Archive for the ‘news’ Category

The Colbert Report

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

The Colbert Report: The entire concept for this satirical news program is the rediculous nature of the host character. This becomes somewhat complicated in distinction from its actor of the same name. However, the character of the host is an exaggerated conservative anchor stereotype. His ignorance and other problems are fabricated to comedic effect. Additionally, the character emphasizes many of the points being made by distancing them from association with a serious and concerted argument. Some, however, don’t seem to get it. The character famously made a speech at a White House correspondent’s dinner which left former president Bush irate.

The Aporia is that the real Stephen Colbert is not an ignorant archconservative. The wholehearted agreement of an idiot is used to damn by faint praise, to good effect. This is one of the most effective uses of Aporia I have seen. On an unrelated note, I am surprised by the lack of a complete liberal bias in the show. It relies on other methods to mock left-wing viewpoints however.

Categories: aporia, humor, news, TV episode

Enargia Example: Two 9/11 survivors’ stories

December 9, 2011 1 comment

Plot Summary: A reporter interviews a couple who just evacuated the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Enargia is evident in the story given by this couple who left the World Trade Center by their facial expressions, what they said, and especially because of the thick ash of their clothes. The video opens with the couple getting their first bottle of water to rinse their body. They both pour water over their faces and then spit some out of their mouth. This opening scene tugs at the heart of an American audience. Enargia is present when the viewers hear painful coughing, moaning and heavy breathing. Before the couple talks to the reporter, obviously they are feeling pain, exhaustion, relief, and anxiety.

“We saw a shadow that looked like a plane. Then all of a sudden: boom, boom! The ground started shaking, we saw debris falling down.” -Woman

It is clear to the viewer that they just experienced a tradegy before their own eyes. The viewer can imagine this couple anxiously waiting to get off of the stairs. The audience can see them trying to escape the smoke cloud, unable to see anything. When the man coughs, the listener can hear the pain and ash in his chest.   They can feel relief  when the survivors finally make it  down the stairs to the lobby, and then there is an explosion. All relief is gone, and panic and fear set in.

“I thought we could outrun it [smoke cloud] but we couldn’t. It was pitch black. It was like a comet just hit the earth.” -Man

A comet has never hit the earth, but film directors create an ambiguous idea of what it would be like, in movies. Unlike the movies, there was no warning of this impactful, powerful terrorist attack. The viewer can visualize the panic-stricken atmosphere at the World Trade Center. Especially, since the couple was on the eighty-second floor and made it to the lobby via crowded stairs within approximately fifteen minutes, when the second plane hit.

The reporter is fascinated by the amount of ash on the man’s suit, instilling a mental image of the thick smoke cloud and other debris surrounding the couple. Because the interview happened immediately after the couple got to a safe place, their raw emotions were fresh, giving an emotional depiction of their heart-wrenching story.

WABC-Ch. 7. “WTC Tower Witness 9/11 – YouTube.” News Broadcast. YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. WABC-Ch. 7, 5 July 2011. Web. 08 Dec. 2011. <;.

Apoplanesis in Palin’s Foreign Policy

December 9, 2011 2 comments

If used improperly or in an unfamiliar manner, apoplanesis will prove awkward. In a politician’s case, such awkwardness may result in a diminishing of his or her credibility. As the following example illustrates, the politician creates an embarrassingly clumsy interview with her ineffective and unsubtle use of apoplanesis. If intending to respond to an inquiry through digression, the speaker should form cohesive statements that flow with impressive fluidity. By not doing so, the speaker provides no answer that is even remotely satisfactory, and—as the following will demonstrate—damages his or her reputation to critical levels.

Apoplanesis commonly manifests in politics, notably in political debates, speeches, etc. Without preparation and decent knowledge of his or her subject, using apoplanesis creates awkward situations. For instance, Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric on September 24, 2008, on foreign policy reveals numerous failed attempts at apoplanesis. Rather than focusing on the entire interview, consider specifically the following portion:

Couric: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?
Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It’s funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don’t know, you know … reporters.
Couric: Mocked?
Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.
Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.
Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

Each question Couric asks Palin merits an awkward digression; Palin never fully or satisfactorily answers the questions. In addition to, or rather attributing to, her ineffective use of apoplanesis in this interview, Sarah Palin demonstrates a general lack of thought articulation. Palin’s sketchy use this rhetorical device reveals her unpreparedness and general lack of knowledge on the subject, thus making her responses examples of apoplanesis’ potential clumsiness.

Sarah, Palin. “Exclusive: Palin On Foreign Policy.” Interview by Katie Couric. CBS Evening News. CBS. 24 Sept. 2008. Television. Also available at

Categories: apoplanesis, credibility, news

Charientismus: Interview with Charlie Sheen

December 8, 2011 2 comments

Interview with Charlie Sheen

            The next example I found of charientismus was an interview with Charlie Sheen. Throughout the interview, the reporter has a very serious tone and asked Sheen solemn questions. Sheen, for the most part, does not fully answer the questions or he responds back with a funny comment. One of these examples is when the reporter says, “your behavior is coming off to be erratic.” Sheen responds, “You borrow my brain for 5 minutes and be like ‘dude can’t handle it–unplug me”, then moves his hands rapidly. Sheen is making this serious situation humorous by his response. It is obvious that he is trying to make somewhat of a joke out of the interview. Then, later on in the interview the reporter says that some people are saying he is bipolar. Sheen responds with, “Wow, what does that mean?” This is turning  the serious statement into a joke by Sheen’s witty response. Additionally, in the same conversation he says he’s “Bi-Winning”. Here, he is making a joke out of the serious term Bipolar. Then, the reporter asks Sheen when the last time he “used” was (obviously referring to using drugs). Sheen says in response, “I use a blender, I use a vacuum cleaner.. I use household items..” It’s clear that Sheen knows the context of the situation, but that he is trying to make something funny out of the serious question about his drug use. The reporter asks, “Tell me about the last time you used drugs.” Sheen says, “I probably took more drugs than anybody could survive… I was bangin’ 7 gram rocks.” Again, Sheen is saying a witty comment in response to a serious question. Later on in the interview, the reporter asks, “You don’t worry that you’ll die when you  take that many drugs?” Sheen says, “Dying’s for fools.” It seems that Sheen has a witty comment to say for every serious question or comment the reporter. This interview is a prime example of charientismus and how a serious situation can be made into a funny one by a simple comment.


Categories: charientismus, humor, news

Indignatio: Bill O’Reilly – “Talking Points 26 October 2011”

December 7, 2011 Leave a comment

In this particular segment of Mr. O’Reilly’s show, he reports allegations of Occupy Wall Street protestors displaying violence toward police and anti-Semitism, and he labels the protestors socialists. His intended audience is mainly people who may be unsure of the issues surrounding Occupy Wall Street or who have only heard “other media” depictions.

“A good number of these people are radicals, no doubt about it, yet they receive gentle treatment from the press.”

His aim is to erode support for the protest movement, through use of indignatio toward the protestors. He reports on violence and a case of one man’s anti-Semitic views to colour the audience’s perception of the protestors. He goes on to use the buzzword “socialistic” to describe the movement. The people he addresses typically have distaste or fear toward socialism, and equate capitalism to patriotism. By knowing his audience, Mr. O’Reilly is able to touch societal nerves that motivate his audience to action. Through use of indignatio, he steers his audience away from the opposing view point. He plays on the fear and anger of the viewer to sway him to his opinion.

O’Reilly, Bill. “Talking Points 10-26-11.” The O’Reilly Factor. 26 October 2011. Video.

University’s Response to Professor Posing Nude with Faculty and Students

December 6, 2011 1 comment

A ruckus has surfaced in Michigan due to a Michigan State University professor’s risqué demeanor around students and faculty as he has been posing bare-chested with them for photos.  The school integrated paromologia into their response statement stating their stand on the issue:

While we understand the shock value of Professor Guthrie’s art, it is not sexual harassment and does not violate university policies. Whether students, as adults, choose to model for him is not something the university can or should control.

The university’s use of paromologia in the statement gains the attention of the offended by agreeing that the art is a bit shocking, but while the university has cordially acknowledged the viewpoint of the concerned, they make their position on the issue by stating they are keeping out of the situation.

Associated Press. “MSU Professor’s Nude Photos Prompt Questions.”, 23 Nov. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2011.

Also available here

Categories: argument, news, paromologia

Herman Cain and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s use of Paromologia

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain uses Paromologia in a response to sexual harassment accusations that began to surface during his campaign. In essence, Cain says that for every individual who accuses him of sexual harassment that there are thousands of others who will say otherwise. For Herman McCain, this approach to the issue was probably not the most effective. In fact, Herman Cain’s use of paromologia is an excellent example of implementing paromologia ineffectively. Cain’s poor implementation of this rhetorical concept was almost childish, and it did not strengthen his argument.

MSNBC’s liberal news commentator Rachel Maddow exemplifies Cain’s ineffective use of the concept on her news show by reenacting the concept in a way that provides a humorous effect. Maddow pretends she is driving down the road and runs over a person. When the police arrive, she makes the argument that she may have ran over a guy, but there are thousands of people walking down the street who are fine that she did not hit. Maddow is creating her own argument with her own use of paromologia to make fun of Herman Cain’s poor use of paromologia. It’s paromologia within paromologia!

“Rachel Maddow: Herman Cain Lawyer’s Comment ‘Shocked’ Me.” The Huffington Post., Inc., 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2011.

See more here!

Categories: argument, humor, news, paromologia