The article “Breeding evil?”, from Economist.com, makes use of rhetorical strategies to question arguments about the use of video games (Economist.com). Video games, like other forms of emerging recreational technologies have been facing critically analytical reviews on their perceived and observable negative impact. Video games are among the most popular forms of entertainment with the young generation all over the current world. It has been observed that a greater majority of teenagers and young adults are spending considerable amounts of time playing video games on their various devices.
This trend has attracted the attention and subsequent ire especially form the older generation as they have severe misgivings about the appropriateness of spending such proportions of time on playing games that distract and may even be addictive. These addictions served to deviate from the other things the children should be doing instead like studying and preparing for their future or even indulging in the more healthier pastimes of outdoor games and the other traditionally known and socially approved forms of entertainment. This increasing preoccupation of the youth with video games questions the reality behind the impact of video games both on individuals and on society. Attracting an audience and effectively analyzing such a topic can be affected by how the author is able to make use of rhetorical strategies in a directed manner (Waltonen, Karma & Vernay 117-120). This article focuses on the effectiveness of rhetorical strategies employed in persuading the audience to change their views about video games.
The purpose of the article on video games is to critique the arguments given against video games. At the outset, the author has been able to effectively use rhetoric in attracting the audience towards the topic of discussion. Each argument against video games is equally weighed against the benefits of the same. The target audience for this article is all the stakeholders – the players, the manufacturers and the retail market. Then there is the perspective of the older generation that does not see eye to eye with the young generations’ over involvement with the video games which are invariably eating into the valuable time the children should be putting into studies and cultivating lifelong good habits that would hold them steady unlike the video games that were a potential threat to the sound mind and body and to some extent even soul of the individual. The author reflects on other aspects of the conflict between the two generations but does not succeed to draw upon effective examples of youthful pre-occupations that had earned the similar rancor and wrath of the older generation to such and extend and degree as did the video games.
The credibility of an argument is considered tobe the ethos that supports the agreement and its salient features. Similarly, the author uses ethos to bring forth several of the positive aspects that could be attributed to video games while considering the impact of video games. The very title of the article, “Breeding evil?”, shows the author’s intent of bringing before society the true face of a phenomenon being perpetuated despite all precautions of parental authority, societal checks and scholastic learning. It is in clear defiance of a clear understanding of the moral issues that sustain society. The title is a reminder of what is to come within. The precursor of the arguments that defy the beneficial impact of technological advancement that was having detrimental impact on the minds and thinking processes of impressionable young people. The arguments presented are by o means merely based on the moral perspective but are a reflection of the feelings of the entire social fabric of a situation. The title, though dramatic, serves well to attract audiences from both the proponents and opposes of video games. The proponents of video games should be interested in knowing the evils with which video games had been associated. Also those in opposition sought the credibility of ethos on their form of argument and presentation.
The article shows how the debilitating impact of video games could be gradually violating the innocence of younger generations by bringing various detrimental aspects of shoot outs, warfare, trickery and cunning into their innocent lives. Loss of innocence among young people is a serious concern as it could be instrumental in defiling the very character of future generations on whom rests the onus of responsibility of carryingthe humean race forward. The article shows how video games have been resulting in this vital and irreplaceable loss of innocence through sustained exposure to crimes, violence and sex scenes in almost every frame passing before the eyes of the video game players. Another serious concern raised by intellectuals is the impact of video games on social values and the potential wreckage of the family as an institution when the individual becomes addictive to selfishly wasting large volumes of time on video games. The article shows how video games can be negatively habit forming and addictive to the young generation besides leading them to hollow appreciation of loss of time, opportunities and productivity. The further detrimental aspect is that to make up for these vital losses the individuals will stoop to lying, theft and finally total selfish self appeasement and gratification, putting themselves before all else.
On the other hand, the article uses ethos, or the emotional angle while reflecting upon the benefits of video games. Some video games advocate for peace and safety as the players of video games are supposed to remain off the streets and away from harmful influences that may lure the youth. There are video games where players prevent the occurrence of a world war that could be harmful to the society. The article extols how video games teach the players important skills on problem solving and also prepare their mind for other tasks such as work and education. Thus, the video games are exalted to the position of being academic aids in building the thinking processes of the youthful mind. The use of ethos helps in attracting the attention of audience and showing that the article presents both sides of the argument. The author is aware of both the good and bad influences of video games and is therefore able to give a balanced critique of the pros and cons.
The article uses pathos or empathy in making the audience reflect on their past experiences and compare them with the changes effectively taking place in society. In the past, new trends [in dressing, behavior and mannerisms among the youth, or even following a particular musical or eating fad] had faced resistance but ultimately were accepted and even happily embraced by society. The audience is made to reflect on what would have happened if some of the things were not existence in their life at present times [for example tight fitting jeans or any particular food or cold drink fad]. This persuasion includes the use of written text, some forms of music and the internet among others. The emphasis is on these things which have made life easier and all the more enjoyable. The older generation makes use of music for entertainment and other forms of media which had previously attracted criticism in the society. The use of internet is now being encouraged due to its observable importance in almost all spheres of life.
The article use logos or logic to compare the opposition of past events with that which was being directed towards video games. Opposition towards new media has always been in existence in society. The article points out that such opposition had probably been founded on false perceptions by conservatives. A singular example given was that of the introduction of written text in which the conservatives argued that sustained use would result in loss of memory as people would become more reliant on written information instead of their memory for directions on how to go about a particular task. The article shows that such arguments are incorrect since the written text served to improve learning and preservation of information.
Statistics show that most gamers are below 40 years while those opposed to video games are over 40 years. This also serves to prove that opposition to video games could be a result of narrow, conservative views. New media is likely to attract opposition from the older generation as they are reluctant to adopt and adapt to newer techniques and do not understand the requirements of the new generation. The article show that it is likely that the current generation playing video games will at some point be opposed to the advent of newer media inceptions once they get old. This could be the main factor behind the opposition of video games by a majority of those above 40 years.
The article refers to recent results from research studies which suggest that playing video games does not increase the level of aggression. Cases of violence have decreased by half even with the introduction of video games. These studies support the argument that violence and loss of innocence is a social issue in society that is not related to new media.
The article uses some of the fallacies to discredit arguments given to oppose video games. There is also the argument that video games lead to addiction and loss of valuable time. This argument is a fallacy as it fails to consider the other similar forms of entertainment such as TV. The article shows that individuals spend less time playing video games than watching TV yet those opposed to video games on the basis of addiction and time wastage do not oppose watching TV. The argument that video games lead to loss of innocence and violence is also a fallacy. This argument generalizes the content of all the video games. In this case, the argument fails to recognize video games that are important for career training and in promoting good behavior (Waltonen, Karma & Vernay 117-120).
This article has employed the use of rhetorical strategies to attract and convince the audience of forming a view point supportive of video games after following the path of ethos, pathos and logos. The intention of the article is to convince the audience that video games have no direct negative impact on society which it succeeds in doing. The article attracts the attention of those opposed to video games and also those supporting video games. The conclusive end of the article takes the reader to the logical acceptance of video games as a lesser evil after dispelling several fallacies that had been brought up in the arguments. Thus, strategically rhetorical presentations can be strong opinion builders.