Good writers make shrewd decisions about argument structure; language choice; word order; register etc.
For each of the following openings to persuasive texts consider:
- title and its relationship to the main contention
- the opening hook – how the audience is engaged
- the audience
- the point of view
- the presentation of the writer themselves
and try to identify the form of each text from the following options:
opinion/comment article; editorial; current affairs TV commentary; letter to the editor; speech
1. East Timor: turning a blind eye to inconvenient truth
Try to picture this: almost every man, women and child forced from their homes, often at gunpoint, usually because of the sheer terror of staying.
Everything of value stolen and loaded onto trucks by the military, police or their anointed thugs.
2.Leaders’ treatment of Asylum Seekers shames our nation
Enough, surely, is enough. The mandatory offshore detention by successive Australian governments of people seeking asylum from persecution, war, torture and worse is inhumane, unsustainable and a massive waste of taxpayers’ money. It is so far out of kilter with the values of this nation that it beggars belief, and will come to be seen as a shameful chapter in our history.
3.Thank you, Eddie McGuire, for starting a debate we had to have
I never thought I would say this, but thank you Eddie McGuire. Thank you for your misogynist comments because they finally sparked national debate and resulted in national outrage. People are now connecting the dots between language – the weaponry of words – that trivialise violence against women, and a culture that perpetuates it.
The public reaction to this so called “banter” was unprecedented. While compounded by another member of the “blokes” network, Sam Newman, it opened people’s eyes to the fact that violence against women sadly encompasses more than the women being murdered every week – that it’s much more than countless acts of reported physical or sexual abuse.
How extraordinary that Andrew Smith, chairman of Shell Australia, describes those of us wanting to keep our land safe from onshore gas exploration as “coffee shop activists from Fitzroy”. In fact we are farmers in South Gippsland who are against gas mining because we have seen what happens to farmland in regions where wells are sunk. Farms are criss-crossed with roads; once-viable farms become unsustainable; and vital water supplies for agriculture are threatened.
5.There’s Never Been a More Exciting Time to be Horrified by the Senate!
When Malcolm Turnbull made his stirring not-victory speech on the night of the election, he made very, very, very clear that changing the senate ballot immediately before calling a double dissolution election was absolutely not intended in any way to clear out the senate crossbench about which he’d been complaining for the previous eight months.
“Now, I want to also address a matter that I know has been raised earlier today or this evening about the calling of the double-dissolution election,” he explained not-at-all defensively. “That was not a political tactic. It was not designed to remove senators or get a new Senate because new senators are better than old senators or whatever.”
And it’s a good thing too, because otherwise it would look as though he’d made a near-catastrophic tactical error by actually making things a lot worse. Phew!
6.Michael Phelps Made Me Cry (Good Tears)
Somewhere between the Zika stories, the doping stories and the stories about what a fetid, toxic swamp Rio really is, I got the message: I was supposed to feel cynical about these Olympics, the way we feel cynical about pretty much everything these days.
I was supposed to marvel at our talent for making messes, cutting corners, evading responsibility, procrastinating. Rio was a testament to that, both as the host of the Games and as a sublime, wretched theater of humanity. All the promises we fail to keep, all the plans that go awry: They were and would be on vivid display. I was supposed to shake my head in disgust. Sigh in frustration.
Instead I cried, and I mean good tears. It was Monday morning, and I was telling someone what he’d missed on Sunday night: how the American swimmer Michael Phelps defied age and his own stabs at self-destruction to swim toward yet another gold, in a men’s relay.
7. [transcript extract]
Look, we Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s precisely this contest of idea that pushes our country forward. (Applause.) But what we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican — and it sure wasn’t conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems — just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.
And that is not the America I know. (Applause.) The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous. (Applause.) Sure, we have real anxieties — about paying the bills, and protecting our kids, caring for a sick parent. We get frustrated with political gridlock, and worry about racial divisions. We are shocked and saddened by the madness of Orlando or Nice. There are pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures; men who took pride in hard work and providing for their families who now feel forgotten; parents who wonder whether their kids will have the same opportunities that we had.
All of that is real. We are challenged to do better; to be better.