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Teaching the art of selling snake oil A work in progress by Ralph Wahlstrom The Rhetoric of Scamming: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in my Inbox-

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching the art of selling snake oil A work in progress by Ralph Wahlstrom The Rhetoric of Scamming: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in my Inbox-"— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching the art of selling snake oil A work in progress by Ralph Wahlstrom The Rhetoric of Scamming: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in my Inbox-

2 an absurd but relevant anecdote 2 “What did you do in school today?”

3 To: CEO/Owner 3 “With regards to your trustworthiness and reliability, I decided to seek your assistance in transferring some money out of South Africa into your country for onward dispatch and investment.”

4 John Worley, Ph.D. was 4 “a man of integrity and honesty, dedicated to helping others.”

5 By the end of John Worley, the “man of integrity and honesty,” had lied to his wife, borrowed thousands from a patient, cashed bad checks, plotted to avoid taxes, lied about having terminal cancer, posed as an aviation contractor, and agreed to bribe bank officials.

6 -Assistant U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case- 6 “There is only one story here, and that’s the story of John Worley’s greed” (Zuckoff, 8).

7 7 Fee Transfer Fraud or the Nigerian 419 scam Named after the anti-fraud section of the Nigerian criminal code

8 What does this have to do with us? 8 We and our students can learn much about persuasion from studying this phenomenon.

9 Studying 419 scams helps us 9 demonstrate basic principles of persuasion demonstrate the principles of effective advertising/propaganda understand classical rhetorical appeals encourage the development of critical thinking skills capture students’ imaginations and interest arm students against such threats provide writing topics improve student writing

10 How gullible can people be? 10 Foolish gullible Greedy and perhaps even a little stupid Right?

11 What about this message is persuasive? 11

12 12 God bless you My name is Marinette Caberas, i have decided to donate what i have to the charitable organization through you, which is the sum of ($16,870) sixteen million eight hundred and seventy thousand dollars. You may be wondering why i chosen you. But someone has to be chosen. I was diagnosed of cancer since 2 years ago, immediately after the death of my husband, let me know urgently your acceptance to this fund into a good investment for the benefit of street children, open orphanage homes, schools, hospitals and helping widows contact me for more details to claim this money and provide those below information to me when replying. 1 your full name ………………………. 2 your nationality ……………………… 3 your age ……………………………… 4 your telephone number ……………… Faithfully sister in Christ, Mrs.Marinette Caberas

13 As a rule, a persuasive argument has these characteristics: 13 It must demonstrate an understanding of its audience It must have an appearance of credibility It must be timed appropriately

14 Aristotle’s Appeals 14 Ethos Pathos logos

15 ethos 15 From: Capt.Jeffery Simpsons Sent: Wednesday, January 09, :55 PM Subject: My Dear Friend (Treat As Urgent) Dear Friend, Greetings.Jeffery Simpson is my name,an American Soldier in the US Military serving in the 3rd Infantry Division,Patrols Tal Afar, in Iraq.

16 pathos 16 “I am Lady Morrison, i was diagnosed for cancer about 4 years ago perhaps. I am willing the sum of 20 million Great British Pounds to you for the good works of the lord and to help the less privileged through You,”

17 logos 17 When on Special Patrol duties on the 24Th of April earlier this year we found $100m and 90m euros in 31 containers and this money had been hidden behind the false wall of a house searched by my unit based on prior information. You can go to this web link to read about events that took place here: 455.stm

18 18 Let’s take another look at Mrs. Caberas’ missive through Master Aristotle’s eyes: God bless you My name is Marinette Caberas, i have decided to donate what i have to the charitable organization through you, which is the sum of ($16,870) sixteen million eight hundred and seventy thousand dollars. You may be wondering why i chosen you. But someone has to be chosen. I was diagnosed of cancer since 2 years ago, immediately after the death of my husband, let me know urgently your acceptance to this fund into a good investment for the benefit of street children, open orphanage homes, schools, hospitals and helping widows contact me for more details to claim this money and provide those below information to me when replying. 1 your full name ………………………. 2 your nationality ……………………… 3 your age ……………………………… 4 your telephone number ……………… Faithfully sister in Christ, Mrs.Marinette Caberas

19 Now let’s look at the message from my three characteristics: It must demonstrate an understanding of its audience 2. It must have an appearance of credibility 3. It must be timed appropriately

20 Not Enough I felt there had to be more convincing reasons for the apparent gullibility of normally intelligent, relatively cautious people. 20 I discovered Robert Cialdini’s 6 Weapons of Influence.

21 The Buttons 21 1) reciprocation 2) commitment and consistency 3) social proof 4) liking 5) authority 6) scarcity

22 Notice how we can link Aristotle’s rhetorical appeals to Cialdini’s “weapons”. 22 1) Reciprocation (ethos & logos) 2) commitment and consistency (ethos) 3) social proof (ethos, logos) 4) liking (ethos, pathos) 5) Authority (ethos, logos) 6) Scarcity (pathos)

23 23 Here are a couple assignments I created for a class of freshman in BSC101. The focus of the class was “Greed”

24 Activity One: 24 Describe three examples showing how each of these elements (logos, ethos, pathos) is used to appeal to an audience. They could be advertisements, television shows, political speeches, photographs, etc. Be specific. Cite the example and describe how one of the three appeals is used. Then cite the next example, and describe how it demonstrates a second appeal. Then do the third.

25 Activity Two 25 Read the following 419 messages and analyze them briefly in writing. How do the writers use logos, ethos and pathos to attempt to persuade a reader? How effective would it be?

26 Teaching the art of selling snake oil And The End The Rhetoric of Scamming: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in my Inbox-


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