Exercise 11: No place for offensive comments, p. 42-43
Step 1: Identify the main contention and supporting reasons: be specific and concise. (You can use the key ideas as topic sentences, but also weave them throughout your discussion as “purpose”.)
- The author censures Mr Sand’s comments on the grounds that they perpetuate intolerance towards people with disabilities.
- Ms Waring exhorts all members of the community to be mindful of the consequences of hurtful speech.
- Ms Waring censures Mr Sand’s reprehensible comments because they contribute to the exclusion of minority groups.
- Ms Waring reasons that the derogatory /exclusive comments and flippant jokes made by people in a position of power can have devastating consequences for people’s self esteem, especially if they are in a vulnerable position.
- She contends that people should not abuse their position of power and influence by making offensive comments.
- It is important that leaders role-model socially inclusive and decent values.
Step 2: What is the evidence? Which reasoning strategies are critical to the author’s main contention?
- Investigate the author’s evidence and its purpose: the mother relies on her real-life experience to censure Mr Sand’s comments about the “six-limbed” spider baby: (See “reasoning strategies” on p. 10: if an author relies on her real-life experience think about how she presents her situation. See “characterisation” and “victims”, on p. 12.)
Step 3: how are the key stakeholders (mother/daughter and Mr Sand portrayed):
- Show the connection to Ms Waring’s point of view: The evidence/experience is used as a platform from which to censure/discredit opponents or offenders.
Mr Sand’s reprehensible comments; he mocks/derides the “spider baby”; he’s making hysterical and offensive “spider noises”; “cheap jibes” imply that he is opportunistically (taking advantage of) exploiting the vulnerable. Purpose: to arouse anger, disappointment and frustration at public figures. (See “portrayal of opponents”, p. 14 and metalanguage, p. 37.)
Step 4: Other comments: What appeals are critical or implied by Ms Waring’s supporting reasons?
- Ms Waring appeals to common decency and social respect; moral and inclusive values; Ms Waring also appeals to leadership and duty of care
- (See “appeals”, explicit and implicit on p. 14.) If I criticise someone’s exclusive or discriminatory attitudes then I am appealing to tolerance.
Fill in the table relating to the mother’s/ daughter’s real life experience. Using our model analytical sentences, incorporate quotes into your analysis. Be analytically precise about the daughter’s pain, the appeal to sympathy and anger as well as the reprehensible comments.
Quote words: daughter’s real-life experience
- “I feel deeply offended”: (the comments have personally offended her and her daughter who suffers from a rare “hair” disease
- Jokes about the “spider baby”
- Made hysterical offensive spider noises – trying to get attention in a very disrespectful and offensive manner
- I witness daily the effects of bullying : Implies that she is often the victim of discrimination
- She is called ‘retard, blockhead and shiny head”
- Her peers are cruel and call her deliberately offensive names: “will it ever cease” – hides herself away in the room. “crying silent tears of misery”: she is becoming an introvert; she withdraws from people because she is embarrassed and does not want people to see her suffering
Quote words; descriptions relating to Mr Sands:
- Not “lighthearted banter”: Cheap jibes: searching for easy publicity
- Exploits the vulnerable in order to gain fame
- Chases publicity: (“fat slag”: – makes deliberately offensive comments
- Poor role model: others imitate him
- His comments are intolerant; they are disrespectful and exclusive; they “breach” the “standards of community decency (appeal to tolerance and inclusivity)
Appropriate metalanguage: some useful analytical words include: (place in a context and explain the purpose); anecdote; tone- indignant; outraged; dismayed; incredulous; depiction of the daughter’s psychological pain; (language for attack) rebukes, reprimands, decries; condemns Sands; purpose; he appears bereft of morals; his comments are morally repugnant.