Essay: Modern Rhetoric

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¶ … Hate Begets Hate," http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/opinion/05tue2.html

A piece of writing cannot be rhetorically analyzed in isolation but must be considered within the context in which it was written. This editorial is an excellent example of well-timed rhetoric in that it meets the criterion of exigency. The topic -- currently proposed legislation in Uganda that would impose the death sentence for homosexuality -- is of immediate concern since international criticism may be able to derail the proposed law.

I believe that the editorial writers have properly gauged the nature of their audience in that they have correctly assessed both the emotional and psychological make-up of their readers, who are likely to be both liberal (and so agree with the editorial's criticism of the abridgement of the civil rights of gays) and politically engaged, which means that they are likely to be interested in the ways in which public policy is constructed. The fact that there is an American political angle to the issue is likely also to be of concern to the Times' audience. The editorial argues that "the American government, and others, should make clear to Uganda that if this legislation becomes law, it will lose millions of dollars in foreign aid and be shunned globally." Such an exhortation provides the readers with an action that they can take, which is to urge their own political leaders to intercede.

The editorial faces the constraints of any newspaper editorial. The chief of these constraints is the brevity of editorials. The writers have done a fine job of navigating such limitations by being highly economical with their words. For example, in describing the complicity of American evangelical leaders in this proposed law, they note that the men's teachings "about "curing" gays and lesbians have been widely discredited in the United States" as they have "claimed that gays and lesbians are a threat to Bible-based family values." These few words convey an accurate sense to the reader of the beliefs of the Americans who have traveled to Uganda to preach.

I believe that this editorial does achieve the kairotic moment in that it meets the needs of its intended audience at a particular moment in time.

Analysis of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech

I believe that President Obama's acceptance speech demonstrates many of the rhetorical devices that we have been studying. It fulfills both of Bitzer's comments about audience and situation, as can be seen in these lines: "Still, we are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed." Obama's being awarded the peace prize while (as he… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Modern Rhetoric."  Essaytown.com.  January 6, 2010.  Accessed November 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/modern-rhetoric/9354108.