Students will be able to identify argumentative techniques in media.
Update: Sold my Eagle to a guy on Craigslist Saturday who hoped to repair and make it live again. There is hope.
Update 2: I nearly died AGAIN yesterday. My husband and I were on our way home from church when we heard sirens and pulled over. Zooming down the street in front of us was a Ford F350 being chased by two cruisers. As we sat in our turn lane, the truck jumped the curb and smashed into the engine of the SUV one lane over from us. The cruisers swiveled to block the intersection and the officers jumped out, guns drawn. I sat and watched all this like an episode of NCIS when my intelligent, well-trained husband pushed me under the dashboard away from any potential gunfire. The cops got the driver onto the pavement and cuffed while I realized that if the SUV hadn’t been there, the pickup would’ve smashed into the driver’s side of the Firebird, and I would NOT have walked away. I’m not exactly sure what I did to anger some weird higher power, but potential death by deer, car crash, and stray bullet fire does make me wonder.
Anyway, this story made a great example for my students in explaining anecdotal evidence in our discussion about argument techniques. If I were giving a speech on the increasing crime in my town, I could use that anecdote to back my claim. However, if I were to say I was now an expert in local crime due to this experience, I would be committing an ethical fallacy. We spent most of class watching Super Bowl commercials and discussing the use of Aristotle’s famous ethos, logos, and pathos appeals in persuading an audience. For example, the Jeep ad that particularly irked me:
This ad is chuck full of pathos – appealing to my emotion, values, and beliefs. I saw this six times today and teared up every time, then got a little angry at Jeep for seemingly exploiting soldiers and families to sell their product. Mostly I feel like Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan made a boatload selling Samsung products; I know Jeep partnered with USO, but soldiers have to feel *a little* exploited being used to sell cars.
Another favorite for my students was the Taco Bell spot. They liked the pathos argument that Taco Bell was for all ages, and they loved when the old guy flashed his nipple in the restaurant window. They also enjoyed Audi’s spot:
I think the prom/high school aspect appealed to them. This contained a logical fallacy – how can driving a car cause bravery?
Hands down favorite among the sophomores was the Doritos goat commercial. I have to hand it to Doritos though; unlike many ads that are funny but I can’t remember the product, or ads where I don’t figure out what it’s for until the end when they tell me, the Doritos campaign is vulgar and weird but very clear on what they are selling. The goat likes Doritos. Too much. Obnoxiously too much. Sell the murderous goat so you can eat all the Doritos. I think my favorite/grossest Dorito ad was the 2011 Super Bowl spot with the dude licking fingers. Because seriously, licking your orange fingers at the end is TOTALLY the best part.
Today went nice and fast; I’m having more students stay after school to work on stuff in preparation for standardized testing, so my day goes quickly. My evenings go even quicker though; when am I supposed to get any grading done when I’m too busy dodging deer and blogging?