Saturday, September 11, 2010

Analysis of Abundance

Pink’s punnish humor (that’s a pun in itself when you pronounce it.) coupled with his relatable anecdotes establish a sort of trust between him and the audience which ultimately leads said audience to consider his argument stating that Americans own abundance of objects has not increased their happiness, leading them to seek meaning and value in life through intangible methods and concepts. When Pink says, “one last- and illuminating- statistic,” (p. 33) he allows a useful facet of his writing style to shine through; his laid-back appeal. He is making a pun, considering the statistic is about candles. Honestly, take out the humor in this piece and what is left? Nothing but boring statistics and dry arguments. His humor, no matter how unattractive to me, makes this piece more readable be a factor of one-thousand. Moreover, many readers will find this far more hilarious than I and continue to scour his work for as many puns as possible. Aside from keeping the reader attentive, this also makes the writer seem more human, and far more likable, which in turn conjures a fair amount of trust from the reader. But on another note, not only is this guy funny, but he also is a family man. To tell the truth, when I think successful writer, I imagine a person with loads of money that do not spend near as much time with their family as they should. However, this man seems to be different, for he even mentions taking a “back-to-school shopping excursion” (p.31) with his wife and three kids. By saying this he not only provides a great example for his point, but he also establishes that he too is an ordinary man. He is not a high-and-mighty scientist or a corrupt politician, but a normal man that goes shopping (when absolutely necessary) with his wife and kids. In doing so, he again appeals to ethos by establishing he is just an honest person with a family, like many of his readers. Moreover, he is decent enough to go CLOTHES SHOPPING with HIS WIFE! Wow, that takes a bit of courage… and/or a very fat wallet. All joking aside, in doing so he uses plain-folks appeal, further evoking trust from the audience. After reading this excerpt from Pink’s A Whole New Mind I must say, Pink appears to be quite a joker as well as quite a decent fellow, furthering his credibility and causing many readers to trust him and his argument quite a bit more.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bullies and Extremists

(Please note this post contains spoilers regarding Nineteen Minutes. Continue reading at your own risk.)

Sometimes a catastrophic calamity brings positive change that absolutely needs to occur. Such a terrible truth rears its ugly head in Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes as a brutal school shooting occurs, planned and orchestrated by Peter Houghton, a relentlessly bullied teenager. As can be expected, before the shooting, jocks and preps plagued and bullied all other groups, but afterward everyone appears to get along, perhaps out of fear or maybe they learned a lesson. For the record, I do not view Peter’s actions as the best or even a remotely good choice, but the end result is certainly preferable to how the social structure stood before.

In a sort of roundabout way, this incident relates to terror organizations, such as Muslim extremists and the rest of the world. For decades they have been setting off car bombs and using suicide bombers to “bully” the rest of the world. Let’s not forget the crippling blow 9/11 dealt us as well. True, this belongs on a completely different scale than the tribulations Peter and others had to experience, but a striking parallelism does exist. Why did people bully Peter? They wanted him to fear them and the action made them feel superior to him. Why do extremists terrorize the rest of the world? Their terrorization produces terror, and they want the world to submit to Muslim ways and practices, thus seeing them as better than our own.

On a final note, going around and killing random extremists will not solve the problem, but only increase it. When one falls they are viewed as a martyr, and people connected to them that are not radical will take up the flag from their fallen brethren, thus becoming radical extremists and adding to the problem. Therefore, the problem cannot be solved as Peter had done, but can only be solved from within the communities in which these people reside.