Rhetorical Analysis Draft Livia

The Atlantic Monthly is an American monthly journal of literature, political nature, news, and opinion, published in Boston. One of the oldest and most respected of American reviews, The Atlantic Monthly has been contributed to by a long line of distinguished editors and authors. One of these distinguished authors is Nicholas Carr, who has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Wired. One of his most recent and seemingly controversial articles "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" has shed much light on the hypothesis that the Internet has affected people in a very negative way that many do not realize. Carr incorporates his personal experience with using the Internet and states, "And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation." He continues to express the opinions of other "literary types" (bloggers) that they're having similar experiences.

The catalyst in Carr's article is attributed to his hypothesis that the Internet causes the brain to become lazy by skimming through article/texts rather than actually reading them. This issue has significant importance to Carr partly because he's a writer/blogger himself and has noticed a dramatic change in the way he researches and reads, but also because he believes the Internet has impacted people in a negative way that takes away the brain's ability to concentrate and analyze critically.

Carr's choice of research and validation comes from opinions of other writers, studies done by universities, and other examples to evoke emotion from the audience, thus, getting his point across that this is and should be viewed as an important matter. Carr intricately begins his article with an excerpt from A Space Odyssey that implies his own opinion that new technology doesn't necessarily make people smarter. This excerpt foreshadows his very point that the Internet has caused the mind's of others to shut down and look for the easy way out. Carr even ends his article with his understanding of the movie, "…as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence." Carr's implication of the meaning leads people to believe that we are not longer capable of building our mind in creativity, but rather reaching a certain point and stopping because it gets too hard/complicating. This ingenious use of media grabs at the audience to evoke emotion and point them in the direction of his theory.

One can argue that Carr's use of implication does not prove that the Internet has caused people to become lazy. Carr, however, provides evidence that back up his claim. His first use of evidence comes from a recently published study of online research habits that was conducted by scholars from University College London. This study suggests, "…that we may well be in the midst of a sea of change in the way we read and think." This five-year research program had the scholars examine computers logs documenting the behavior of visitors to two popular research sites: One operated by the British Library and one by a United Kingdom educational consortium. The scholars found that people using the sites exhibited "a form of skimming activity" in which one would go from one site to another and rarely return to a site they'd already been to. The authors of the study concluded, "It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense…new forms of "reading" are emerging as users "power browse" through titles, contents pages and abstracts…"

Carr also uses statements made by other professionals in various fields of study to prove his theory. For example, he includes the opinion made by a developmental psychology at Tufts University, Maryanne Wolf, who states, "We are not only what we read. We are how we read." Carr uses this statement, however, to propose a meaning that could may as well have been taken out of context. He explains, through Wolf's statement, that, "Our ability to interpret test, to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged."

Carr even compares the invention of the mechanical clock to this by including a statement by Lewis Mumford, an historian and cultural critic, that said, "the clock disassociated time from human events and helped create the belief in an independent world of mathematically measureable sequences. The abstract framework of divided time became the point of reference for both action and thought." Carr uses this statement to support his theory about the Internet that the innovation of technology causes humans to behave in an almost robotic way.

The point of this article is to notify people that the Internet has caused negative affects to our brains and how we grow intellectually. Carr's evocation of emotion through opinions of other professionals paired with evidence seems to support his theory. Towards the end of his article, Carr refers to statement made in a recent essay by a playwright Richard Foreman that professed, "As we are drained of our "inner repertory of dense cultural inheritance, we risk turning into "pancake people"—spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button."

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