Apparently, we're supposed to be guided by rational deliberation, and think-- not feel-- before we act.
Example of Emotional Repertoire-- a relatively stable range of emotions shared by a large group of people and often in response to situations or objects that these people all encounter in their public lives. In America-- sadness is stoic, other cultures-- loud dramatic crying, shaving head, long periods of withdrawal. America-- anger-- destructive, something to be suppressed. Ancient Greeks-- anger was a positive thing and should be relished, like revenge. To my generation, the F-word was the worst of the worst of swear words. To this generation-- it's an adjective. Any other examples?
Unlike Spock, we don't always let reason guide us; we are often guided by feelings. Just part of our nature, and advertisers know this. This isn't new-- it's been a conversation for 2000 years. Aristotle specifically attributes three functions to any emotion--
- affects-- bodily reactions (physical)
- interpretation-- cognitive reactions (mental)
- behavior-- behavioral reactions (behavioral)
The first two often happen together. Rhetorical analysis explores how these come together, how they influence the audience, and how this is all invoked by a discourse
Some terms and ideas--
Pathemata: causes for emotion-- to arouse, intensify, or change the audience's emotion. Then the emotion functions as a reason for embracing an idea or taking action.
- Pathemata that the rhetor presents: Words are all connected into associative networks that include memories, convictions, relationships, and other words-- every word is tied to a feeling. Hope, for instance-- a skilled rhetor can tie it to concepts and beliefs that are themselves emotionally resonant, giving the term a stronger pathetic appeal. Example:
- Pathemata that depends on an associative network provided by the audience: the audience already knows. Examples:
Back to video-- Two elements of filmmaking that elicit strong emotional responses--
- direct cinema: tries to recreate a "fly on the wall" perspective, video/audio quality poor, people play to one another, not the camera. Result is strikingly realistic. Documentaries often do this. This is what we do with our iPhones when we film a clip of something. Example/Explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TsAnUmIzYY
- Shaky camera: achieved by filming with a hand-held camera-- viewpoint is not stable, as if the viewer were watching through his or her own eyes. Used to suggest that something is unprepared or unrehearsed in the film's story. Brings a greater sense of immersion. Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywAk2NSKv8Y
Cool register vs. Hot register-- cool is more subdued, careful not to excite the overly cynical, hot is in your face affective intensity.
Images affect us emotionally because they are vivid-- they present life as it is: Who remembers this?
What does your body feel when you see this? How do you interpret it? What is your behavior in response to it?
Another example: horror movies. Can't handle them. My affect-- nausea. Interpretation-- they're stupid and bad for society in general. Behavior? Run. Run away. You?
An astute rhetorical analyst can locate an affect, can notice a behavior, can find their allied interpretation, and can theorize a new emotional appeal, incorporating the same affect into a new interpretation, a new behavioral response, and thus a wholly different argument. Kind of an "if/then....then" scenario-- "if this moved you, then this really will."
Video is even more vivid: I can judge a good movie if I spend the entire duration NOT thinking about my to-do list. Example-- http://www.theshack.movie/#trailer
Pay attention to what you feel (what your body does), how you interpret cognitively, and any behaviors you have during this trailer- jot some things down.
"Cliche horror movie move" according to the 13 year old boy--https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIhnqkXWSR8
Questions for Analysis: Use these in your group to analyze our final video-- they are on pages 230-1 in your text if you would rather look at them there.
- What does the rhetor expect the audience to feel when reading, seeing, or hearing this? Explain how the effort achieved it's end. What emotion gets evoked and to what purpose? Then dissect the appeal's parts and explain how these parts interact.
- are there any detailed (particularly visual) descriptions? Any especially realistic scenes or images? If scenes--what does the rhetor want the audience to feel when reading or seeing them? If images-- what stylistic devices does the rhetor use to lay this material before the audience's senses? (refer to Style chapter)
- If there are particularly graphic images or video segments-- what focuses the audience's attention here and not elsewhere? Are there any noticeable aural effects (music, sound effects, ambient noise, changes in vocal intonation) that might make an audience feel a certain way?
- Are there any abstract ideas, terms, or icons that will likely resonate with a certain population in a certain way? What are these people likely to feel when they hear this term, think this idea, or see this icon? What makes the audience associate these terms, this idea, or this icon with such feelings? Or how does the rhetor associate this idea, term, or icon with other things that the audience likely cares about?
- What does this image ask the audience to feel? To do? To believe? How do these fit together in a single emotional response?
- Finding the emotional repertoire-- what other arguments ask the audience to feel the same way in response to similar things? Why is this audience likely to share these emotional responses to these common experiences, symbols, ideas, or situations?