How to argue like Cher Horowitz:
A mild analysis of Cher’s ability to persuade her audience into giving her what she desires.
Cher is always taught to argue first: Cher’s first instinct is always to argue. Especially, when most of us would choose to let things be or to be silent instead of continuing to protest why we think something is unfair or wrong. Cher is the daughter of a lawyer, a professional, and is always being taught to argue her way out of a problem she may face. Her father has given her a set of skills that allow her to use persuasion as a solution above everything else she may have been taught. He teaches her, again, that everything can be argued. Mel Horowitz (Cher’s father) says, “Tell me the problem and we’ll figure out how to argue it.” As a response when Cher asked him if he’s ever had a problem, he couldn’t argue his way out of. He encourages arguing as a solution for Cher and is even proud of her when she argues her way out of a C letter grade.
Cher is persuasive because she understands the importance of the use of language and is creative, original, and thoughtful when she communicates her points and Ideas to her audience: Not only does she have a broad vocabulary but she uses it to her advantage when she’s arguing something or making a point, Cher also understands the importance of using terms and analogies her peers and audience will understand, for example, when Cher is in class and she’s arguing something she’ll use an analogy/example that teenagers her age can understand and wrap their heads around.
According to Aristotle's rhetoric, there are three modes of persuasion:
♡ Trustworthiness or reputation
According to Aristotle, Ethos is when the speaker appeals to her own personal character.
“Persuasion is achieved by the speaker's personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible. We believe good men more fully and more readily than others: this is true generally whatever the question is, and absolutely true where exact certainty is impossible and opinions are divided.” -Aristotle
Cher uses ethos when she’s talking to Tai about drugs:
𝓒 : “Are you talking about drugs?”
𝓣 : “Yeah.”
𝓒 : “Tai, how old are you?”
𝓣 : “I’ll be sixteen in May.”
𝓒 : “My birthday is in April and as someone older, can I please give you some advice? It is one thing to spark up a doobie and get laced at parties, but it is quite another to be fried all day.”
Aristotle's second mode of persuasion is:
♡ Emotional or imaginative impact
According to Aristotle, Pathos is putting the audience in a certain frame of mind.
“Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, provided by the words of the speech itself.” -Aristotle
Cher uses pathos when she convinces her teachers to give her better grades, she evokes emotion in her audience/ teachers by getting them on her side by expressing the fact that they share a common enemy, like for example, when she told her P.E. teacher that an evil male had broken her heart, her teacher sympathized with her and raised her grade from a C to a B. Or when Cher expresses interest in her teacher's passions. For example, when she promises Ms. Geist she’d start a letter-writing campaign to my congressman about violations of the Clean Air Act.
Or when Cher finds that she’s facing a more difficult audience immune to all her arguments or previous techniques, she changes her approach and goes out of her way to make them a happier person so that they are more willing to give her what she truly desires. For example, when Mr. Hall tells Cher that her arguments are “unresearched, unstructured, and unconvincing” Cher is forced to use a different tactic when it comes to achieving her goals, instead, she helps him find love, become happier, and as a result, he’s in a better mood and his judgment is clouded, he gives Cher a better grade in the end.
Aristotle's third mode of persuasion is:
♡ Reasoning or argumentation
♡ Facts, Figures, Case studies
According to Aristotle, Logos is the proof which consists of the logic and evidence that back up the speaker's argument.
“Thirdly, persuasion is effected through the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question.” -Aristotle
Cher uses logos when she attempts to convince Josh that she understands what it means to make a contribution to a cause.
𝓙 : “You know, maybe Marky Mark wants to use his popularity for a good cause. Make a contribution. In case you’ve never heard of that, a contribution is…”
𝓒 : “Excuse me, but I have donated many expensive Italian outfits to Lucy, and as soon as I get my license, I fully intend to brake for animals, and I have contributed many hours to helping my two lonely teachers find romance.
What we should take from Cher’s weaknesses and strengths:
Cher’s lack of regard for what she’s arguing for is one of her main weaknesses. Previously we talked about how Mr. Hall tells Cher that her arguments are “unresearched, unstructured, and unconvincing”. Let's take a second to pick apart his critiques.
♡ Unresearched: Cher is quite unworldly, she doesn’t know what’s going on in the world around her, as the title suggests, she’s totally clueless. She has limited experiences of culture, her world, and relationships. She often times makes excuses for her mistakes, fails to acknowledge how weak her advice may be at times. She’s fixated on her presentation rather than if she’s correct or not.
*DON’T do this. Study, pay better attention to the factual aspect of your argument in addition to your approach and presentation.*
♡ Unstructured: Cher’s life is as unstructured as her arguments may be. Cher is really smart but is superficial. She has no outlet for all of her potential. Cher craves control in her life and in all aspects. In conclusion, the unconstructed nature of her argument reflects her lifestyle.
♡ Unconvincing: Cher has a tough time properly interpreting events even when the audience sees the reality of the situation. Part of her character development is based on the fact that she has to learn to stop filtering all her personal experiences through the fog of her imagination and agendas and look more clearly at the chaos of reality in the world around her.
♡ Never settle for less: Cher’s do-gooder instinct is tied to her drive to argue. Cher doesn’t just accept the way things are, she's always pushing for better, never letting anything get in her way, she’s ambitious, and understands there’s always room for improvement. Cher always has the drive to fight for what she wants and her argumentative stance on everything shows the audience that we should never be content with the status quo and accept the bare minimum. We can always achieve better. And after all, every IT girl knows how to get what she wants, don't let them see you sweat. <3
Stay Pretty,- 𝓑
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