For the sake of argument

Recently, in one of my writing classes, I was discussing the concepts of pathos, logos and ethos — the scaffolding of a persuasive argument. We were talking about the art of persuasion, and specifically how to turn a polite discussion into a heated debate … and win.

We were also talking about the concept of using images as words and commercials as arguments.

I came up with some decent definitions of logos and ethos — the boring brothers of influence — but my pathos examples were kind of my “Top Chef” moment of the class. My best example of pathos was a Coca-Cola commercial that aired last winter — the one with that awfully kind polar bear driving the train to Santa’s house. (My other example involved Sally Struthers broadcasting the plight of impoverished African children, but the students had no idea who I was talking about.)

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