Rhetorical Analysis Of 'Science Guy'

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In October of 2014, Bill Nye, of “Science Guy” fame, spoke at Lewis & Clark College as part of the Speaker Series sponsored by Campus Activities Board (CAB), President Glassner, and Dean Gonzalez. The advertisement for the events announced that Nye would “talk about his early history, the importance of science education, and “[inspire] others to change the world through it.” Expectations were incredibly high; Nye did not live up to them. His talk lacked a clear purpose and was hard to follow at points. Still, many students left the event reasonably satisfied with the talk. Caleb Diehl, editor-in-chief of the Pio Log (the Lewis & Clark student newspaper), wrote an op-ed about the event entitled, “We Wasted a Ton of Money…show more content…
Style is “figures of ornament…and…figures of argument,” or rather, using figures of speech and other rhetorical techniques to present an argument. Diehl makes use of two specific elements of style: metaphor and hyperbole. Both of these elements are overly exaggerated which makes Diehl appear disingenuous. The article begins with an extended metaphor comparing Bill Nye to a trout who floundered in the financial net the school presented for him. Diehl writes that Nye “is like a trout” who was “ensnared,” who “floundered,” “flopped,” and “thrashed.” This metaphor is a confusing way to begin the article, as fish and fishing have no relevance to the Lewis & Clark population. One fish metaphor might be viewed as a fun play-on-words, but an entire paragraph of them creates an insincere and absurd tone. The animal metaphors continued as Diehl argued, “visiting Pamplin was like visiting an orangutan at the Portland Zoo.” The extent of these metaphors seems to be a creative exercise in symbolism for Diehl, instead of a tool to further his…show more content…
The article begins by describing the context of a less-than-anticipated talk from Bill Nye. Diehl argues that Nye lacked focus, precision, and relevance. He concludes, “Nye didn’t try that hard” but it was fun and an enjoyable spectacle. This was immediately followed with “CAB knew it could get away with just that much.” The jump in blame from Bill Nye, himself, to CAB is unexpected and Diehl offers no explanation or transition. Before this point Diehl relied heavily on pathos to convince his audience but this specific appeal to logos lacks substantive proof. He continues by specifying what a $40,000 talk would have contained. He points out that the talk has no lasting power or impression. However, in this, Diehl fails to leave the audience with a call to action or explanation of what should come next. He instructs his audience to ask if Nye was worth it but does not offer suggestions to improve future speakers, offer information on how to change the budget, or how to get rid of the Speaker Series in general. At the end of the article, the audience still wonders who to blame and what to do about
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