I watch too much television. I come home from work, plop myself down in front of the television and absorb whatever it is the television gods guide me to see. However, being the forever teacher, I always find myself analyzing the rhetoric of whatever it is I see. While lounging on my couch thinking about my students’ struggle to evaluate the argument, lo and behold the television gods sent me a gem of a commercial. Typically I just fast forward through commercials, but this one is striking and I have found myself watching it over and over again. There are a variety of Chevy Volt commercials for a campaign titled “Happy Volt Owners.” Below are two of my favorites.
While my students are improving when it comes to analyzing how an argument develops, they still struggle with how to identify the logical fallacies of an argument and the flaws that affect the conceptual foundation of the argument. This year, I’m going to play them these videos and ask them the following:
- Literally, what is the primary argument of these videos?
- In the larger sense, what is being suggested by Chevy?
- What logic is used to present this argument?
- What evidence is used to defend the position? To what extent does it actually support the claim?
- What holes or flaws can you find within the argument?
- What errors exist in Chevy’s reasoning?
Even though these videos do not lend themselves to deep analysis, I think they remind students the importane of examining the actual argument and serves as a good introduction to argument analysis as a whole.