I’m not an epidemiologist or an expert in medicine. I’m not even an expert in what I’m about to comment on, but my college major at least prepared me to give an informed opinion on this topic. I know that if I don’t express myself about this, I’d be acting like a bystander that decides to film the crash instead of helping. So, here it goes.
“Rhetoric is defined as the ability to see what is possibly persuasive in every given case, and a rhetorician is someone that can see what is persuasive.” I’m not sure that’s a verbatim quote from one of my professors, but I dug that up when I decided to attempt rhetorical criticism for fun (I gave up that project by the way). It’s a paraphrasing of Aristotle, and after thousands of years, that guy still has relevant-to-today points.
It’s been two paragraphs, and I haven’t gotten to the point, but I commend you for sticking with me on this journey. Here’s my thesis statement, the video Plandemic is bullshit – and not in a “good” way. But I’m not going to refute this video point by point (the fact that it even has that many points to refute should be a red flag to you). I’ll give it to the filmmakers; they’re persuasive. But the techniques they used exposes them as just another ordinary snake oil salesman with a lot to hide.
Since I talked about Aristotle, let’s get back to that guy before you forget. He talks about means of persuasion, Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and Kairos (they’re not new startups, at least not that I know of). I’m not gonna bore you to death with definitions, but I’m going to need to get you on the same page. So think of “Ethos” as the effect the title of “Dr.” has on your decision to choose someone to save your grandma. Let’s call it credibility, but it’s more than that. Pathos is the effect of saying you’d need to save someone you know versus a stranger with no connection to you. Let’s call it emotional weight, but it’s more than that. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about Logos, but this video definitely did. Let’s call “Logos” rationality, reason, or logic. Oh, and the pièce de résistance Kairos. I call it the opportunity, but some just call it time and place.
Plandemic is a video marketed as a documentary circulating on social media like wildfire. The video has somewhere between 12 to 30 claims crammed into 25 minutes. That by itself is a very common technique used by classic snake-oil salesmen, “it cures all ills!” It’s also a desperate debate technique that overwhelms the audience just with the sheer number of arguments of various degrees of strength and veracity. Of those 25 minutes, I’d say about half is dedicated to developing “ethos.” For all the talk about freedom and being able to contest the lame-stream media narrative, they sure don’t question their experts much. They position her as an underdog, a great way to sneak “pathos” into the mix. We root for the underdog, and it’s a hard sell to make people agree with Goliath. So, “ethos” and “pathos” are intentionally robust so far, but they can crumble if “logos” is weak, right? Yeah, I mean, it did for me. However, there’s “Kairos.” The often forgotten fourth brother. By itself, “Kairos” isn’t enough to persuade anyone. However, if an orator studies the audience and “reads the room,” it can be used as a mask for any imperfections or deficiencies in an argument.
I don’t have to go through all the claims to back up my argument that the video is “bullshit.” The whole thing is intentionally deceptive, misleading, and disingenuous. The proof is in their persuasion techniques. Don’t take my word for it, watch it, but watch it with the concepts I just superficially explained to you in mind. If you want, read up on rhetoric, then watch it. The filmmakers callously exploited our current state of uncertainty and fear to get a seat on the public decision table – they are getting power from this film. It’s not about freedom or fair questioning of those in power. It’s about people who lost an argument. Instead of finding more proof to support it, they are leaning on their self-made ethos and using pathos and kairos to preemptively disable any criticism. If you got persuaded by them, right now, you’re either in earnest questioning their credibility or calling me a puppet of the corporate interests. If you’re the latter, ask yourself, are you trying to find the truth or are you trying to win an argument? Also, if you were proven without a doubt wrong, would you change your mind? If the answer is no, then consider what these people could make you do with that kind of belief and then read a history book.
- The official site of the film in question: https://plandemicmovie.com/
- Here is one of the many rebuttals to the movie. An article by Tara Haelle that explores a similar angle to this post, but with a lot more references and links. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2020/05/08/why-its-important-to-push-back-on-plandemic-and-how-to-do-it/#5cf0234d5fa3