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Brain Candy by Malcolm Gladwell

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Have you ever heard that too much television can ruin a child’s mind? Malcolm Gladwell proposes in his article, “Brain Candy,” that playing video games or watching television is just as important as reading a book. Gladwell is using rhetorical appeals to prove that in fact, video games are not dumbing down society. Pop culture is helping to improve test scores and knowledge. In “Brain Candy,” Malcolm Gladwell does affectively use rhetorical appeals to convince his audience that pop culture is making our society smarter.

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First, Gladwell effectively appeals to logos. Gladwell appeals to logic through statistics. In the opening paragraph, Gladwell cites statistics by James Flynn: “But if you took out the recalibration, Flynn found, I. Q. scores showed a steady upward trajectory, rising about three points per decade, which means that a person whose I. Q. placed him in the top ten percent for the American population in 1920 would today fall in the bottom third. ” Statistics appeal to logic because they are reasoning applied to a branch of knowledge or study.

Also, Gladwell appeals to logic by using other researched data that has been studied and analyzed. Gladwell cites “Steven Johnson proposes that what is making us smarter is precisely what we thought was making us dumber: popular culture” (“Brain Candy”). Parents believe that television or playing a game can ruin a child’s mind; however, it helps to improve the problem solving skills that arise in everyday life. Gladwell adequately appeals to ethos by being knowledgeable about the two subjects.

Gladwell states “It doesn’t seem right, of course, that watching “24” or playing a video game could be as important cognitively as reading a book” (“Brain Candy”). Being knowledgeable in the two subjects appeals to ethics because it shows that Gladwell is well-informed about his subject and is confident in his position. Additionally, Gladwell appeals to ethics by the tone of his article. Gladwell uses formal, scientific wording. Gladwell appeals to his audience by presenting his article in a polished and professional manner.

The tone of the article appeals to ethics because he uses a tone that is suitable for the audience who are mostly well-read professionals and academics. Conclusively, Gladwell uses pathos. Gladwell appeals to emotions through vivid images. Gladwell states that “Unlike the longstanding tradition of gameplaying– which engages the child in a vivid, three-dimensional world filled with moving images and musical soundscapes, navigated and controlled with complex muscular movements– books are simply a barren string of words on the page. Gladwell is giving an extremely vivid image of someone playing a game, rather than simply reading words written on a page. This proves emotion by being able to see an idea of gameplaying and not just seeing words written on a blank page. Gladwell also appeals to emotions through properties of a book. Gladwell states that “But perhaps the most dangerous property of these books is the fact that they follow a fixed linear path” (“Brain Candy”).

This is an example of emotions because books are isolating and not open-minded because they follow a set of distinct rules. In conclusion, pop culture is not dumbing down society; it is, in fact, making society smarter. Malcolm Gladwell uses three different rhetorical appeals to prove this point. Gladwell proposes that playing a game can help a child’s mind more so than it would reading a book. Pop culture is given in many different forms, and can help a child use different parts of the brain. Therefore, too much television cannot ruin a child’s mind.

Cite this Brain Candy by Malcolm Gladwell

Brain Candy by Malcolm Gladwell. (2016, Oct 15). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/brain-candy-by-malcolm-gladwell/

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