Description of the artifact:

There is a marriage of a single sentence (written in white font, some words larger than others--to emphasize the message) and an image of a (now sort of archaic) television screen in which the FCC has temporarily commandeered to censor something (colorful blocks and a single sentence written also with white text within a black text box at the top of the screen that openly attributes the interruption/censorship to the FCC). It is unclear what the FCC is censoring (this aspect is obviously not important within the context of this assignment). The background behind the content is completely black.

Stylistic Figures:

The stylistic figure used in the text on the left is a metonymy ("a substitution based not on resemblance, but on logical relationship")--being that it is conveyed that the "nature" of the media influences society more-so than the actual "content" of the media.

The stylistic figures used in the image on the right are: irony (being that the FCC message explains that "we must blackout" but nonetheless inserts a very colorful frozen background to represent this 'blackout'), and periphrasis (being that the FCC could have inserted far fewer words to inform the mass audience that they were actively censoring a portion of whatever was being broadcasted--like "No" or "Censored" or "Fuck You" [I guess that would end up being irony within periphrasis] ).

The stylistic figure present in the entire artifact is an enthymeme (being that the text on the left acts as the claim [claiming that the nature of the media is more influential than the content itself], the image/text on the right acts as the data [being that it represents the nature of the media and its apparent censorship], and the artifact as a whole acts as a cap [being that, in its entirety, it uses both the claim and the data to illustrate its point]).

Elements of Rhetorical Situation:

Implied rhetor: The rhetor is someone who is capable of both identifying rhetorical situations AND creating rhetorical situations. He/she is most likely educated, and liberal (being that I feel the rhetor has a negative view of the FCC--which I will explain further later on this assignment).

Intended addressee: The addressee is most likely someone who CARES whether or not something is censored (this could either be someone like me [who completely denounces censorship] or perhaps someone with children [who would possibly be relieved that the FCC stepped in to shield their impressionable children from gory/offensive/shocking content]). The addressee is someone who is regularly bombarded with content via television/internet/etc. (whereas someone who lives in the middle of nowhere without modern technological amenities would probably not find as much meaning in this artifact as the 'plugged in' person).

Exigence: the 'problem' or 'issue' is that no matter which way you tend to look at it, we are all influenced by both content and the nature of media (assuming we are 'plugged in', like I mentioned above).


The rhetorical situation is apparent mostly because of the relationship between the text on the left and the image on the right--being that they define each other. The image represents the meaning behind the text (the nature of the media is more important than the content itself)--being that there is no actual content in the image (and instead a lack thereof). The lack of content is transformed into new content altogether (that content being: the power/authority of the FCC looks like this, and there is nothing you can do but stare at the screen and wait for your free will to be returned to you). Either the text and the image can be viewed as a rhetorical situation on its own--being that they both employ different rhetorical figures. As a whole though, like I mentioned before, they play equal parts in creating an enthymeme (with a cap, data, and claim).

Aspects of Logos:

In regards to logos (the logical reasoning behind a rhetorical situation), this artifact represents an indirect argument. The claim is relatively straightforward (nature of media is more important than the content), but the evidence is ambiguous at best ("Due to FCC Rules, We Must Blackout"). The evidence does not supply information about the specifics of the FCC rulebook and which of those rules were apparently broken by whatever was being broadcasted. Instead, the rhetor expects the intended addressee to connect the meaning behind the claim on the left to the evidence on the right (based on the words from the FCC and the 'lack' of content due to the temporary censorship). In other words, the image on the right sort of speaks for itself--the nature of the media being very apparent (and supposedly enough to illustrate the rhetor's point).

Aspects of Ethos:

In regards to ethos (the character of the rhetor--whatever inspires trust or distrust), it can be inferred that the rhetor is someone who is capable of spotting rhetorical situations (like I said before, the image itself is a rhetorical situation). The rhetor, based on the message embedded in this artifact, is someone who perhaps does not agree with FCC regulations. It is possible that by creating this rhetorical situation (the enthymeme, the marriage of the text on the left and the image on the right), the rhetor insinuates that the nature of the media (in this case, the FCC) has more of a negative effect on society than the blocked content would have if left alone. It is also possible that the rhetor is relatively neutral on the subject, and that the rhetor believes that the nature of the media is more influential than the content and nothing more. However, I feel that it's important to note that the rhetor could have chosen a countless number of images to demonstrate his/her point. I feel that the FCC censorship image points to the fact that the rhetor is not very fond of censorship.

Effectiveness of Rhetorical Situation:


Largely, I feel that this artifact represents a fairly sound rhetorical argument. It is a vague claim (nature of media more influential than content), and the evidence is well-chosen (being that the rhetor chose a fitting circumstance in which there is a purposeful lack of content--and within that lack of content lies a visual representation of the 'nature of the media' [that nature, in this case, being censorship]). I feel that the vaguer the claim, the easier it is to support it with evidence.

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