Monday, May 14, 2012

Essay on Deborah Tannen

Essay on Deborah Tannen

In Deborah Tannen's "Fighting for Our Lives", she states that it seems we are creating a "warlike atmosphere" in everyday life and I believe it is true. She is able to convince readers of the brutality of an argumentative society by showing unnecessary attacks and criticism against certain people. Dr. Robert Gallo, who "codiscovered the AIDS virus" is used as her example. Gallo was accused of "stealing" the AIDS virus from another scientist and was put through four years of hell. He was investigated and attacked by the media, while he could've been devoting more time to research; scorned while he should've been praised.

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Tannen also convinces readers by incorporating facts and reasons to back her argument. For example, Tannen brings up the fact that everyday life is plagued by military metaphors. The words battle, fight, struggle, and war are commonly used in everyday speech when two things are being compared. She states that "almost any human encounter can be framed as a fight between two opponents." (p. 16). To further illustrate that saying, she provides excerpts from two articles titled "Showdown At Lincoln Center" and "And In This Corner..." which are about jazz musicians and theater, respectively.

Tannen is also very convincing as she talks about the adversarial nature of the society manifesting itself in the media. She uses herself as an example in this section, telling of her experience with other journalists and producers who only wished to criticize and insult her work. "Why do you need to make others wrong for you to be right?" she asks. People want so badly to prove they're correct, that they will severely misconstrue others positions. Although her religion makes her seem a little biased, Tannen speaks strongly to the readers and offers sturdy arguments.
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