Sunday, September 6, 2009


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The picture that I found as my visual argument accomplishes the overall goal. Within my personal argument, something that always made me think more deeply about abortion is the fact that supporters of pro-life are mostly all men, who will never have the experience of being pregnant. This particular picture is strong in it’s own because it puts out direct facts and is relatable for any women who is a believer in pro-choice.
The faces of the men in the picture are not fully shown, but the expressions also help the mood the facts are trying to portray. The placement of the words and the colors really drew me into the picture because it highlights the facts and true meaning of what my argument expresses.
When I first saw this picture, it made me think of who created it. Though I do not now who the actual creator is, the picture itself displays a certain type of personality. I think the person who created this ad was a woman, solely because of how the ad hits an emotional spot for woman when looking at it. The overall reason why I liked this picture was because of the way it shows my argument, and how when looking at it, the mood is strikes emotions in me but also is strong and yet simple.
The argument itself is also strong but simple. I feel that the argument has been overlooked by some when mentioned by politicians. Politicians have made pro-choice and Pro-life arguments, but most politicians happen to be men. The idea that a man is the person who could possibly make the decision for a woman just isn’t right. People often discuss abortion rights and laws and forget that men have been deciding the ways, and could possibly eliminate it. This picture captures the personality of a white male politician who would ultimately be a deciding factor is some of the abortion laws if they were in power.
This picture would be overall more effective to show to women, because of the emotional ties and straight forwardness when addressing the idea that a male could tell a woman that she could not have an abortion. Though the safety and privacy law is very important to my argument and personal beliefs, the gender in the deciding factor is where my pro choice argument starts. The gender in the deciding factor is the shell to my argument in terms of it being one large part with many smaller details inside it.
This picture evoked many feelings when I first looked at it, but it is overall effective. I think it hits a simple obvious point, and displays a certain mood that makes the pro choice side much stronger. When I look at this picture, I see it as if it’s almost like the pro life males being held back by the red facts. They are shut down and powerless by women’s rights.

suburban sprawl critique


Amanda Dalton
Prof Varner
Persuasive Writing
November 25, 2008

Suburban Sprawl Critique


For my visual argument I searched Google and found a picture making a statement towards suburban sprawl. Although suburban sprawl is made up of many different types of issues, the visual makes a generalization of the problems with developers buying what little land may be left, for housing projects. In the background there is the site of a graveyard with a sign in front stating “Coming Soon, Haunted Homes on 60 foot lots”, with a sold sign on top. Towards the front of the picture there is a man walking his dog and seems to be un-phased at the sign. This just goes to show that ridiculous things, like this picture are happening, and nothing is being done to stop it. The graphic is very comic-like, but still remains to hold a strong message. The text has the most powerful and eye-grabbing visual throughout the entire picture. When I first saw the picture I thought that if sprawl goes on long enough, this visual could very well be true. The visual goes along with my argument very well because I believe that suburban sprawl has gone too far and will consume whatever land is left for development. This visual depicts just that, developers taking whatever means necessary to build on land, no matter what is around.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiSEk2r3Wl0

For my video I searched YouTube for videos that depicted issues of suburban sprawl. I came across a video titled “Human Footprint Urban Sprawl Deforestation Global Warming”. This video related so well to my topic of how much land is being consumed, mostly for things that are not really needed. The video showed clips of the many forms that suburban sprawl has taken on. First, deforestation was shown with all of the forests that are being chopped down for wood with houses being built on the land. Housing developments are being put up wherever there is enough room, and if there isn’t, space will be made. Traffic is another concern due to suburban sprawl because the more buildings that are built, the more people have to travel to get to these places. Lastly, there is pollution that shows how careless people can be to our planet and the mess that it has created for people and animals. Throughout the video, there were sentences that would describe what was going on with the pictures and music in the background to tie up the visual and make a bold statement. It really made me sit back and realize how terrible some areas are because of this problem. The number one thing that still amazes me is that suburban sprawl has gotten as far as it has, and it seems like it is only now being seen as a potential big problem. The video showed many shots of aerial views with the amount of build up that has been going on. Not only did it show clips from the United States, but Canada and France were also shown. This just goes to show that even though the United States has a problem with suburban sprawl, other countries do as well.
This video on youtube.com features two comedians, one, a women supporter for Hillary and the other, a black man supporting Obama. These two carry on with a very funny political argument about the former candidates polices, political blunders, etc. This video is relevant to my topic because it humorously points out how much Obama and Hillary were at each other’s throats during the campaign but then at the end of the video the two start rolling on the floor fighting and then get up a say “well, I respect you” “yeah I respect you too” Which was kind of how the primaries and the general election debates went, candidates would have say something like “with all due respect” to then say whatever slanderous thing they want to about the other person. It’s all very funny to me, because now despite all that has happened between Obama and Hilary, there is still no bad blood between them, which brings me to my point that in politics burning bridges does not necessarily mean they cannot be rebuilt again, case in point Obama’s decision to make Hillary Clinton the Secretary of State which in my opinion is a wise move.

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This is a very funny political cartoon of Hillary Clinton as Wiley Coyote and Obama as the roadrunner. It’s a simplistic cartoon but gets it point across. The point is that throughout the primary Hillary tried to throw everything she could at Obama to get ahead in the polls, but the more elaborate her political stunts were the deeper she sank and the same was true for the McCain campaign. Both Hillary’s and McCain’s campaign against Obama was like watching a tennis match where McCain or Hillary would run all over the court trying to serve the ball back and Obama would simply stand still and lob it back over with ease.

The visual argument I came up with is a funny way of saying “no one knows how things might end.” What I did for my visual argument was I took a poster from the show “Funny thing Happened on the way to the Forum” and photo shopped Hillary and Obama’s head into it and I changed “Forum” to “White House.” I chose this poster because this particular play is about mistaken identity and funny twists and turns in the plot, much like this election. Despite how much Hillary and Obama looked like bitter revivals, as portrayed in the political cartoon above, they are in reality just doing what was necessary for their own interests at the time. Now that Obama is our President, it is necessary that he surround himself with the best and brightest this country has to offer despite political differences. One of the many lessons that can be learned from the mistakes of the Bush administration, is that its never a good idea to give high-level positions to your buddies who don’t have a clue what they’re doing.





Lowering the Drinking Age Visual Critique


Did you know that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old? If you didn’t know, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. In the first minute of “21 and Wasted: The American Drinking Age,” a clip of a political debate is shown. When asked whether or not the drinking age should be lowered to 18 years old, the first candidate (U.S. Senator, Jon Corzine) replied, “I think it is 18, isn’t it”?

Throughout 20 year old Aaron Sheer’s short YouTube documentary, a series of thoughts and opinions are conveyed and a majority are supporting a new lower drinking age. One of Sheer’s commentators, Libby Gronquist, compares the differences between her hometown of London’s drinking behavior with her experience of being around underage drinkers in the United States. Growing up drinking wine with her parents, she thinks that young American drinkers are not as educated about alcohol and can’t simply enjoy one drink. What can you expect though? We, as Americans, were not raised to appreciate alcohol and truly understand how to control our intake. In classrooms, we aren’t told to drink in moderation. Instead, the idea is suffocated by consequences of binge drinking, alcohol poisoning, and death. We’re so busy saying “No! No! No!”, that nobody steps in and says, “Hey! It’s your body and your health. We don’t advise that you go out and have a drink, but if you’re going to, this is how you should handle it.”

Let’s face it. It’s immature and na├»ve to believe that anyone between the ages of 16 to 20 years old will restrain from drinking until their 21st birthdays, so why not educate them the right way? It’s not a matter of maturity. We don’t magically roll out of bed on our 21st birthday noticeably more mature and suddenly capable of handling a beer. We can handle voting, marrying, dying in war, but apparently we cannot handle a margarita.

It’s not like these kids can’t get their hands on alcohol. Through fake I.D.s, friends, and even family, there’s always a way around the system. In one editorial cartoon, Signe Wilkinson pokes fun at the flaws of the legal age. In the picture, a young girl is sitting at a bar talking to a guy and saying, “What’s the problem with a 21 year old drinking age? I’ve been 21 for 3 years now!” The bartender happily gives her a beer as she flashes an I.D. with the words “Real Fake I.D” scrolled across the top. The satire demonstrates the ease of illegal drinking. In another clip from Sheer’s documentary, a Skidmore College student shows us exactly how easy it is to buy a case of beer with a fake I.D. He even goes far enough to claim that the woman behind the counter knows that his I.D. is fake, but doesn’t really care.

Emily Mattoon and Stephanie Leutart, also students at Skidmore college, suggest that underage drinking behavior is a matter of rebellion. Everyone wants what they can’t have. Unlike Europe, we were not raised with the opportunity to have a glass of wine during dinner or on holidays.

Maybe we should take all of these ideas into consideration. Why don’t we better our education and provide a fairer view on drinking? If we’re going to treat and charge 18-20 year olds as adults, why not treat them this way in all aspects? Why don’t we lower the drinking age?

Visual Argument- Stem cell research

Visuals, whether they are videos or images, can present an argument that is more direct and easily taken in by the reader. Visuals stimulate the human mind and are more memorable to most people. The argument that a visual may make can be immediate compared to reading an article, and that has its advantages. People may skim through words but a visual is easily absorbed by the mind and the message of the argument gets through to people quickly. In this way, visual arguments are helpful tools that can be utilized to persuade people. To some visuals may seem to be more truthful than just written text. When reading a paper or an article, people may question the writer’s credibility. With a visual, since the absorption and persuasion of the argument is so quick, there is less to question about it. However, the downfall of visual arguments is just that. Since it is limited and usually absorbed faster, the audience may lose the message of the argument quicker than other forms of arguments.


The two main controversies with stem cell research are well presented in this visual argument. Since stem cell research has developed, researchers have been using stem cells derived from embryos. Many believe that life begins at the point of conception so the use of embryos for research is cruel and inhumane. As this visual argument simply explains, stem cell research kills human life. Another aspect of the argument is one that is less obvious. The old man says that he is on that cloud because he was “waiting” for stem cell research. Stem cell research has had much time and effort put into it without as much evidence and advances shown to the public. Because of this, some people argue that stem cell research is a lost cause that is just soaking up money.

The fact that stem cells are derived from embryos is a fact that cannot be ignored, whether one is for or against the research. However, the fact that an embryo is considered life is arguable. When embryos are taken for research purposes, they are taken from either donated or from an in vitro fertilization process. Not only do these tiny embryos not resemble babies at this stage, nor are they visible to the human eye, they had no chance to develop into life. Because they are discarded embryos, they cannot have the proper nutrition or setting to become life. The cartoon portrays an adorable-looking little talking baby boy as the embryo, and this is the main fault of this visual argument. Granted that this is a drawn cartoon, how can an embryo that consists of a few hundred cells at its later stage be visualized as a walking, talking human? This raises the question of credibility of the artist of this particular cartoon. Was this person biased? Does this person even know what embryos are? Were they utilizing a subjective form of persuasion? From the cartoon, I would think yes, yes, and yes.


The second image (which I found online but incorporated my own texts to) is obviously pro-stem cell research. The argument being made here is that stem cell research provides a vast range of medical benefits to people of various needs. The tiny circular mass at the bottom of the poster represents a stem cell. There is a root or a branch growing from that cell into body parts, organs, and medicine. The concept is simple and persuasive. The leaf (which I colored green to pronounce it) is there to incorporate the idea that stem cell research is a growing and blooming process that betters or even creates life. In conjunction with the fact of what embryos really are, this poster makes for a very effective argument.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Throwing Life Away



Visual representations open up a whole new dimension to arguments. They allow readers to instantly get an idea of the creator’s point of view and get a first impression of their argument without the time and effort consuming act of reading through an argument. My topic is the funding of stem cell research and the image that I chose to represent it depicts President Bush talking to a scientist about stem cells and how they hold human life and then throwing them away because it would be more ethical to do that in his opinion than to donate them to scientific use. The comic used an evaluation argument to try to argue what was or was not ethical. By showing Bush saying that the “lives” represented by the embryos should be thrown away it calls his ethics into question and makes the argument that maybe allowing these embryos to be used for research would be a more ethical option than just wasting them. I thought that this argument was successful in getting its point across because it was fairly straightforward and though it was comical it showed an accurate representation of what happened when the laws that President Bush implemented about the use of embryos in stem cell research were put into place. They stopped all government funding for any programs using stem cell research and caused many of the embryos that could have been used in stem cell research to be disposed of.



The video argument that I found was actually very similar to the visual argument that I found in that they both featured President Bush and discussed the idea that throwing embryos away was, in the opinion of the government, a more ethical choice than allowing them to be used for research. The video took it a step further by detailing the ways in which stem cell research could benefit the people of the United States and how we were falling behind in innovations by not taking part in stem cell research. This was a more comical representation of the argument than the comic before was and had more moments where it poked fun at Bush such as when the scientists tried to explain all of the ways in which stem cells could be used and the different uses that the embryos were going to before they were going to research and Bush still thought that throwing the embryos away would be the better choice. The government’s choice to stop funding for embryonic stem cell research is not only putting America behind other world leaders scientifically, but is also making life very difficult for those in the country who suffer from chronic diseases that stem cell research could help cure and who must look outside of the US for some of the treatments that stem cell research has made available.



In response to these two arguments I created a visual argument showing a stem cell thinking about some of the things that it has the potential to be, and then going into a bio hazard container because the government wants it to. I am agreeing with these arguments in showing how throwing away embryos that could be used for stem cell research is unethical. There is so much untapped potential in stem cell research, illustrated by the things that the stem cell in my argument is thinking about, however as long as the moral dilemma over the subject continues it will be impossible for the United States to catch up to other countries in the world who have already been successful in research.

Elise Bautista