Comment for Emily Snook’s Reading Response on Chapter 3

***I could not post the comment on Emily’s blog for some reason so I am posting it here***

Emily’s Reading Response

It’s always interesting reading a chapter through someone else’s eyes. I too did not notice the pronoun switch. The pronouns used in texts are something that I have just started to take notice of in the last year and I still have a long way to go. I find this portion of your response especially compelling because while I may not have noticed the pronoun switch in this chapter, in other readings I have begun to take notice of pronouns more often because of a textbook that I am reading now that uses “she/her” pronouns. I am so used to only reading “you” or “he” that I took extra notice of the “she.” What does this say about society? What does this say about me? I was kind of surprised by the usage and I almost felt like it was wrong because I see it so rarely. I especially notice the she pronoun in my other textbook because sometimes the pronoun is used for a negative representation of someone. If it said he, I probably would have thought nothing of the negative representation and gender connection but the “she” had me making a mental note. Do you think if the roles were reversed, and the Pullman reading instead had “she” to describe a successful lawyer, we would have bothered to notice? Do we only notice the pronouns when we begin to fit them into the boxes that society has formed them into, i.e. man-good, women-bad?
Additionally, your discussion on punctuality and its relation to character was revealing. I have always considered punctuality as one of my top traits for determining character. I usually always leave for things excessively early to make sure I arrive on time, and at any chance that I could be late, I also usually panic. I normally judge others’ characters on whether or not they are punctual too. Your recent connection to punctuality and character highlights the different levels that people have for each “character” trait. Does this not highlight good character as something subjective? It would be hard to say no to that, but then again, it seems wrong to disagree with any of the traits that Pullman lists. Why wouldn’t we equally admire “people who own their mistakes” and “pay attention”? Does the level of importance we put on some of these traits affect character? Are some more widely accepted than others?

General Topics Exercise (with Danielle Pines)

Anything done with premeditation and care is greater (better or worse) than anything done accidentally or out of necessity.

  • Premeditated murder is greater (worse) than murder done by accident or out of necessity.
  • Random acts of kindness are greater (better) than premeditated acts of kindness.

What is scarcer is preferable to what is more abundant if value is the issue. 

  • Fresh water is preferable to salt water.
  •  Sick people are more preferable to doctors than healthy people.

People prefer newer things to older things.

  • Smart phones are more preferable than a landline.
  • Nostalgic items are more preferable to newer items. (better because older? scarcer? more expensive?
  • Primary sources are more preferable than secondary sources. (not necessarily copies)

Original is preferable to a copy. 

  • Primary sources are more preferable than secondary sources.
  • Mutation strand of disease is more preferable than original disease for vaccinations. (conditions ok? not general anymore?)

A preference for fine things is better than a preference for common or cheap things. 

  • Sit down restaurant is better than fast food.

….Fast food is better than sit down restaurant (The immediate is preferable to the delayed.) 

Framing as a Force of Persuasion (Reading Response 3)

The first part of chapter three analyzes the five canons of rhetoric and highlights Platonic dialectic and Aristotle’s topics. The first interesting idea that was readdressed through the chapter was the definition of rhetoric itself and how Pullman depicts it as mostly persuasive instead of focusing on its other components. For instance, the author’s example of his doctor friend and his olympic patients really highlighted rhetoric’s placebo effect, or in this case, a solely persuasive factor of rhetoric. While a rational argument wouldn’t be  just telling the athlete what he or she wants to hear, the doctor still uses the placebo effect, or rhetoric, in order to reassure the athlete in the most persuasive way. This example clearly favors rhetoric’s persuasive quality and I believe it leads to more of the misleading or manipulating ideas that people usually have about rhetoric.

Another idea that Pullman discusses is Aristotle and his role in rhetoric. Pullman compares Aristotle’s ideas on rhetoric as the same or at least very similar to Gorgias’ ideas on rhetoric (134). However, reading against Pullman’s grain, later Aristotle’s topics are revealed and his definition of rhetoric is much more in-depth than Gorgias’ definition is. In fact, the reading only covers a few of Aristotle’s special topics and oratories. The book focuses on the forensic oratory which is Aristotle’s least favorite oratory but would likely be Gorgias’ favorite or only oratory, further highlighting their differences.

The most interesting part of the reading though ends with framing. I think it’s especially revealing how Pullman defines framing as to “control an argument’s outcome by constraining the terms, trying to force [emphasis mine] people to see the issue as one way when it could be others” (149). I can reconnect this definition of framing back to the earlier definitions of rhetoric as something persuasive and even forceful. Not only that, but Pullman highlights that framing is everywhere just like rhetoric and persuasion are. I tend to see this because almost everything is framed in a least some way to help a person develop an intended idea over something. The examples I always think of and am aware of most of the time are survey samples. This is a problem because instead of allowing someone to form his or her own thoughts, the questions are framed in a way that already influence one’s decisions. Something like this is especially dangerous in a survey or voting situation at polls. A lot of legislation that wants to be approved is framed in a way where voters cannot possibly disagree with it without prior knowledge. What are some examples that you have seen of framing?

 Furthermore, I think Pullman uses his own idea of framing with the language or ideas he chooses. One example of this is the author’s take on e-books vs. paper books. Pullman frames his argument for an object’s purpose and not the “look.” He frames the section by saying that things that are easily accessible are more purposeful and then references that paperback fans’ love the “feel and smell” of a real book, i.e. not purposeful. What Pullman does not mention is the fact that things can be easier to read on paper and easier to understand or follow giving paperbacks more purpose than depicted before. All of these interesting layers prove to be important when considering rhetoric and its effect on persuasion.

In-class Practice of a Dialectic Conversation (with Danielle Pines)

Dialectic Conversation on “It’s better to rich than famous.”

E: Do you think it is better to be rich than famous?

D: It is better to be rich than famous.

E: Why do you think so?

D: It is better to be rich than famous because wealth alone does not involve the opinion of others.

E: Do you believe that there is more than one definition for wealth?

D: Yes. Wealth can involve love, money, family, passions, or anything that fulfills you.

E: So you believe that wealth can mean more than just “rich?”

D: Yes.

E: What do you define rich as then?

D: Being rich involves many aspects of life that are not necessarily as invasive as fame.

E: But you believe wealth and richness are similar or synonymous?

D: They are similar in the sense that richness can refer to an excessive quantity of money while wealth can be an emotional quantity.

E: So they are synonymous in the sense that both involve vast quantities of something? Like money perhaps?

D: Essentially.

E: And before we said wealth could involve any number of things like love and family or passion?

D: Yes, wealth and richness can refer to both.

E: Do you think fame is a kind of wealth?

D: Well, no. Because fame refers to popularity in the public eye.

E: Would you agree that being famous or “popular in the public eye” involves an excess amount of people who know about you?

D: Yes, it involves an excess amount of people knowing about me but richness does not necessarily mean people will know about your wealth.

E: But you could say fame is a kind of wealth because it has a large quantity of people either way?

D: No, fame does not involve richness because richness or wealth relies on a common ground between two parties. With fame, the people know me but I do not know them. There is no connection. Wealth involves knowledge of the things that I have a lot of  “excess” of.

E: Do you believe that some people can have a wealth of love and not know about it, therefore missing the connection? Is this no longer wealth or richness?  

Sculpture Terminology (for my RAP)

Before completing my RAP, I wanted to make a list of possible terms I could use while writing as a “New York Arts” blogger. All of these terms are technical, but in the context of my artifact I found a few ironic terms and included them with a mention after their artistic definitions.

This list’s main purpose is to provide definitions to any jargon I may use while writing so anyone who is not in my intended audience of artists still knows what they mean. Since the New York Arts journal is more cultural art based, I likely won’t use many, if any, jargon, but it was still interesting to learn some new terminology. It helped me get into my role of an art and culture critic.

Terms I thought might come to use:

Anatomical – Structural make-up of human or animal body parts.

Amorphous – Having no defined shape or form such as free form sculpture.

Brass – Alloy consisting of copper and zinc.

Bronze – A combination of copper and tin; the compound may vary in proportions of each.

Female – The negative half of a mold or die.

(I thought this was one of the ironic terms given the context of my artifact’s situation. I am not an artist and I believe that “negative” in this sense here does not mean what we generally define negative as. But from a feminist perspective and using the societal definition (or usual definition) of negative, the term pairs the word “female” and “negative” together. Considering my artifact’s attack on feminism, I felt like this term could have a different meaning for my RAP.

Fettling – Shaping an object.

Noxious – Harmful to humans.

(This is also a clear artistic term, probably referencing dangerous chemicals when inhaled, but relating it specifically back to my artifact I like to think of the “Pissing Pug” as harmful to humans.

Polishing – The final process, if desired, in finishing a piece of sculpture.

Sculptor – A person who creates sculpture.

Tacky – Not yet dry or set. A sticky state of rubber before setting or curing.

(Again, here tacky has an artistic meaning but it is also widely known as showing poor taste. Adding the dog statue to take away from someone else’s art is poor taste or “tacky.”

Volume – Amount of space occupied by a model measured in cubic units.


Glossary site used:

Persona Activity


1.  My audience likely values art and creativity. The audience is an artist and enjoys speaking out in creative ways and artistic ways. He also most likely values autonomy, as he does not like to be influenced or controlled. He enjoys his own independence.

2. He admires many famous artists who are not afraid to use their medium to speak out and spark conversations. Artists like Andres Serrano’s and his controversial photography, as well as David Černý, a sculptor from Czech Republic.

3. He pretends to admire Picasso and Andy Warhol. He does not see their art as innovative like most others, but simple. He pretends to admire these two over other artists only because their art is “considered” innovative or different which is what he strives to achieve.

4. What he longs for most is prestige. He wants his art to be widely known and respected. As an artist he does not long for anything more than that.

5. The artist’s biggest fear is people misinterpreting his message and likely losing respect of his art after that. He wants his message to be clear and precise in a way where people could not misinterpret but he fears he does not do this well enough.

6. He tries to live life without regrets except he does worry and regret any time people lose the meaning of his work.

Way of Life

1.  Artist

2. He keeps the same persona at home as he does in public. He believes in showing his true personality and ideas to establish a public persona and brand for his artistry.

3. His job is his identity. He does not separate his creativity, or beliefs, from work and “normal” life.

5. He is not married.

6. No religious affiliation.

7. He has a varied income because he is an artist. His income potential depends on how much work he is in progress with and who or where the work is for. The work also depends on his popularity as an artist.

8. New York City, Manhattan

9. Highrise Apartment in Manhattan

10. He has lived in New York his whole life, but has traveled many places in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. such as European destinations like Paris, Italy, and Prague.

11. Bachelors Degree in Art.



Fictional Stories and the Art of Persuasion

Chapter two discusses the persuasion process. Pullman reviews how it is a long process and that it is something done everyday. He then proceeds to cover each concept that is involved in a persuasive act which takes into account the presentation of self, presentation of others, stereotypes, audiences, and emotions.

One especially compelling section of the reading was the stereotypes section. Pullman classifies stereotyping as a “generalization from weak or irrelevant data” (68). He then highlights that stereos means “firm” or “impression,” which explains why stereotypes so often seem to stick as an explanation of something. What was most interesting though, was Walter Lippmann’s meaning of stereotypes and why we use them.

Stereotypes are a method used to filter everything that happens in our lives. Similar to a previous discussion in logic, stereotypes are used because there is too much in the world to actually process and analyze everything. Essentially, they are a shortcuts. Lippmann also explains how he believes stereotypes are like fictional writing. I thought this was a very interesting take on stereotypes, especially as someone who reads fiction a lot because I could understand the relationship more. Stereotypes are just ideas, like fiction, of what real life is. There is usually not a deep analysis of something or someone. It is more of an assumption from what we can “see” and what we have previously experienced. Fiction writing is very similar in the way that a story is not real, but it is based on many stereotypes and experiences from life. This could also be why sometimes people find fictional stories unrealistic, because stereotypes and fiction are both weak representations of the universe. More over, the reading then discusses how personas are fictionalized representations. In other words, to persuade or be persuaded, fictional things have a big role in what works and what doesn’t work for persuasive acts. However, I did find it difficult to see the differences in personas and stereotypes since both are formed from generalized ideas of an audience. Do stereotypes represent groups while personas are single person representations? Can a stereotype, that isn’t well-known and broadly used, not be formed from just one experience and person? Are personas unethical to use in persuasion if they aren’t truly representing a person?

One final thought about the reading was Pullman’s coverage on emotions. Emotions contribute to almost everything a person does and it seems to be a leading factor in any persuasive situation.  Pullman provides a broad list of emotions that contribute to persuasion but I found the role they play with audience to be the most revealing. Pullman states that sometimes we only express our emotions when we know we have an audience and as an example of this, he discussed a toddler crying (89). I found this to be particularly interesting because, reading against the grain, I also think a lot of emotions do not want to be shown. Emotions like embarrassment, as an example, which would only become worse with a “group” present. Even though events and groups can alter emotions, sometimes, nothing will make you feel differently and, even more so, sometimes you do not want to express what you are feeling. Furthermore, what role do these secret or unchangeable emotions play in persuasion? Are they more influential than public emotions because another person cannot respond to the emotion and change their persuasion tactic?

All of these things that we experience in daily life, such as good character, stereotypes, and emotions, affect the way people persuade and are persuaded. Learning to recognize each will help with the analysis of any persuasive act.