Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blog #5

Select one of the rhetorical terms we have use in class and describe how McCain
and Obama use this effectively or ineffectively in their websites.

On John McCain's website, he makes the following statement:

Wherever there is a hungry child, a great cause exists to serve.
Where there is an illiterate adult, a great cause exists to serve.
Wherever there are people who are denied the basic rights of Man, a great cause exists to serve.
Wherever there is suffering, a great cause exists to serve.
McCain uses anaphora to make a pathetic argument about public service. Anaphora is the repetition of the same word at the beginning of a series of successive clauses or verses. In this case, it is the word wherever, which is then matched with one of society's shortcomings, and is then finished with "a great cause exists to serve."

I feel that this is an effective use of anaphora because it helps McCain's ongoing argument that he has dedicated his life to public service. He continues to plant the suggestion that his career as a politician is about the people he serves, rather than having to do with his own ego and ambitions. It's an effective argument because in these uncertain times, with the massive economic meltdown we've seen in the past couple weeks, the war in Iraq, and the current president who has proven that he is almost completely without morals, the people are looking for someone who puts their interests first. Joh McCain is trying to convince people that he is that person.

John, McCain. "Why John McCain." JohnMccain.com. Republican Party. 30 Sep 2008 .

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

1. Define warrant in your own terms. Why does argument work better when
warrants are shared by the arguer and the audience?

Warrants are often unstated beliefs, values, and principles that are part of arguments. Argument works better when warrants are shared because the disagreements of warrants can lead to different interpretations and therefore different outcomes of the argument.

2. Provide an example to support your claim.

People who know me are well aware that I have done a great deal of work in the roleplaying game industry. There are those who are only passingly familiar with this as "Dungeons and Dragons," or that weird game with books, paper and pencil, and miniature heroes and monsters. Someone who is not overly familiar with roleplaying might make the claim that this hobby is not mainstream. One of the supports they might use is that its players are not "normal" people. This taps into the warrants that the game it is commonly played by nerds, geeks and other social outcasts.

The support that these "not normal" people uses the warrant that players are mostly geeks, nerds, and outcasts. That is further broken down into the notion that nerds are socially maladjusted but incredibly intelligent people. A geek is a "peculiar or otherwise odd person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual". Outcasts can be a catchall that covers everyone else who doesn't act or dress in ways that are consistent with popular culture.

This argument is flawed, however, by the demographics of gamers. While the stereotypical gamer falls into the category of geeks and nerds, the truth of the matter is that most people who play the game are average people. This is backed up by surveys that have been conducted by people within the roleplaying game industry. These studies have shown that the average gamer is likely in college or has a college degree, they are just as likely to be married as the rest of the population, and they hold down ordinary and wide-ranging jobs. The only commonalities between most gamers are a high level of intelligence and a certain enjoyment for works of fantasy and schience fiction. Anecdotally, I am a game designer and a gamer myself, and the people I game with on a regular basis include someone with a degree in communications, a researcher at the vet clinic, and a guy who is very athletic as well as a doctor of genetics. I would further argue that of the four of us, only oneof us fits the classic definition of a geek.

The fact that the warrants are unspoken and not necessarily agreed upon leads to different conclusions among different audiences. The average, non-gaming audience might agree with the stereotype, and therefore agree that the hobby isn't mainstream. Those, like myself, who have inside (and not public) knowledge on sales figures, demographics, and a background of meeting actual gamers at conventions, know that the warrants are simply incorrect. Their characterization of gamers as being outside the norm isn't consistent with the facts because it isn't just nerds, geeks and outsiders playing these games.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blog #3

1. What is the most important feature of visual argument you learned from EOA? Why? (140-50 words).

According to Essentials of Argument, "Visual argument is immediate and tangible and pulls you into the picture. (237)" This seems like the most important point because to me, it does the best job summarizing the difference between a visual and written argument. A written argument relies on abstract symbols to convey a message, and while images are also symbols, they're not as abstract and they have the potential to draw a person into the message with a simple glance.

Just for fun, I've constructed my own visual argument that features certain people and events from this country's history. Anyone reading this blog, this is your chance to judge whether or not I've managed to convey my point. What is this argument about? Is it successful or not?

2. What is the most important feature of visual image you learned from McCloud? Why? (140-50 words).

The most important thing I learned from McCloud is the relationship between the reader/watcher when they see a cartoon face as opposed to when they see a real face. When the person has a face-to-face conversation with another person, they have an image in their mind of the person they are speaking with which is accurate based on their perception. However, at the same time, they have a perception of their own face which is not as vivid, and contains more of a general "sense of shape..... A sense of general placement. (207)" Because a person doesn't see themselves in a photo-realistic sense, when they see a cartoon image of a face, it is easy for them to view the cartoon as a representation of themselves.

1. Wood, Nancy. Essentials of Argument. 2nd. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc, 2009.

McCloud, Scott. "The Vocabulary of Comics." Visual Rhetoric in a Digital World 195 - 208. 10 Sep 2008 .