Friday, October 2, 2009

English Teachers Are Evil

Have I mentioned those English teachers are trying to kill me?  

Wasn't it bad enough that Teen had to write a 1500 word essay on why the song "Blowin' In The Wind" relates to his world view when he doesn't even have a world view? Now Teen has to write an essay on how a speaker he knows uses Logos, Ethos and Pathos in their persuasive arguments.  And that speaker would be me.

Seems I'm well-known in our household for my persuasive skills.  According to English Teacher when I say, "Someone should feed the dog or else she'll slowly die," I'm using a tactic called guilt.  As for the Logos, Ethos and Pathos, I'm still trying to figure them out.

As I understand it, Logos is a logical appeal using facts and figures to support the argument. I think I'm using it when I say something like this:

There's a reason drinking beer is illegal for 17-year olds.  Your brains are still developing. And when you combine those developing brains that have a tendency to speed and tailgate and think they're invincible with alcohol, death happens.  In fact, each year over 5,000 teens ages 16 to 20 die and 40,000 teens are injured due to car accidents. And of the male drivers between 15 and 20 years old who were killed, 24% of them had been drinking and driving.

Pathos seems to be an appeal to the listener's ethical judgement and is most effective when the speaker connects with an underlying value of the listener.  I think I'm using Pathos when I say:

I know it's tempting to drink beer. But the fact is, it's illegal at your age.  If you're driving and drinking, one of your girlfriends could get hurt and even worse, you could lose your license. And just think, if you lost your license, you'd have to walk the three blocks to school and dude, how embarrassing that would be?

Ethos I believe is an appeal to the authority of the speaker.  In other words, the speaker convinces the listener that she is qualified to speak on the topic.  I guess I'm using Ethos when I say the following:

I'm your mom.  I know all about being a teenager.  I know all about drinking beer.  All I have to say is, wait until you're old enough to hire your own lawyer.  And if you do drink beer, drink the good stuff for Chrissakes.

How'd I do?

posted at Humor-Blogs


April said...

Excellent! I think it would serve your family far better for you to just do Teen's arguing homework for him.

ReformingGeek said...


I don't even want to drink beer anymore.


A Free Man said...

Pretty good. Sounds like he's got a good debate teacher right there at home.

Candice said...

You're brilliant, of course!

Nooter said...

guilt is an important motivator and should be used several times each day in reference to feeding the dog

Hannah said...

I'm not an English teacher, but all three sounded great to me! :)

Jocelyn said...

I am an English teacher, and hell, yea, I'm evil. You don't know the half of it--it's not just about sucky assignments: I also want to take people's stuff and push them down.

Anyhow, you did well, especially with the Logos. You also hit the Pathos (connecting with your son's values...but you only brought out his fear of embarrassment...I bet there are other things he holds dear that you could tap into, like how he's lazy and if he gets a big fine for underage drinking, he's gonna have to work his ass off to pay it). Finally, you have the right idea for Ethos, completely, but you could make an even stronger case for yourself as a Drinking Authority. This is the place for stories of you as a drunk; make your kid think he'll never stack up against your vast experience with beer...give him that much of a sense of how he can't outplay you.

Jocelyn said...

Also, I don't actually know that your son is lazy. I took a shot, considering he's a teenager.

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