PMA1 Proposal Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

I want to start off with that I really enjoy the mockumentary style. I feel that this style can be great at satirically commentating on how the world works and present it in a way that is really familiar to the general audience. Most of my favorite movies and television shows that utilize this style primarily uses it for comedic effect however, in my opinion, I think they do a great way of showing a slice of life albeit in an exaggerated way.

For the persuasive media project I am choosing Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. This movie is a mockumentary created by the comedic music trio, The Lonely Island, as a satire against recent pop musician documentaries being released in theaters. The main character is a highly famous pop singer that has an entitled attitude towards the world, taking him out of what a normal person’s life is and bringing him into a world where he himself thinks he’s king. Over the course of the movie, the mockumentary techniques show that his fame is hanging on by a thin string. The music industry is a harsh mistress and one day an artist may be on top of the world and the next they’re out on the streets.

PMA #1 Persuasive Media Proposal Groundhog Day

For my persuasive media analysis, I would like to look at Groundhog Day, this movie is about Bill Murray and how he has to keep reliving the same day over again so he can finally successfully seduce the woman he wants. In this movie he keeps on trying to seduce her but he never does because never actually listens to her fully understands her, so he decides to take notes, but this doesn’t work because he is not truly understanding her so he never truly succeeds until he starts falling in love with her and starts truly listening to what she has to say. This is a film that should convince you that persuasion is all about understand people and what makes a person tick or what are their beliefs / what do they like to do and once you understand what makes them tick and if you do it the way Bill Murray did you will do more than succeed you will sustain a life long relationship.

Facilitation: Narration as a human communication paradigm: the case of public moral argument

Fisher’s article “Narration as a human communication paradigm: the case of public moral argument” was very hard to understand, and I had a lot of trouble writing this facilitation.  But I think I finally figured it out, Fisher’s main statement is that mankind use books, movies, etc. to make emotional ties and create shared memories to embed influential, compelling theories. “The pursuit of Happyness” is a movie that has an emotional tie to it.

In this movie a struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he’s poised to begin a life-changing professional career. In this movie Will Smith plays the role of a single father that has been removed from his home, and has nowhere to go. The character Will plays is  “Chris Gardner ” eventually finds a job as an intern but it still pays no money. They go through many hard experiences throughout this movie, but no matter what they never give up hope. Many people can relate to this movie and can share emotional ties with it because a lot of people struggle to support their family.

I think another excellent concept was how books/movies are used to help people to believe and behave in particular ways (religion, political ideas, common manners, etc.) He explained how books have been used to create beliefs and interests, help others to understand, gain verification with a particular group, and bring organization to our experiences. Stories are so influential since almost all of them can connect with the attitudes, acts, or people in them. They’re seeking to develop our view of the world and the people surrounding us. One movie that helps support this idea is The Edge of the Seventeen.

The film tells a story about a young girl coping with change, depression, friends, family, and high school. A large number of young people can connect with the anxious and troubled teenage girl, or other characters in the movie.It helps the viewer grasp a number of different perspectives (a high school girl, a brother, a mother). Last but not least, this story helps the viewers to see the importance of friendship value, that it’s not always good to fall for a person just cause they are attractive, to appreciate, and to pardon others. This film was told as a story with a strong intimate and spiritual connection that was convincing, which compelled the viewer to aspire for joy and laughter in the final stages of social isolation and sorrow.

Lastly when Fisher talks about narrative paradigm he says, “Regardless of the form they may assume, recounting and accounting for are stories we tell to ourselves and each other to establish a meaningful-life world. The character of the narrator(s), the conflicts, the resolutions, and the style will vary, but each mode of recounting and accounting for is but a way of relating a “truth” about a human condition” (pg 6). This statement is saying that facts are just as persuasive to the viewer as emotions if the story conveys the same meaning. 

When I think of narrative paradigm I think of the use of movies and how they affect the viewpoint of children. Some kinds of movies that affect their viewpoint are superhero movies such as marvel movies or Disney’s big hero 6. Big hero 6 is a movie where kids look at themselves and say I want to be a hero too or I want to fight evil and save the world. Kids are inspired by these films to be better people and care for others. Narrative paradigms help shape what makes people good or bad and we are persuaded by their use of beneficial theories.

Narrative And The Rhetoric of Possibility Facilitation

Kirkwood argues that “all narrative may be said to disclose possibility” (p. 32)  meaning that narrative should introduce new ways of being to the audience. The rhetoric of possibility is crucial for moral argument and can display different types of communication. He talks about the four problems (p. 34) of disclosing possibilities and gives ways in which they can be solved.

The four problems are:

  1. The possibility only existing in the narrative worlds and therefore being difficult for the audience to apply to themselves. 
  2. The possibilities not appearing to be feasible by the audience.
  3. The difficulty of showing compelling performances that will illustrate possibilities to the audience. 
  4. Ambiguity of possibilities can make it easier for the audience to apply performance to their preexisting beliefs and thereby make it difficult to access new possibilities. 

We will address each problem and discuss how the solutions Kirkwood supplies to rhetors. 

A solution that Kirkwood provides for the first problem is clearly showing the states of minds the character undergoes thereby showing “the conduct they enable is possible” (p. 34).  He talks about nonrevealing and revealing accounts and gives an example of each (p. 35). Nonrevealing accounts do not divulge the character’s state of mind at the core of the performance and thereby does not show the virtue the audience should pursue while revealing accounts do just that, and thereby tell the audience the state of mind is feasible. This opens up the ability of a new possibility to go beyond the context and story. Nonrevealing accounts can lack narrative fidelity which occurs when values in a story are confirmed by one’s experiences (p. 30), however, because revealing accounts disclose states of mind, they do not depend on their narrative fidelity.

For the second problem, Kirkwood talks about how nonrevealing accounts that fail to disclose the reason for the character’s deed may not show the audience how they have the possibility is attainable for them because they can easily credit the deed to elements beyond their capacity. However, revealing accounts will equip the audience with the knowledge of the states of mind behind brave deeds, and potentially, they can practice the states of minds. 

An example of a revealing account I thought of was Disney’s Lion King. When Nala finds Simba and tries to convince him to return to Pride Rock, he is scared and refuses to. However, after seeing Mufasa’s ghost, he remembers who he is and decides to return to Pride Rock. The audience is able to see Simba’s state of mind when he is afraid and his state of mind when he gains courage. They are able to apply the possibilities outside the context of the movie and the possibilities of bravery are more attainable to them.

For the third problem, Kirkwood gives two ways rhetors can give audiences compelling performances (p. 38). The first way is depicting other people’s performances–either factual or fictional–and giving the audience the possibility of a state of mind.

This reminds me of inspirational movies like The Greatest Showman. The movie is about a man who has faced financial hardships but perseveres to build a successful circus. Though the characters go through trials and tribulations like the circus fire that occurred before this scene, they do not give up. The lyrics of the songs–like in the video below– can call on the audience to actualize the possibilities of the states of minds in the movie. In this scene, they rebuild their circus after all hope seemed lost, potentially compelling the audience to keep on pushing through difficult situations in their own lives.

The second way of solving the problem is to call forth the compelling performance from the audience and use the performance as a transforming tool. This can be achieved in two ways:

  1. Provoke reaction from the audience to show response which is the possibility to be uncovered.  
  2. Helping the audience achieve things considered impossible then revealing the effects of the performances.  

Calling forth performances for the audience rather than showing a character’s deeds seems to have 2 advantages:

  1. The audience knows the consequences of their actions more easily.
  2. Performances show what the audience has the ability to do. 

Next, Kirkwood provides ways rhetors can solve the last problem which is the issue of performances being too ambiguous, and thereby not challenging people’s sense of human capacities (p. 40). The two ways to resolve this issue are:

  1. Telling the audience the meaning of a person’s performance.
  2. Showing the meaning of a person’s performance. 

Giving commentary to an audience can bring attention to detail of the performance that might be neglected. Also, rhetors can bring attention to the behavior of the audience. Commentary can also help strengthen a possibility that the audience already noticed and demonstrate a new way to think about the performance. The commentary can be dispensed because people can reevaluate the story and display a new state of mind. Rhetors can tell audience possibility because the possibility might not be clear. The audience judges the commentary of a new possibility and if it agrees with their preexisting beliefs, they might agree with it. If the possibility is unfamiliar, they may decide to accept the word of the commentator. 

The second way to reduce ambiguity is by giving performances with little to no commentary (p. 42). When the rhetor gives key narrative details, the possibility of the story is revealed and not how true the story is or how credible the rhetor is. However, not giving commentary can lead to the inability of some listeners to identify the possibility because they do not reflect on the story. Some rhetorical advantages “showing” has over “telling” is the fact making the stories indicate the state of mind is possible and the audience discerning the state of mind demonstrates their capacity to do it. However, by giving commentary, rhetors can demonstrate that states of minds are possible and not only suggest them, and it can also evoke compelling performances from the audience. 

At the end of the paper, Kirkwood mentions that making the audience aware of unknown possibilities can create problems and he gives the example of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (p. 45). There are consequences for people that accept the new possibilities and he writes that preferably, rhetors who present new possibilities will help the audience cope with the new possible difficulties of the possibilities. 


I have decided to use the informative documentary, “The Game Changers” as my proposal. This Netflix original uses scientific doctors, professional athletes, actors and world record holders to persuade viewers that a plant-based diet is the most efficient and productive in living a healthier lifestyle. I particularly chose this argument because as an athlete, we are forced to entertain the most optimal level of nutrition in relation to our physical performance. Therefore, by utilizing top tier individuals with built statures like Arnold Schwarzenegger to advocate for vegan diets, viewers are then more apt to believe that animal remnants and by products are not healthy. Specifically, the documentary uses persuasion and identification to manipulate the audience into believing that athletes can maintain and build muscle through a plant-based diet by performing scientific experiments with diverse individuals. In conclusion, “The Game Changers” employ a set of implicit and cinematic characteristics by having UFC fighters, female and male olympians, NFL players, firefighters, and others compare and contrast the benefits of a plant-based diet to a carnivorous diet. 

Facilitation: Narration as a Human Communication Paradigm: The Case of Public Moral Argument

The article Narration as a Human Communication Paradigm: The Case of Public Moral Argument proposes a theory of human communication and the attainable notions of the narrative paradigm, which is demonstrated through the analysis of the current nuclear controversy and The Epic of Gilgamesh. The sole purpose of this piece is to compare and contrast the nuclear warfare, a public moral argument, and the rational world paradigm while suggesting that the narrative paradigm is the resolution to these issues. 

To better understand and comprehend Fisher’s work, a definition of “narration” and “paradigm” are relevant. “Narration” is a series of actions or deeds that are separated into two traditional strands of rhetoric: argumentative, persuasive theme and the literary, aesthetic theme (Fisher, 1984). There are 5 presuppositions that structure the narrative paradigm located on page 7 and 8. In short, these presuppositions are the base of the narrative paradigm where humans find their nature as “reasoning-valuing animals” (Fisher, 1984). Furthermore, “Paradigm” is the entirety of human communication and public or social knowledge. Specifically, “The Rational World Paradigm” contains 5 presuppositions (found on page 4), which insinuates that humans are rational, but the ability to be competent in an argument is learned. In conclusion, Fisher suggests that narratives enable us to engage in personal interactions, because we all are raised amongst narratives that intertwine with our own. In contrast, the rational paradigm is a section of consciousness because we have been educated into it. Nevertheless, a narrative paradigm resolves the problems of the public argument because it is the ground for resolving the dualism of modernism and is a moral construct (Fisher, 1984). 

Now, “The case: public moral argument” is based on the ultimatum of life and death and refers to public controversies or moral debates. The book The Fate of the Earth brings into context the nuclear warfare controversy as an obvious case of a public moral argument (Fisher, 1984). The nuclear warfare controversy depicts the option for life over death as the characters lack a grasp on reality and national sovereignty when bearing witness to nuclear annihilation.  However, the distinct strategy is reaffirmation towards moral concern and a resolution to the group that the government and society may be publicly committed to (Fisher, 1984). Jonathan Schlell’s concluding argument in The Fate of the Earth is an example of a moral argument. Here he states, “Either we will sink into the final coma and end it all or, as I trust and believe, we will awaken to the truth of our peril, a truth as great as life itself…” (Schell, 2000, p.231)This example reminds me of the production Cinderella Man. In Cinderella Man, James J. Braddock was a day laborer barely making ends meet for his famished loved ones during the great depression. After winning a shocking upset in the boxing ring, he is dubbed the “Cinderella Man” for turning his rags into riches and therefore choosing “life over death” in regard to the public moral argument.

Lastly, Fisher explains that the main character in The Epic of Gilgamesh spends his youth in fame as a tragic hero until his soul mate, Enkidu, dies in an epic battle. His journey, filled with torturous challenges, comes to an end when he learns that death is inevitable (Fisher, 1984). Gilgamesh then saw the value of immortality in the monuments that one leaves behind, and that life is the fullest when love is received and reciprocated (Fisher, 1984). The Epic of Gilgamesh suggests similarities to the famous movie, The Wizard of Oz. In this classic, Dorthy learns valuable lessons from the scarecrow, tin man, and cowardly lion, on her way back to kansas after her rigorous voyage. The renowned wizard even states, “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.”

Link to the article:


Fisher, W. R. (1984). Narration as a human communication paradigm: The case of public moral

 argument. Communication Monographs, 51(1), 1-22. doi:10.1080/03637758409390180

Felming, V. (Director). (1939). The Wizard of Oz [Motion picture].

Howard, R. (Director). (2005). Cinderella Man [Motion picture].

Sandars, N. (1972). The Epic of Gilgamesh. London, CA: Penguin.

Schell, J. (2000). The Fate of the Earth: And, The Abolition. Redwood City, CA: Stanford

 University Press.