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  1. #21
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    I think that the root of your redundancy problem (and you're right to identify that as a problem) is that your argument isn't moving towards anything at the moment. You are basically applying the same concepts with different examples from paragraph to paragraph. This makes me as a reader feel like you're never really going to get to the point of all of this. What I recommend changing is your organizational structure.

    Here are some questions that I suggest you consider:

    What is it that I want to argue? Am I arguing that politicians use rhetoric that depends on verb tense, or am I arguing that there is an effective way to do this? Is there a particular piece of rhetoric that I prefer because of its well-craftedness (with regard to verb tense)?


    If you are merely arguing that this technique is utilized, then you accomplish it pretty much in the first body paragraph. If you are trying to discuss how well the technique is utilized, you should build towards that with the structure of your paper.

    The teacher in me is pretty reluctant to throw down the outline that I would use, because that is neither good instruction nor good "peer review." You've got to figure it out for yourself. But I'm glad to talk you through it if you're interested.
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    I'm going to be trapped in a grading fury tonight.

    This is what you need to do:

    Go through the basics with small examples, and pick a piece or two of rhetoric to apply those ideas to. You have all the information you need; you just need to rearrange it for maximum awesomeness.
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  3. #23
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    I'm going to be trapped in a grading fury tonight.

    This is what you need to do:

    Go through the basics with small examples, and pick a piece or two of rhetoric to apply those ideas to. You have all the information you need; you just need to rearrange it for maximum awesomeness.
    Thanks, that was going to be my next question. Thanks very much for pointing out the main flaw, which becomes more obvious now that it's been mentioned. Now I have to re-mold the essay.

    Hope your evening isn't too stressful.
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  5. #25
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    I'm starting to wrap this up, and I have two hectic hours left before it's due. I kind of took a gamble with the writing style, so I hope it pays off. I'll probably post the whole thing after I turn it in.
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Can we read it?

    (I just like to see where people take my suggestions.)
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  7. #27
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    All right, just don't hit me after you read it.

    It's posted in the OP now.

    **Crap! I just realized I forgot to take out that sentence, "Listen to the candidates..."



    This is the original draft, just so you can compare:
    Quote Originally Posted by first draft
    People often say that politicians "like to hear themselves talk". We hear them skirting around answers, and even though they use a lot of words, they don't seem to express much decision. Some conclude that this means politicians don't know what they're doing, but we are actually hearing them maneuvering out of dangerous psychological territory. When they realize they're in a tight spot, skilled speakers (most politicians) deftly change the attitude simply by changing the tense of the discussion, to past, present, or future, depending on the situation. They will often use this to throw us voters off the trail, as we observed above, avoiding the answer to our question. Luckily, we can spot this easily by examining the verbs they use.

    Argument about the Iraq war lends itself particularly well to this tactic. Listen to the two major candidates in the 2008 presidential race each give their opening analysis in a televised debate. John McCain starts, "You cannot have a failed strategy that will then cause you to nearly lose a conflict...The war was very badly mishandled". We call this a cause stasis, which gives a reason for the way events have developed, and it sits in the past tense. McCain needs to provide this cause stasis so that the public understands that he acknowledges and has studied the mistakes of the Iraq war. However, he doesn't dwell for too long on this, and soon moves forward to the future tense, and appeals to our values: "Now that we will succeed and our troops will come home, and not in defeat, ...we will see a stable ally in the region, and a fledgling democracy." In moving away from the past tense, he wants us to see those values as more important than the causes of the war's perceived failure. After a few exchanges, their debate settles into a question on the definition of "strategy", to which Barack Obama responds, "I absolutely understand the difference between strategy and tactics, and the strategic question the president has to ask is, 'Was this wise?'" Here Obama shifts from that definition stasis, taking place in the present tense, back to the past tense, assigning blame as he proceeds to list the causes for the failed Iraq strategy. Even so, blame holds negative emotion, and he soon drops it and moves to a policy stasis, framed in the future tense and holding positive emotion: "We should end this war responsibly, we should do it in phases, but in sixteen months we should be able to reduce our combat troops..." Obviously, they both move the argument to where it will benefit them the most. McCain's party is associated with the failed policy, so he tries to avoid blame, and Obama as a member of the opposite party tries to place blame. Speakers best avoid blame when they focus on future options rather than past mistakes, since the audience's mind associates positive attributes to forward-pointing thought.

    Sometimes such speakers don't even limit themselves to one topic. In that debate, McCain accuses Obama of not considering Iran a serious threat to the United States. Obama replies, "I believe that the Republican Guard of Iran is a terrorist organization...the single thing that has strengthened Iran over the last several years has been the war in Iraq." Here he links a present tense values claim to a blame-oriented cause stasis about a different subject. Having pointed the negative emotion at McCain through use of the past tense, he directs the audience's positive emotion toward himself, returning to an analysis of Iran and a specific policy outline using future tense words. Now McCain must defend his position and push Obama off the rhetorical high-ground. He counters right away by arguing the definition of negotiation, reminding viewers that "Senator Obama said twice in debates that he would sit down with Ahmadinejad, Chavez, and Raul Castro without precondition...I'll sit down [to talk] with anybody, but there's got to be preconditions." His statement ends in the present tense, grouping his opponent's positions into a steady value system. It implies that since those people are bad, and since Obama doesn't recognize that they are bad, he must not have good values. This technique works well in McCain's favor, separating his rival from the audience when he shows that they lack common values.

    (The underlined parts point out mention of verb tenses.)

    --Biden starts with blame: "Two Mondays ago, John McCain said...that the fundamentals of the economy were strong." Links it to bad values: "That doesn't make John McCain a bad guy, but it does point out he's out of touch."
    --Palin starts response with Conjecture Stasis: "He was talking to and he was talking about the American workforce." She assumes that this conjecture lays the ground for good values, following it directly with: "And the American workforce is the greatest in this world, with the ingenuity and the work ethic..." Having established that, she goes back to the past tense giving herself and McCain credit (the positive twin of blame). Finally she expresses common values, directly supporting her Policy Stasis: "We're tired of the old politics as usual...that new energy and that new commitment that's going to come with reform." Since she has built up her argument methodically from past, to present, then future, her audience supports her much more solidly.

    --McCain indirectly (through "Joe the Plumber") lays out Obama's tax plan in the past tense (Conjecture Stasis). He then offers his own tax plan (Policy Stasis) in the future tense. Two things suitable for side-by-side comparison are held in different tenses, instead. Next, McCain moves Obama's tax policy into a Values stasis, telling what Obama "wants to do" rather than "will do".
    --Obama divulges his tax plan, placing the two opposing plans side-by-side and in the present tense. He compares their values, and apparently has no fear that the audience will prefer his values.
    --McCain hits back with another Values claim, saying that the "whole premise behind Senator Obama's plans are class warfare". The statement implies that class warfare is bad, and so Obama holds bad values.

    --Congressman John Lewis had compared McCain's campaign and supporters to George Wallace.
    --McCain admonishes Obama, "You didn't repudiate those remarks", speaking in the past tense, then brings it to future, "I hope Senator Obama will..." Notice he refers to "you" to direct blame at Obama, but says "Senator Obama" when expressing his hopes (future) to the audience.
    --Obama responds: "I think the American people are less interested in our hurt feelings during the course of the campaign than addressing the issues that matter to them so deeply. And there is nothing wrong with us having a vigorous debate...That's the stuff that campaigns should be made of." Well-crafted rhetoric flowing from past to present to future, giving strong structure to his argument.
    Past = over the course of the campaign
    Present = addressing issues that matter
    Future = campaigns should be made of
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

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