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Cheyne Warren
Erin Rodgers
2/21/14
The Rhetorical Ape
Everyone who has ever made a deceive statement with evidence to back their claim has
utilized a rhetorical tool, whether they know it or not. Persuasion is an art; something that must
be thought out carefully and handled well to wield the desired result. When trying to persuade an
audience arguers use three different tools of the trade: ethos, pathos, and logos. Author Jay
Heinrichs, like all persuasive writers, uses these techniques in his instructive book Thank You for
Arguing. This paper will focus on chapter 18: Speak Your Audiences language; The Rhetorical
Ape, starting on page 191. This chapter using ethos, pathos, and logos to argue that the best
way to connect to an audience and leave a good impression is by using their lingo by.
In Thank You for Arguing, Heinrichs already has a start on ethos: hes a published author,
and not only that, a published author of an argument-instruction book complete with a glossary.
Although he doesnt utilize this tool in text, it is still there, hanging above the reader and making
it more likely they will take his word at face value. While this does wonders to persuade the
reader, who probably hardly questions him at all because of his publication, he is sure to back
other claims with uses of ethos. His first use of ethos comes after the chapter introduction. He
opens with the offhand statement that humans are like chimpanzees picking lice off each others
backs. To black this hook statement, he attributes his facts to animal behaviorists, people who
have much experience in the field he has referenced. His next example of ethos comes after a
quote. He attributes a man by the name of Kenneth Burke, explaining he is a twentieth-century
rhetorician. If the audience doesnt take the word of a person who studies rhetoric for a living,


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there is no one they can trust. Heinrichs refers back to Burke later in the text, using a summary of
an idea of Burke to back his claim of using group lingo further. While neither of these ethos
examples go on to majorly support Heinrichs overall claim of using codewords and group lingo,
they ease the audience into a sense of trust that carries over for the rest of the issue.
Instead, Heinrichs biggest ethos comes from a source he probably didnt anticipate to
even use as ethos: President George W. Bush. For the majority of his argument, Heinrich refers
to Bush for examples of prober lingo and word patterns, such as when he writes: For men, he
uses swaggering humor : When I take action Im not going to fire a two million dollar missile
at a ten dollar empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. This by itself is not ethos, but Bushs
name alone creates ethos while bringing out critics and followers in the audience. Heinrichs
never refers to his own opinions on Bushs presidential terms but simply utilizes phrases to make
his point. Even though Heinrichs work doesnt have Bushs stamp of endorsement on it, the
mention of his name in an unbiased light makes both right and left wing readers more ready to
agree with the points at hand.
He also uses hidden and unconscious methods of ethos. For example, he creates a text
book atmosphere with argument tools; bolded words with dictionary-like definitions behind
them. These argument tools can be found in a glossary in the back of the book. This whole
textbook set up, while useful, also extends our trust because textbooks are sublimations of our
best and most correct knowledge, and therefore very reliable. Heinrichs use of ethos is probably
his strongest bailiwick.
Logos, unlike ethos isnt used often in Thank You for Arguing, and Heinrichs doesnt use
logos with graphs or charts of correlation or the persuasive power of his style versus that of


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another style. Often logos is located by the keyword because, a bridge-word that strings an
idea and logical conclusion together. Instead, Heinrich uses logos in almost undercover ways.
For example, he explains why Bushs rhetoric reaches to so many audiences with logos:
[Bushs] repetitive use of code language extends to women Bush appealed to women
with sentences that began, I understand, and he repeated words such as peace For
the military, he used Never relent and Whatever it takes For Christians, he began
sentences with and, just as the Bible does
These phrases, while diluted, could easily be summarized to: Bush appealed to women because
he began with I understand and so on. The logic behind his ideas, while not clearly stated,
arc to stereotypes most people carry. His underlying argument is that Bush appeals to womens
more nurturing and peaceful nature while informing them that he understands them, something
that emotionally attaches the women hes reaching out to. In Heinrichs argument, logos is
lightly dispersed throughout the text and any clear logos statements are numbered and hard to
recognize. His logos, however, isnt the warp and woof to his argument, meaning its mark in the
text is not strongly represented.
Unlike logos, Heinrichs utilizes pathos in every way possible, from his word choice, to
stories, to his strong hold: humor. The first of pathos is upon the reader before they even know
what the chapter is about: he starts with a joke, and a joke from The Simpsons no less.
CARL: Lets make litter of the literati!
LENNY: That was too clever! Youre one of them!
[Punches him.]
Heinrichs uses humor like this throughout his text to invest the reader, because a happy reader is
an agreeable reader, and even though the only other gag quoted is a Far Side comic, the personal
connection the reader makes with Heinrichs makes them like him as a person. He also uses


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quirky and simple phrases; blunt to perfection and snarkily witty to evoke humor. For example,
after giving information, he asks: You and I will call it liltotes. Why? Because were cool. He
carries this short and snappy humor to his examples: SIGNIFICANT OTHER (looking fat):
Does this make me look fat? He continues on to make a joke of teenagers, a potential audience:
What are they (teenagers) saying? You have no idea, and thats partly the point of those wds
2 tuff 2 rede, lol He even mocks his own evidence to add humor, such as after this quote of
Bush: I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believeI
believe what I believe is right. Believe it. Yet Heinrichs doesnt stop there. Even his word
choice is subject to pathos, and his text is littered with it. This is shown with such statements as:
the true black arts of ethos, the rhetorical pantheon, and other colourful word choices.
Lastly, Heinrich uses stories to evoke emotion, usually humor, in the reader, as shown by his
relation: when I (Heinrichs ) gave a speech to a group of foresters. Whats one step lower
than grade-three pulpwood? I asked. A carrot. It killed them. Again this story is relating to
humor, but its also a personal statement, something that connects the reader to the author,
springing emotional attachment.
In his instructional book, Thank You for Arguing, Heinrichs uses the three main tools or
persuasive writing: logos, ethos, and pathos. He uses ethos by holding sway over readers because
of his own stature, but he also uses quotes and references officials. Heinrichs argues with logos
by drawing conclusions between ideas and why or why not they work. Finally, he entertains and
creates emotional attachments with pathos with jokes, stories, and colourful word choice.
Overall, Heinrichs creates a persuasive argument with his rhetoric, making the reader agree with
his points, and possibly store them for future use, such as writing an essay on rhetorical analysis.