“Sarcasm is a form of humor that uses sharp, cutting remarks or language intended to mock, wound, or subject contempt or ridicule, generally saying the opposite of what the statement really is” (Oxford). Brian Dickerson, a free press columnist, does just that to bring the readers over to his side. He utilizes a very convincing combination of sarcasm and emotional appeal in his column called “Promises to Keep? Not in the Government”, that ultimately seduces the reader to believe exactly the point he tries to get across.
Dickerson uses emotional appeal in a tricky way. Instead of the usual positive emotions, Dickerson angers his audience right of the bat, instilling a fury which is directed towards the opposing side, the government. The remark, “Suckers!” (Dickerson) is not a very polite comment. It is, on the other hand, a very sly way to bring out anger in the reader. Brian Dickerson uses that closing line in the first part of his column and right from the start he has an advantage. He makes the point that the government does not keep its promises by hitting the audience with the painful stab that they were “suckered”. Who in their right mind would side with the government now? Dickerson has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand thanks to his cunning emotional appeal.
Dickerson also does a very good job of grabbing the attention of not only the students affected and their parents, but everyone else as well, by playing the sympathy card. He states that the government took away the promise grant “that some 96,000 students…were counting to shave up to $4,000 from their tuition costs…” (Committees). How exactly is this statement playing the sympathy card? Simple. Who but a cold hearted bastard wo...
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... as raising taxes on movie tickets or bottled water or beer is considered more dishonorable than stranding 96,000 college students at the bursar’s office, most of Michigan’s promises are likely to be empty ones”(Dickerson), he definitely plays on people’s emotions in his favor. He is brutally honest and easily tugs the audience over to his side by convincing the audience the government is just one big fat contradiction.
Dickerson’s sarcasm and emotional appeal puts him ahead of any opposing party. Even if there is a hole or weakness in his reasoning, it is all but impossible to find because of his strong emphasis on sarcasm and how expertly he puppeteers the strings of emotion. Dickerson ultimately has succeeded in his task of convincing readers that the government can not keep a promise, through a very intricate web of emotional games and witty sarcastic remarks.
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