Rhetorical Analysis Project
The first text I looked at was a scholarly article written by Derek Kenji Iwamoto, William Corbin, Carl Lejuez and Laura MacPherson. This was an article that was peer reviewed and intended for professionals in the health and psychology field. It was published in 2013 in the American Psychological Association. Its main objective was to discuss how college men are at risk for alcohol abuse and what precursors can indicate someone who may be at risk. My next source on the topic is a song by Asher Roth that came out in 2009. The name of the influential song is “I love college”. The title says it all, it was meant to be listened to college students and people who wanted to relive their “glory days” through a song. It goes in to discuss how “easy” college life is and how Asher cannot get enough of it. He does not want to graduate but instead continue his lifestyle of drunken, drug ridden parties that include sex, and drinking games.
Both of the sources have genres that they are intended for and could not be further from each other. Most Doctors that the scholarly article will be appealing to will not be interested in listening to a song that encourages alcohol abuse and rampant sex with drunk freshman who are naked at a party. However on that same token, I doubt anyone that listens to Asher Roth, especially his intended audience, would be interested in an experiment done in Southern California that will explain to the males that they are twice as likely to be at risk for alcohol abuse and all the other risks that come with it such as: violence, destruction to property, DUI, and other alcohol related arrests. The study claims that most males drink to “fit in”. This is hard to be good arguably point because the study goes on to say that there is only an average of 1.07 drinking days in the week. I think when people answered that they wanted to “fit in” they were referring to the culture they think is real, from songs like Asher Roth where he mentions “Thirsty Thursday and Tuesday Night Ice”. This of course is referring to drinking on multiple nights a week when the study just said it was an average of just 1. The main difference that I see from both articles is the scholarly articles attempts to warn you of the dangers of alcohol abuse and does a study that proves that college males are more likely engage in risky behavior because of alcohol. While Asher Roth tries to glorify the very lifestyle that scientifically is proven detrimental to your health. Asher wants his listeners to think that it is cool to drink every night to excess where you do not remember and wish you had “taped” the night’s events just so you knew what you did.
The next reason people drink according to the study is for liquid courage or to loosen up. In this same study it says that men believe they are more masculine when they have more sexual partners. I think that this logic can be true here as well. If you are drinking to loosen up, you must be trying to impress someone, most likely a female. This logic is continued that if you are, what the authors of the scholarly article refer to as a playboy, you are at higher risk for alcohol abuse. Asher Roth sings about this in many lines but notably in the line: “When it comes to condoms, put two on (trust me)”. He is encouraging sexual relations with strangers you do not know but met a party that you aren’t sure their history and could be carrying STDs. This also leads to the increased chance of rape and sexual assault. Asher attempts to clear himself for encouraging this risky behavior with “And don’t have sex if she’s too gone”. Unfortunately too often on college campuses and under the influence of alcohol women are raped and wake up not remembering to consenting to sexual intercourse the night before.
He also wants you to think that skipping class to play drinking games like beer pong is perfectly normal behavior for college students. Finally he incorporates the use of drugs; wanting you to think that this too, is normal. Although the study did not look at alcohol and how drug use is affected by it I would venture to call alcohol a gateway drug. Alcohol can lead to the use of illegal drugs and behavior.
The song “I love college” will most appeal to the most influential group of college students, and that is freshman. By the time you become a junior or senior you have kind of already picked your path and habits. Also your classes are much more demanding and wouldn’t have time to party like Asher claims, and if you did you probably would not be able to sustain that lifestyle while making grades good enough to stay enrolled. That being said the quote that is chanted from the song: “Freshman freshman freshman freshman Do somethin crazy! Do somethin crazy! Do somethin crazy! Do somethin crazy!” speaks directly to too many students every year. Most students receive little to none alcohol education and do not understand the short term or long term effects. When tempted with “something crazy” freshman who are the most vulnerable can be lead to drink more than their bodies can handle and result in death.
Passing the Torch
The advice that I would give to any incoming freshman looking to write in the field of health and psychology would be to follow the example of the scholarly source I used. Some of the main points that you can use to convey to a professional audience are using scientific data to back up your arguments like they authors used. For example, they had specific calculated data that they had either pulled from previous experiments and then from their own experiments. Just like the first source used the tone and chanting to convey their message to their audience, the scholarly article had to find a way to keep you interested. One way they did that was the ability to use technical jargon from their respective field. They used words that you may not hear in every day conversation to prove that they were in fact qualified to talk from a position of authority. Finally, my last piece of advice would be to find a way to report that college kids do indeed drink alcohol, and sometimes to dangerous levels, but finding a way of reporting this without encouraging future detrimental behavior. If you made it seem as if it was the norm to drink at binge levels then you are actually being counterproductive, because individuals would take that as a sign that they are indeed fitting in with this culture.