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Oct 4

Page history last edited by Jared 12 years, 2 months ago

    SHOOTING           WAR: 

Shooting War, the near-future webcomic from Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman that debuted on SMITH, is included among the 60 best graphic novels in The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels:  the write up for Shooting War concludes with these words: “Whether Shooting War ends up being seen as a pioneer or a piece of specifically noughties satire remains to be seen, but this thrilling, zeitgeist-dripping piece of fiction feels like it is plugged into something big.”


  • No assignment for Thursday (work on Project Two drafts)
  • Rough drafts of Project Two due before class on Tuesday 10/11
  • Winner's of support paragraph challenge 

Today's Lesson and Exercise:

  • The Enthymeme-meme 

Shooting War


What's the Argument of this Agitprop Web-Comic turned Graphic Novel?


Your thoughts: 

It is a critique of the Iraq War

It is a commentary on our violence as reality, and as entertainment

It is a heavy critique of US Foreign Policy / Military Practices in Iraq

Critique of Media Coverage of the Iraq War

Commentary on corruption (secret conspiracy style, or in full view?)

A dystopian argument about a Corporate 'take over'?

A critique of the shallow opportunism of the 'blog generation'?



Techniques identified: Action-packed imagery, political satire, pathos,


Team 2 - Colton Dale and his henchmen

Another reoccurring rhetorical technique that is used by Jake Halpern is logos through the use of many statistics and studies on how youth is especially influenced by this growing fame addiction, because children’s minds are so much more impressionable than adults. Halpern states that narcissism is said to directly effect a person’s view of fame. The more narcissistic a child is, the more likely it is that they might have an obsession with fame. In many case studies in this book, it is proven that narcissism is on the rise throughout the nation. Harrison Gough, a psychologist, found that “college students in the 1990s were far more likely than those in the 1960s to support narcissistic statements like [...] ‘If I ruled the world it would be a better place’” (38). One main reason people seek fame is to be well-known and idolized, thus if one has more narcissistic tendencies, they are more likely to work towards fame. Now a days, children have a much stronger sense of self importance then they did before, which is not necessarily as good of a thing as it sounds. With kids constantly being viewed as the center of attention, narcissistic tendencies are likely to appear in these kids. For example, in the 1950’s only 12% of teenagers endorsed the statement “I am an important person.” Compared to the 1980s, where 80% of teenagers endorsed this statement, this is a very dramatic increase (35). Obviously, a dramatic change of children’s personalities is taking place.




The Enthymeme-Meme:  Today we’ll be Cutting up our already Explosive Discussions using the rhetorical equivalent of something like a rocket propelled chainsaw...


Synopsis:  We will use enthymemes to structure a discussion, to discover and shape claims, and then to draft a ‘real-time’ collaborative rhetorical analysis of the graphic novel to be posted to an online forum as a review (this time a Google Books Review) by the end of the day.


Upshots: Last week we practiced organizing your Rhetorical Analysis of a book-length argument around the techniques the author used.  While this is still a big part of what you do for this project, you can also organize sections of your analysis around the key claims the author makes in support of their central argument.  For instance if the author is arguing that violence is on the decline globally, but that media draws and shapes our attention to violence in more intensely emotional ways, you can explore the techniques used to create and support this (contentious) claim.  To do so, you will NEED to have a strong grasp of the enthymeme.  Today's lesson and exercise will help you.


Barbara A. Emmel’s article “Toward a Pedagogy of the Enthymeme: The Roles of Dialogue, Intention, And Function in Shaping Argument” notes that those who’ve advocated teaching the enthymeme don’t teach the form quite so much as they teach the process involved in forming one – a process that involves “inquiry, thinking, questioning, defining, conversing, understanding, connecting, and concluding” (133). 



"As a pedagogical tool, the enthymeme enables us to make students conscious both of the processes of thought that are inherent in reasoned discourse and of the organic connections that exist among those processes, the process of writing a paper, and the final structure of that paper. In other words, there is an organic connection between talking about something and writing about it... we can learn to think through how our discussions shape how we read and how we write... ‘reasoned discourse’ can productively lead to close reading and intelligent writing”.


Be re-introduced to...


Basic Components of the Enthymeme: 

  1. The claim: (assertion/thesis/conclusion/position) [these can also be shaped by different kinds of claims: of fact/value/recommendation, and by the stasis questions we've recently talked about]
  2. Stated reason: 
  3. The unstated assumption:
  4. Grounds: supporting evidence, data, stats, testimony or examples
  5. Rebuttals: how a shrewd adversary would try to refute the reasons stated, or the grounds provided


The process of discovering and shaping enthymemes is most often worked out through DIALOGUE... and people have historically used enthymemes to “naturally” discover claims in (or about) a text through a discussion and note taking process.


This is something we will go through as a whole group.   


So the enthymeme is a multipurpose TOOL to generate and shape discussions in the following straightforward ways:


  1. It is a tool for discovering (or inventing) claims:  It allows you to enter a process of discovering and shaping claims – to realize the potential intention of others (or to more clearly articulate your own intention about why the text in question matters).  It leads you to elaborate on your own claims-- and allows you to think about the claims others (or other texts) are making, where they are going, and how they're constructed.  
  2. As a tool of arrangement – where you work out (or come to realize) the key components of claims and how they function, which helps us to arrange one claim (or a series of claims and ideas) in a logical order with reasons, assumptions, grounds, warrants, and rebuttals.  If we slow down and play with the parts of an enthymeme, we can also make connections or figure out the relationship between claims (of your own or of others that may not be appropriately of persuasively 'arranged', or that may be hard to figure out).  The discussion and note-taking process allows you to keep record of general ideas in a form that you can work with by tracing a pattern of inquiries into a text, tracing out questions and claims, and even developing further research questions. 


Today we will...

1)  initially focus on taking the general claims you made about the graphic novel in your responses and elaborating them as ethymemes in Class Notes that take shape on a series of enthymeme ‘templates’ that slowly get swallowed by our notes. 


We will spend between 15 and 30 minutes discussing and taking notes in the general pattern of the enthymeme, thus detailing and listing the most significant claims the comic/book is making.


From our (messy) notes, we end up with an organized version of some of our better claims here, all of which is generated as we discuss


I will work to keep the conversation lively and to take the best notes – but you will help me fill in notes both initially as we establish enthymemes.


2) Then we shift to rethinking and IMPROVING some of the claims.


 will try to IMPROVE one claim from our discussion and  -- posting it on our wiki.


This will lead to you improving the other enthymemes as a way to craft short paragraphs or clusters of sentences (perhaps minus much of the evidence in support) with more time and care than you are likely accustomed to. 


Keep in mind that not everything we come up with will be “correct” or well structured at this point -- rather it should generate some our best initial ideas that you will then reflect back on as enthymemes and IMPROVE later in the class in small groups.


~~Previous examples of enthymemes: 

Initial claim: The "comic novel" Birth of a Nation has a surprisingly “serious” message involving a portrayal of the conditions required for becoming a powerful or sovereign state 


The stated reason: The steps the mayor and his city take in the book would be key steps for building a powerful Western nation (acquiring financial independence and economic power; acquiring the 'muscle' needed to police a state; finding military strength; developing energy 'independence'...

The unstated assumption: States need serious economic sway and military power if they hope to stand on their own / states need key allegiances (many of which may not be for strictly ‘upstanding’ or strategic reasons) / ...

Grounds: Energy is often an unstated factor underlying the power of states / 

Rebuttal:  This is just a comic book and much of the steps East St Louis takes to find independence are far-fetched or inaccurate


~~ Enthymeme: (second major claim that was made)

The claim:  Birth of a Nation's portrayal of the disenfranchised city of East St Louis draws important analogies to New Orleans and Detroit (among other cities in the Rust Belt) and to the current condition of many cities at present during our economic and environmental crisis.


The stated reason: The key similarities include: economic turmoil; lack of city services; modern forms of segregation (white flight); the city is mostly "invisible" or forgotten by the broader public...

The unstated assumption: These similarities show a pattern or broader problem in the U.S.

Rebuttal: this similarity is forced/not really important/ or oversimplified


~~Enthymeme: (third major claim we made)

The claim: The graphic novel Birth of a Nation by Hudlin, McGruder, and Baker crafts a relevant moral lesson.


The stated reason: The main character, Fred Fredericks, strives to do the right thing for his city, in the face of economic, racial, and political dilemmas//Fredericks stands out as virtuous leader among other less-principled characters/

The unstated assumption: an implication throughout is that American people often tend to hold onto their rights without actively trying to do the right thing

Rebuttal: This is a minor aspect to the story//or....you can read morals into anything or turn (reduce) any story into a moral-tale...


~~ Enthymeme: (4th major claim we made)

The claim:  This graphic novel is a potent lesson in the power of rhetoric


The stated reason: Fred Fredericks displays rhetorical powers to address an audience, to argue effectively, to unite people around a cause, and to win political power. 

The unstated assumption: ? Rhetoric plays a significant role in building a nation?


~~ Enthymeme: (5th major claim we made)

The claim:  Birth of a Nation is a commentary about enduring racial discrimination and disempowerment in America.


The stated reason: The story creates an analogy to the disenfranchised voters in Florida during the 2000 election/ all the details about problems in East St Louis should be seen in light of the fact that it is a primarily black city / other examples of racial tension and hatred...

The unstated assumption: Racial discrimination is a less talked about problem connected to other social problems like poverty....globalization...





The Process: Smooth Talking 'Enthymematically'


Our discussion initially follows a line of thinking that extends initial claims/arguments with some ‘gravity’ made by the graphic novel.  


Prompting questions include:

-What is the text saying about violence?

-About the Iraq war?

-About the media?

-What is the text claiming or saying about politics (or certain political situations) in America? 

-About national/foreign relations or nationalism?

-About our propensity for military action?

-About corruption?

-About rhetoric?    



Space for our improved Enthymeme:




Stated reason:



Unstated assumption:










Part two: Group work: Designing and improving enthymemes

After we spend some time (5-10 minutes) improving one enthymeme from rougher notes to something ‘half baked’ (more like above), you are then organized into small groups around an enthymeme your group finds particularly interesting.


Your goal is to IMPROVE the enthymeme in a similar way, and then to turn this into a short paragraph. 


Now you have several options with our flexible tool kit after using the enthymeme structure to think through the claim.


  • Think about what type of claim you said the text is making (one of fact or definition, cause and effect, value/evaluation, or about solutions, policies or recommendation).  
  • or 
  • properly cite an example or two that supports their claim.
  • or 
  • Connect the enthymeme with a rhetorical move that the author is using. 
  • or
  • Link up their paragraph with a transition to the group to the right and/or to left of you. 



The result is a seemingly impromptu ‘review’ (as it is not quite an analysis) that we post to an online forum.  I tell them this is the goal either at the beginning or at some point during the class.  They have until the end of the day to ‘finish’ their draft. 


The hope is that at this point you will see the value in how something like this rhetorical setting we establish in class can move you from class discussion to writing.



Due Next Class:

Nothing.  Read and work on project two



Comments (9)

Yashvir Riar said

at 1:07 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Farah , Sasha, Adam
The graphic novel “Shooting War” is arguing that the media is filtered through a series of lenses (decisions of the bodies) before it reaches the public because the media attempts to cover up gruesome details and some things produce better ratings . An example of this is when soldiers kill innocent children when they were ambushed however the media did not show this because people cannot handle the truth of the war. Another example is when the media showed a man being beheaded because that would tend to get better ratings. Pathos plays a role in the whole situation because it gears us to fear.

Farah Sheikh said

at 1:09 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Farah , Sasha , Adam
The graphic novel “Shooting War” is arguing that the media is filtered through a series of lenses (decisions of the bodies) before it reaches the public because the media attempts to cover up gruesome details and some things produce better ratings . An example of this is when soldiers kill innocent children when they were ambushed however the media did not show this because people cannot handle the truth of the war. Another example is when the media showed a man being beheaded because that would tend to get better ratings. Pathos plays a role in the whole situation because it gears us to fear.

Nour Ghamrawi said

at 1:14 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Nour & Anisa

One of the claims this book is making is that holy wars are more often about globalization of religion, culture, and economy. The stated reason in this novel is that in most religions fighting is avoided at all times and only used to defend themselves, however when going to war someone is always on the attack and in a way you’re putting religion aside and fighting simply to take control. During wars tons of crimes go on such as theft and rape and those things are completely against religion. Proof of this is what we see in the media and stories that surface online as well as friends and family overseas. Another example throughout the novel is as someone is dying he is repeatedly saying “Allahu Akbar!” which means god is great, so it is another relation to religion.

John Malinowski said

at 1:14 pm on Oct 4, 2011

John, Travis, Daree
The text in "Shooting War" is making a claim that the media deceives the public by sharing what sells and bending the truth as opposed to the truth to improve ratings and by using Iraqi stereotypes. The text claims that the media is highly selective of what they want us to know and what they think we can handle. Although the government narrows or bends the truth to keep us feeling safe, it is a bit overplayed.

dw5149@wayne.edu said

at 1:14 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Damien, Paul, Dillon

Shooting War argues that American nationalism and the American way of life are being pushed onto other countries and is breeding violent resistance and distaste of American lifestyle and values. In the third chapter the extremist leader Abu Adallah outlines the terrible affects on Iraq that have been caused by our invasion of their country both militarily as well as diplomatically. This is also supported through the continual resistance to our way of life in the Middle East today. When we eliminate one terrorist cell, another cell rises up in its place to continue the fight.

Jared said

at 1:14 pm on Oct 4, 2011

“Shooting War” is arguing that violence which would normally be unacceptable becomes acceptable during times of war. As Americans, we feel it is acceptable because we become desensitized to the violence. We believe that it is a good thing because it helps us maintain a powerful military image, and we feel that we are helping the world by acting as “world police.” Also, many people benefit from the war economically. This is, of course, assuming that violence becomes acceptable. The truth is that violence really does occur during war, but this is just a comic book and many of the ideas are far fetched.

Marielle Samey Amy

Yashvir Riar said

at 1:15 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Shooting War is arguing that the media is filtered through a series ofhighly selective lenses through which different major entities are able to decide what the public sees and ultimately influence the personal beliefs of the population. One example of this is the Global News' airing of the beheading witnessed by Jimmy Burns in an attempt to capitalize on the public’s attention and instill a sense of fear regarding the radical groups in Iraq. However, in Mogadishu, there is no mention of the soldiers’ lack of responsibility towards the innocent civilians that were killed or injured – many of which were children. This shows a clear example of the media’s attempts to influence our emotions and thoughts by reinforcing our beliefs that we’re doing more good than bad. Ultimately, it all boils down to the media’s selectivity regarding exactly what we see, and this is made evident in the mentality of the population that is witnessing a war in another continent.

Colton, Perrin, Yashvir

mike said

at 1:16 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Hannah, Mike

Shooting war is argueing that the US government is using its position as a world superpower to dominate smaller militant states.

-"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."
George W. Bush

"There are no civilians in Baghdad."
-Col. John Crowley (Shooting War, Ch. 9, Pg. 6)

Derek Blanton said

at 1:17 pm on Oct 4, 2011

Derek, Toma' Ahmed

In the graphic novel "The Shooting War", the major argument is that violence that is otherwise viewed as unacceptable, becomes acceptable during times of war. We get start to become desensitized, we begin believing that through violence, we are securing our rights and our beliefs. As long as we are not directly on the receiving end of the violence, then there is no harm done, and any harm done in our honor is supposed to benefit us.

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