Archive for September, 2014

Rhetorical Analysis Formal Proposal

s.chowdhury on Sep 30th 2014

I want to investigate media consolidation, specifically the Comcast and Timer Warner merger. Being a journalism major, this topic speaks directly to me and it’s one that I am very passionate about. I have strong feelings on the topic of media consolidation, and I am going to thoroughly enjoy writing the third paper when I can insert my own opinion. I actually remember the morning that the news broke about the merger, and I’ve been following the coverage since. I was originally going to use initial coverage of the New York Times on the merger, but I’ve decided to use The Washington Post instead. The Post’s article was actually how I had found out about the merger, and it just feels right to use this one rather than the NYT, though both have the same approach. As the counter piece, I’m going to use Comcast’s argument published on their respective site justifying the merger. Comcast argues that the merger  is pro-consumer, pro-competitive, and in the public interest, while the Washington Post focuses on the increase in size of Comcast that will occur with the merger and thus the potential increase in power that they will have over the industry. I think it’ll be an interesting analysis to show how The Post from the lede puts in our head that this merger should be shut down, while Comcast tries to assure the public and stakeholders that this merger is beneficial.

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Response to “The Rhetorical Situation” – 09/30

s.chowdhury on Sep 29th 2014

In “The Rhetorical Situation,” Bitzer emphasizes the importance of the contextual situation that surrounds rhetoric. He really hounds at the idea that the situation is what brings the rhetoric into being. He uses the example of the fisherman (4) to show how on the most basic level, the situation drives the speech. Rhetoric is just empty words otherwise, the situation is what gives the speech impact. Further when analyzing rhetoric, identifying the exigence, audience, and constraints helps to establish the situation, and then conclude if the rhetoric is appropriate to the situation, and thus successful.

I think to some level or another we all know that the situation is important, but I don’t think we realize that the famous rhetorical speeches that we now study and discuss (i.e. Gettysburg Address, JFK’s Inaugural Address, etc.) would not exist without the respective conditions surrounding them. The situation controls the response; the significance is given by the situation. Bitzer does a good job in bringing this to the forefront, and really highlighting why the situation is so essential to understand and analyze when looking at rhetoric. I think often times we look at rhetorical writing without taking in in the context as well and we lose the full meaning.

At one point Bitzer says that rhetoric is created to have positive outcomes, however, there is a lot of rhetoric that calls for negative actions – how does Bitzer define positive?


Emma Watson’s Speech at the UN

The exigence for Emma Watson’s speech is the low rate of women that define themselves as feminists as well as the the lack of men who identify themselves as advocates for equal right. There’s a certain negative connotation that has formed around the term “feminism” that has really been around since the origins of the movement several years ago but more prevalent now. Emma addresses the real meaning of being a feminist and why it is important for both men and women to stand up for it. Her primary audience was the United Nations but her secondary audience was everyone else who saw the speech and are now advocating HeforShe (celebrities, average people). The constraints would be antifeminist who are going to see everything wrong in her speech and tear it apart, and also just her ethos. As far as I know, (I don’t really follow her closely) she does have a good reputation but she is still known as the “Harry Potter girl.” This is something she even addressed in her speech, that she herself doesn’t know if she is qualified to speak and I think her addressing it actually made her speech stronger. However, the constraint still exists.

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Ideas for Rhetorical Analysis Project

s.chowdhury on Sep 25th 2014

Topic 1: Media Consolidation – Comcast & Time Warner Merger

  • Comcast Petition:
  • Netflix Petition:

Topic 2: Do Muslim Women Need Saving? 

  • Lila Abu-Lughod “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others”
  • Marnia Lazreg Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women “Letter 5: Why Women Should Not Wear the Veil” – Hardcopy


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Ferguson Article Comparison

s.chowdhury on Sep 18th 2014

Democracy Now:

The main argument is that the police force is abusing the military equipment that they have possession of. The purpose is to alert the public of the issue and have more regulations and restrictions put on access and usage of the equipment. The primary audience are the public who can protest and ask for change. The secondary audience are politicians. The exigence is the increasing militarization of the police. A possible constraint is the police force, as they would defend their actions or take offense to it. The article utilizes pathos especially with the story of the toddler that was injured by the flashbang grenade. It’s a horrifying thing to hear that an innocent child was injured because of police militarization – it causes anger and empathy in the readers. The article also provides us with a statistic, that only 7% of raids are for genuine emergencies which is an extremely low percentage and shows that the military equipment is not necessary. Kara Danksy is the woman who did all of the research and so bringing her on to speak on it establishes creditability.


The main argument is that some schools are using the Ferguson shooting to connect to the radical movements (as seen by Fox) of the Black Panther and Malcom X. The purpose is to show the extreme end that the schools are using and the ridiculousness of it. One of the quotes reads, “The issue of police brutality in communities of color has a long history and the Panther platform gives an example of how to turn grievances into a clear set of goals for meaningful change.” The use of the word “grievances” make the issue seem almost petty and unnecessary. The primary audience are the parents and the secondary audience are the schools. The exigence is schools are taking a radical approach to educating children on the situation. A possible constraint would be supporters of these movements and minority groups.The article defines the platform of The Black Panther Party and Malcolm X. The use of logos tries to exemplify the radicalness of the platform, hence also that of the curriculum.

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Response to “What is Rhetoric?” – 9/16

s.chowdhury on Sep 16th 2014

Although ethos, pathos, and logos are three different rhetorical strategies, the concepts do not work on its own. I agree with Miller that in order for the piece itself to be effective, the rhetor must connect all three. And, the reader, in order to effectively analyze the rhetoric, must understand how the three are intertwined. Ethos, pathos, and logos are referred to as being a part of the rhetorical triangle. It is not simply a triangle because there are three strategies – there was no need to call it a triangle – so why call it a triangle? Because the three points are connected, working off of each other and with each other to persuade the reader that what they are saying is of merit and should be listened to.

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