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English 101, Section 076
9 September 2016
The Effectiveness of Their Free Speech.
Winston Churchill once said, “Some people’s idea of [free speech] is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.” It seems that previous generations have tried so hard to compensate for this that they have over done it to the point that the rising generations are now shamed for being too sensitive of others feelings. Several debates have risen over this issue, including how Millennials approach to freedom of speech will affect the future of America. Kathleen McCartney and Julie Lythcott-Haims are two voices in this debate who voiced their opinions on through online articles posted on The New York Time’s debate page. Although both authors use rhetorical strategies to attempt to win over their audiences, it seems that Kathleen McCartney will not be as successful as Julie Lythcott-Haims, because her piece has a more logical appeal, while Haims has an emotional appeal. Since their discussion of how Millennials approach freedom of speech and how it will affect the future of America has a time limit on its relativeness, aiming for the audiences’ logical sense of mind will not be as effective as aiming for their emotions, especially when addressing the general public.
Although McCartney’s pathos appeals are not the strongest of the three, there are two key points of her arguments developed by aiming at her audiences’ emotions. One of them is the reassuring tone she uses for the article. Her tone is established in the second paragraph where she writes, “[a]s a society, we will benefit from the conversation,” that millennial students are fostering; this line is echoed at the end of paragraph four and reinforces the tone. What this does is diminish the worries about the future of America which brought up by listening to arguments claiming that Millennials’ timid nature will hinder the progress of the country. Paragraph four also contains her second key emotional appeal, where she connects Millennials to previous generations. This is done by relating the, “[p]arents who marched for civil rights or protested the Vietnam War during their own college years,” with the current students who are also using their freedom of speech to address today’s issues in the world (p.4).
Adding strength to her argument are McCartney’s main three ethos appeals. On top of the connection previously discussed, McCartney forms another bond in paragraph four, one includes herself. She uses ‘us’ and ‘our’ to express how she also participated in some type of protest while she was in college. This not only links her to her intended audience, but also relates her to Millennials. By doing this, she is able to develop the concept that she understands the Millennial generation, something that a lot of members of the older generations consider to be difficult. The concept of her being closely associated with Millennials is enriched by her mentioning that she works on a college campus; therefore, she is very familiar with how the Millennials students truly are (p.3). A negative effect of adding this information is that it takes away some of the credibility on the idea that it is easy to connect with Millennials because she spends large amounts of time with them on a daily basis, something not all members of previous generations can do.
Of the three rhetoric strategies, McCartney’s logos appeals are what really makes her article effective. Going back to paragraph four, McCartney points out that Millennials are facing a problem that previous generations did not have, “online discourse.” This claims that Millennials have a right to have a gentle approach to freedom of speech because of the way the internet has given people, “the ability to comment anonymously [which] can be… liberating [or] destructive,” (p.4). The way she puts it, Millennials are not being hesitant because of their own emotions, but the emotions of others. Another point McCartney makes is that not all students are the same, they hold many different ideas about freedom of speech (p.1). McCartney also says that at her school, there was a group of Millennials, combined with members of previous generations, and they all agreed that Millennials, in general, want to experience debates on touchy subjects (p.3). This counter argument shows that, even though they are not use to being put in conflicting situations, they do want to gain experiences so that they can become better leaders for future generations. This is strengthened by the fact that millennials are not the only ones who feel this way, older generations do too. While McCartney’s rhetorical techniques are very evident and effective, they are not quite as effective as Haims’ because they are not the best suited for their exigence, nor their intended audience.
Polar to McCartney’s article, Haims’ is much more emotional and vibrant, focusing more on appealing to pathos; it is more likely to draw the attention of the audience. A majority of Haims article is devoted to appealing to the parental instincts of her audience. She refuses to refer to Millennials as young adults; instead she only uses childlike diction when mentioning them, using words like ‘tantrum’ to identify Millennials as toddlers (p.4). Haims also approaches the common belief among previous generations that the Millennials are spoilt. This belief is so popular that they have been given the nickname of the ‘Me, me, me’ generation. She lures the audience in further by discussing the different ways the younger generations childhoods lead to the development of such a nickname. Millennials’ childhoods are referred to as being “padded cells” that were devoid of the realities of the world; even fairy tales were edited to have a lighter appearance. Later she states that the next generation will be worse as their parents deemed the original Sesame Street as too inappropriate (p.2; p.5).
Although a lot of Haims’ argument is focused on pathos, she does use some logos appeals. If the millennials refuse to openly debate topics that they find distasteful, how will they be able to effectively confront and deal with issues that will arise both within America, and with other nations, when they are in charge of the country (p.5)? By not addressing the fact that not all Millennials are the same and the possibility that they might actually be trying to learn effective ways to debate without offending, she leaves her audience with only one conclusion, that Millennials will not be able to effectively run the country when the previous generations pass their roles down.
In Haims’ article, most of her ethos is linked to her pathos appeals, and one with logos. Part of what makes her strategy for pathos so strong is how present she allows her own emotions to be. Letting her emotions show not only increases her chances of luring her audiences’ emotions, it also forms a very tight connection between them and herself. Haims also mentions that she has worked on a college campus, as a dean when she is making a logical areguement about the poor state of Millennials who still, “require a parent’s assistance,” (p.2)
Because this argument will technically die out once the Millennial generation has fully reached adulthood, it is best to try to attract the audience’s emotions, since, generally speaking, when put into a situation stressed for time, people will rely more on their emotions than logical reasoning. Even though McCartney’s rhetorical techniques do develop a strong argument, the fact that Haims not only focuses more on pathos, but also uses an informal approach to address the audience, makes her style the most appropriate, which results in it being more effective.
Lythcott-Haims, Julie. “Millennials Will Soon Define ‘America,’ and That’s a Problem
for Ideas.” New York Times. 21 December 2015. Web. 13 September 2016.
McCartney, Kathleen. “Today’s Students Have a New Way of Looking at Free Speech.” New
York Times. 21 December 2015. Web. 13 September 2016.
Manis 5Another point McCartney makes is that not all students are the same, they