Saturday, October 23, 2010

Black or White

Michael Jackson's "Black or White"

Lyrics can be found here.


1. ARGUMENT - Race does not matter.
2. AUDIENCE - The people in the United States and the world, especially those who listen to popular music.
3. GOAL - To make the people who hear this song think about their own prejudices and change them.
4. HOW - Ethos: By establishing himself as actually having gone to all the different places and cultures--India, Africa, North America, etc.--Michael Jackson gains credibility as a preacher of tolerance.
Pathos: The images of war, fire, and destruction make it clear how much suffering is caused by intolerance. Even though no victims are shown, it inspires pathos for the pain and conflict caused by apathy and prejudice.
Logos: As the people at the end morph into one another, the transition is so smooth that it is obvious how similar the people are, even though they are very different.
5. EFFECTIVE? I thought the music video was very effective at getting across its message. Most popular songs don't undertake as hefty a subject, especially with a catchy tune clearly intended for a wide audience. The arguments included were mostly visual, and therefore rather abstract, but the power of the imagery--of the morphing world surrounding MJ and especially the morphing faces at the end--combined with the message in the lyrics made the argument clear, concise, and effective.

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