Words Fitly Spoken: Part IV
and A Lighter Look at Lacking LOGOS
When I began this “Words Fitly Spoken” series, it was because I was missing my old classroom setting during the political primary season. I miss interacting with students about current events and critical thinking. I was a young teacher during the Reagan Revolution, and for eight years he was an interesting illustration of Aristotle’s elements of rhetoric: ETHOS, PATHOS, and LOGOS.
Last week Obama was recovering from the PATHOS issues of his "pastor disaster," but it seems that toothpaste has been put back in the Youtube. In part because this CBS Youtube Clip with over a million views triggered a telling ETHOS implosion for Hillary.
As mentioned in Part I, ETHOS is that intangible quality that says a speaker's character, knowledge, and judgment are worthy of respect. Had this merely been a lapse in reasoning or facts (LOGOS), the story would not have legs, but because it underscores two decades of Clintonian ETHOS issues, it has fueled a 48-hour news cycle and will likely lead to harsh hindsight like this from Dick Morris, this blast from the New York Times, this most damaging account from Slate, and kinder but not gentler critiques like this from Peggy Noonan before going away... but the damage is done. [Update 3-30-08: Then a week later this issue came up.]
But enough about this latest political pothole!
Before we take a serious look at LOGOS, I thought it might be fun to study the unending supply of “logic” from that legend of Youtube known simply as Dax Flame. This 16-year-old is one of the most watched “stars” on the internet. My daughter started showing me these clips months ago. (They appeal to the generation that made Napoleon Dynamite a hit.)
At first I wasn't sure if Dax was an outspoken savant (in the form of AS described here) or a convincing actor from the school of “random thought.” I'm introducing you to him not to make fun of muddled thinking, but as a reminder that all of us have had those moments when we've lost our train of thought or when we've been expected to listen to a speaker whose LOGOS is clearly faulty.
Some of Dax Flame's Youtube posts receive more than half a million views within weeks. Some time when not satisfied with main-stream TV, spend a night with Dax. Whether "real" or "fake," Dax is well aware of the entertainment value of his pseudo rationality as he provides the world a lighter look at lacking LOGOS :
Questionable Logic (next 5 red links)
The Unfolding Love Saga (next 6 purple links):
Good and Bad days at school (next 5 green links)
(Before you become sad that poor Dax is a living Charlie Brown or a troubled teen, here is some "proof" that Dax Flame is likely an act. And here's more proof that Madison Patrello does not lead the bizarre life of his Youtube character. That should relieve the guilt of laughing with him (not at him) as he shares his misguided mishaps. Here are more than 100 other vlogs with more than ten million views. [Check out this odd tribute from a talented fan: Dax painted in chocalate syrup..]
In Part V of "Words Fitly Spoken" we will look at the legitimate end of the LOGOS spectrum.