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Comp2 Final Essay

516 words - 3 pages

Michael Beasinger
01-14-12
Comp 2

With these words I can Sell you anything

With These Words I Can Sell You Anything is a warning piece from the 1990 book Doublespeak, by William Lutz. William is a English teacher at Rutgers University, who is often called the “George Orwell of the 90's” due to a similar feelings on totalitarianism and social injustice. In the piece lutz uses his dictionary like grasp on the meaning of words to debunk the “weasel” words that advertisers often use hype up and push a product.

In the excerpt Lutz's thesis clearly states “Advertisers use weasel words to appear to be making a claim for a product in fact they are making no claim at all”. He then goes on by breaking several of these ...view middle of the document...

His use of pathos is strong points to warn his readers to look deeper at words such as “like magic” and “helps...”. His ethos in the argument do relay a sense of reliability in the piece, but could be called into question by a more conservative reader for his use of a comical but slightly out of place rewriting psalms 23rd.

One problem With These Word I Can Sell You Anything, is a lack of counter argument, or even having room where a counter argument can come into play. An advertiser could argue two strong points ageinst Lutz. One that advertisements aren't written to solely to mislead consumers, and that words like help do mean just that. Pres-tone motor oil claims to “help” keep engines running smooth. That is not to mislead the consumer, just a statement that motor oil lubercates engine and keeps if from locking up for awhile. If the ad stated Pres-tone motor keeps engines running smooth, the company would have no protection from the consumer when the driver lets a car go 4,000 miles past due. There is no cure for common cold, but Nightquils active ingredients due help a consumer sleep, and control coughing fits.

William Lutz does make a strong argument against the use of certain words in advertisements because he logical dissects the meaning of them. He does a great job relaying logos, pathos and ethos in his argument With These Words I Can Sell You Anything, but sis conclusion was slightly out of place using professor Del Kehls The Adman's 23rd . While it was comical and fun to read, his own points on doublespeak, and advertising where strong enough to finish his argument without needing the comic cherry on top.

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