Sunday, April 6, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis - Research

Culturally, the U.S. came late to rating its movies, as most all other countries already had been rating their cinema for decades. The MPAA's film-ratings were instituted on 1 November 1968, in response to religiously-motivated complaints about the sexual, violent, and profane content of American cinema, after the MPAA's 1966 revision of the Production Code of America.

Before July 1, 1984a minor trend of cinema straddling the PG and R ratings (per MPAA records of appeals to its decisions in the early 1980s), suggesting a needed middle ground. In summer of 1982, Poltergeist (1982) was re-rated PG on appeal, although originally rated R for strong supernatural violence and marijuana-smoking parents. Disney's PG-rated Dragonslayer (1982) alarmed parents with explicit fantasy violence and blood-letting.

Because of such successful appeals, based upon artistic intent, many mild, mainstream movies were rated PG instead of R because of some thematically necessary strong cursing, e.g. Tootsie, Terms of Endearment, Sixteen Candles, and Footloose. These censorship reversals were consequence, in large measure, of the 1970s precedent established by All the President’s Men. Had these movies been released after 1984, they likely would have been rated PG-13 because of their content.

In 1984, explicit violence in the PG-rated films Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins were "the straws that broke the parents' backs". Their complaints led Hollywood figure Spielberg, director of Temple of Doom, to suggest a new rating, PG-14, to MPAA president Mr. Valetini. Instead, on conferring with cinema owners, Mr Valenti and the MPAA on,
July 1, 1984 introduced the PG-13 rating, allowing in children older than 13 years of age without a parent or an adult guardian, but warning parents about potentially shocking violence, cursing, and mature subject matter; though weaker than an R rating, PG-13 is the strongest unrestricted rating. The first widely-distributed PG-13 movie was Red Dawn followed by Dreamscape (1984), and The Flamingo Kid (1984), although The Flamingo Kid was the first film so rated by the board.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Technical Application

The movie rating system has had a number of high profile critics. Film critic Roger Ebert argues that the system places too much emphasis on not showing sex while allowing the portrayal of massive amounts of gruesome violence. The uneven emphasis on sex versus violence is echoed by other critics, including David Ansen, as well as many filmmakers. Moreover, Ebert argues that the rating system is geared toward looking at trivial aspects of the movie (such as the number of times a profane word is used) rather than at the general theme of the movie (for example, if the movie realistically depicts the consequences of sex and violence).

Many critics of the MPAA system, especially independent distributors, have charged that major studios' releases often receive more lenient treatment than independent films. They allege that Saving Private Ryan, with its intense depiction of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, would have earned an NC-17 if it were not a Steven Spielberg film. The independent film Saints and Soldiers, which contains no sex, very little profanity, and a minimum of violence, was said to have been rated R for a single clip where a main character is shot and killed, and required modification of just that one scene to receive a PG-13 rating. The comedy Scary Movie, released by a division of The Walt Disney Company's Miramax Films, contained "strong crude sexual humor, language, drug use and violence" but was rated R, to the surprise of many reviewers and audiences; by comparison, the comparatively tame porn spoof Orgazmo, an independent release, contained "explicit sexual content and dialogue" and received an NC-17. On the other hand, the studio distributed film The Passion of the Christ received an R rating despite graphic depictions of violence.

Another criticism of the ratings system is the apparent arbitrary nature in designating PG-13- and R-rated content. Many critics (professional, the general public and religious and moral groups) believe that the content of recent PG-13 films equals that of R-rated films from the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. For example, depictions of sexual content, violence, profanity and other objectionable content in a PG-13 film from the late 1990s on may have been considered "R level" in the 1970s and 1980s. A Harvard study suggested that the rating system has allowed far more violence, sex, profanity, drug use and other mature content in 2003 than they have allowed in 1992 in PG and PG-13 rated movies.That study found this when they noticed that an R-rated movie released in 1992 had the exact same content levels as a PG-13 rated film released in 2003.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Free Write - "Britain, Britain, Britain"

I have recently become infatuated with the BBC television show Little Britain, a character-based sketch show written and starring Matt Lucas and David Williams. While some British-humor shows go over a lot of people’s heads, this show’s targets are almost invariably the easiest, cheapest groups to mock: the disabled, poor, elderly, gay or fat. Even though the humor sounds simple and maybe trite, it’s incredibly creative and fresh. Some of the show’s repeat sketches feature a group called “Fat Fighters,” The Kelsey Grammar School, Lou and Andy, and Daffyd Thomas, a man who claims to be the only gay in the village.

Another feature of this show, which continually amuses me is the narration from Tom Baker, the fourth Dr. Who. To me the most amusing portion of his narration comes in the opening credits of the show, which is different every time. He has said things like "Britain...We've had running water for over 10 years, an underground tunnel linking us to Peru, and we invented the cat", or "Unlike other countries, Britain has people of two genders: women and men."

If you haven’t seen this show, you must do all that is in your power and means to do so! It will change your life forever.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis - Research MPAA Rating System

What is the purpose of the rating system? The movie rating system is a voluntary system sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners to provide parents with advance information on films, enabling the parent to make judgments on movies they want or don't want their children to see.

Do the ratings indicate if a movie is good or bad? No, the system is not designed to serve the function of "critic." The ratings do not determine or reflect whether a film is "good" or "bad." The system is not intended to approve, disapprove or censor any film; it merely assigns a rating for guidance -- leaving the decision-making responsibilities to the parents.

Who gives movies their ratings? Parents give the movies their ratings - men and women just like you. They are part of a specially designed committee called the film rating board of Classification and Rating Administration. As a group they view each film, and, after a group discussion, vote on its rating, making an educated estimate as to which rating most American parents will consider the most appropriate.

What criteria do they use? The rating board uses the criteria you as a parent use when deciding what is suitable viewing for your child. Theme, language, violence, nudity, sex and drug use are among those content areas considered in the decision-making process. Also assessed is how each of these elements is employed in the context of each individual film. The rating board places no special emphasis on any of these elements; all are considered and examined before a rating is given.

Is the rating system a law? No, the rating system is strictly voluntary and carries no force of law.
Can a rating be changed? Yes, the rules permit movie producers to re-edit their films and re-submit them in hopes of receiving another rating. Producers may also appeal a rating decision to the Rating Appeals Board, which is composed of men and women from the industry organizations that sponsor the rating system. A two-thirds secret ballot vote of those present on the Appeals Board may overturn a rating board decision.

Do all movies have to be rated? No. Submitting a film is purely a voluntary decision made by the filmmakers. However, the overwhelming majority of producers creating entertaining, responsible films submit them for ratings. All five Classification and Rating Administration rating symbols have been trademarked and may not be self-applied.

Who enforces the ratings? While the decision to enforce the rating system is purely voluntary, the overwhelming majority of theaters follow the Classification and Rating Administration's guidelines and diligently enforce its provisions.

How do you get more information about a rating? For additional information about the voluntary movie rating system and ratings for new releases, visit the Motion Picture Association of America's home page on the World Wide Web. The address is Or, in select cities, you may use the interactive phone guide, MovieFone.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Free Write - My Baby Brother part deux

As my baby brother has grown older his lexicon of bizarre sayings and phrases has grown as well. If anyone has read my first posting on this blog, you would have learned about his “silver tongue,” discovered some of his favorite sayings, and had a small taste of his maniacal outbursts. I’m here today to share with you a little bit more.

From an early age he would frequently ask us questions about life in general. These were simple queries when he was young. Once during Sunday school, a teacher had given a particularly spiritual lesson that prompted many of the children in the class to become more interested in the life of Jesus. They asked the teacher many questions ranging from his birth to his death. My brother decided to participate in the Q and A as well and raised his hand. When the teacher called on him he asked, “How much birdseed do you think a goat could eat before it blew up?” Later in life I guess my brother was still interested in religious matters because one day at the dinner table he asked my father, “Are we Jew bastards?” At another point in my brother’s life he became fixated on “what if” questions. My other brother, who is just a few years younger than myself, would frequently talk about owning a Mercedes Benz after he grew up and got a respectable job. My baby brother would then ask, “What would you do if I bought a Hummer and rammed your Mercedes while you slept?” The other brother would respond with something like, “I’m always going to park it in the garage so you couldn’t do it!” My baby brother would then respond by saying, “Well, I just blow off the front of the garage with some dynamite that I’m going to buy and then I’ll run it over with my Hummer and then maybe your wife too. What would you do then?”

A sensitive subject has emerged in my brother’s life in the past few months – his girlfriend. He seems to be very protective of her and will do anything to defend her honor if he feels it being threatened. If I ever ask general questions about her, he always responds, “I don’t know.” Where does your girlfriend live? I don’t know. What’s your girlfriend’s name? I don’t know. Have you kissed your girlfriend yet? “SHUT UP!” One time my wife, other brother and I were asking some questions about the girlfriend on a rare occasion when my baby brother began to open up a little about his personal life. One of us, I can’t remember who it was now, had the audacity to ask my baby brother “So are you going to make out with your girlfriend tonight?” To which my brother responded, “SHE’S NOT MY WHORE!!” Once right before church began my mother decided to probe into my brother’s personal life as well. She saw an attractive looking girl and jokingly whispered to my brother, “She cute, why don’t you ask her out?” My baby brother then replied, “I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND MOM!!! SHE LIVES IN SCAPPOOSE!!!” in the loudest voice anyone had ever heard. The entire church congregation obviously turned to see what the commotion was all about and began staring and silently judging my family. My other brother then whispered, “Nice going, idiot.” My brother then mustered all his strength and yelled out at the top of voice, “WHY DON’T YOU SHUT UP?!”

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis - Research

Couples in the United States who live together before marrying may be more likely to consider divorce than those who do not, according to a study released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's health statistics division.
The report on marriage, divorce, remarriage and cohabitation said 75 percent of American women have been married by age 30 and about half have lived with their partner outside of marriage.
The study's findings are based on interviews conducted in 1995 with about 11,000 women ages 15 to 44.
Couples who did not live together before marrying had a 31 percent chance of splitting up after 10 years, compared with a 40 percent chance for couples who cohabited before marriage, the study found.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Technical Application

An “R-card,” a parent permission slip issued by the GKC Theaters chain, which has theaters in 24 cities, including Bloomington, in five Midwestern states.

The R-card costs $2 and allows youth to attend R-rated films unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, as would otherwise be the case for anyone 17 or younger.

So far the chain has sold about 700 R-cards at 10 of its theaters, said James Whitman, vice president for theater operations and marketing at GKC, who dreamed up the card. The company's theater in Elkhart, Ind., began offering it yesterday, and its theater in Traverse City, Mich., a popular family resort area, will make it available next month.

But critics are denouncing the R-card as both a maneuver around the movie rating system — which was set up to help parents sort out which movies were appropriate for their children — and an abdication of parental responsibilities.

"It distorts it and disfigures" the rating system, said Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, which administers the ratings program. In a telephone interview from his Washington office. Mr. Valenti continued: "Not all R movies are alike. There are some R movies that children should not see."

Yet as long as the ratings have been administered, young people have found ways to get around them, like the generations-old practice of buying tickets for one movie and sneaking in to another. Ticket sellers and takers at many theaters are barely old enough to see R-rated movies themselves and occasionally encounter peer pressure not to bar their friends.

Ratings themselves manage to remain in dispute: Michael Moore loudly complained when his new picture, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” received an R rating, which means it will be seen only by an adult audience or young people accompanied by a parent or guardian.

And also by the relatively modest number of youngsters who have R-cards.

The R-card came about this spring. Mr. Whitman said he was simply trying to serve a customer need: parents who were tired of sitting through ear-splitting pictures with their action-film-loving teenagers. "It was parents who were coming to the box office and saying, `You're forcing me to see a movie that I don't want to see,' " Mr. Whitman said.

He added, "You can't say it's a parental guideline and then say the parents have no choice."

Movies are an important way for parents to guide their children's development, some critics of the R-card argue. "I lump movies and entertainment in the same category as drugs and alcohol," said Rodney Gustafson, a syndicated columnist and creator of GradingtheMovies .com, a Web site that gives details about movies' content, including sex, violence and profanity.

"You have not only the opportunity but the responsibility to be able to teach and guide your children according to your own values," he said. By giving a teenager an R-card, "you've decided, `I'm not going to do that,' " said Mr. Gustafson, whose column appears in 60 newspapers in the United States and Canada.

Kirsten, reached by telephone, did not see it that way.

"I already rent rated-R movies, so going to see them isn't a big difference," said Kirsten, whose parents previously gave her permission to check out R-rated films from local video stores like Blockbuster.

The movie sale and rental chain, which has a policy against renting R-rated movies to those younger than 18, will make an exception as long as the parent makes a notation on the account, said Randy Hargrove, a Blockbuster spokesman. Sydni's mother, Maureen Norris, who called a reporter after her daughter was interviewed, said she trusted her daughter to choose movies that she was mature enough to watch, either in theaters or at video stores.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Free Write - America's Favorite Past Time

Many children play sports when they’re little. Either by choice or by force, most of us have ended up playing something. I was a bit of an anomaly because I had to beg my parents to let me play tee-ball and baseball. Around the ages of 7 and 8, my father had some strange notion that the only sport I needed to participate in was swimming. I personally thought he believed the Earth was headed towards some type of apocalypse that involved the polar ice caps melting and the only survivors would be those who knew how to swim well. Each year I would begin begging in January to be signed-up for tee-ball. When that became too tiresome for my parents, I began expressing my desire to play in other ways. The only pictures I drew were of baseball diamonds, pitchers, batters, etc., the only thing I ever wrote about in school was baseball, and if I ever had to create some type of poem or limerick for some reason, it was sure to be about baseball. Every year my efforts paid off and I was signed-up to play. Before the season started I would try to prepare myself in every way. I would start by stocking up on Big League Chew. If you want to be a real baseball player, you MUST have Big League Chew. Next I would begin an oil regiment with my glove. Before the season started I’d usually go through 2-3 bottles of oil. Usually my glove was moist for the first couple games, but it didn’t matter because it was oiled up just like the real players’ gloves. After that I’d begin thinking of potential names for our team because for some reason the organizers could never do it themselves. I’d start out simple with actual MLB team names like the Twins, Mariners, Red Sox, etc. These names were always contingent, however, on what our uniforms were going to look like. I’d then move on to some animal names that were sure to strike some fear into our opposing teams. The Hawks, Eagles, Sharks, Lions and Cobras were always popular. These names would then transition me to another level entirely. This level would consist of names like the Thundercats, Dragons, Killers, Nazis, Sorcerers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the like. When it finally came down to starting the season, however, I became incredibly nervous and constantly thought about my potential performance. Even after several practices, I never really lost that feeling in my stomach. Now that I look back I wonder what I was ever nervous about. I would go to the plate to hit a stationary baseball on top of a large rubber pole at a team full of little kids who all had no idea how to field how to even field a soccer ball, let alone a small baseball. Whatever our team was called or how soft my mitt was, I always had a good season and have vowed to force my children to become baseball players.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Technical Application

Cohabitation is replacing marriage as the first living together experience for young men and women. When blushing brides walk down the aisle at the beginning of the new millennium, well over half have already lived together with a boyfriend.
For today’s young adults, the first generation to come of age during the divorce revolution, living together seems like a good way to achieve some of the benefits of marriage and avoid the risk of divorce. Couples who live together can share expenses and learn more about each other. They can find out if their partner has what it takes to be married. If things don’t work out, breaking up is easy to do. Cohabiting couples do not have to seek legal or religious permission to dissolve their union.
Not surprisingly, young adults favor cohabitation. According to surveys, most young people say it is a good idea to live with a person before marrying.
But a careful review of the available social science evidence suggests that living together is not a good way to prepare for marriage or to avoid divorce. What’s more, it shows that the rise in cohabitation is not a positive family trend. Cohabiting unions tend to weaken the institution of marriage and pose special risks for women and children. Specifically, the research indicates that:
· Living together before marriage increases the risk of breaking up after marriage.
· Living together outside of marriage increases the risk of domestic violence for women, and the risk of physical and sexual abuse for children.
· Unmarried couples have lower levels of happiness and wellbeing than married couples.
Because this generation of young adults is so keenly aware of the fragility of marriage, it is especially important for them to know what contributes to marital success and what may threaten it. Yet many young people do not know the basic facts about cohabitation and its risks. Nor are parents, teachers, clergy and others who instruct the young in matters of sex, love and marriage well acquainted with the social science evidence

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Free Write - Quotes

Here are some interesting quotes from Papa Lenin:

"Crime is a product of social excess."

"A lie told often enough becomes truth."

"It is true that liberty is precious - so precious that it must be rationed."

"One man with a gun can control 100 without one."

"The most important thing when ill is to never lose heart."

"Destroy the family, you destroy the country."

"Despair is typical of those who do not understand the causes of evil, see no way out, and are incapable of struggle."

"Whenever the cause of the people is entrusted to professors, it is lost."

"You cannot make a revolution in white gloves."

"Worst of all, it is women who usually have to do, usually alone, all the dirty work of the kitchen and household, work that is unimportant, hard, tiresome, and soul-destroying."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis

Divorce is on the decline in the USA, but a report to be released today suggests that may be due more to an increase in people living together than to more lasting marriages.

Couples who once might have wed and then divorced now are not marrying at all, according to The State of our Unions 2005. The annual report, which analyzes Census and other data, is issued by the National Marriage Project at New Jersey's Rutgers University.

The U.S. divorce rate is 17.7 per 1,000 married women, down from 22.6 in 1980. The marriage rate is also on a steady decline: a 50% drop since 1970 from 76.5 per 1,000 unmarried women to 39.9, says the report, whose calculations are based on an internationally used measurement.

"Cohabitation is here to stay," says David Popenoe, a Rutgers sociology professor and report co-author. "I don't think it's good news, especially for children," he says. "As society shifts from marriage to cohabitation — which is what's happening — you have an increase in family instability."

Cohabiting couples have twice the breakup rate of married couples, the report's authors say. And in the USA, 40% bring kids into these often-shaky live-in relationships.

"It is important now to think beyond the divorce rate to other kinds of couple unions and look at how stable they are," says Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, a social historian and report co-author.

"It's a pretty short period of time for that change (cohabitation) to have occurred and to have taken hold in the way it has," she says.

In the USA, 8.1% of coupled households are made up of unmarried, heterosexual partners. Although many European countries have higher cohabitation rates, divorce rates in those countries are lower, and more children grow up with both biological parents, even though the parents may not be married, Popenoe says.

The USA has the lowest percentage among Western nations of children who grow up with both biological parents, 63%, the report says.

"The United States has the weakest families in the Western world because we have the highest divorce rate and the highest rate of solo parenting," Popenoe says.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Technical Application - Arranged Marriages

A pragmatic (or 'arranged') marriage is made easier by formal procedures of family or group politics. A responsible authority sets up or encourages the marriage; they may, indeed, engage a professional matchmaker to find a suitable spouse for an unmarried person. The authority figure could be parents, family, a religious official, or a group consensus.

In some cases, the authority figure may choose a match for purposes other than marital harmony. Some of the most popular uses of arranged marriage are for dowry or immigration.

Though now a rarity in Western countries, arranged marriages in countries such as India are still prevalent today. In rural villages, the marriage of a child often has much to do with family property. Parents adopt the practice of child marriage and arrange the wedding, sometimes even before the child is born (though this practice was made illegal by the Child Marriage Restraint Act of the Indian Government). In urban India, people use thriving institutions known as Marriage Bureaus or Matrimonials Sites, where candidates register themselves for small fees. A related form of pragmatic marriage, sometimes called a marriage of convenience, involves immigration laws. According to one publisher of information about "green card" marriages, "Every year over 450,000 United States citizens marry foreign-born individuals and petition for them to obtain a permanent residency (Green Card) in the United States." While this is likely an over-estimate, in 2003 alone 184,741 immigrants were admitted to the U.S. as spouses of U.S. citizens.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Free Write

I think we could all learn a thing or two from these lyrics!

Pure Imagination

Come with me
And you'll be
In a world of
Pure imagination
Take a look
And you'll see
Into your imagination

We'll begin
With a spin
Traveling in
The world of my creation
What we'll see
Will defy

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world?
There's nothing
To it

There is no
Life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You'll be free
If you truly wish to be

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world?
There's nothing
To it

There is no
Life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You'll be free
If you truly
Wish to be

The Wondrous Boat Ride

There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing

Is it raining, is it snowing
Is a hurricane a-blowing

Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing
Is the grisly reaper mowing

Yes, the danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Technical Application

There have actually been numerous studies that have examined whether living together before marriage is a good idea. The data shows that people who have multiple cohabiting relationships before marriage are more likely to experience marital conflict, marital unhappiness and eventual divorce than people who do not cohabit before marriage.1 Although some of these effects might be due to the characteristics of people who cohabit (e.g., they tend to move from one relationship to another), recent studies suggest that the cohabitation experience itself contributes to problems in marriage. The reason why cohabitation may setup couples for failure in marriage is because cohabitation is just a test. Since all couples suffer from some incompatibility, when the other partner "fails" the test, the person moves on to the next partner. A succession of cohabitation failures results in an inability to maintain commitment - the most important part of a marriage relationship.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis

I like to pretend this is mine and my wife’s song. I think it describes marriages in America pretty well.

Pedro the Lion - Options

We were walking, holding hands
With our bare feet in the sand
And the seagulls overhead
When I broke the spell and said

"I could never divorce you
Without a good reason
And though I may never have to
It's good to have options"

But for now, I need you
But for now, I need you
But for now, I need you

But it was only in my head
Because no one ever says
What they really mean to say
When there's so much at stake

So I told her I loved her
And she told me she loved me
And I mostly believed her
And she mostly believed me

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Free Write

I once owned a black 1985 Volkswagen Scirocco. Volkswagen produced this car from about 1974 until about 1989 in the United States; however, they were sometimes hard to come by and quite popular among European/Volkswagen car enthusiasts. In fact, they were so popular that many people wanted to start a Scirocco club, similar to those where the people own Corvettes or Ferraris.

I was approached on countless occasions by strange men who saw me near my car or driving. They would stop whatever they were doing, come up and start conversations about the car. They would always tell me some story about how they used to own one or their friend owned one or their girlfriend’s dad owned one. Then they would proceed to tell me how they want to start a club and they’ve already talked to some other people who own Sciroccos, and we should all get together so we can show off our cars, talk about our cars, make animal sacrifices to the Volkswagen gods, and get Scirocco tattoos all over our forearms and necks.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Volkswagens and I loved my Scirocco. It was a great, reliable little sports car that people sometimes mistook for the Back to the Future car. My whole family loved the car and we all did everything we could to keep it in good condition. Sometimes my dad or brother would drive it on a Saturday or Sunday just to see how many people asked him to join a club too; the weekends brought out most of the maniacs.

I never joined a Scirocco club, much to the disappointment of the strange men and my friends, who just wanted me to go see what the meetings were like so we could make fun of them. I guess I just didn’t love me car as much as some, I guess. To this day I still look for Sciroccos, they’re not hard to miss, and if I ever get the chance to talk to the owner I always ask them to join a Scirocco club, just to make sure everyone who owns that particular kind of car gets to have the same experience I had. I always get looked at funny, but I assume it’s the same look I gave the others before me.

P.S. The license plate on my Scirocco contained the numbers 566. These numbers were the inspiration to perhaps one of the most demonic bands to date: 566 and the Mopeds of the Apocalypse, Satan’s own doomsday band.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis

Pedro the Lion – Never Leave a Job Half Done

“Blood stains on the carpet, blood stains on my hands. Drag her toward the kitchen, hide the evidence. Oh, the toil a lie can bring, quitters never know. But lies can be the perfect things, if they never show. The crisis posed a question, just beneath the skin. The virtue in my veins replied, 'Quitters never win'. She almost ruined everything. Oh, the toil a lie can bring, quitters never know. But lies can be the perfect things, if they never show.”

This song, which is about a husband who has just murdered his wife and is now trying to cover up what he did, poses perhaps two arguments. By simply reading straight through the lyrics, the argument is that if you lie you can get away with it. People, who are quitters, don’t see a lie through until the end and don’t know that “lies can be the perfect things, if they never show.” However, from the tone and certain words in song, it seems as though this is a very cynical argument. David Bazan is most likely making the argument that even though quitters never win, that phrase doesn’t apply to all situations.

Because this is a song, the intended audience would likely be anybody who listened. The intended audience is also those who have the audacity to say that “winners never quit” or “never leave a job half done.” Obviously, these are not eternal truths or sayings.

The cynical nature of this argument is very effective. By juxtaposing the phrase “quitters never win” with a situation where a man is trying to hide the evidence of killing his wife brilliantly shows paradoxical nature of all encompassing phrases working in real life situations. By also suggesting that the “virtue in my veins” told him that quitters never win also adds to the cynicism.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Technical Application - Introductions

As Susanna Clarke took off her high school letterman’s jacket to don her favorite college sweatshirt, she gave herself a look in the rearview mirror of her Mercedes Benz CLK550 and decided she was ready. She confidently walked into the admissions office of the very college written on her sweatshirt. She’d hadn’t turned in her college application yet, but decided that an early visit to get to know the university officials wouldn’t hurt. Luckily, when she walked in, several people were free and she was able to talk in great length with each of them about her interest and desire to attend. Susanna felt pleased as she walked out of the office into the fresh, spring air towards her car. Once she had sat in the driver’s seat, she grabbed a list from her purse and crossed off the number one spot. She took off the sweatshirt and then grabbed another from the back. A different sweatshirt and a different college name. She started the engine and thought about the long road ahead of her. Three more colleges to visit and three more meetings where she’d have to feign a smile, excitement and interest. Even though she hated doing it, she knew it would help her chances of getting a good education. At least she was traveling in style and always knew she had the financial support of her parents. What she didn’t know was the situation of William Golding, who didn’t have the money to do what Susanna was doing to sway a potential admission decision his way. He was leaving his chances only with his application and fate. What he didn’t realize was fate has a way of being manipulated by unfair and unethical admissions procedures.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Free Write

Living in this landlocked, useless state, I am often allotted a large amount of time to reminisce about my previous residences in far grander places. When I was about eight years old my father was enlisted in the Navy and we were all stationed in Anacortes, Washington, a city near the San Juan and Orcas Islands in Puget Sound. We lived not far from several piers and docks, which allowed my father and me to discover several interesting hobbies, one of which was shrimping. The salt air and abundance of fresh, locally-caught salmon and crustaceans instilled a lifelong love for seafood in me, and when my father and I found a way to get free seafood, I assumed I had died and gone to fish heaven, if God would allow such a place to exist.

One day while we were walking along the wharfs to see what the fishermen had caught that day, a grizzled, portly man stinking of fish pulled up a curious looking contraption attached to a rope from below the pier, full of plump shrimp. Next to him was a bucket brimming with the same type of shrimp. As we got closer I realized what the astute fisherman had done to catch these delectable sea-treats. He was using an empty, one gallon milk jug. He cut a large hole in the top of the container, but was careful not to cut too close to the handle because that was where the rope was to be attached. He then cut numerous slits around the entire container, small enough that the shrimp could not escape. We were told that under the particular pier we were standing on was a common feeding ground for the shrimp. The trick was to lower the trap right next to the pier piling, which was where the shrimp congregated. The hole in the top of the milk jug allowed the shrimp to swim into the container to, but as you pulled the trap up from underneath the water, the holes allowed the water to leave, but not the shrimp. It was simple, inexpensive and quite ingenious. The only missing piece was the bait. What would possible tantalize shrimp enough to swim into a milk jug? As I asked the question, the fisherman seized me with his filthy, rough hands and pulled me close to his parched, cracked lips. I could smell his foul breath laced with rum and jerky. In a spit-filled hiss I received my answer. Canned cat food. I looked at him with bewildered eyes as a maniacal laugh erupted from his sunburned face.

My father and I speedily left the pier, not only to get away from the lunatic, but to also go home to make the shrimp trap and try it for ourselves. We took a trip to the pier the next day and sure enough the trap worked. The canned cat food proved to be irresistible and the cat was eager to give up her canned dinner in exchange for fresh shrimp.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Technical Application

Here is what I’m leaning towards for the upcoming paper:


Allowing the practice of demonstrated interest to continue in the college admission process (A) on the overall student population (B)

Allowing the practice of demonstrated interest to continue in the college admission process will negatively affect the diversity of the student population by giving an unfair advantage to those with money and connections to college and university officials (C)


This paper will first and foremost be targeted at university officials and administrators who are directly involved in the college admissions process. This paper is meant to curb their continuing usage of demonstrated interest, and expose the disparities that are being created between the applicants who are accepted and rejected. This paper is also meant to persuade potential third-party influencers, such as high school college advisors, club presidents and private school officials who are still pushing this practice among their own student body as a viable way to help your chances of getting into the university of your choice.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis - Research

Demonstrated interest - High school students express their desire to attend a particular college by visiting the admissions office, introducing themselves to the admissions officers and trying to attract the attention of admissions personnel by performing stunts like sending photographs of themselves wearing the college’s sweatshirt. Officials at 56 percent of the 595 colleges surveyed by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling reported that they consider demonstrated interest as a factor when selecting students to accept.
This trend is disturbing. The practice of demonstrating interest is largely limited to higher-income students attending high schools that are geared towards preparing students for college. Low-income applicants cannot always afford to visit numerous colleges to meet with admissions officers. Many public high schools do not have college counselors or guidance counselors who are knowledgeable about the most recent developments in the college admissions game, so most public high school students are not as aware that they should indicate in this manner their interest in the colleges they want to attend.

Some concerns about the growing importance of the demonstrated interest factor are:
• It is helping colleges ensure a higher yield ratio in a skewed manner,
• It is biased against students from low-income households who might not be able to afford frequent trips to campus or have e-mail access,
• It is turning the whole admissions process into more of a game.
Despite the concerns, fewer and fewer students are willing to ignore the demonstrated interest factor these days.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Free Write

Shortly after getting my license at the age of 16 I found myself out of work. At the time, I rarely had more than a few dollars to my name, but my lack of money did not curb my insatiable desire to drive. Even though my car almost continuously read “E” on the gas gauge and I ignored it to pursue my young, teenage dreams.

I was driving one sunny, Friday afternoon and notice that, as usual, I had barely any gas. I had enough to buy a couple of gallons, but since it was Friday I obviously had more pressing financial endeavors in store in the coming hours. I shirked the gas station and continued on my way when I felt the car begin to jerk slightly. I stepped on the gas to find that instead of moving forward, the unresponsive engine was slowing bringing me to a stop. I couldn’t believe it. I had always gone this far before. When I looked at my surroundings I was shocked to learn that I stalled in the middle of the intersection. I quickly jumped out and began pushing with no one willing to help me – everyone seemed to already know what was going on and decided they should punish me for my teenage stupidity.

There are two key positions when pushing a car. One to steer the vehicle and one to push. Both are equally important, as I quickly learned. With only myself pushing the car and no one in the driver’s seat, my car began veering off and, before I realized where I was going with the car, we both ended up in the ditch on the side of the road.

Luckily for me, when I walked to a near by grocery store to phone for a tow truck I stumbled upon my grandfather buying cottage cheese and lottery tickets. He, of course, help me out, called and paid for a tow truck and bought me some much needed petrol.

Everything turned out OK in the end, or so I thought, however when I showed up for school on Monday I learned that several “influential” students saw my little incident and began spreading the news of my idiocy. When I went to church on Sunday I also learned that the bishop’s wife had seen me actually push my car into the ditch, yet did nothing. Thanks, sister.
P.S. The picture is an accurate representation of the type of car I had when I was 16 - A 1981 Ford Fairmont stationwagon.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis - For the Motherland!

This Russian poster, which says "Under Lenin's banner - forward, for the motherland, for our victory," is a striking example of communist propaganda. The main purpose of the argument is to motivate, inspire and encourage those going to fight in World War 2; however, its main argument is to fight in the war for communism, the USSR and, most importantly, Lenin, who has given the people everything they have.


Of course, this poster is aimed at those Russians going to fight, but because we know that this is communist propaganda, the poster is also aimed at everyone who has or could have something to do with the war.


The credibility of this poster depends on how you look at it. To someone outside of Russia, this looks completely bogus, but to an actual citizen of the country, during the same time period, this was probably completely credible. Under communism, since everything you have and all the information you receive comes from the state, the people to trust them, especially under Stalin who would most likely send them to a gulag if they didn’t.

The theme is very emotional to Russian people and, during this time, would be effective at stirring up both sentimental and patriotic feelings alike.

Logically, this makes sense. With everyone working together, the motherland is stronger and we can achieve victory. This poster has also replaced an “under God” slogan with “under Lenin” so, technically, those fighting are still possibly protected by a higher power.


Again, this depends on who you are. To Americans this seems ridiculous. To Russians, however, this would be very effective at the time. The communist propaganda machine was one of the most effective in the world, and was great at deluding the masses into thinking like the state. This poster conjures up incredibly patriotic emotions and would convince a people to die for a cause.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Technical Application - Style or Letter From a Concerned Owner


I’ve come to the end of my rope, friend. Your lack of respect is astonishing. As I look back on my pain filled days, in that hour of quiet meditation we all find when the suffering prevents us from sleep, you have invariably caused me the most anguish. When you heard my screams, did you feel joy? When you cut into my flesh, did you laugh? When you saw the streams of blood on my hands and face, did you rejoice? I have tolerated your malfeasance long enough. You will pay the price for your sins. Whether it is by my hand or the hand of your Maker, you will suffer the consequences of your actions.


I’ve come to the end of my rope, friend. I am astonished at your lack of respect. As I look back on my pain filled days, in that hour of quiet meditation we all find when the suffering prevents us from sleep, you have invariably caused me the most anguish. When you heard my screams, did you feel joy? When you cut into my flesh, did you laugh? When you saw the streams of blood on my hands and face like the varicose veins of a World War 2 veteran, did you rejoice? I have tolerated your malfeasance long enough. A price must be paid for your sins. Whether it is by my hand or the hand of your Maker, you will suffer the consequences of your actions. Not only will your guilt weigh upon your soul like the world upon Atlas’ shoulders, but your eternal salvation shall be in jeopardy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Free Write

I was recently thinking back to time when I lived in Russia while I was doing missionary work. In a city I was living in called Novokuibishevsk I came in contact with a very strange man around Christmas time. He was very amiable person, full of joy and happiness. His character was magnified by a great bushy, round belly, great stature and large bundle of hair he kept under a beanie. Before talking to him I noticed that he always smiled and was always cordial to everyone he met, which was quite uncommon in comparison with his comrades. However, not everyone was glad to see him because also unlike many Russians, he refused to wear clothes in the winter except for a pair of boots, gloves, bicycle shorts and his beanie. He didn’t look especially cold and, to great astonishment, he wasn’t shivering or frostbitten. As I conversed with him, I learned that he had been healed by a priest at the local Russian Orthodox cathedral and was now immune to all disease, sickness or ailment. He also informed me that he walked around in the winter practically naked to be a witness to all that the Russian Orthodox Church had the power to work miracles. He had no interest in hearing about my religion, but was happy to talk to me just the same. He invited me to walk with him for a while, but I figured that it was best not to support another religion while I was trying to support my own, and I had no desire to strip down to my underwear and walk around town, which was his stipulation to the endeavor. After parting ways I saw him around town quite a few times. In the pure white, Russian winter, one couldn’t help but notice the pale, fleshy figure lumbering down the sidewalks. I left that city about a month later and never saw the man again. However, every time it snows I get a little smile on my face and picture an oversized, hairy Russian man wearing nothing but bicycle shorts and boots coming my way.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Technical Application - Style

At any new job you are usually forced to get to know your new co-workers, and they, in turn, are forced to get to know you. Usually the conversations begin simply with questions like how old are you, where are you from, and what do you like to do for fun. There tends to be a natural progression in the co-worker relationship. As you know your fellow employees better, you give up more information about yourself. This is how the rest of society functions and I believe this is how your job should function as well. As I began my job at the movie theater, a job I was forced to take when I couldn’t find employment anywhere else in this God-forsaken city, I figured this would be the likely scenario.

“So I think I’m getting fired tonight. I got suspended from work for a few weeks for swearing at a customer and this is my first day back, but the manager just found out I was stealing money so I don’t know what’s going to happen. What’s your name? Are you new?”

This was the first thing said to me by a co-worker on my first day. The second day was a little better, but not by much.

“Hi, my name is Jane, what’s yours? Are you new?”

“My name is Jordan, and yeah I’m new. How long have you worked here?”

“Well, I’ve worked here ever since my boyfriend went to jail for selling drugs. He got arrested about 2 and a half years ago, so I guess I’ve worked here a little less than that. I don’t plan on working here much longer though. I’m pregnant with my boyfriend’s brother’s baby and I shouldn’t be here when he gets out or there’ll probably be some trouble.”

The third day left a more lasting impression, however, after I met another co-worker. The first thing out of his mouth was this:

“So what’s your favorite movie? Mine is Saw or maybe Saw 2. Do you collect anything? I collect swords and knives. I have over a hundred swords and knives under my bed and my mom doesn’t know anything about them. Sometimes I take them to school with me in my back-pack. I also make secret compartments on my jackets so I can stick knives in them without anyone knowing that they’re in there.”

After that encounter I began to isolate myself at work. I decided it would be best if I didn’t know anything at all about my fellow co-workers. At the very least, I wouldn’t have to go to court to testify.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis - TVs

I was recently at Circuit City buying a new television. Before we went to the store we had done some research about several televisions we were interested in, and picked out two that we were still deciding between. We looked into Vizio, Sony and Sharp. When we got to the store and began looking at televisions, of course, a salesperson was quick to sidle up next to us to “answer any questions we had.” I explained to the salesperson what televisions we had in mind and asked to see them. The salesperson was quick to show us the televisions we wanted and even quicker to give all the specifications of each.

As usual, the salesperson showed us a few other televisions to make sure we saw all of our options. At first I thought this was just a ploy to get me to buy a bigger, more expensive TV. However, he show me a brand, Samsung, which was cheaper and, in many ways, just as good or better than the other TVs we were previously looking at. He had an incredible amount of information on all the TVs in the store and he explained exactly why each price was the way it way. He knew each company’s manufacturing techniques, he explained all the jargon to us and showed us consumer reports. He also provided many demonstrations.

Right away I could tell that his argument was credible. He packed up what he said with relevant, truthful information and he was able to answer any question I had. His argument was very logical and appealed to me, the college student, who didn’t have much money. What worked the best for him, however, were his honest, fact-based opinions of the products in the store. All of his reasoning was based on information that I could look over myself, and he didn’t try to force anything down my throat.

What didn’t work were the other salespeople at the store. They constantly butted into the conversation with “helpful” tidbits that almost made me leave the store. These salespeople constantly tried to appeal to my emotions. They pointed out “cool” features and “rad options” that were coming with the TVs I was looking at. When making a major purchase I think most people like to know that they are spending their money wisely, not just buying the most popular item with the most bodacious features.

I ended up buying the Samsung television mostly because of the salesperson who initially helped me. He balanced all of the elements of a good argument well and he was as truth and transparent in his tactics as possible.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Free Write - Cats and cats

From the day I fouled the earth until the present, I have been surrounded by cats, most of them with human names. My family and I have never owned a dog, which seems very strange by most American standards. I don’t know if this is because my family and I are lazy and we like to get animals which are independent and self-sufficient, such as a cat, or if we simply can’t stand some of their more predominant qualities, such as their smell, constant need for attention, inability to clean up their own feces, insatiable hunger for “human food,” and incessant licking.

My parents owned a kitten when I was just born. He must have been a highly-prized cat because just before my first birthday he was stolen by a neighbor. Soon after, my parents brought home a nice orange kitten, which we named Zach, not Zack, we’re Christian. He was a playful cat and filled my early childhood years with love and laughter. One of our favorite games was called Balcony. I would heft him over to the railing of the balcony and try to throw him off the second floor of our house. Zach’s goal was to try and scratch me enough so the blood loss would cause me to fall unconscious before I could throw him off. We traded off wins for a while until finally he told me he didn’t want to play the game anymore by giving me a cut so bad I needed several stitches. Our days were numbered, however. He hadn’t been neutered yet and when we took him to be “fixed,” the anesthesia took his life. It was hard for me to lose my best friend, but I found solace by placing all the blame on my mother who found this veterinarian of ill-repute and made the appointment with him.

After soon time had passed and our family had properly grieved we found a long-haired calico, which we named Tiffany. Tiffany’s life was probably one for the history books. She got to take over four plane trips, fall out of a six story hotel room, take at least 7 or 8 dips in a hot tub, get run over by a car, resulting in the loss of half her tail and several broken bones, go missing for about 3 weeks, eat about 30 rabbits, 100 birds and numerous mice, too many to count. She led a good life. Unfortunately, along with all the animals she caught, she also caught cancer when she was about 18 years old. I was fortunate enough to be with her when she had to be put to sleep. I was very saddened and dismayed when she died, to see a cat that was so full of life and strength to be brought down by a small needle.

During Tiffany’s reign I found a little orange tabby scrapper, which we named Charlie, or as my brother would spell it – Chay R Lee Y. His is the closest we’ve ever gotten to owning a dog. He’s been taught several tricks including sit, stay, up and speak, he loves his belly scratched and he scratches at the door on his hind legs when he wants to be let inside the house. He continues to live, but he recently became bored with his fur and began licking it off.

Currently I own another orange tabby cat named Chinook. I fear he may be doomed to lead just a plain, average cat life with a name like that, which is far from resembling any human name, but there may be some hope for him yet. He breaks all of our drinking glasses and bites our faces while we sleep. I sometimes believe he is Zach reborn and he is carrying out his revenge for throwing him off the balcony so many times. Although I’ve never owned a dog, I really don’t think I’m missing out on anything.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis - Striking a Blow for Democracy in Asia

Halting rule-of-law education funding in Cambodia on the overall democratic progression of the Cambodian government?

Halting the funding for rule-of-law education in Cambodia impedes the progression of a democratic government because halting the funding for rule-of-law education in Cambodia reduces the number of people who have benefited from such an education and who also support a democratic government.


Mr. Jeffrey S. Brand tone, language and writing style suggest that he is trying to appeal to an educated, possibly influential audience who not only care about this subject matter, but also have the means of doing something about it. Mr. Brand is also a professor at the University Of San Francisco School Of Law, where they devote a large portion of time and curriculum to the very task of rule-of-law education in Cambodia, which might suggest he is targeting other students and universities to join him in their cause. The article also appeared in the Washington Post National Weekly edition, which tends to have a more affluent, educated readership.


By the fact that Mr. Brand is law professor a the University of San Francisco School of Law and the director of its Cambodian Law and Democracy Programs, he has already established a good deal of credibility. He obviously has extensive experience with this subject and has first-hand knowledge of its effectiveness on the Cambodian people. Credibility is also established by the simple fact that the article is appearing in the Washington Post National Weekly edition, which is a fairly credible source of information.

This entire subject matter is brimming with emotional sentiments. Mr. Brand is not only trying to stir up sympathy for the people of Cambodia who are suffering in their ignorance, but also trying to stir up memories of the past through his writings about Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge and the other atrocities. Mr. Brand seems to want to instill a sense of patriotism as well. By suggesting that the US might be the reason democracy fails in Cambodia, the author is trying to bolster our resolve to spread US ideals across the global, which will inevitably make it a “better place.”

His argument is logical – if we don’t do something, no one else will. He cites examples from the governing style of the new leader, Hun Sen, and the overlooked nature of the problem in Cambodia to illustrate that point. This argument is quite logical, especially to Americans, who are regularly confronted with this concept.


This article is well-written and is effective at gaining awareness for this issue. However, this article seems quite ineffective at creating a viable solution, or any solution for that matter. While he seems to desire a long-lasting, effective solution, he does nothing to promote one.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Technical Application - Introductions

My eyes were wide and my vision was blurred. As the wet spot on the front of my pants grew larger and larger, my first-grade brain, with its limited intelligence, began furiously grasping at potential options for an escape or cover-up for the current situation. Perhaps if I had been some sort of wild animal the “fight or flight” instinct would have kicked-in and I would have run away. Instead, my brain worked itself into such frenzy that it overheated and temporarily shut down. I stood there on the playground staring straight ahead when finally the yelling and laughing of my fellow schoolmates allowed for one thought to finally spark my brain back into gear: You just peed your pants and everyone knows it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Free Write - An Airing of Grievances

As I entered my last semester at college I was embraced by an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction and excitement. I felt that my last semester would be a shining capstone to my undergraduate educational experience. I entered my first classing with high expectation. I had put my time in and I thought that I had earned the respect and trust of my professors, educators and administrators. I thought that, finally, my classes would be a great culmination of my learning and knowledge where we would all focus on the big projects and papers that would truly help us in the real world, which just so happens to be knocking on the door. I thought that, finally, we would discard those petty, hollow assignments that have consumed practically every facet of my educational experience for over three years.

I have never been so mistaken and I have never deluded myself so much in my entire life.
Tri-weekly quizzes, bi-weekly quizzes, tri-weekly blog entries, weekly papers, and bi-weekly homework write-ups abound with unparalleled jurisdiction over my daily schedules. Here and there is an actual exam or paper, which generally makes up about 30 – 40% of my final grade. Where do these professors get off forcing us to complete these ludicrous assignments that count for only a fraction of my grade?

I have felt like any hope of gaining some actual knowledge, theory or practical application for the real world to come is fading at an alarming rate. Along with that fades my motivation and desire to do my best on the tasks before me. When will professors learn that there comes a point in the life of a student where you don’t need to babysit them with meaningless assignments?
I have comet to a point where I simply want to do my time, get an OK grade and move-on.

Maybe if I’m on my best behavior they’ll cut down on some of my workload? Maybe if I get some cigarettes I can trade them with someone for some better things to do that will teach me something? Essentially what I’m saying is this: pointless busy-work makes university life a prison and I’ve already begun digging a hole.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Technical Application

Enthymeme #1

My brother-in-law coming home after 9 pm (A) on his freedom (B)

Coming home after 9 pm causes my brother-in-law to lose his freedom because he is on parole and his parole officer will send him back to jail if he breaks curfew.

Enthymeme #2

Raising cage-free, farm fresh eggs in my apartment (A) on my contract with my housing complex (B)

Raising cage-free, farm fresh eggs in my apartment would be disastrous on my contract with my housing complex because that would require me to keep chickens in the apartment and I’m not allowed to have pets. (C)

Enthymeme #3

Losing all my hair (A) on my relationships with people in society (B)

Losing all my hair would be a hindrance on my relationships with people in society because most people are disgusted by those losing their hair. (C)

Enthymeme #4

Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination (A) on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (B)

Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination increases exposure and raises awareness about the church because many key aspects of his life will be further scrutinized by the public. (C)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis

When the Karmann Ghia was introduced, it was radically different from Volkswagen’s flagship car, the Beetle. It was sleeker, faster and a hybrid of German and Italian designs. The argument in this ad can be identified from its title - there's a little bug in every Karmann Ghia. Even though this new body type looks nothing like the Volkswagen Beetle, the same features that make that car great make this car great. The Karmann Ghia still has the same Volkswagen chassis, suspension, air-cooled engine and traction. In addition it still has that great Volkswagen price, low insurance rates and reliability.

That being said, Volkswagen’s target audience in this advertisement is current Volkswagen owners, lovers and enthusiasts. This advertisement is trying to specifically attract those with past, memorable Volkswagen experiences and play on those in order to gain interest in the Karmann Ghia.

Ethos – Volkswagen’s advertisement seems to be very credible. They list the Karmann Ghia’s specifications in the ad and link them back to the reliable Beetle. The ad is written in a very straightforward manner, lacking any catchy slogans or jive talking, which also adds to its credibility.

Pathos – There’s a sense of dry humor throughout the ad. Volkswagen makes fun of itself and its odd Beetle, while promoting this new sports car, which seems like it could have never rolled off any Volkswagen production line. This advertisement has a very light-hearted nature about it and seems to want to attract the same type of people.

Logos – Logically this entire ad makes sense. If you like Volkswagen Beetles and you like the way they drive, cost and perform, then you will assuredly enjoy and want to own a Karmann Ghia.

Overall, I thought this ad was very effective. Volkswagen targets its very loyal and distinct audience in a straightforward, no frills approach with a car that they’re sure to love as much as they love the Beetle. Just like they’re cars from the 50’s and 60’s, Volkswagen created an inexpensive, down-to-earth advertisement that speaks to the heart of all Volkswagen aficionados.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Free Write - My baby brother

If you were to ever make the acquaintance of my brother Spencer, you would immediately think that he has was a quiet, down-to-earth boy with no major problems in his life. However, upon further discussion and interaction you would soon realize that he is, most likely, afflicted with Tourette syndrome and, perhaps, mild-insanity.

Ever since he was about 8 years old, he has had a unique affinity with the vulgar and bizarre sides of our language. Upon meeting my friends and getting to know them fairly well, he would begin to suggest undertaking odd excursions such as getting some Hum-Vees (Hummer trucks) and running over people's scrotums. How he was going to acquire these trucks and how he would avoid killing these poor men while still running over their scrotums was beyond him, but nevertheless he felt this would be an exciting, worthwhile activity.

When Christmas came around and all of us would begin writing our lists for Santa, Spencer would refuse. When I asked him what he would like, he answered, "An ant so I can piss on it, so I can call it a piss ant." Christmas has come and gone several times since then and he still hasn't received any ants - lucky for us and the ants. His colorful language and expressions carried with him through the years. As he began playing video games he would begin complaining about the cost of certain essential items at stores in his video games. As I walked into the house with some friends he began yelling, "$20 for a G-D stick!" Apparently his character needed a stick and this was way out of his price range.

When Spencer got into middle school I began inquiring about his days and how he spent his time. His first response to this question was, "I pooped on the rug and smeared it with my buttocks." However, he didn't say buttocks like you or I would say it. He pronounced buttocks beau-ttocks, as in the pronunciation of beauty. To this day if I ask him what he did that day he will still give me the same answer.