Rhetorical Analysis Of “Tarmageddon: Dirty Oil Is Turning Canada Into A Corrupt Petro State” And “Ethical Oil: The Puppet Rap”

1005 words - 4 pages

The discussion on Alberta’s oil is gaining traction among certain groups in Canada. According to Andrew Nikiforuk’s “Tarmageddon: Dirty oil is turning Canada into a corrupt petro-state,” the continuous development of the Alberta tar sands is only serving to adversely impact Canada’s political, economical, and environmental capacities. The article argues that unless the subject of the Alberta tar sands is addressed as poisonous to the nation, Canada will become overwhelmed and unstable. In a similar regard “Ethical Oil: the Puppet Rap” by Caitlin Dodd, David Henderson-Hean, Kai Nagata, Spencer Powell and Emile Scott, is a satirical rap portraying the Ethical Oil group and spokespeople in a negative light. The video targets environmentally inclined individuals and groups, and brings to their attention some logical fallacies surrounding claims made by the Ethical Oil campaign. Although both pieces address the debate over oil happening in Canada and, they use different methods to satisfy their purpose.“Tarmageddon…” uses a persuasive and argumentative approach while “Ethical Oil…” relies on satire and amusement. Both pieces employ the use of pathos to persuade their audiences, the use of which is stronger in “Tarmageddon…” leading to its more effective use of rhetorical strategies.
Nikiforuk’s article is written to argue a point and persuade the audience, non-specialist individuals, to his claim. There are many methods used to achieve this. Starting in the introduction Canada is glorified for what it used to be known for, then that image is quickly juxtaposed with the now dark and destabilized country because of the developing tar sands (Nikiforuk 211). This introduction, which uses pathos by using strong words to evoke negative emotions, quickly gives the reader a sense of uneasiness with the tar sands even without yet having heard any of the facts. Imagery is used to appeal to the imagination of the reader so they can connect more easily with the facts being presented. The use of pathos is seen throughout the article in the form of language choice and imagery to sway the reader to the author’s desired side. To follow up with the emotions the reader is being ‘given’, Nikiforuk uses the appeal to logos as a way of solidifying the readers agreement with his argument. Facts are given in the form of empirical data, such as bitumen having a carbon footprint 244 percent greater than US domestic crude based fuel (Nikiforuk 212). The methods of repetition and comparison are also used to back up the author’s claim. It is repeatedly stated that there is a lack of transparency between the tar sand reports and the public (Nikiforuk 212), evoking worry in the reader that they are not being told everything. Saudi Arabia, which Canada is constantly being compared to, is referred to as an undesirable country. This comparison aims to create fear in the reader that “Canada now shares the same sort of unaccountability and lack of transparency that marks fellow...

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