The article by Dan Sernovitz “A Nice Cold Beer Can Help after Class” was published in1998 in The Diamondback. The main thesis of the author is that promoting responsible drinking on campus would decrease violence and binge drinking, while also creating additional source of revenue for administration. The article “All a Bar Will Bring is More Problems” by Kirsten Frese also discusses the potential consequences of opening bars in colleges. However, the author firmly believes that a Student Union bar will only foster more violence, underage drinking and truancy. The primary persuasive technique used by Sernovitz is pathos, while Frese relies on ethos and cause/consequence to achieve her goals, with only occasional use of pathos. In my opinion, the article by Frese is more convincing due to the presence of valid arguments and comprehensive logical analysis of the issue.
The technique that is most obvious in the article by Sernowitz is pathos. The author uses a lot of emotive language to appeal to the readers’ senses, for example, when he talks about “painstaking minutes”, “stressful class”, contrasting them with “refreshing alcohol” and “inner peace and tranquility” induced by it. Also, the author uses vivid imagery and lavish details to paint a more convincing and brighter picture for the readers. He asks the audience to “picture a local bar”, “imagine the ease and comfort”, “feel the anger”, literally immersing them in the situation he describes. To add even more emphasis, Sernowitz uses the exclamation “ah” twice in his article. Another notable example of pathos is humor, particularly irony, which helps the author to establish rapport with his audience: for example, the author says that his inflated goals are gone and now he is proud of himself simply when he wakes up in time for a class; this situation is probably well-known to every student and is sure to invoke their smiles. Moreover, the author attacks the opposing views with strong exclusive language: he refers to the alcohol-resisting administration as “The Man” that should be damned. Finally, Sernowitz includes a lot of well-known clichés (like “drown one’s sorrow” and “heaven on Earth) that are certain to be understood by the public, even though they lack originality.
Apart from pathos, Sernowitz also uses cause/consequence to persuade the audience. He claims that the limitations on drinking imposed by college administration directly lead to binge drinking and violence since students feel the urge to act in spite of the rule-setters. The author asserts that promotion of responsible drinking in Student Union bars would help students to relieve tension in controlled environment, thus decreasing the rate of violence. He also mentions the rise in revenues from sales and parking that bars might help to generate.
For Kirsten Frese, cause/consequence is the main technique used to persuade the readers. She claims that alcohol was an important factor in causing recent college problems, such as riots, tire iron incidents and fighting, even though she does not think alcohol directly leads to violence. Next, she says that Student Union bar will increase underage drinking as it is not possible to control everyone’s IDs. Also, it is mentioned that opening a bar on campus would mean inviting random people who can be potentially dangerous. Instead of detailed explanation of the consequences this might bring, the author poses a rhetorical question about the campus “breast groper”, which is enough for the audience to arrive at conclusions themselves. Another consequence that bar on campus would lead to, in the eyes of Frese, is the discouragement of students from studies as they would have a more attractive option than listening to lectures or working in the library.
The article by Kirsten Frese is also remarkable with the broad use of ethos. From the very start of the essay, she assures the readers that she is a credible authority to discuss the topic of Student Union bar as she is a person who is not opposed to drinking as such. Three remarks interposed throughout the article make it clear that the author has recently been heavily drunk. Moreover, we get to know that Frese was tending bar at some point of her life, which also confirms her deep acquaintance with the issue in question. Particularly, when she makes the claim that alcohol drinking often induces aggression even in generally calm people, she proceeds from her personal experience of observing this effect.
Pathos is also present in Frese’s article. The author frequently uses rhetorical questions to appeal to the emotions of the audience. For example, when she talks of the former basement bar on campus, she asks the readers: “Is this really an image we want on campus, or one that we want campus visitors to see when they stop by?” Likewise, she asks them whether they would go to the bar or to the library if they had a few hours between classes. Similarly to Sernowitz, she also uses the technique of encouraging the readers to imagine the situation she describes. Also, she creates the sense of solidarity with the public by using inclusive language, e.g. “we cannot ignore”, “we, as an academic institution…”. Moreover, the author refers to the bad reputation of her college and says that Student Union bar will open it to even more ridicule, which is certainly an undesirable effect for her readers, who are also the students of this college.
The article by Frese is generally more persuasive than that by Sernowitz as she uses logos, ethos and pathos, while he omits ethos and relies on pathos disproportionately. However, the efficiency of both articles definitely depends on the particular audience rather than on the techniques as such. Given the fact that both authors primarily address the students of their colleges, the humor and vividness of Sernowitz can evoke better response than solid arguments and personal experience of Frese. It is well-known that the position of most students is in favor of opening bars on campus and they are thus more likely to resonate with the thoughts of Sernowitz on the relieving effect of alcohol.