WRD 104: Composition & Rhetoric II Rotating Header Image

Values-based persuasion (Brooks)

“This Western civ narrative came with certain values — about the importance of reasoned discourse, the importance of property rights, the need for a public square that was religiously informed but not theocratically dominated. It set a standard for what great statesmanship looked like. It gave diverse people a sense of shared mission and a common vocabulary, set a framework within which political argument could happen and most important provided a set of common goals.”

David Brooks: The Crisis of Western Civ


Adam, Eve, Love, and Stephanie’s Contextual Analysis

Here’s the book review that serendipitously addresses Stephanie’s Inquiry Question:

Romantic love is a myth. You don’t choose a partner because you love him. You love that partner because you chose him. Which explains the plague of our time. Too many choices, too many channels, too many potential hookups — it’s made it just about impossible to choose, and if it’s just about impossible to choose, it’s just about impossible to love, and if it’s just about impossible to love, then, according to “The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us,” by Bruce Feiler, it’s just about impossible to be fully human. Why were Adam and Eve able to love each other so fiercely? Because those lucky bastards had no choice.

The closing lines of Paradise Lost we read in class:

Som natural tears they drop’d, but wip’d them soon; 
The World was all before them, where to choose
Thir place of rest, and Providence thir guide:
They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow,
Through Eden took thir solitarie way.

Contextual Analysis Projects

  • Stephanie A.: TBA
  • Henry B.: “How is the Concept of Race Taught in Schools?”
  • Georgia B.: TBA
  • Andrea B.: “What is the Current Debate on Animal Rights?”
  • Deja C.: “What is the Relationship between Athletes and Performance Enhancing Drugs?”
  • Lexi F.: “Is there a Link between Fashion and Low Self Esteem in Young Women?”
  • Jumma G.: “What is a Terrorist?”
  • Ellen G. “What is Creativity?”
  • Adam G. “What is Loneliness?”
  • Jamie: TBA
  • Liv.H.: “What is Optimism?”
  • Isabelle J.: “Does our Relationship to Food Mimic our Relationship to Romantic Love?”
  • Raina K.: “What are the Stigmas of Mental Illness?”
  • Cameron K.: “Is there a Psychological Factor in Inequality?”
  • Michael L.: “What Impact does the Meat Industry have on our Environment?”
  • Jennifer L.: “What is an Immigrant?”
  • Salvatore: “What Kind of Culture Produces a 19 year-old who Doesn’t Care about Anything?”
  • Katlyn M.: “Where does Confidence Come From?”
  • Stephanie N.: “How is Romantic Love Different than Companionate Love?” 
  • Katie P.: “How are Students with ADHD Affected by Formalized Education?” 
  • Markiyan P.: “What has the Partisan Divide Done to our Country?”
  • Juan S.: “Are Athletes Born or Made?”
  • Lucy W.: “Are Americans Over-Medicated?”

Contextual Analysis Proposal Criteria Checklist

checkmarkYour issue and inquiry question are debatable; we can find credible sources where people take different and plausible positions on them

checkmarkYour issue and inquiry question affect you in some demonstrable way; your proximity to the issue is close

checkmarkYour proposal articulates the relevance of the project, and to whom it might be relevant

checkmarkYour proposal includes two Rhetorical Précis

checkmarkYour proposal includes a visual representation of your inquiry question and groups who might have a stake in it

Contextual Analysis Project Resoures

In the spirit of problem solving and self-regulated learning, here’s what we brainstormed in class yesterday:

It’ll be smart of you to track your progress at every stage of our process so that you can both self-assess and know when & where to identify resources for help. Depending on your own process, this might look different for different people: 

[these links aren’t currently working; check back later]

Page A1 photography

“Every wolf in Yellowstone therefore is more than just a wolf.”

It’s also a good case study in the integration of sources and quotes:

Every wolf in Yellowstone therefore is more than just a wolf. Imbued with profound symbolic meaning, each wolf embodies the divergent goals of competing social movements involved in the reintroduction debate. Framed by environmentalists and their wise use opponents as another line in the sand in their ongoing battle for the heart and soul of the West, wolf reintroduction is a high-stakes political conflict. Wolf recovery is often portrayed by environmentalists as being symptomatic of a culture in transition–an inevitable change (Askins, 1995). It is an image that plays especially well with the media: “[T]he wolf issue pits the New West against the Old West” (Johnson, 1994, p. 12), a milestone in the “transformation of power” from the Old West (Brandon, 1995, p.8). Wolf restoration clearly represents change, but sound bites that reduce the social struggle over wolves to an “inevitable” transition from the old to the new are inadequate. They do not explain the underlying social issues driving the transformation. They do not capture the essence of social negotiation, the give-and-take of political exchange between social movements struggling to define the western landscape. Nor do they acknowledge that these social issues will remain after the wolf controversy has exited the center stage of public policy discourse.

Wilson, Matthew. “The Wolf in Yellowstone: Science, Symbol, or Politics? Deconstructing the Conflict between Environmentalism and Wise Use.” Society & Natural Resources. 10(1997): 453-468.

Follow-up Notes

For those of you who would like to follow-up on some points from last week: 

We talked about how sometimes the “debate” politicians are having often seems like a debate about something else. From “Do Tax Cuts Really Spur Growth? It Depends on the Details,” this serendipitous detail:

Indeed, you could argue that the liberals’ and conservatives’ differences on taxes is less a technocratic debate over optimal taxation but a proxy war for a bigger philosophical argument on the role of government.

“A lot of the debate about taxes is really a debate about spending,” said Leonard E. Burman, who studies tax policy at the Urban Institute. “What is the role of government, and what is the value of government spending? Those tend to be the real underlying question.”

“Chase Had Ads on 400,000 Sites. Then on Just 5,000. Same Results.”

“As of a few weeks ago, advertisements for JPMorgan Chase were appearing on about 400,000 websites a month. It is the sort of eye-popping number that has become the norm these days for big companies that use automated tools to reach consumers online.”

“Now, as more and more brands find their ads popping up next to toxic content like fake news sites or offensive YouTube videos, JPMorgan has limited its display ads to about 5,000 websites it has preapproved, said Kristin Lemkau, the bank’s chief marketing officer. Surprisingly, the company is seeing little change in the cost of impressions or the visibility of its ads on the internet, she said. An impression is generally counted each time an ad is shown.”

6 Reasons You May Not Graduate on Time

“Graduating from a four-year college in four years may sound like a fairly straightforward venture, but only 41 percent of students manage to do it.

Tomaselli’s Collages