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.