Brain Candy

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Have you ever heard that too much television can ruin a child’s mind? Malcolm Gladwell proposes in his article, “Brain Candy,” that playing video games or watching television is just as important as reading a book. Gladwell is using rhetorical appeals to prove that in fact, video games are not dumbing down society. Pop culture is helping to improve test scores and knowledge. In “Brain Candy,” Malcolm Gladwell does affectively use rhetorical appeals to convince his audience that pop culture is making our society smarter.

First, Gladwell effectively appeals to logos. Gladwell appeals to logic through statistics. In the opening paragraph, Gladwell cites statistics by James Flynn: “But if you took out the recalibration, Flynn found, I.Q. scores showed a steady upward trajectory, rising about three points per decade, which means that a person whose I.Q. placed him in the top ten percent for the American population in 1920 would today fall in the bottom third.” Statistics appeal to logic because they are reasoning applied to a branch of knowledge or study. Also, Gladwell appeals to logic by using other researched data that has been studied and analyzed. Gladwell cites “Steven Johnson proposes that what is making us smarter is precisely what we thought was making us dumber: popular culture” (“Brain Candy”). Parents believe that television or playing a game can ruin a child’s mind; however, it helps to improve the problem solving skills that arise in everyday life.

Gladwell adequately appeals to ethos by being knowledgeable about the two subjects. Gladwell states “It doesn’t seem right, of course, that watching “24” or playing a video game could be as important cognitively as reading a book” (“Brain Candy”). Being knowledgeable in the two subjects appeals to ethics because it shows that Gladwell is well-informed about his subject and is confident in his position. Additionally, Gladwell appeals to ethics by the tone of his article. Gladwell uses formal, scientific...
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