Richard Rhodes’ article entitled “Hollow Claim about Fantasy Violence” was published on September 17, 2000 in The New York Times, Opinion section. The intended audiences of this article are the readers of The New York Times if it demands the outside-audience. However, it terms of inside-audience, the article’s target are the text-moral entrepreneurs. As what Rhodes tried to convey in his article, child-abuse and violence does not merely started from mock violence that children watch on television but more on its physical environment. Based on the text, the author was not aware of his word-usage.
He focused his attentions on the facts, data, and arguments that different studies have discussed. My experience in reading this argument is a bit confusing because of some simple words that were used but are not meant to be stated in some parts of the article. “But violence isn’t learned from mock violence. There is good evidence – causal evidence, not correlational – that isn’t learned in personal violent encounters, beginning with the brutalization of children by their parents of their peers (Rhodes, 2000). ” Rhodes’ use of “but” shows informality within the text.
He also abbreviates the word “is not” to “isn’t” and other different words, which are unnecessary to the text for it was a factual opinion stating the data and evidences of the argument. It shows that Rhodes used casual words just like putting up an unimportant discussion in the public. Aside from this, he also used the term “not exactly” that made more mystified to what he wanted to state in his article. By justifying his argument, he was not careful to some words that he used to make his audience understand thoroughly every single detail and analysis that he wanted to express.
Another thing is that Rhodes did not explain what had Martin Barker wanted to say in his message. After citing Barker’s statement, he ended up the quote without simple and brief explanation especially that Barker’s account is important, crucial, and sensitive issue that needs a simple yet attackable discussion. Another confusing part in the article is the ending message of Rhodes. “Violence is on the decline in America, but if we want to reduce it even further, protecting children from real violence in their real lives -- not the pale shadow of mock violence -- is the place to begin (Rhodes, 2000). He stated in the beginning of the article that television is not the reason for children’s act of violence and aggressiveness but in the end, he already stated that researchers should not make television as the main issue but they must look on some cases that are related to this issue. For me, the main argument went to other path that I myself could not perceive. He stated that mock violence should not the first basis to justify that television is the root of children’s evil thoughts.
However, this is not what Rhodes is trying to say in the beginning, he only wants to justify that children are capable of being violent because of personal and sociological issues. Now, he eliminated television to be part of the issue or he chooses television to be the last option as the determiner of children’s violent action. Rhodes justified that mock violence made by television shows is not the main reason why children became violent and aggressive. Based on his findings, it was seen that physical contact to children is the main reason because it shows real action of the doer that children saw personally.
If we look at the main issue, many children are being violent because they watched certain shows that impose violence. Despite of the fact that a child’s environment is not violent, he has the capability to become aggressive or brutal depending on how he treated a certain situation. Rhodes is against to this argument but my justification here is that media is a powerful tool to express everything. Once a child watched his idol, he will imitate his idol’s actions whatever measures it may be.
It can also become causal evidence because once we ask a child where he saw a certain violent action, he would say that it came from his favorite television star and he thinks that he would be the same as this star once he did the same action. Through this, I can say that I disagree from Rhodes’ argument. If we read all the evidences and counter-evidences used in this article, we can say that this is an effective statement to the readers. The author used abundant statement and data to justify the claim but if we think more logically and read it once again, we can see some flaws to what Rhodes expressed in his argument.
If we look at the choices of words, it was seen that he used highfaluting words to make it make the intention deeper but the whole thing is just a simple statement that television is not the main reason of children’s act of violence. Therefore, what is important to this author is that he wanted to make-believe in every statement that he wants to convey. At the end of it all, he overlooked from his purpose and became judgmental without deep justification of his ideology.