Video Argument, Ms. Pac-Man Edition

Apparently, I’m all about reposting other people’s content here. However, this video is up on Feministe this morn, and it’s taken from Pandagon, so I’ll just imagine that I’m sharing the love. You TOTALLY have to get over your initial reaction to hurl invective at the screen shot figure here—suffice to say that it’s a terrible representation of the yummy goodness (yummy pretzel goodness, to be exact) that comes after it, which, I’d like to say, is making me think about the rhetorics of argument via video.

I’m no rhetorical expert, and I’m sure that the peeps in comp/rhet could run circles around me here (and I encourage them to do so, both for the public service of greater knowledge, and because it’s good for their health), but there are several things that are working in this video. First: the tone is, while a bit outre, also right on for the subject. It’s colloquial, it’s entertaining, and it fits the subject matter completely (can you imagine this as a “straight” reading of the cultural value of Ms. Pac-Man? Please. What’s the point?). Second, while I’m almost always dismissive of still images, the editing in this piece is fab. The juxtaposition of picture of Gloria Steinem and Shirley Chisholm(?) with Margaret Thatcher and Nancy Reagan; the Ken Burns effect on the initial image of Ms. PM—it’s as entertaining as the voiceover and the nostalgic kick of the A-Ha song in the background. What I’m most impressed by, here, is the way in which the producers have integrated information and cultural analysis: reading of symbolism, parallels to the contemporaneous social and economic milieu, a short history of the origin of the names. It’s delightful, it’s informative, it’s convincing, it’s making me want to find chapters 1-3 immediately.  How does a video argument differ from a textual one?  How does it make the most of the particular affordances of its medium?  Here are some ways to start thinking about it.

This, my friends, is a keeper. And one that offers up some real-world criteria for video argument assignments.

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