memory Fails Us” by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons shows great examples of rhetoric. From my understanding of the article, the article first starts off by describing Dr. Tysons misunderstanding of President Bush’s speech. For example, Dr. Tyson made a mistake and implied that President Bush was prejudice against Islam, he believed his beliefs instead of the facts, and his thoughts contradicted the actual information. Most importantly, I believe Dr. Tysons example is a major reason why Chabris and Simmons succeeded in this article.

Both Chabris and Simons seemed to have achieved Logos [lowercase] in this article. Throughout the article Chabris and Simmons [spelling] established well facts from different sources. For example, they wrote about a paper published by a psychologist who tested how well people are able to recall words from list they have studied to how measured [do you mean how confident?] they were in recollections. This is a great example of Logos in the article because Chabris and Simmons are making a factual and historical analogy to the audience. Chabris and Simmons to construct logical arguments so that the audience can take their writing into a logical understanding [rephrase entire sentence].

After reading the article multiple times I figured that both Chabris and Simmons were trying to provide accurate facts and examples to their audience. I believe their tone was a little persuasive because they want the audience to accept as true [eliminate as true] that we as humans make mistakes and do not have perfect memory. They have an appealing tone because they use a little bit of persuasion [redundant] with teaching. As I said earlier this article seems to focus a lot on Logos but also you can tell that there is a little bit of Ethos in it. The reason why there is some Ethos is because like I said [eliminate redundancies] before they seem to be a little persuasive but they also have credibility.

The top three comments were very interesting because they [eliminate] one of them was from Dr. Tyson himself. The comments showed why Chabris and Simmons article had very good points. Like Dr. Tyson a lot of people make mistakes like he did [repetition]. The thing is many do not own up to their mistakes. This article and the comments teach us that we should not be too hard on others for making mistakes.

The New York Times choice for the comments is effective. In the reader’s section, they chose Dr. Tyson and showed his statements on different quotes he has made throughout his career. The top three New York Times picks were effective because you can see the different opinions people have. I believe it is good to see comments so the authors can read how people feel about their writings. It gives authors different feedback and opinions and I think that can make authors become more successful writers. This article by Chabris and Simmons was very well formatted to its audience because it was a little persuasive and taught a couple of new facts as well. [proofread work]

‘Why Our Memory Fails Us’ Rhetorical Analysis- Jomelys Mells

Memory Fails Us

Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons’ article, Why Our Memory Fails Us detail how memory can be deceitful and how the confidence people put in what they recall can have damaging results. The analysis presents a combination of credible and logical approaches, with a sprinkle of pathos to win readers over. Their analysis of Neil Tyson’s commentary on former president Bush provide the premise of their argument. Tyson gets at [slang] Bush for his false recollection of events, and commenters destroy Tyson’s claims by proving, through documented quotes, that his recollection of events, [no comma] is also false. The purpose of including this in the article supports the writer’s ideas [writers’ idea. 2 authors, one idea] that false memories happen to everyone. Logos is presented throughout the entire article. [The following examples are proof of ethos, not logos. Break apart this paragraph and give specific examples of logos] Quotes and the referencing of authority figures provide reasoning that readers can verify, as some did. The most credible aspect of this article is that it was published in the New York Times, a source that has a history of reliability, trustworthiness and expert testimony. Including the research conducted by psychologist Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett further creates a credible appeal. By referring to Clinton, Tyson and Bush as “our hero’s” and characterizing all three as merely humans with an uncontrollable fault, readers are lead to appreciate that ‘yes, this is an issue, but blame should not be granted just because these individual’s lives are documented.’ The perfect appeal to ethos. As with any good piece of writing, the Chabris and Simons’ article include all three rhetorical powers of persuasion. Throughout the article, the rhetoric is consistent and in line with the authors purpose.


The comments show various reactions to the writing. Some commenters agreed with claims being made, the top being Mr. Tyson himself who posted evidence regarding the Bush debatable [word choice: debacle?]. Other commenters completely disagreed with the author’s claims, specifically their decision in using Tyson, Bush and Clinton as trustworthy and credible references. Commenter ‘magicisnotreal’ disagrees with the authors and believes humans are accustomed to inferring and not recalling an event they are retelling. The commenter describes this as “mental laziness.” A viewpoint not presented in the article or by many other commenters. Readers seemed to enjoy this viewpoint. New York Times readers seem to appreciate the added references in most of the top comments and the additional outlook on this topic. NYT top comments appreciate the originality of its readers. They chose comments that either challenged the writing and provided evidence that supported their claims. The comments chosen by readers were merely evidence pieces that reiterated what was already stated in the article. [This is more of a summary than your analysis on the commenters rhetoric and your opinion on the effectiveness of the NYT’s ranking system].