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Unformatted text preview: Underwood 1 Laurel Underwood Professor Herb ENG 109 16 October 2013 The Failure of The Death of Macho Christopher Buckley once said “That's the beauty of argument, if you argue correctly, you're never wrong.” Buckley is right in thinking that if a person is able to argue effectively than their argument is more likely to be seen as valid. Many things can make or break an argument such as using the proper tone, being unbiased, and locating sources that support the argument. One author who failed at making a good argument is Reihan Salam, an author and political commentator at the R Street Institute. In his article The Death of Macho Salam addresses American males who have recently experienced hard economic times and tries to convince them that the period of men held power has ended but his argument is rendered useless because of the angry tone, his biased opinions, and choice of poor sources. Tone can set up an argument for many writers. Tone is the writer’s attitude towards the subject he is writing on. Diction, syntax, level of formality, and point of view all help to define tone. To have a good argument, the tone should be confidant but not angry and overemotional. Arguments made with emotion often are not cemented in facts and being overemotional makes the argument seem not as serious. A confident tone makes the writer seem that they have researched the topic they are writing on fully and have thought about the facts fully to come up with their hypothesis. Salam’s tone is undermining to women and angry about the fact that men are being put down. He calls the shift in our society a “revolutionary one” which makes it sound Underwood 2 like there is something to fight against. He suggests the anger of the male populace again, “macho unemployed and undirecteda different but possibly just as destructive phenomenon.” It’s like he is suggesting that the death of “macho”, or the leadership of men, will end in violence. His apparent anger can be seen throughout the paper by using phrases such as these. Another tool of making a good argument is to make sure an author does not use bias. Many sources that someone would use to write an argument have a bias. They are trying to persuade the reader to choose to join their side of the argument. A good writer can present both sides of an argument without being biased when giving both sides. Salam is very one sided in his argument. He only presents his views in his paper and ignores how women feel about his thoughts. An example of this is when Salam is writing about the time period during the Great Depression. He tells how a great percentage of men were kicked out of the work force. He points out how being laid off made men feel useless and angry. Because of this ordeal the New Deal was created, making jobs for men, and only men. Women, on the other hand, “were promised economic security in exchange for the state’s entrenchment of male economic power”. Salam later explains how having mostly men holding jobs make their self confidence rise, creating a more productive workplace. Because of this reason, men should be the only people that job stimulus programs should be made for. The problem with this view though is that Salam ignores how women feel about programs like the New Deal. These kind of projects would depress women and could lead to a worse home life. Salam does notacknowledge that women would have any feelings about a program like the New Deal. He is very biased in his writing, making it seem like his opinion is the only one he views as right or acknowledges is there. Because of this it seems like he didn’t even research the other side of this argument. Without Underwood 3 extensive and allinclusive research, a writer can not form a plausible thesis. A last failure in Salam’s essay is his use of sources used to back up his argument. While sources are normally used to back up an argument, Salam’s sources seem to disagree with his argument. For example, he uses the fact that “A higher percentage of workingage women are employed in Russia than nearly any other country, Elena Mezentseva of the Moscow Center for Gender Studies has found, but as of 2000, they were making only half the wages that Russian men earned for the same work.” This fact points out that women are not making as much as men because they are viewed as less than men. This shows that men are still viewed as the prominent sex, the opposite of what Salam is trying to argue. Russia is trying to preserve the “macho” power in their country. Salam wanted the quote to back up his argument not damage it. Quotes are suppose to give readers a sense that the writer has researched his topic and his thesis has real data to back it up. Salam scatters his essay with facts and figures that are suppose to support him but, like the example above, they more than often ruin his argument and work against him. Writing an effective argument can be tough. Many factors have to work together to make an argument add up and persuade others to agree. Salam attempts to do this in his essay the Death of Macho but fails because of his angry tone, bias, and poor choice sources. His paper could have been improved by adding more research that supports his points. He also could have looked at the women’s point of view on this issue and then explained why his side was still the correct one. By changing his paper slightly, Salam could have improved his argument greatly. ...
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- Fall '14
- Writer, Salam, Reihan Salam