Definition of Rhetoric
Rhetoric to me is the careful selection of words, speech and visuals,to influence the point of view of the target audience. Differentwords and sentence structures have a different impact on the targetaudience. Some sentences could appeal to logic while others aim atappealing to the emotions of the target audience. It is upon thewriter to select carefully what words or sentence structure isappropriate for the appeal that they want to create. The art ofknowing what to say, how to say it, and where to say it is whatconstitutes rhetoric techniques. The podcast and public argumentregarding the water crisis in Arizona took into consideration variousrhetorical techniques in order to influence the position of theaudience in regards to what ought to be done in the Arizonian watercrisis. This essay seeks to highlight the rhetoric techniques used inthe public argument and the podcast, in relation to my personaldefinition of rhetoric techniques.
Analysis and Evaluation
The audience for this podcast and public argument were the residentsof Arizona. I was trying to influence them to see the water crisisfrom my point of view. I wanted them to join me in conserving thelittle water that we have left, through a solid four-step plan. Thiswriting came in the wake of a biting water crisis in Arizona. Thewater crisis has led to rationing of water hence affecting manyresidents of the city, including the farmers who rely on the waterfor irrigation.
The primary reason for this shortage is the reducing water level inLake Mead, which is the main inlet for the Arizonian water supplyReservoir (Rajopalan et al 45). It came to my attention that thelittle I could do to be a part of the solution was to educate thepeople of Arizona on practical ways of reducing water wastage.
The podcast heavily relied in the use of logos to pass the messageacross. I drew statistics about the water crisis from numerouscredible sources. I quoted sources such as the National Bureau ofStatistics to show how the sudden increase in population in Arizonahas contributed to the water shortage. The public argument used logosas well by indicating that 3 million cubic meters of water go towaste through irrigating private lawns.
The use of logos was effective in that it showed my argument had abacking of solid facts and that it was not a mere emotional rantcaused by panic (Schiappa 90). A certain proportion of the audienceconsists of scholars who will want the backing of solid facts inorder to pronounce the public argument and podcast credible. This isbecause the appeal to logos carters for this section of the targetaudience.
The front image of the public argument appealed to the emotion of thereader by showing two people standing helpless in the middle of thedesert because they had no water to drink. Below the image, Ireminded the reader that the residents of Arizona could be in asimilar situation if they did not conserve the little water they haveleft. I used this technique to touch on the emotional being of thereaders. When they saw the picture of two men standing helpless inthe middle of the desert, they must have felt empathy towards themand consequently felt vulnerable at the same time. This rhetorictechnique applies to the section of the audience that does not caremuch about logic and statistics.
Thewords used in the podcast were all well chosen to appeal to theemotions and logic of the audience. The careful selection of wordscould be seen in the podcast when I told the story of how citizens ofIndia used to die in the past because of water shortage. It is worthnoting that when the government finally decided to help households tocollect rainwater, the water shortage reduced by 25%. Such successstories appeal to the emotion of the reader in that the reader feelshow grave the issue of water could be. I chose this story to show thetarget audience that what I am suggesting has been tried and tested.Part of the audience comprises of people who believe in ideas thatcan work. This section of the audience does not like experimentingwith alien ideas that have never been tried before.
Rhetorictechniques also involve the careful selection of images to appeal todifferent members of the audience. The image of water collectionridges on the edge of a roof were visual representation of what anideal rainwater collection program should be. The image appeals tologic in that it tells the reader that indeed my rainwater collectionplan has been tested and approved. This careful selection of imagesaimed at showing the target audience how to make the idea ofcollecting rain water a reality. The carefully selected imagestherein, are a depiction of the practical application of the varioussolutions proposed in the podcast and the public argument.
The podcast might have fallen short of its ambitions because of thefew stories used to explain the context of the crisis. As my theoryof rhetoric specifies, a rhetoric technique uses a careful selectionof words to influence people. However, in this case, the podcast didnot use enough words to explain the context of the water shortagecrisis in Arizona. He podcast also lacked the backing of numeroussources to show that indeed the crisis is real. It used sources fromwebsites and articles but not from the Arizona local media.
Facts from the local media of Arizona would increase the credibilityof the podcast because the local media is in a better position oftelling the exact situation. The podcast did not explore a widerscope of rhetoric techniques such as flashback, repetition, and useof expressions. The limited number of rhetoric techniques meant thatthe podcast and public argument would only appeal to small section ofthe population.
The use of more rhetoric techniques would have made the podcast andpublic argument more persuasive. In the podcast, an attack that wouldbegin with eliciting emotion before embarking on facts would be abetter format to drive the point home. The podcast and publicargument would have been better if they applied a broader scope ofrhetoric techniques. The public argument should have put more effortin appealing to the emotions of the audience. The visuals should havebeen adequate to create a solid argument in favor of conserving thelittle water that is left in Arizona.
Rajagopalan, Balaji, et al. "Water supply risk on the ColoradoRiver: Can management mitigate?." Water Resources Research45.8 (2015).
Schiappa, Edward. Protagoras and Logos: a study in Greekphilosophy and rhetoric. Carolina: University of South CarolinaPress, 2013, Print