Compared to other days of the week, there appeared to be a lull in the Listserv this Tuesday. Other than the occasional post mentioning conference deadlines and one about a Houston Writing Fellows Application, not too much was going on. However, one post did seem to generate a bit of interest to those of us who checked the Listserv every now and then.
An article from the Onion found its way into the Listserv this Tuesday, thanks to a poster named Daniel Clearly. Hopefully everyone knows what the Onion is, but if not, here's a brief description. The Onion is a satirical media company (I did say brief). They write over the top articles, pointing out the downfalls and flaws in society. This particular article, "Stating Current Year Still Leading Argument For Social Reform" went on to discuss how, when one wants to back up their points in an argument, they need to boldly state the year as follows, "Its 2014!" Here's the full article, in case anyone wanted to effectively learn how to win an argument:
WASHINGTON—According to a report released Monday by the Brookings
Institution, the single most effective argument in favor of social
reform continues to be indignantly saying aloud what the current year
is. “When it comes to making a case for reordering the social order,
we’ve failed to find any rhetorical strategy more effective or
compelling than saying ‘It’s 2014!’ and asking why societal change
hasn’t occurred,” said policy analyst Brad Katz, adding that the
argument was even more powerful when immediately followed with the
phrases “I mean, come on!” or “for crying out loud!” “Furthermore, we
found that all social progress throughout our history—including
abolition, women’s suffrage, and the entire gay rights movement—can be
credited to stating the current year, claiming you don’t know what year
defenders of the status quo are living in, and reminding them that if
they happened to look at a calendar, they would notice that the year you
stated is the current year.” However, the report noted that Americans
have recently seen a sharp decline in the effectiveness of stating what
country this is.
While enjoyable to read and quite funny (maybe not you, but I thought it was anyway), the article has a point, wrapping up with the fact that saying "This is America" no longer holds the weight that it once did. Now, when one says "This is America", the phrase almost can be taken in a mocking way. This is especially true when the word "America" is simplified to the spelling "'Murica".
Those who commented on the post in the Listserv had little to say, mainly just one-liners relating to the article, mentioning that "What about the children?" and "It's the right thing to do" are also good argument winners. Others said they would send the article to their students, mainly just to pass on a laugh. While articles by The Onion should be taken with a grain of salt, this one in particular does say a lot about they way people attempt to get their point across. When all words fail them, or they just can't simply form their argument, the only thing left for them to do is to mention the year, in hopes that somehow it will make their point seem more valid. As a perfect example of this tactic, here is some sad Leo to brighten your day.
2/25/2014 12:50:47 am
I think this would be a fun in-class assignment: coming up with the most ridiculous and frustrating forms of argument that you can. Because, I'm telling you, I've seen almost all of them in a paper at one time or another. "Since the Dawn of Man" always indicates the start of a very excellent argument. Also, "Webster's Dictionary defines. . . ". Always something good following that line.
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This blog is a reactionary overview of the daily posts to the Writing Program Administrator's listserv. One day; one blogger; lots of reactions.