Thursday, February 20, 2014

A College II Writing Assignment : Analyzing Visual Rhetoric

An assignment Analyzing rhetoric, hopefully with rhetoric on its own. 

There is a certain curiosity that people have when confronted with people with personality disorders. Are the people with personality disorders like us in some ways, and what makes them different? Sociopathy is a disorder in which the person has an extreme anti-social behavior. The anti-social behavior is not the same as being introverted but allies itself more closely with “one who does not follow social norms”. (Merriam, 2007) Sociopath’s are the manipulative con man, the person who lies to your face even when he does not have to. “The child who tortures animals, the cold-blooded killer; psychopaths are characterized by an absence of empathy and poor impulse control, with a total lack of conscience.” (Sociopathic World). Sociopathic World is a website that broaches the subject of sociopathy in a revolutionary way; the website gives a more realistic idea of who and what a “sociopath” is.
            Sociopaths are fascinating individuals because they live outside the social norms of society and think with a mind foreign to the average person. Sociopathic World takes an open but informative approach for its format that bespeaks it wants the reader informed on the subject matter; a subject matter that is highly abnormal and perhaps a stretch on what is acceptable to talk about and perhaps unacceptable to accept.
The purpose of the website seems motivated by a writer who knows about the subject matter first hand. The website is set up in the manner of a blog. Blog formats make the website seem more personal, and the author of it seems to want to make this subject very personal from the way that they set up the website. Another thing that adds to the focus of the websites format it the multiple pages and tabs to click on which allows the reader to forge their own path through the subject matter. The motivations do not seem selfish of ill intent because the writer only informs the reader sympathetically of the plight of sociopaths. Nowhere does he argue for it being right or wrong just that it is what it is. The format seems to be simple and confrontational, the back round is very stoically white but there is also a white theatre mast that makes it something that confronts the viewer.

                Fig. 1 Image taken off Sociopathic World, via February 21, 2014    
I would have to say the mask in the back round is the picture of exactly what a sociopath is someone who looks like everyone else but underneath someone completely alien. This is probably the most confrontational image on the website and it purposefully is put in the back round to keep the image in the forefront of the viewer’s mind so that they never forget the true face of the intriguing sociopaths.
The audience are people directly interested in sociopaths/ sociopaths themselves/ or people who have encountered others with personality disorders. The website does an excellent job of catering to its audience whether it is any of the three above. It is informative and explains while giving an interesting perspective of the subject matter. The visuals give a reference as to what a sociopath looks like to the reader. Sociopaths look ambiguous and the visual and text work together to create an atmosphere of personality disorder.
The Author’s ethos is not that of a physiatrist and that takes away from the papers scientific credibility. The Author does however have a deep understanding and a logical voice that gives credit to the subject. Ethos is evident in the citation of firsthand accounts, where the author uses reliable sources on its subject matter on the website. Credibility becomes less in as much that he is not a physiatrist, which detracts a bit from the website but gains credibility because it is a very persuasively logical. Ethos in the visuals shows up in the pictures that are ambiguous and clean. The pictures could be applicable to anything and used in the blog make it a little more normal.       


Figure 2, Image taken off Sociopathic World, via February 21, 2014   
The Authors Logos does not seem biased in any way on the subject of sociopathy. The website presents itself singular, from an agenda. The quality of the message and quantity seem unlimited; the evidence seems endless and all of the statements supported with real experience accounts. A weakness that arises on the website is the fact that others can comment their own opinions and that may detract from the argument.  The comments add to the credibility as well though, being a place for sociopaths to comment. Where pathos is, concerned sociopaths are not emotional and the only emotional argument is cold aloofness. Particular emotions the author evokes are the emotions that the readers give themselves. An argument is presented to the reader to draw whatever conclusions they can from the blog and to read it with their own inferences.
The predominant focus in the blog is the text. The visual is a second and not as relied upon as the text but it is relevant.  Visual and Text in the blog do complement each other and add rhetoric towards the sociopathic image that the website is about. The visual brings home the message of the text and deepens the understanding of the text. The visual is places in the back round and in the beginnings of each text. If the visual were absent, the text would be less effective. The visual makes the text more interesting and more appealing to read.
Sociopathic World the website, engages the reader through ethos, pathos, and logos, in a semi interactive experience while they read about what a sociopath is. The visuals in the back round employ an austere white color to keep the atmosphere thought provoking. The curiosity people have with sociopaths heightens with this atmosphere. The atmosphere brings home a difference between an average person and someone with a personality disorder. The website does a good job using the rhetorical triangle and keeping the reader interested. Sociopathy is explained in a digestible format so that people looking for more information on it will find it.                                               

                                                       Works Cited

"Sociopath." Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.
Sociopath World, . "A portrait of a Sociopath." . N.p.. Web. 20 Feb 2014.
Sociopath World, . "Figure One the back round." . N.p.. Web. 20 Feb 2014.
Sociopath World, . "Figure Two." . N.p.. Web. 20 Feb 2014.