Part One

A description of the artifact

the implied rhetor

the intended addressee

the occasion

the exigence

the kind of discourse

the forum and genre

the physical material

the presuppositions

  • values education
  • cares about their income and the equality or inequality of it, or will after experiencing the site
  • is intelligent enough to follow basic economics
  • is of all races, income-levels, genders
  • is from the USA and participates in US economics
  • a sense of humor
  • has a Twitter and/or Facebook account
  • is digitally savvy to some degree

the issue or question

Overall, the major active elements in this rhetorical situation are animation, sound, text, and the invitation/ability for audience participation. They are all active in the sense that they keep the audience moving through the site, and they invite the audience to interact by clicking here and there to achieve a desired outcome. (At least in my case as I tried as many options as I could to see where it all would go). The audience wants to interact because the issue being addressed affects us all, so curiosity at the least and concern at the most will encourage participation. All the elements work together for this end.

Part Two

Implied Rhetor

Implied Audience

The implied audience is most likely educated-- at the very least a high school diploma and at most, an advanced degree. They could be of any race, ethnicity, or gender. In fact the rhetors are careful about how they word gender identification. They are likely intelligent and savvy enough to follow through the site, understand the economics presented, possibly catch some of the historical references, and know/use Facebook/Twitter. They care about the things the site presents-- besides those above, they also value being valued. The site invites them to participate and not in a demeaning or insulting way. The implied audience can smell a rat -- they're too smart to stick with something with too big an agenda or something too gimmicky.

Part Three

Presentational Enthymemes: there are many in each page, I'm highlighting the one per page that stands out most to me
  1. Real
  2. Claim: The actual distribution of income in America is not what you think
    Data: charts, interactive animations
    Warrant: source Quarterly Journal of Economics & State of Working America-- reliable
    Cap: my two circles (what I think it should be and what I think it is) and the actual reality circle

  3. Personal
  4. Claim: Small town America is colorful and simple and lovely: Small is Beautiful (book).
    Data: illustration of small town with pastel colors and flower on water tower
    Warrant: we all want the simplicity of small town life (or possibly Rich Guy is keeping us from this ideal?)
    Cap: the giant green numbers at the top of the screen (indicating that we make this much in that small town)

  5. Expensive
  6. Claim: Making more money is good, making less is "expensive"
    Data: The characters are on green money pedestals with brown tops and bases. The character representing the man/woman that makes more money is on a taller pedestal than the others.
    Warrant: Making more money puts you on a higher pedestal than those who make less. Making more money is good because then you're on the higher pedestal.
    Cap: The text above the animation/illustration of people on pedestals that says "The growing gap between wages and productivity has been expensive."

  7. Created
  8. Claim: I'm looking at the video as a whole, although there are zillions of presentational enthymemes here. I think the overall claim of the video is inequality was created and we allowed it.
    Data: the video is full of data. Every scene change has it's own, as noted in the notes below.
    Warrant: This is all bad. We don't want this, and neither do you (inequality).
    Cap: So let's fix it!

  1. Fixable
  2. Claim: We let this happen, so how can we fix it?
    Data: the teetertotter with the RJ's on the light side and RG on the heavy side. All the circles-- trade, full employment, labor standards, financial regulation, tax fairness-- and the circles to the right: mobility, pamper the rich, education, and the teetertotter then flips to the RJ's on the heavy side and RG on the light side. There is more-- the background scene, but this is the main "one."
    Warrant: All these things are do-able, we can do this.
    Cap: RJ's can be at the heavy end of the teetertotter again

Part Four

Two Particular Presentational Enthymeme's
  1. Within the whole presentation, the characters are an interesting presentational enthymeme. There is the Rich Guy (RG) and his henchmen, and the Regular Joe's (RJ). RG is always in a grey suit, often with a cane with a gold cap, and a top hat. He's kind of a fat old guy, as opposed to the RJ's who are mostly "normal" size. His henchmen are in black and much the same. They all have what my kids used to refer to as "angry eyebrows." They don't speak in words, but they speak in non-verbals: grunts, chortles, guffaws-- all at appropriate moments. I can infer from all this data that the rhetor doesn't think much of RG's and their henchmen. They're colorless grey and black-- grey representing muddled and black is the absence of light, not absorbing any color. This indicates that our rhetor potentially believes RG's and supporting henchmen are "muddled" in their thinking/behavior/speech (after all they just mutter non-verbals) and even devoid of light-- morally, economically, personally maybe. The fact that they are the only characters portrayed as "fat" suggests that they are over-fed and don't "work for a living" whereas RJ's do. In fact, you don't ever see the RG doinganything. He's moved by stuff-- lines on a graph, people lifting him on their shoulders. The henchmen do stuff, RG just sits around, holding money bags and smoking his cigar.
  2. Claim: Rich Guys and their henchmen are devoid of morals
    Data: they've done all this bad stuff to our economy and they're fat, lazy, and greedy
    Warrant: We, the working middle class, are colorful and work hard-- we should be fairly compensated
    Cap: We need to fix this -- cast off the grey muddled fat guy from our shoulders (like an unwanted yoke)

  3. The interactive web-site genre is itself a presentational enthymeme. The claim of the site is that Inequality is Real, Personal, Expensive, Created, and Fixable. The methods the rhetors use-- all the interactional stuff-- me clicking buttons to present what I think it should be and what I think it actually is, and then me clicking through all the characters that best represent me-- my gender, age, education. This all engages me, the actual audience, in the argument. They are not just telling me that inequality is a problem. They are showing me by putting "me" on a pedestal with other people looking down on me who are making more money when they have the same education I do. All these things are the data. The warrant is that of course we all want to get equal pay for equal labor, and get paid what we deserve, rather than part of our pay going to the top 10% who aren't doing the work. If those guys earned it, fine. But the message of the site over and over again is that WE allowed this, WE created it, and WE can fix it. Maybe that's the big boom -- the cap of the whole site. And they got me engaged (brilliant, because I am engaged) so that I would want to do something about it.
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