During our class, each student selected a “viral” video or piece of media to present to the class. They rhetorically analyzed the video, thinking about why it became popular given the particular context of its release, how the video (successfully or unsuccessfully) draws on rhetorical strategies like logos, ethos, and pathos, and other ways the video connects with its audience. Our class doesn’t necessarily endorse all of these videos, but they reflect some of the important, sometimes difficult conversations we had about how new media and virality influence social change. Check out them out above!
As you can see, some students chose media that they felt spread important political messages around issues such as sexual assault (“Gatekeeper”; “#MeToo”; “Praying”; “Surviving R. Kelly”); anti-black racism (Kapernick’s protests and Nike ads; “White Lecture Calls Police on Black Student”; Kendrick Lamar’s performance and speech; “I’m Not Racist”; “This is America”); and disability rights (“OCD”). Other students chose videos that were funny, joyful, empowering, and/or celebrating particular memes or a cultural phenomenon (“Girls Like You”; #TheShiggy Dance Challenge; Chicklet & Maleni; the Monster Jjajang and Tide Pod challenges; “Juice”). Others still chose videos that they found problematic in their rendering of race, activism and/or gender (“FREEDOM IS BASIC”; Pepsi ad; Logan Paul). While diverse, these videos all in some way reflect what was on our minds this semester.