by Anita Lanning
Jo Ann talked about common fallacies used in discussions with those attempting to persuade us. The fallacies include evading the issues; drawing attention to minor points having nothing to do with the topic under discussion; changing the subject with red herrings; attempts to undermine another person’s character with personal attacks; claiming facts to be true because “everybody knows they are”; begging the question, or perhaps using the straw man approach which focuses on another’s weakest point. Jo Ann said a common persuasive strategy leading to invalid information is oversimplification.
As an example, Jo Ann said persuasive strategies abound in the world of product marketing, because the goal is to get people to buy and use a product often based on half-truths and just plain fallacy, celebrity endorsements and the fact that cognitive dissonance is so prevalent in our society. She encouraged writers to strive for truth and accuracy, even when crafting fictional characters and stories. Our goal is to engage our readers as we inform, entertain and challenge them to be aware of the powers of persuasive strategies that can work for good and ill.
Jo Ann distributed a list of literature, which she said were examples of propaganda. We thank Jo Ann for her excellent, thought-provoking program and look forward to future presentations on the importance of critical thinking.
Thursday, April 28—Featured speaker is author, editor and writing instructor Debra Gwartney whose topic is: “The Four Most Common Pitfalls for Memoir Writing”. Also featured at the meeting are the 2011 Fourth Grade Book Contest winner and runner-up. Caleb Rosen will read his winning entry Mystery Island and runner-up Megan Alldredge will read Popeye and the Pumpkin.
Thursday, May 26—Featured speakers will include winners of the 2011 Oregon Book Awards, who will be announced on Monday, April 25.
Thursday, June 23—Author Wallace Swenson, Morgan’s Pasture
Note: These meetings are located at COCC Redmond Campus, 2030 College Loop SE, Building 3 Room 306