Rhetorical Theory

Topics: Hip hop music, Michael Jackson, Rhetoric Pages: 12 (4467 words) Published: December 14, 2010
RUNNING HEAD: Fantasy Theme Criticism

Fantasy Theme Criticism:
Symbolic Convergence Theory
“Love The Way You Lie”
COMM 311


Hip-hop and rap as a whole tend to be lumped together as bad for society, or the dragging down of American culture. The debate on the influence of music effecting the actions of America’s youth has remained salient for decades. The upcoming genre of ‘Rap’ or ‘Hip-Hop’ in recent years has sparked controversy because of the references to violence and sex portrayed in many song lyrics. Not only has the issues of drugs and crime been associated with hip hop, but the diminishing perception of women in our society has also been attributed to hip hop. It seems that rap is an easy scapegoat for the American population to ‘point the finger at.’ Why is Hip-Hop important? No music is more important than the next. As soon as a genre starts portraying itself as something other than the simple concept of musical notes vibrating off the eardrums of listeners, it loses its focus and main purpose – to entertain. Political messages and social responsibility measures have always been visible in musical lyrics, examples such as R.E.M. and U2 as well as countless other bands have done it for years. Hip-Hop has become big business and anything that is marketable affects society one way or another. Hip-Hop also affects society on many different levels and it is inclusive of all people. The media attention that Hip-Hop gets gives meaning to the fact that people are able to see a side of a particular Hip-Hop artist and then the artist is then displayed as a more human element. Younger generations must understand the biases and politics involved with the generalizations of Hip-Hop. The music we listen to and the videos we watch are just like reading a fashion magazine. A perfect example is if we see beautiful women in certain clothes then we may want those clothes. When someone sees a Hip-Hop artist or rapper on televisions that is clearly successful, actions may be taken to duplicate behavior portrayed by that artist, in turn hoping to emulate success similar to that artist. Why is the Eminem song featuring Rihanna important? Eminem is one of a kind! He is the only white rapper to emerge and remain successful while opening the ears of a different audience—young Caucasian males. Barriers are broken down when people from different backgrounds can share common interest at shows and on the internet and Eminem has done an exceptional job at doing so. Eminem was ranked 79th on the VH1 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time. He was also ranked 82nd on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. He was named the Best Rapper Alive by Vibe magazine in 2008. Eminem has achieved nine No. 1 albums on the Billboard Top 200. Eminem also has had 13 number one singles worldwide. In December 2009, Eminem was even named the Artist of the Decade by Billboard magazine. Are these credentials not enough for you? Let’s take a look at Rihanna -- she has achieved eight number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 since first appearing on the chart on June 11, 2005. As of July 23, 2010, Rihanna has sold approximately 5,563,000 album units in the US alone. She has received several accolades, including the 2007 World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling Pop Female Artist and Female Entertainer of the Year, as well as the 2008 American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist and Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist. She serves as one of Barbados's honorary cultural ambassadors. In January 2010, Rihanna received two Grammy Awards for Jay-Z's 2009 single "Run This Town.” These two celebrities are huge public figures! As for Rihanna, she appeals to a different demographic, the young African American female. With the combination of these two audiences, they amass to a huge portion of the American youth. Influencing the youth of American is monumental to the outcome of the Country as a whole. The...

References: Bormann, E. (1972). Fantasy and rhetorical vision: The rhetorical criticism of social reality. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 58, 396-407. Retrieved April 3, 2010, from Academic Search Premier database.
Foss, S. (2004). Rhetorical criticism: Exploration and practice (3rd ed). Waveland press, Long Grove.
Littlejohn, S. W. (2002). Symbolic convergence theory. In Cavanaugh, D. (Ed.) Theories of Human Communication (pp. 157-159). New Mexico: Wadsworth Group.
Pineda, R., & Sowards, S. (2007). Flag waving as rhetorical argument: 2006 immigration demonstrations and cultural citizenship. Argumentation & Advocacy, 43(3/4), 164-174. Retrieved April 1, 2010, from Communication & Mass Media Complete database.
Bormann, Ernest G. (1972). Fantasy and Rhetorical Vision: The Rhetorical Criticism of Social Reality. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 58, 396-407.
Foss, S. K. (1996). Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration & Practice. (2nd ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland.
Griffin, EM (1997). A First Look at Communication Theory. (3rd ed.). NY: McGraw-Hill.
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