“Crazy People” is a movie about a disillusioned advertising executive named Emory and his move from “normality” to near insanity. Emory was on the top of his game in the advertising world when all of a sudden, he decided that he was tired of lying to consumers about what products were really capable of doing. So he proceeded to launch a campaign that produced ads that were honest. Emory’s boss and co-workers thought that this was ridiculous and therefore had him admitted to a sanitarium for “rest and relaxation.” What they didn’t realize at the time was that Emory’s honesty would become appealing to consumers and producers alike, therefore causing his tactic to grow and flourish right before their eyes. In the end, Emory realized that there was nothing wrong with being truthful and he also helped his newfound friends in the sanitarium to realize their potential and escape from imagined glass ceiling that they were under.
Since an artifact is defined as “anything that can be analyzed,” we can comfortably say that “Crazy People” is an artifact. We can go a step further and say that it is also an artifact because it is available to a wide audience. While overall the movie is a narrative about the “adventures” of Emory and his quest for freedom to be honest, some portions of the movie can even be classified as rhetorical. The biggest example that I can think of that can be rhetorically criticized is the preparation that the members of the sanitarium did so that they could present their first ads to Mr. Drucker and Associates.
Rhetoric is defined as “giving a prepared, persuasive speech.” When Emory and his friends found out that they were to give presentations to Mr. Drucker, they started formulating a plan, which can be classified under the Neo-Aristotelian style of rhetorical criticism. Their main goal was to persuade the producers of the products that their message would be effective in catching the public’s attention, thus boosting sales. To prepare for this, they had to organize their speech, mainly using external proof. A cause and effect approach was used for the majority of the ads presented so that the consumer could see what would happen if they were to use that product.
After the organization was complete, then they had to decide what type of style they were going to use. Since their goal was to gain favor, they knew immediately that they had to use persuasive speech, which is also a requirement of a rhetorical speech. They had to use word choice and visuals that would be consistent with honesty, yet convincing enough that the consumer would believe that the product was what it claimed to be. The next step was to choose a delivery method. The group knew that Mr. Drucker would be coming to the sanitarium and Emory had had many meetings with him before and knew his mannerisms, so they had a couple of things in their favor. The manner chosen was for each person to memorize their speeches, which isn’t done very much today. They focused a lot of their attention on proper body language and gestures as will as their physical appearance when they were giving the speech, i.e., wearing a suit and being well-groomed. Emory also obviously coached them on vocal skills, like articulation and pitch so that they would use it effectively.
At the presentation of the speeches, each person achieved their goal. Through the careful and thorough use of the five canons of Neo-Aristotelianism, Emory and his friends were able to persuade Mr. Drucker and his associates that each ad was precise and effective for the intended audience. Therefore this is an artifact that is truly rhetorical in many of the conventional ways.
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