Rhetorical Analysis of Cory Doctrow’s | Good Grade Guarantee!
Jensen 1Bethany JensenProfessor YorkEnglish 12417 November 2014Rhetorical Analysis of Cory Doctrow’s“Why I Won’t Buy an iPad (and Think You Shouldn’t, Either)Cory Doctorow’s article on BoingBoing is an older review of the iPad, one of Apple’smost famous products. At the time of this article, however, the iPad was simply the latest Appleproduct to hit the market and was not yet so popular. Doctorow’s entire career has beenentrenched in and around technology. He got his start as a CD-ROM programmer and is now asuccessful blogger and author. He is currently the co-editor of the BoingBoing blog on which thisarticle was posted. One of his main points in this article comes from Doctorow’s passionateadvocacy of free digital media sharing. He argues that the iPad is just another way forestablished technology companies to control our technological freedom and creativity. In “Why IWon’t Buy an iPad (and Think You Shouldn’t, Either)” published on Boing Boing in April of2010, Cory Doctorow successfully uses his experience with technology, facts about the companyApple, and appeals to consumer needs to convince potential iPad buyers that Apple and itsproducts, specifically the iPad, limit the digital rights of those who use them by controlling andmainstreaming the content that can be used and created on the device.The purpose of the article is to convince consumers that the iPad is not a worthwhilething to buy because it has very limited uses outside of the set content, as well as technologicalproblems and the potential to quickly become obsolete. Cory Doctorow wrote this article statinghis negative opinion of the iPad in the wake of enormous media hype over the iPad’s release.Jensen 2Apple has proclaimed the iPad as a technological revolution, but Doctorow disagrees. He madethis statement in response to Apple’s policies, exemplified by the iPad; “of course I believe in amarket where competition can take place without bending my knee to a company that has erecteda drawbridge between me and my customers!” (3). He is out to convince his audience theydeserve the right to be responsible for their own media sharing and content.One example of Doctorow’s position is his comparison of Apple’s iStore to Wal-Mart.This is an appeal to the consumer’s logic—or an appeal to logos. Doctorow wants the reader totake his comparison and consider how an all-powerful corporation like the iStore will affectthem. An iPad will only allow for apps and programs purchased through the iStore to be run onit; therefore, a customer must not only purchase an iPad but also any programs he or she wishesto use. Customers cannot create their own programs or modify the hardware in any way.Doctorow has a very clear opinion of this. He says, “as an adult, I want to be able tochoose whose stuff I buy and whom I trust to evaluate that stuff. I don’t want my universe ofapps constrained to the stuff that the Cupertino Politburo decides to allow for its platform” (3).By referencing the constricting forces of communist Russia, the author appeals to his readers’emotions and a basic human fear of being controlled. This is an appeal to pathos, and it stirs up anatural rebellion against being told what to do. Big corporations want consumers to believe thatif they give up their creativity, their lives will be better. In that way, it is like Wal-Mart. “Savemoney, live better,” just do not think outside of the box.Doctorow appeals to logos again by quoting technology guru William Gibson’scomparison of iPad consumers to a mutant creature. The author also builds his character, anappeal to ethos, here by quoting a renowned expert, one who actually coined the term “virtualreality.” By referring to the specialist’s opinion, Doctorow is acknowledging his need forJensen 3additional counsel. Doctorow reinforces his ethos by building on the solid foundation of anestablished technological leader.Doctorow makes another appeal to logos in the form of showing potential iPad buyerswhat they could have instead of the dictated usage and expensive content that come with theiPad. He argues that consumers do not have to settle for limit digital rights, we have otheroptions. He declares, “the reason people have stopped paying for a lot of ‘content’ isn’t just thatthey can get it for free, though: it’s that they can get lots of competing stuff for free, too” (4).This is an example of how Doctorow uses reason and logic to make his point. He essentiallysays, “you could have this one thing…or you could have all of these things.” Why pay for anexpensive iPad and monitored apps, when you can get equal or better products and programs forfree?The article “Why I won’t buy and iPad (and Think You Shouldn’t, Either)” does have afew flaws. One example of a weakness is Doctorow’s obvious bias against big corporations anddigital rights management. He is a software creator, and so he has something personal to gainfrom free digital media sharing. He displays this bias by giving a rather one-sided argument. Hesays, “it [Apple] uses DRM to control what can run on your devices, which means that Apple’scustomers can’t take their ‘iContent’ with them to competing devices, and Apple developerscan’t sell on their own terms” (3). The problem is that not everyone can develop software, and,therefore, not everyone cares. The iPad could be a great piece of equipment with excellentapplications for people who are not looking to develop and sell their own software. Just becausethe iPad does not work for Doctorow, does not mean it will not work for anyone else.In addition to having an agenda, Doctorow does not mention any of the iPad’s positivequalities and abilities. His only positive mention of the iPad states “clearly there’s a lot ofJensen 4thoughtfulness and smarts that went into the design” (2). In reality, the iPad has a lot of coolfeatures, and it can do some incredible things; for example, nearly every big company has an appthat represents it, and the internet browsing on the iPad is top notch. Doctorow could have builthis up his ethos by being a bit more fair-minded about the benefits of owning the iPad.Overall, Doctorow makes a good argument about why there are potentially many betterthings to drop a great deal of money on instead of the iPad. He gives some valuable informationand facts that consumers should take into consideration before going out to purchase the newdevice. He clearly uses rhetorical tools to help make his case, and, overall, he is effective as awriter, even if, ultimately, he was ineffective in convincing the world not to buy an iPad.Jensen 5Work CitedDoctorow, Cory. “Why I Won’t Buy an iPad (and Think You Shouldn’t, Either).” BoingBoing. 2Apr. 2010. Web. 10 November 2014.
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