Use Facebook. I’m serious. It’s such a great teaching tool.
Why? Here are some ways.
What a great way to get them to use their rhetorical skills.
Is it an effective use of argument to attach your cause to another cause that has a very tenuous connection?
See Cecil the Lion vs. Planned Parenthood/Pro-Life
Some possible topics to discuss
This assumes that those who post about Cecil somehow don’t care about dead people.
How exactly does this make it evident that people care more about a dead line than dead people?
Is social media the best proper place for discussing serious matters?
What others topics “trend” on social media?
This line of thinking is just too shallow to be really used effectively as a rhetorical strategy.
Worse yet, in terms of rhetorical strategies is a claim like this -
This argument is nonsensical. But why?
If you can’t explain how the electoral college works, you can’t complain about the president.
If you can’t explain how a bill become law, don’t complain about your taxes.
If you can’t explain the details of an organ transplant, you’re off the list!
These, of course, are absurd. Just like the argument posted on Facebook.
Or Caitlyn Jenner vs. Brave soldiers.
I won’t argue for a second that our troops, law enforcement agents, nurses, doctors, and so on are brave. When did one group of people have a monopoly on bravery?
Isn’t this a way for one group of people with a specific belief to undermine another group of people with a different belief? Again, is this the most effective rhetorical technique?
Sometimes, Facebook, I think, gets it right -
What deeper issues are at work here?
What biases are revealed? What hypocracies are exposed?
A possible assignment - Take a scenario and follow the line of thinking through various scenarios. If a person posts their outrage over Cecil being illegally hunted, and someone calls them out over not caring about larger issues (abortion, human trafficking, genocide), is this a legit argument? What if the latter person posts pictures of their children playing in the backyard or a meme applauding their favorite sports team on a big win? Why are they straying from their cause?
Shouldn’t they be devoting all of their time to their cause? Who says all of your causes have to be treated with the same voracity? And who is to say one cause is more important than another cause? How can we even rank causes in order of importance? What causes were important a decade ago that are no longer even causes?