Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 6

Cheryl McBryde

English 335
Dr. Leon
14 September 2016

The exigence driving the argument about the American diet, is the fact

that obesity rates are at an all-time high. Likewise, diseases that are caused

by obesity, have become an epidemic. Childhood obesity rates have

skyrocketed, and has led to an increase in children with type 2 diabetes. The

number one killer in America is heart disease, which is often precipitated by

obesity. So what can be done? Jamie Oliver, a celebrity chef and activist, and

Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, both

address the issue in Ted Talk presentations, but they differ in their approach.

I am going to be analyzing the two approaches, to determine which one is

most effective. For this issue, the most effective rhetor, is the one who can

create a sense of urgency, and who has a plan of action that the audience

believes is achievable.

Oliver delivered his talk in the grand style of rhetoric, incorporating an

emotional tone and body language that conveyed the urgent nature of his

topic. His reputation as a celebrity chef gave him credibility, so he didnt

have to create it by dressing in formal attire. Wearing dark jeans and a plaid

shirt, he opened his 2010 Ted Talk, entitled, Teach Every Child about Food,

with a statistic. Typically, the delivery of statistics in a speech can lack an

emotional connection with the audience, but that was not the case with
Olivers delivery. His tone was not impersonal, but rather emphatic, and the

way he strode back and forth across the stage, gave a sense of urgency to

his opening. He even used unusual sentence structure to heighten the

impact of the statistic. For instance, instead of saying, In the next eighteen

minutes, four Americans will be dead through the food that they eat, which

is a powerful statement in itself, he said, In the next eighteen minutes,

when I do my chat, four Americans, that are alive, will be dead through the

food that they eat. By qualifying dead with alive, and stressing the fact

that while he was giving his talk, four people would die, he enhanced the

statistic by adding a sense of time, and emphasizing the idea that it was a

life and death situation.

Next, he proceeds to tell the audience, who he is, where he is from,

and what he is not; in the last seven years, Ive worked fairly tirelessly to

save lives in my own way. Im not a doctor, Im a chef. I dont use expensive

equipment or medicine, I use education and information. These maxims, as

well as his casual attire, gives the audience the impression that he is one of

them, which leads them to reason that they can save lives too. He then asks

the audience to raise their hands if they have children, grandchildren, or if

they are aunts or uncles, and almost everyone raises their hands. In this

way, he actively engaged his audience, and then he dropped the bombshell;

we, the adults of the last four generations, have blessed our children with

the destiny of a shorter life span than their own parentsbecause of the

landscape of food that weve built around them. This is a somewhat


pejorative statement, however, since he aligned himself with the audience, it

didnt come off as a judgement against them. Instead, it served as a unifier,

giving the audience the message that they were all in the same boat, and

that they could all be part of the solution.

Throughout the talk, Oliver tells anecdotal stories to personalize the

statistics he gives. He effectively uses visuals and media to enhance his

message. Pointing to a big screen with a picture of an obese sixteen year old

girl, he tells the audience that her name is Brittany, and that she has six

years to live. Giving the statistics a name and a face is the most effective

method of creating a pathetic appeal to his audience. Later, he dumps a

wheel barrel full of sugar on the stage to illustrate the amount of sugar a

child in elementary school consumes in a year, just drinking two cartons of

chocolate milk. He then employs an enthymeme, and tells the audience that

giving children all that sugar amounts to child abuse, basing his argument on

the commonplace that sugar is detrimental to health. In one of many

instances when he uses loaded language, he points to a graph which

illustrates, in descending order, causes of death in the U.S. Homicide is at

the bottom, with heart disease, and many other diet-related diseases, at the

top. He points out that the media, and people in general, focus all of their

attention on homicide. To emphasize the irony, he says, Look at homicide, at

the bottom, for Gods sake! This is an example of reasoning by contraries,

and begs the question; why arent we doing more to fight diet related

diseases when they are the number one killer?


In comparison to Olivers talk, Dr. Ornishs 2007 Ted Talk The

Killer American Diet that is Sweeping the Planet, despite the dramatic title,

lacked emotional appeal. Wearing a blazer, striped shirt, and slacks, and

standing behind a podium, he begins his talk, with all the legitimate

concerns about AIDS and avian flu, and well hear about that from the

brilliant Dr. Brilliant later today, I want to talk to you about the other

pandemic today, which is cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, all

of which are completely preventable, for at least 95% of people, just by

changing diet and lifestyle There is a powerful message in this statement,

but his delivery lacks emotion, and therefore, the message does not resonate

with the audience as much as it could have. Also, Im not sure what he

meant by the brilliant Dr. Brilliant, but it only detracted from the impact of

what he was saying. The fact that he stands behind a podium, and reads off

of his computer the whole time, also detracts from his speech. In other

words, unlike Oliver, Ornish has no stage presence. His delivery seems

rushed, and lacks emotion. Although he has a lot of knowledge about health

and diet, he doesnt engage his audience. He does show a funny cartoon at

one point, getting a laugh out of the audience, but instead of using the

moment to connect, he skips to the next slide, and keeps on talking in his

monotone voice. He utilizes many charts, and graphs, but fails to put a

human face on his data.

In conclusion, Oliver utilized many rhetorical strategies to his benefit.

Through his emotional discourse and emphatic demeanor, he was able to


connect with his audience more successfully than Ornish. Oliver also

incorporated more visual aids, including video, pictures, and props, while Dr.

Ornishs only visual was a Power Point presentation which included a few

graphs. Dr. Ornish, although very knowledgeable, lacked the emotional

connection needed to connect with an audience. Much of the discourse was

the same between the two rhetors, however, Oliver was able to present it in

a way that made it seem more urgent, and was the most effective at

motivating his audience to take action. For this reason, Oliver was the best

rhetor.

Cheryl McBryde

English 335

Dr. Leon

October 15, 2016

Works Cited
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go_QOzc79Uc. Accessed 12,

October, 2016.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1E-D37URTY Accessed 12, October

2016