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Rhetorical Analysis

AP Language, Gertzfield, 2B
by

Scott Crawford

on 12 December 2013

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Transcript of Rhetorical Analysis

Addressing the Argument
Horsey addresses the argument that gay marriage would ruin the sanctity of marriage. The cartoon was made around April, at the same time as Supreme Court rulings on the Defense Of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. By addressing the argument, Horsey is using pathos to allow the reader to make their own conclusion that this claim is incorrect. Rather than stating right out that the claim is incorrect, he proves this to the reader through ironic and comedic imagery and still allows the reader to come to their own conclusion. Horsey places his comic in a 24-hour Las Vegas chapel to prove his point, pointing out a major flaw in the anti-gay argument, which is that not all current heterosexual marriage is sacred. Rather, a large portion of the weddings that take place in Las Vegas are done under the influence of alcohol, not love, like with the intoxicated couple waiting in the window in the cartoon. He also promotes the idea that spontaneous Las Vegas weddings are not a privilege, but a imbecility that gays should also have the right to partake in.
Comedy
Placing the cartoon inside the Las Vegas chapel also allows Horsey to utilize humor to connect with his audience. He is appealing to their sense of humor, a type of pathos, to prove his point. He uses a multiple types of humor, ranging from a classic stereotype with the Elvis Impersonator to crude humor with the half naked dancer getting married. Horsey also includes a reference to Meat Loaf on the back of the biker's jacket, allowing for further connection with the audience. Even if the readers at first disregard the cartoon, humor can be used to gain their interest and make them think about the subject at hand. The use of humor creates a lighthearted tone, which is appropriate for the audience the message is aimed at. The comic was originally published in a newspaper based in Los Angeles, a primarily liberal city with strong connections to the gay community. Horsey is able to joke with his readers about this subject without fear of being reprimanded. If he was working in the Deep South, he would be unable to use humor to convey the same message.

The use of a comedic cartoon over a different form of media also helps Horsey to get his message across more effectively than a comedic essay would. The cartoon provides greater imagery and allows for the inclusion of small details that really help prove his point, such as the sign with the 2-for-1 wedding deal, which shows that the setting is in no way sacred. The format also allows the reader to quickly obtain the information, often in a way that is more understandable than an essay would be. By using the cartoon, Horsey is able to connect with a larger audience than he would with an article.
Author, Publisher, and Audience
David Horsey is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, currently working for the Los Angeles Times. He is liberal and often lampoons the American government and Republicans in his cartoons. The Los Angeles Times, the publisher of the article and cartoon, is based in Los Angeles, which has the second largest gay population in America. The city is also noted for being mainly liberal. Horsey's audience is slightly different from who the message is aimed at. Those who will read the cartoon will mostly be liberals, just like Horsey, and will share a similar opinion. However, the comic is aimed at those who would make the anti-gay argument, as Horsey wishes to show the fault of their reasoning.
Rhetorical Analysis of "Gays have an equal right to the folly of a Las Vegas wedding"
By Scott Crawford

Irony
Horsey uses irony as a form of pathos to show the failure of the anti-gay argument. By placing the scene inside a Las Vegas chapel, he is able to depict the multiple sins that occur in the city, all of which also defile a
sacred
institution. These include the divorce lawyer's phone number, the alcohol, the cigarette, and the gambling. While these appear to be insignificant details in the background, they are actually supplying the reader with evidence of a faulty argument. Each of these is a sin that is equally as sacrilegious as homosexuality, yet exist where gay marriage is not allowed to. These examples of irony also help point out the irony of Christian hate for gays, as many Christians claim that their hate is based on a part of the bible while they ignore other rules from that same section, such as the eating of shellfish.
With his political cartoon, David Horsey provides an effective counter-argument to a common anti-gay claim through the use of irony and comedy.
Biblography
Horsey, D. . Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/02/nation/la-na-tt-las-vegas-wedding-20130401
Counterargument
In response to this argument, many of the advocates against gay marriage may claim that by placing the cartoon in Las Vegas, Horsey has invalidated his argument, as Las Vegas is often compared to a modern day "Sodom and Gomorrah". Such a sinful place would not accurately represent how other chapels would like to keep their moral integrity. Others may disregard the argument based on its use of humor, claiming that it weakens the overall point. The introduction of humor may be used to claim that Horsey doesn't have a strong serious argument without it.
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