Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy: The Critical Citizen's Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric: Brief Edition for a New Political Era

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One-third shorter than the original edition to make it more affordable for students and easier for teachers to cover in a semester or quarter.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The new edition of Donald Lazere’s Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy improves an already excellent book. It is now of manageable size without sacrifice of the parts that make it an essential addition to the field of texts aimed at the improvement of critical thinking. In my current work of revising a course on the culture wars for inclusion in Hunter College’s General Education Requirement, Lazere’s book greatly appeals because it addresses the theme of civic literacy from a critical analysis perspective—two main themes of the course. The book is suitable for Philosophy courses as well as an English curriculum. I recommend it to anyone who wants to raise the level of critical thinking of our students by immersing them in our current forms of life.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594517105
  • Publisher: Paradigm Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2009
  • Series: Cultural Politics and the Promise of Democracy
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 398
  • Sales rank: 363,546
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald Lazere, Professor Emeritus of English at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, writes extensively on education, media, and politics in both scholarly and journalistic media.

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Table of Contents

Preface for Teachers (and Curious Students) to the Brief Edition ix

Acknowledgments xii

Part I Introduction

Chapter 1 An Appeal to Students 3

English as a Survival Skill 3

Critical Education in Historical Perspective 13

"An End to History" Mario Savio 17

"Majoring in Debt" Adolph L. Reed Jr., 19

"Where's the Misery?" Rich Lowry 22

Young America Foundation's Homepage 23

"The Voices of Dissent" David Gates 25

Chapter 2 What Is an Argument? What Is a Good Argument? 32

What Is a Good Argument? 33

"The Intellectual Free Lunch" Michael Kinsley 35

Analysis, Synthesis, and Judgments 40

Style and Tone, Eloquence and Moral Force 42

Conclusion 43

Rhetoric: A Checklist for Analyzing Your Own and Others' Arguments 44

A Historical-Causal Analysis of "The White Problem" 49

Chapter 3 Definitions and Criteria of Critical Thinking 54

Critical Thinking and Cultural Literacy 56

Making Connections 57

Dialogue in Critical Thinking and Literature 58

Recursiveness, Cumulativeness, and Levels of Meaning 59

Drawing the Line and Establishing Proportion 61

Avoiding Oversimplification and Recognizing Complexity 62

Reading Between the Lines 64

Irony and Paradox 66

"My Dungeon Shook" James Baldwin 69

"A Noiseless Patient Spider" Walt Whitman 72

"Can Patriotism Be Compassionate?" Martha Nussbaum 73

Chapter 4 Semantics in Rhetoric and Critical Thinking 78

Denotation and Connotation 79

Definition and Denotation in Argument 79

Connotation in Argument: "Cleans" and "Dirties" 80

Euphemism 83

Abstract and Concrete Language 84

Unconcretized Abstractions 85

Literal and Figurative Language 85

Literal and Figurative Language in Literature86

Summary: Applying Semantic Analysis 88

A Semantic Calculator for Bias in Rhetoric 88

"When Words Cheapen Life" Mary Ann Glendon 89

"Framing the Issues" George Lakoff 90

"Look Behind Statistics for Changing Definitions" Thomas Sowell 94

Chapter 5 Writing Argumentative Papers 97

Prewriting 98

Writing 98

Postwriting 102

Locating and Evaluating Sources 103

A Model of the Writing Process in a Student Paper 105

from The Beauty Myth Naomi Wolf 116

"The Backlash Myth" Christina Hoff Sommers 120

Part II Attaining an Open Mind: Overcoming Psychological Obstacles to Critical Thinking

Chapter 6 From Cocksure Ignorance to Thoughtful Uncertainty: Viewpoint, Bias, and Fairness-Culturally Conditioned Assumptions and Centrisms 125

Relativism and Commitment 127

Biased and Unbiased Viewpoints: The ESBYODS Principle 128

Acknowledge Your Own and Opposing Viewpoints 130

Rogerian Argument, Believers and Doubters 130

Culturally Conditioned Assumptions and Centrisms 131

Totems and Taboos 131

Ethnocentrism 134

American Ethnocentrism 136

"Battle over Patriotism Curriculum" Larry Rohter 136

Questioning Capitalism 140

Phallocentrism 144

Other Centrisms 145

from A Room of One's Own Virginia Woolf 147

"Anti-Capitalism in Five Minutes or Less" Robert Jensen 147

Chapter 7 Overgeneralization, Stereotyping, and Prejudice 153

Prejudice 154

Class Prejudice 155

Reverse Prejudice 160

"An Unexpected Education at St. Anthony's" Stephanie Salter 162

"Life on the Expense Account" Donald Barlett James Steele 163

"Dozens of Billionaires Receive Ag Handouts" Lisa Hoffman 165

"Wal-Mart: Rise of the Goliath" Liza Featherstone 166

Chapter 8 Authoritarianism and Conformity, Rationalization and Compartmentalization 171

from Network Sam Hedrin Paddy Chayefsky 174

Rationalization, Compartmentalized Thinking, and Double Standards 177

Other Defense Mechanisms 180

from 1984 George Orwell 181

"On the Merits" Katha Pollitt 182

"Greens Dodge Links to Unabomber" Jeff Jacoby 184

Part III Elements of Argumentative Rhetoric

Chapter 9 Some Key Terms in Logic and Argumentation 191

Deductive and Inductive Arguments 191

Implications and Inferences 199

Setting the Agenda 199

Tone and Style 202

Polemics 203

Ground Rules for Polemicists 203

"Vouchers, Choice: Opposing Views" Deroy Murdock 204

"Chicken Little Calling Out, 'Global Warming!'" Thomas Sowell 205

"Closing the Wealth Gap" P.J. O'Rourke 206

Chapter 10 Logical and Rhetorical Fallacies 211

Glossary of Logical and Rhetorical Fallacies 212

Chapter 11 Causal Analysis 222

"Ya Got Trouble" Meredith Willson 224

"Other People's Children: North Lawndale and the South Side of Chicago" Jonathan Kozol 226

"Crisis in American Education" William J. Bennett 234

Chapter 12 Uses and Misuses of Emotional Appeal 242

Appeals to "Cleans" and "Dirties" 242

Puff Pieces and Hatchet Jobs 243

"Bunker Hunt's Greatest Investment" Holly G. Miller 244

Predictable Patterns of Wartime Rhetoric: Appeals to Fear and Pity 250

"The War Prayer" Mark Twain 257

"The Real War 1939-1945" Paul Fussell 259

"War Is the Supreme Drug," An Interview with Author Chris Hedges 260

Part IV Thinking Critically About the Rhetoric of Politics and Mass Media

Chapter 13 Thinking Critically About Political Rhetoric 267

Political Semantics 267

Liberalism, Conservatism, Democrat, Republican 269

Socialism, Communism, Marxism 270

The World Political Spectrum 271

The American Political Spectrum 274

A Guide to Political Terms and Positions 274

Notes on the Guide to Political Terms and Positions 279

Predictable Patterns of Political Rhetoric 283

A Note on Twenty-First Century Modifications to Table 13.1 284

Political Viewpoints in Sources 285

"If We Decided to Tax the Rich" Steve Brouwer 290

"The Intellectual Class War" David Horowitz 294

"Fascism Anyone?" Lawrence W. Britt 297

Chapter 14 Thinking Critically About Mass Media 303

Do the Media Give People What They Want? 304

Are News Media Objective? What Are Their Biases? 308

The Debate over Political Bias in Media 309

Conclusion 319

"The Illiberal Media" Edward S. Herman 320

"Networks Need a Reality Check" Bernard Goldberg 323

"Liberal Hate-Speech" Bernard Goldberg 325

"Matthews vs. McNulty" David Sirota 328

"Outfoxed Tweaks Rupert Murdoch's Mayhem-isphere" Susan Gerhard 329

Assignment for a Paper 333

Chapter 15 Deception Detection: Varieties of Special Interests and Propaganda 334

Special Interests, Conflict of Interest, and Special Pleading 334

Lobbying and Public Relations 337

Varieties of Propaganda 339

Invective and Smearing 340

Government Public Relations; the Military-Industrial-Media Complex 341

"The Historic Power of Special Interests" Bruce J. Schulman 344

"When Money Talks" John Brain 346

"Flack Attack" Joel Bleifuss 347

60 Minutes, "Confessions of a Tobacco Lobbyist" 351

Part V Putting It All Together in a Long Paper

Chapter 16 A Case Study: Rhetoric and the Wealth Gap 361

Goldberg versus Chait on Taxes 362

"The Rich Aren't Made of Money" Jonah Goldberg 362

"A Very Special Kind of Math" Jonathan Chait 363

Sklar versus the Wall Street Journal 368

"Billionaires Up, America Down" Holly Sklar 368

Wall Street Journal "Movin' On Up: A Treasury Study Refutes Populist Hokum About 'Income Inequality'" 369

Analyzing Statistical Tricks 373

Summary of Suspicious Statistical Arguments 376

An Outline of Conservative and Leftist Arguments on the Rich, the Poor, and the Middle Class 376

Chapter 17 Collecting and Evaluating Opposing Sources: Writing the Research Paper 384

Assignment for an Annotated Bibliography and Working Outline 385

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entry 385

Sample Working Outline 386

Sample Research Paper 388

Chapter 18 Documentation and Research Resources 389

Documentation 389

Works Cited Section 390

Research Resources 392

Index 393

Credits 403

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