When you have analysed the argument in one of the articles from the “Read” section for this week’s topic, the writing exercise is to: write a short critique of the article in your journal. The following questions will help you to structure your critique:
- Does the writer state the argument clearly in the introduction?
- Is the position of the author largely subjective or objective?
- Does the writer use sufficient evidence to support his case?
- Is the evidence reliable?
- Is the logically developed?
After you complete the writing exercise for this week, keep a record of it in your journal.
I selected the article, Post-crash Fascism: Planning for the Apocalypse by Christian Parenti.
Does the writer state the argument clearly in the introduction?
Yes, the writer clearly states that climate change is an issue on a global scale, finally contending what the remainder of the article is about – that it has become an apocalyptic certainty, no matter how much we reduce our emissions and change our current practices from now on. He argues that climate change has begun to affect the political sphere as well as the physical one.
Is the position of the author largely subjective or objective?
Whilst the writer tries to maintain an objective approach, it is evident that he makes subjective statements on occasion. Although Parenti refers to a number of international government publications to support his thesis that climate change has become a major concern for many governments around the world, he manages to intertwine subjective comments, illustrating his point of view on the matter. He speaks in the first person now and then and offers statements such as: “one can imagine a green authoritarianism emerging…” (n. pag.). However, since he refers to so many documents of an authoritative nature, this could be excused, as the type of writing is speculative, posing possibilities based on the evidence before us in the present day.
Since this piece is drawn from Parenti’s book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate change and the New Geography of Violence, I took the liberty of looking at his book to see the references that were drawn upon in their absence on this web site. As a result, I can state with a large degree of certainty that his writing has credibility: he is not careless with the facts that he presents. His style contains a noticeable amount of emotional appeal. The reader is not solely overwhelmed by statistics and direct quotations from governmental reports, but their sense of ethos becomes entwined when considering the ramifications of what Parenti documents in his writing.
Does the writer use sufficient evidence to support his case?
Yes, Parenti provides quotes and commentary from a variety of authoritative sources. He paraphrases and cites government reports from many parts of the world to support his contentions.
Is the evidence reliable?
On a first reading, one could easily wonder if the information contained in this article on the web site supplied was reliable or not. No reference list is provided, mant report titles are mentioned, followed by a statement at the end of the piece, informing the reader which book this was drawn from. However, if one is willing to dig deeper and either access the book in question, or take the time to look up every government report that is mentioned in the article, one would find that the evidence Parenti presents is trustworthy.
Is the argument logically developed?
I thought the argument was logically developed and overall, well written. It is interesting to read a different perspective of the problem of climate change and how it is inextricably linked with political disorder, social breakdown and potential counterinsurgency on a global scale.
Parenti, Christian. “Post-Crash Fascism: Planning for the apocalypse.” Adbusters. Adbusters Media Foundation, 19 Aug. 2013. Web. 6 Jul. 2014.
Parenti, Christian. Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence. New York: Nation Books, 2011. e-book.
This week on the Discussion Board, we invite you to share your ideas about:
- public debates that you would like to contribute to as a professional writer
There are quite a few public debates that I would like to contribute to as a professional writer. However, I think I would focus in on the actions, motivations and rationale of the Australian government and the debate going on within both houses of Federal Parliament. Yes, it can be and is viewed as a circus. However, it would be the role of the professional writer or journalist to hold the government to account for the policies and initiatives they stand for.
We are currently going through a rather insidious period in our federal political landscape. We find ourselves in an environment filled with secrecy and unwillingness from our parliamentary representatives to divulge information on matters that all Australians have a right to know. It would be a tremendously difficult job, but the process of investigation would entail bringing any discrepancies between what our politicians say and do to light for further scrutiny.
Perhaps envisioning a Woodward & Bernstein kind of scenario in this regard could be considered a little too idealistic?