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Planting a Naysayer and Distinguishing Your Voice--English 110--Scott J. Wilson
Transcript of Planting a Naysayer and Distinguishing Your Voice--English 110--Scott J. Wilson
They Say/ I Say Pages 68-91
-Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein
Scott J. Wilson--English 110
I’ve mentioned the importance of showing and
commenting on other voices
in your scholarly discussion.
One of the keys to effective academic writing is
anticipating potential counter arguments.
While criticism is difficult for anyone to take, it is often beneficial. In fact, acknowledging these voices
enhances your credibility
to the reader, while clarifying your own logic.
Planting a Naysayer in Your Paper
Your Essay is A Chess Match
Adding a naysayer gives voice to your opponents while disarming them.
You need to
anticipate what your opposition will do
four or five moves ahead.
Graff and Birkenstein call this a
that identifies a problem with your argument or, more common, clarifies why their objections don’t apply to your particular paper.
“Many will object that I have misinterpreted X’s work here. I concede that X never says________ in so many words. However, if taken in the context of ________________ this is valuable for our understanding of ___________”
“Of course, many will probably disagree with the assertion that____________________ .”
(beyond your instructor telling you to)
Why Plant a Naysayer?
Failing to acknowledge these other voices not only makes you
, but may lead you to be closed-minded.
Ultimately, being closed-minded will mean
overlooking important questions and arguments
that are crucial to success as a persuasive writer.
If you are
that video game violence leads to real-life violence
studies that prove this link is inconclusive or bogus (and your reader has read even one of those articles), you will fail to convince them.
Also, if you don't acknowledge details like video game ratings systems or parental locks on consoles, that is also problematic.
credibility will also be called into question
and authors responding to your article will have plenty of reason to discredit your argument.
An Example of Closed-Mindedness
(sometimes it isn't a particular person or group)
Defining That Naysayer
Often, the naysayer is a group of skeptics (readers, many) but it is better to specify an ideology or school of thought:
“Nevertheless, both supporters and critics of University of Regina’s Cute Animal Friday Policy will probably suggest otherwise and argue that _______________________.”
While labeling groups of people can often lead to stereotyping, one approach is to
qualify your use of the terms you’re applying
Although not all Scientologists think alike, some of them will probably dispute the claim that Tom Cruise is a baby-eating robot.
Donald Trump supporters are so diverse in their views that it is difficult to generalize about them, but even some of his most passionate supporters must question Trump's credibility when he says another nation will volunteer to build a gigantic wall.
(it's rude and...)
If you invite the naysayer to the party, don't ignore them
The best advice for planting a naysayer is to remember to answer them.
You must be able to overcome the naysayer’s criticism.
Therefore, if you cannot argue convincingly against their position, it is best not to include them.
Better yet, you’ll probably need to rethink your own position or find more evidence to help support your argument.
(in fact, it's recommended)
You Can Agree and Disagree with The Naysayer
You can also subvert an objection is not to try to refute it completely, but to agree with certain parts while challenging the ones you dispute.
“Although I grant that _____________________, I still maintain that_______________________.”
“Proponents of X are right to object that ___________________. However, they exaggerate when they claim that___________.”
“While it is true that________________, it does not necessarily follow that___________.”
It can happen, but don't fear it,
What if I End Up Convinced by My Naysayer?
There is always the worry that the naysayer will cause you to change your mind about your topic.
was convinced by naysayers.
He admits in his autobiography that he was
converted to Deism
(a religion that privileges reason over spirituality)
by reading anti-Deist books.
When he saw that views of Deists being negatively summarized, he ended up finding the Deist position more convincing.
This is not inherently negative (even if it is the night before the paper is due).
The point of a research paper is not to prove that your original assertion is correct.
In fact, the process of research teaches us more than the final product and its reception ever does.
We’re here to challenge our beliefs and opinions not simply accept what we’ve known for years as truth.
involves being honest; the result is a paper that is more
complex and serious
, one that you can be more proud of.
What You Say vs. What They Say
Distinguishing Your Voice
"Readers need to be alert to the often subtle markers that indicate whose voice the writer is speaking in" (69).
(see page 72)
Templates for Signaling Who is Saying What
See Mantsios example on pages 69-71
Although X makes the best possible case for universal, government funded health care, I am not persuaded because he/she overlooks___________.
Adding to Craig's argument, I would point out that Bauby's hope is not limited simply to regaining his old life. In fact, at times he is moving towards literary success and more authentic relationships in his post-stroke life.
Most reader would suggest____________. However, I argue__________________.
According to both King and Lewis __________________________. Nevertheless, both fail to recognize________________________.
You don't always have to be so direct and use "X argues" all the time.
You can also embed a reference to X's argument in your own sentence.
Instead of writing:
"Muggles believe that teeth need to be maintained using dentistry. However, I have a problem with this view as magic works better. "
You might write:
I disagree with Muggle dentistry.
There is a major problem with the muggle argument concerning dental best practices.
"When readers cannot tell if you are summarizing your own views or endorsing a certain label, they have to stop and think:
"'Wait. I thought the author disagreed with this claim'"
As I've said before, the
responsibility is always on the writer
to provide clear voice, clear argument and clear logic.
Therefore, using these voice markers regularly prevents confusion by clarifying your meaning and argument.
"We are all middle-class,"
or so it would seem
. Our national consciousness,
as shaped in large part by the media and our political leadership
, provides us with a picture of ourselves as a nation of prosperity and opportunity with an ever expanding middle-class lifestyle. As a result,
our class differences are muted
collective character is homogenized.
are real and arguably the most significant factor
in determining both our very being in the world and the nature of the society we live in."
We are all middle class...We are a nation of prosperity and opportunity with an ever expanding middle-class lifestyle...
Class divisions are real and arguably the most significant factor in determining both our very being in the world and in the nature of the society we live in.
Members of a zombie horde
Done through voice markers:
quotation marks, key words, transitions, clearly identifying your argument or view.