Opposing Viewpoints Essay

Topics: Television, Rhetoric, Critical thinking Pages: 5 (1550 words) Published: November 13, 2014
Madison Martin
CORE 101-19
10/14/14

Opposing Viewpoints Essay

Everyone has their own opinion. The person sitting next to you can have an entirely different outlook on something you do. Having different opinions is what makes for interesting arguments. Especially an author and a critic… like Steven Johnson and Dana Stevens. In the article “Watching TV Makes You Smarter”, Steven Johnson believes that TV does make you smarter, while in her article “Thinking Outside the Idiot Box” Dana Stevens completely disagrees and critiques his article. The two have opposing views on the topic. Both these writers use different examples of ethos, pathos, and logos in their articles to back up their opinion and make for an interesting argument. In my opinion, Dana Stevens overall did a better job at using ethos, pathos, and logos to back up her argument. “From the vantage point of someone who watches a hell of a lot of TV (but still far less than the average American), the medium seems neither like a brain-liquefying poison nor a salutary tonic” (Stevens, 2012, p. 298). This quote is what Steven really tries to prove the whole article and back up with her arguments.

Ethos has to do with credibility and trustworthiness. It is usually conveyed through the tone, and the writer’s reputation. This technique is used to make people seem credible and someone whom we respect.

Dana Stevens uses ethos very well when trying to make her argument in “Thinking outside the idiot box.” Stevens starts off with informing the audience that she has a Ph.D in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley. If the author has earned her a Ph.D in comparative literature that gives her credibility because she has had to go through a lot of years of schooling and she has a lot of writing experience by now after getting a job in the field. “Dana Stevens is Slate’s movie critic and has also written for the New York Times, Bookforum, and the Atlantic” (Stevens, 2012, p. 295) is just another example of how experienced Dana Stevens has a lot of experience with her work and knows what she is talking about.

Steven Johnson used ethos the best in his argument. In the beginning he is introduced as: “Steven Johnson is the author of seven books, among them Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter (2005) and Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation (2010). Johnson is also a contributing editor for Wired, writers a monthly column for Discover, and teachers journalism at New York University.” (Johnson, 2012, p. 277) He is the author of seven other books and list them all. It then goes on to say Johnson is a contributing editor for Wired, he writers a monthly column for Discover, and teachers journalism at New York University. All of these things about Johnson give him a lot of credibility to begin with. Pathos has to do with appealing to your audiences emotion. Using imaginative impact, and stories can convince your audience of your argument by creating an emotional response. Tone is also a huge part of pathos, the way you state your argument can have a impact on their opinion.

Dana Stevens wants to expose Steven Johnsons article and she does so by using pathos to get to the audiences emotions. At some points Stevens even makes fun of Johnson when she says “ Johnson’s claim for television as a tool for brain enhancement seems deeply, hilariously bogus.” (Stevens, 2012, p. 297) This statement impacts the audiences emotions by making the reader feel kind of dumb if they actually agreed with Johnson that television makes you smarter, dumb enough that it would be hilarious if they were to actually believe that. She also makes a point when she says “he breezily dismisses recent controversies about the program’s representation of Muslim terrorists or it implicit endorsement of torture, preferring to concentrate on how the show’s formal structure teaches us to “pay...
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