Archive for September, 2010


Appeal is important when trying to share anything, especially ideas. The art of using language to effectively communicate an idea is called rhetoric. Aristotle’s divided rhetorical appeal into three sections; ethos, pathos, and logos. These three subjects of appeal are basically defined as follows; ethos being the credibility of the author, pathos being the emotional appeal of a piece, and logos being the reasoning of it.

In elementary, the books we read probably had a watered down version of these three elements of appeal in them, if they even had appeal at all. Credibility however, probably wasn’t even a part of my vocabulary at that age, although I could see how ethics would be an important thing to introduce to kids. The ethical appeal actually seems to come from whoever is reading the text to us, until we reach the age where we start to read for ourselves. If we respect and like someone it’s more likely that we’ll listen to them, then and now. I know that this can sometimes involve the pitch of our voice instead of our position in the eyes of the listener, my sisters who work with kids were taught to reach high and low peaks in their voice while reading and speaking to kids in order to get their attention. During middle school and more so in high school the credibility of a writer did come up when we read books about important historical moments. The author’s past would usually be directly affected by the subject of his/her writings. When we were beginning to learn about plagiarism, we must have also been taught about credibility because that’s what plagiarism diminishes, our credibility.

Emotional appeal has definitely been my favorite line to bite. In elementary everything seemed to be about happy times. During middle school only one reading comes up in my memory as emotionally appealing. It was an article about a woman who was raped in front of many neighbors and witnesses, and no one did anything to stop it. During a time of self absorbed sorrow and ego-gratifying immaturity we probably needed a sad story like this to remind us that we are all human and are all in this world together. During high school I found some very nice books with stories that involved drugs, sex, death and life. I loved it. Some of these books brought me to tears in pity of the young confused girl, others to a red faced anger towards the antagonist mother who beat her child. High school and teen years are rough, but reminders of how lucky we are keep us sympathetic towards our fellow human beings. These books still had credible and logical appeal but the strength of the story seemed to be in the pathos.

Logic, can it even be possible in fiction? During elementary and middle school fiction seemed more popular, the reasoning  for why horses were flying over earth however, was because they carried a God to heaven. This was interesting but not very logical because we were also being taught that the sun was very hot and could melt anything, even a horse. We must have learned the difference between literal work and fictional work before we learned about science otherwise we would’ve had a lot confused parents wondering what their kids were soon to be diagnosed with. In high school logic was the main part of the class, especially senior year and coming to college I am glad that my teacher introduced the Toulman essay format to us.

A group of people at school today were tabling by Sierra Tower with an image of Obama sporting a propaganda trendy Hitler-mustache. I’m not exactly sure what they were about but it was obvious what they weren’t about, Obama’s fascist agenda. Were these people socialist then? Probably. What the hell was the purpose of this guy telling me ” hey man…lets fire Obama,” I thought to myself. Well lets talk about it I decided, “Why?” The man then went on to describe Obama’s current actions on employment in general as fascist. When asked what specifically what was fascist about Obama’s actions he brought up a plan that his group seemed to be supporting that would drain water from Alaska and bring it to Southern California. The plan is called NAWAPA, the North American Water and Power Alliance.  The purpose: to create jobs and make use of tons of apparently unused water. The reason it didnt get done in the sixties: growing concern over the environment, a movement that supporters of NAWAPA call eco-fascism. Fascism because… I don’t really know why, so I read some blogs and texts that supporters have irrigated the internet with.

The estimated cost of making the NAWAPA plan happen is less than the cost of the financial bailout. Fascism is defined as government acting on behalf of corporate interest. In fact, thats exactly who this plan would benefit, land developers. Jobs will no doubt be created, and water will come to Southern California, despite the damage to nature that was not even acknowledged in any of the pro-NAWAPA arguments that I saw.

So why fascism? “Socialism!” must not be a popular fear among college students. Well I believe it’s all  propaganda. When healthcare was being debated on, the word was socialism. Despite the fact that the socialist view runs opposite to the fascist view, Obama was portrayed in posters as a Hitler wearing socialist oxymoron, literally. Well to be fair, the people on campus also mentioned Bush with Obama. I remember being intrigued by “Bush is a Nazi” posters when I was in middle school. I knew for some reason, that I didn’t agree with this man(Bush). After seeing “War Criminal” and “Bush is a Nazi” on posters in the room of someone I respected as an artist somehow i wanted to agree with those views. Thank God I didn’t have the chance to mindlessly go out and rant about nonsense to a news person during a protest I would have known nothing about, because I would have been a Nazi. I would have helped spread propaganda to people without thinking or backing what I was saying. I would have even been a fascist if my words were to have incited hate and violence. I would have been an idiot and a fool if I didn’t back up my analogies with clear reasons as to why Bush was a Nazi. The people who stood at the Sierra Tower yesterday spreading propaganda comparing Hitler to Obama and calling his actions, or rather in-action on NAWAPA, fascist came off as fascist Nazi’s. All they needed was a square mustache.

Yeah it was a tragedy!

1) Dr. P’s case was one of the most interesting of the three stories discussed in the text. Not only because it is the most fresh in my mind, but because there was a sense of a personal relationship between reader and subject. I could not understand how Dr. P does not recognize that an extreme change has taken place in his neural activity. The transition must have been slow or the shift in personality must have come as natural to him as the activity in his shift in neural activity. The text was appealing because the writer seemed very passionate about the subject, Dr. P and his condition. The tone was serious but the writers analysis of the patient would be interrupted by personal accounts from the writer’s perspective of how astonished and amazed he was at how the patient behaved. This style, mixed with some accounts of the patient’s behavior when it came to his family made me more sympathetic towards the subject.

Dr. Cicoria’s case is very interesting as well. His account makes me want to get hit by lightning! One thing that was mentioned later on in the text was that perception is affected with no sense of reality. The tone seemed positive I like that it focused on how Cicaria’s life has been affected.

2) All the text had who’s, what’s, and why’s even though they all went in different directions with their explanations. All had some visible tone. The first was shocking, no pun intended, the middle was a bit of a downer, and the third was almost personal in that it mentioned the relationship between the subject and the observer from the observer’s point of view. All had interesting data but I personally found the personal accounts of people with irregular brain activity to be more interesting than research on n infection, although the connections between them, like proteins’ role in enhancing perception, made all the articles more interesting.

I think it’s important for scientists and philosophers to write in an appealing matter because for many people, what scientists or philosophers specialize in may not be immediately appealing. However great some ideas or discoveries may be mainstream society is only interested in things that have an obvious influence on their lives. I base this on what I see on the media. Whatever the topic being covered is, it usually has affected a large part of the population and when scientists or philosophers are welcomed into the discussion they have insightful information and perspectives but they’re tone must be delivered in an appealing way for people to be interested and listen. In any field this is the case. Philosophers and scientists however take on some of humanities more intellectual problems and need to tune their messages in ways that people can understand and take interest in.

transcending lines

There was an old man from Peru
Who dreamt he was eating his shoe.
He awoke in a fright
In the middle of the night
And found it was perfectly true.

” In dreams one is not tethered by earthly limitations.”-Gary

“What does that mean?”-Spongebob

“Come.”-Gary

This poem is used by Gary(Spongebob’s pet snail) to explain to Spongebob the fantastical power of dreams. Good points are made about dreams through comedy in this episode.  The poem is a funny example of a dream’s powers over our realties. Spongebob finds out in the end of the episode that he shouldn’t be messing with other people’s dreams. Theres something in this, a point can be drawn anywhere from anything, even from a fantastic dream or a random quote, a point can be made.

Political satire is another great example of points being made from two inherently different perspectives. A very serious one, and a playful one in this case. But when comedy and politics mix the kinds of discussions possible change. Take John Stewart’s critiques of Fox News. Fox News’ coverage of events is a regular source of comedy for the show. Lies about poll numbers, and distortions about events to favor one side over the other are exposed frequently on Stewart’s show. One recent episode includes a parody of  a dangerous method of making political connections  based on business alone, in a few steps John discovers that one of the largest News Corp.(Fox’s parent company) stockholders is a possible “terrorism supporter” as labeled by Fox News. Through comedy, new audiences are reached. John’s show reaches to an audience in between people who watch the news for information, and people who watch comedy central for laughs, and in return a new audience is found. As evident by the Colbert Show and the  D.L. Hughley show on CNN, this audience has also grown into an important group of people who find humor in some bad situations. Sometimes refereed to by Fox’s O’Reilly as ” stoned slackers.”

Ideas transcend barriers and labels when one method is used to explain what seems like a completely unrelated subject. In fact, new genres and methods can be created this way. Gothic music came from a surprising mix of soft melancholy synthetic sounds and punk’s angry and abandoned energy. Bauhaus, a band regularly referred to as the pioneers of goth, rejected the label for a long time before finally owning up to it as somewhat of a creation of theirs. Their blend of Jamaican dub music, punk and psychedelic rock came together in a dark cloud of eclectic noise which soon became goth.

In page twenty-four of my English 155 course reader book the author includes an interesting radio broadcast which seems to be from ” the Intergalactic Trust”  in which our planet Earth is studied and our awareness on intellectual disciplines is analyzed. One of the most interesting bits in the interception is when the aliens mention our ignorance of the relationship between love and physics, or science and the arts. We “curiously treat them as separate realms,” there’s more room for discussion about something specific when doing this, but by singling things out what are we missing out on? There are things related to what we study, some more important, some less and some at the same level. When we cross over from one subject to another and find commons between them, a whole new realm of possible discussions can begin.

http://spongebob.nick.com/videos/play/sleepytime-full-episode/ (Spongebob Sleepy Time episde)
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-august-23-2010/the-parent-company-trap (John Stewart's discovery of terrorism funding Fox News) 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKRJfIPiJGY (Bauhaus video, Bela Legusi's Dead)
Pg 24 of Course reader, Alien Minds:a midsummer night's dream