Presidential Silence, C. Everett Koop, and the Surgeon General’s Report on AIDS- Response

This article demonstrated that Regan tried to keep silent on the AIDS epidemic because he wanted the public to think he was actively working on the problem. His administration regularly claimed it was his “number one priority” (Perez & Dionisopoulos, 1995, p. 29) when he was not doing anything. While Regan saw that his strategic silence demonstrated that he was in a position of power, the public saw his silence as a weakness. This article demonstrated that talking equals leadership when it comes to talking about health issues.

The article suggests “ to be effective, such a surrogate discourse has to offer more than a simple reiteration of presidential ‘concern’ about [a] problem” (Perez & Dionisopoulos, 1995, p. 29). This article demonstrates that “by examining the potential difficulties that may arise with attempting to maintain a lengthy presidential silence in an age which popularity equates public discourse with presidential leadership” (p. 19).  This article also suggests that a president is remembered “for crises and their successful or unsuccessful resolution” (Perez & Dionisopoulos, 1995, p. 19).

I learned the importance of references from this paper. The references used in this paper thoroughly backed up the claims that were made at the beginning of the paper. The media believed the silence to be a form of weakness in cases about health. 

The Bear in the Back Yard: Myth, Ideology, and Victimage Ritual in Soviet Funerals- Response

This article shows “the features of [a] victimage ritual are recurrent myths which demonstrate the stability of a type of culpability appeal that has endured over at least the last thirty years” (Corcoran, 1984, p. 306).  This article does this by first speaking about the news magazines as fiction.  Then it gives a cluster analysis of Time, Newsweek, The U.S. News, and World Report. The next section entitled Defamiliarizing People and Landscape speaks of the ways people react to death. Then it speaks of a need for power from soviet leaders. The next section looks at they way soviet leaders are “viewed as distorted versions of humanity” (Corcoran, 1984, p. 315). The paper concludes with speaking about myths and ideology.

This article attempts to stress “the culpability of the Soviet Union for superpower tensions as its major premise, thus stimulating American belief in its role as the foremost proponent of civilization and tacitly supporting a policy of reluctant belligerence against the U.S.S.R. (Corcoran, 1984, p. 306).  The paper takes coverage from three American weekly magazines to show the rhetorical forms “which can be identified as myths of victimage ritual” (Corcoran, 1984, p. 306).

I learned the importance of organization from this paper. The format was clearly laid out in the introduction, and the paper carefully followed the format. This made the paper a lot easier to follow and read.

The Meaning of Vietnam: Political Rhetoric as Revisionist Cultural History- Response

This article looks at the speech delivered by the Secretary of State in 1985, George P. Shultz, entitled “The Meaning of Vietnam”.  Shultz’ speech offered a history that “aimed at revising the orthodox interpretations about American involvement in Southeast Asia” (Dionisopoulos & Goldzwig, 1992, p. 61). The authors say that Shultz revised history to make it more useful for the current situation he was speaking about.

This purpose of this article was to suggests some “demands facing a public official who seeks to offer a revisionist perspective on history and to highlight strategies such persons use to reframe a potentially troublesome past to make it more ‘useful’ in the present” (Dionisopoulos & Goldzwig, 1992, p. 61).  Revising a history can be useful to a public official to better support his views on a current issues.

I learned that a simple layout could work effectively in a rhetorical criticism paper. The authors began the article with presenting a speech, giving a suggestion as to why this speech was important to talk about, and then showed how techniques used in this speech might be used in other speeches.  The format was a simple three-step process, yet it still provided all the information needed to create an effective rhetorical criticism.