The Portrayal of Paleo

By: Ben Knight,
November 2 2016

Examples of Food Consumed on the Paleo Diet
Foods Consumed on the Paleo Diet Turn to Nature: Photo by zsoolt

The term ’Paleo’ has historically referring to a prehistoric era in human history. In more recent times, Paleo has taken on a new meaning through a social ‘health’ movement to emulate a diet consistent with food consumption patterns of cavemen. However, this has conflicted with conventional understandings about nutrition, and with great uncertainty as to its tangible benefits and harms, it is quite easy to see that Paleo is has become polarizing and controversial.

A three-way war is being fought between health professionals, scientists and paleo enthusiasts, which have become highly publicized through news media. Emerging from the contest is Pete Evans – celebrity chef and star of popular reality TV cooking show My Kitchen Rules, who has become, and is portrayed as the public advocate, spokesperson and expert consultant on Paleolithic eating in Australia. Evan’s media portrayal as the face of paleo and an overall negative portrayal of the diet itself indicate the likelihood of paleo becoming the next in a line fads chewed up and spat out by the media.

In order to illustrate media constructions of Paleo and Evans, the following opinion pieces were selected. The first is an article in the Herald Sun Cult diet gurus and food fad pushers need to pull their heads in, by Wendy Tuohy. The second is You should not trust Pete Evans’ opinion of calcium from the Sydney Morning Herald, written by Andrew Street. A further 2 journalistic style articles were selected for comparison: Why the Paleo Diet isn’t the answer for weightloss from Kathleen Alleaume published on news.com.au and Celebrity chef Pete Evans mocks study showing Paleo diet could make you fat, co written by Neelima Choahan, Marissa Calligeros from the Sydney Morning Herald. This sample set of opinion pieces and journalistic style news items elucidate common patterns of the portrayal of Paleo and Pete Evans in the media.

Paleo Advocate and Host of My Kitchen Rules Pete Evans
Paleo Advocate and Host of My Kitchen Rules Pete Evans: Photo by Felipe Neves

Tuohy’s opinion piece mounts a primary argument that Paleo is nothing more than a fad diet promoted by ill-informed ‘health’ enthusiasts whose claims of health are unsubstantiated by science. As we will come to see, Touhy’s claim is just a microcosm for an overarching worldview of contemporary media on Paleo.

Touhy utilizes appeals to negative consequences, and leverages scientifically backed appeals to an expert voice in order to discount Paleo as a legitimate health movement. This primary argument becomes obvious from the outset. The headline of the article compares the Paleo movement to be cultish in nature, taking veiled aim at Evans as a “cult diet guru.” These negatively loaded terms ‘cult’ and ‘guru’ immediately frame Paleo and its advocates to be without serious credentials, and thus lead Tuohy to recommend, “they pull their heads in”, chastising both Evans and supporters of the Paleo diet.

The opening line of the article clearly elucidates a presumed ‘given’ about Paleo: “WHAT a non-surprise to learn one more fad diet has been spectacularly busted, and how healthy to see the whole culture of cult-like food gurus take a serious hit.” The notion of a ‘non-surprise’ assumes that there is common understanding amongst those not trapped within the Paleo culture that it is, as she directly labels it, a ‘fad diet.’ It is clear here that Touhy is writing from a moral highpoint above the ‘food gurus.’ She suggests, ironically, that the only remnants of health within Paleo is when its followers and advocates ‘take a serious hit’ – that is, when they are discredited. Again, it becomes clear here that Touhy perceives Paleo to simply be a ‘fad diet’, and therefore devoid of any comprehensive health benefits, which she supports by claiming: “Science has declared the paleo diet can make you fat. Not fit, not immortal, not line-free and vital … actually unwell.” Furthered from this, Touhy introduces the expert voice, which she leverages for expert power – A Melbourne University Study. The implication here is that Paleo is not backed up sufficiently by science, and is in fact discounted as being the new standard for health when tested.

Touhy thus establishes the grounds to appeal to negatively consequences, and the evaluative tone of her article comes to fruition. She implies that Paleo preys on the vulnerable; that people ‘slavishly struggle’ on “detoxifying diets”, feel like failures and “doubt themselves or blame themselves” when they inevitably can’t see the promises of results. In particular, she uses quotation marks in “detoxifying diet” to sarcastically further discredit the legitimacy of Paleo. Calling for those spellbounded by Paleo to “wake up from the spell,” Touhy furthers her writing position as one with authority looking out for the helpless.

Touhy furthermore reinforces the negative consequences of what she calls a “holier than thou food regimen” by claiming it makes people miserable and anxious about every bite of food they put in their mouths. Here, Touhy counters any advocacy by tearing down the moral superiority she perceives of Paleo, despite writing from a position of moral superiority herself. The preposition of ‘worst’ positions paleo lowly in the eyes of the reader – that nothing could be unhealthier than the misery and anxiousness experienced through Paleo.

Furthering on from Touhy’s evaluation of Paleo, she embraces the moral high ground; providing a recommendation to the audience should they consider Paleo a viable option – public health initiatives with science-backed recommendations to protect health. The rationale here is again that Paleo is not backed by science, and therefore cannot be trusted to serve public health interests. Rather, she furthers an accusation of self-interest towards Evans, alluding to an unnamed self-styled food celebrity, “promoting a set of cook books and products with evangelical force.” Again, this perspective of Paleo being enforced like a cult is thrust upon the reader, with Evans portrayed as a vulture, using his influence to further his own interests.

This accusation of Evans enforcing his Paleo will and brainwashing the malleable, passive audience which Touhy assumes becomes clearer as she employs the expert voice of the University Professor conducting the research trials: “You need to speak to proper health professional…rather than listening to Pete Evans who says this is great,” said the Professor. Referring to the expert as his title discounts Evans as having any expert power of value. She furthers this by saying that the Professor is ”the type of diet expert we should be listening to,” which again portrays Evans as not informed enough on health matters, and thus his opinions on diet should be discounted.

Mainstream media itself is just as it suggests – mainstream. It is supposedly indicative of the most common of opinions, understandings and values in order to reflect the widest scope of society possible. Thus, commonality in opinions on Paleo may indicate common patterns of portrayal. Street’s article echoes the sentiments of Touhy’s, thus revealing a common, assumed understanding of Paleo held across a variety of contemporary media. However, unlike Touhy, he does not perceive the Paleo movement itself to be enforced upon a vulnerable audience. Rather, to Street, Paleo is simply a delusion: “If we need some comforting delusions to make that road more comfortable then who can possibly blame us?”

This isn’t to say that Street doesn’t take some exception to Paleo or Evans, at least to the scale that Touhy exhibits in her piece. Rather, Street claims that the problem lays not within Paleo itself, but what it conceptualizes – that “when people provide delusional beliefs as though they’re facts, because you can make stupid, harmful decisions if you base them on the incorrect premise.” He utilizes an appeal to comparison to demonstrate this concept of Paleo as an ill-informed enactment of delusion, on a similar level to, “for example, that climate change has nothing to do with human activity, or that same-sex parents are bad for children.” Here, Street places Paleo within a much wider context than Touhy, but nonetheless establishes the grounds for its similar portrayal as ridiculous and harmful.

Street places the brunt of his exception, as the title of his article suggests, upon Evans himself. Street further claims that Evans has parlayed his knowledge of cooking into a nonsensical, backward oriented cult, yearning for regression: “early humans had the right idea before all that annoying “civilization” nonsense turned us into the most successful species on Earth.” He further sarcastically refers to Evans himself as a ‘handsome television man and avid meathusiast,’ suggesting that Evans’ credentials on diet are limited to his physical appearance and celebrity status.

Thus, Street establishes the grounds to portray Evans as stepping beyond his station, claiming that he does not have the necessary expertise to provide medical advice beyond “guy that knows how to cook stuff.” He trivializes and chastises Evans, which is juxtaposed in scale to what he claims is the “genuinely dangerous nonsense” espoused, painting Evans as misguided and thus, with the scale of his influence, highly dangerous in a matter where health is at stake. He furthers this by saying that even the proposition of such questions being asked – “I’m told I need to take medicine, but can my problem be fixed with chops instead?” – is testament to the damage Evans has caused already.

Street further paints Evans as a danger, describing advice given by Evans in various negative ways, such as “inexplicable”, “utter rubbish” that is “incorrect” and “wildly irresponsible.” In turn, this reinforces the widespread media image of Evans as, what Touhy claimed earlier, a ‘food guru’, devoid of even the most basic level of knowledge and sensibility, as Street claims: Suggesting that dairy somehow leaches calcium out of your bones is not just incorrect – which, let’s be clear, it is. It’s also wildly irresponsible.

The silver lining for Street exists within a desire to adopt eating fresh and healthy foods; such is much of what comprises a Paleo diet. However, for Street, the delusion of Paleo – what he sarcastically terms a “magical regimen involving imaginary superhero caveman to justify eating fresh food” is the metaphor for silly deicison making based on even more foolish reasoning. This “woo-woo silliness” is the media representation of Paleo, unsubstantiated by “dull-but-accurate” scientific research. Thus, Paleo in is a representation of moral and not scientific debate within the media.

Is it Paleo?
Is it Paleo? Photo by Next TwentyEight

However, in a matter that so entrenched in public moral debate, it is important to briefly digress into portrayals of Paleo that exist hard news media. Kathleen Alleaume is a contributor to the health section for news.com.au, and as a nutritionist and exercise scientist, is afforded an expert voice on Paleo. She terms Paleo foods to be “caveman cuisine,” and the Paleolithic eating to be a “trend” where participants become a part of a “food tribe”, a more positive portrayal than what Touhy painted as a “cult” of misery and self-loathing.

Alleaume’s piece is scientific, and largely removed from heavy evaluation. It is however, advice heavy, perhaps due to her position as a nutrition expert who regularly provides diet advice. In turn, Alleaume portrays and critiques the Paleo diet on its merits as a selection of food, as opposed to criticized as movement. Thus, Paleo is given the platform to even be considered what it is in the first place – a method of eating food in a regulated fashion to manage body weight.

The methodology Alleaume employs in her article is as follows. She makes references to scientific research in order to provide support for the macronutrient composition of a Paleo diet, and elucidate its scientifically validated benefits pertaining to diet. However, she also makes a point of noting possible health consequences, without over emphasizing the former. She then leverages her experience as a nutrition expert to offer and make valid applications of Paleo pragmatic. This constructive assessment of Paleo diverges from negative portrayals of the opinion pieces, but is also hidden away in the lifestyle news archives.

The final hard news item is a news report based on the findings of the same University study the opinion piece of Touhy employs. Here, Evans is placed on the defensive, as he is claimed to have “hit out” against the negative health consequences uncovered from the University research. The article makes light of ‘Mr Evans’ employing a Facebook rant to question the veracity of University research, indirectly negatively positioning Evans. This is not overt, and the article balances this by adding that Evans employed an alternative study that favoured Paleo.

The media portrayal of Evans in this article indeed reflects the wider opinions of the Paleo diet. By framing Evans in opposition to a leading University study, contributes to a dominant decoding similar to the worldview espoused in the opinion pieces. This is not criticizing the article or its writers, as Evans has portrayed himself as such by claiming that the media is contributing to spin and that the study is inconclusive on the grounds that it was not conducted on humans, ulterior motives of professors, pharmaceutical funding and lack of credibility of heath organizations. Evan’s points are later countered in the article.

Indeed, Evans is newsworthy as a celebrity and the face of Paleo, which makes him an ideal candidate to report on, but the article clearly discounts his opinion as credible be referring to Paleo as a “fad diet.” In turn, by referencing the support numbers on Facebook, it makes light of the mass delusion Touhy hints at in her opinion piece, which this article is inevitably tied to having being composed on the same University research. This article again indirectly negatively evaluates Evans through the expert opinion employed, as the professor claims dieters should to seek “professional advice.” We can thus see a common negative worldview of Paleo being espoused across media.

Cult, delusion, trend and caveman diet are all terms used to describe Paleolithic. To Evans, it is clear that Paleo is a philosophy, underlined by the principle that food is medicine, and that paleo is the new measuring stick of health. This is a key assumption consistently dispelled – that the popularity of Evans and the Paleo diet does not mean it is working. This claim does not stand up to scrutiny in the scientific sense, and as such, he is targeted and framed in the media in a particularly negative light. Evan’s prominent position as a celebrity figure have led his media image to become synonymous with that of the Paleo diet, and vice versa.

However, the portrayal of Paleo in the media gives great prominence to the celebrity voice. Articles discuss the popularity of Paleo, or critique it, but for the most part, omit the inherent health benefits to criticize the movement. As such, public perception of the Paleo diet and its advocates like Pete Evans become figures of ridicule and targets of public outrage, especially as the stakes of human health become involved. Whilst other media topics of a more trivial nature aren’t going to make or break the world, reporting on matters of health have descended into opinion laded moral debates, rather than, as it arguably should, giving a prominent voice to science and factual based reporting. When the media reports on Paleo, regardless of its negative way, it nonetheless keeps Paleo relevant.
Continue reading “The Portrayal of Paleo”

Adam Goodes Racism Saga

By Ben Knight

 

Adam Goodes is a former Indigenous AFL player an Australian of the year renowned for his community work and strong anti-racism advocacy. The end of his playing career was punctuated by numerous controversial match day incidents, with Goodes being the subject of notable booing from opposition fans. The scale of the booing itself garnered widespread media coverage and generated divided public debated as to the motivation and acceptability. Many felt that the booing was racially motivated because Goodes himself had taken strong political positions on race and those booing were affronted by his Aboriginality. The counterargument employed – that booing is a timeless and integral part of sport – defended the right of fans to boo Goodes as a sign of disapproval for his outspokenness, confrontational approaches to race and his on field conduct.

 

Here, we analyze a multitude of opinion pieces to determine the various sentiments towards Goodes himself and the wider issue of racism in sport. The first is an article by Andrew Bolt written for the Herald Sun titled ‘Victim’ Adam Goodes just crying wolf over war dance. The second is Rebecca Wilson’s opinion piece for the Australian Women’s Weekly entitled Why booing Adam Goodes makes you a racist. Finally, Whether its racist of not, its time to stop booing Adam Goodes. by Anthony Sharwood. At the time of the articles analyzed, media attention had peaked with the controversy of Goodes’ celebrations during the AFL’s Indigenous Round, which offended some spectators due to its perceived aggressive nature and hostility, the aftermath of which only intensified the booing to the point Goodes went on hiatus from the game before retiring permanently.

 

In analyzing these articles, it is first vital to highlight the various underlying assumptions the authors make of their audiences. All the articles operate under the assumption that the viewer perceives the booing of Adam Goodes to be not racially fueled or related. This is quite easy to deduce from the titles of each of the articles themselves which all acknowledge this. However, the worldview adopted by the author’s however varies greatly. There is mutual agreement that racism is unethical, but the debate here concerns their particular interpretation of what constitutes racism, or rather, its stipulative definition.

 

It is thus important to consider the publications for which these articles are written as this is not only the key indicator of the audience for which they are writing, but the line of argumentation and the worldview which they adopt. Bolt is a columnist for the tabloid newspaper Herald Sun and is engaging flag waving; his audience is predominantly right wing leaning with conservative views. Sharwood on the other hand is writing for online news site news.com,.au which has a broad audience base, and thus he is more inclined to take a wider approach that considers the complexity of the situation. Wilson however, has perhaps the most intriguing audience. She is writing an opinion piece for The Australian Women’s Weekly, which, as a women’s magazine, typically focuses on issues concerning the modern women. Thus, her piece offers a valuable point of comparison on the matter.

 

All three articles are primarily evaluative in nature, but also to varying degrees, recommendatory in the response they call for. Sharwood explicitly calls for the booing to cease, which is also a recommendation that is implicit in Wilson’s evaluative article. Here, the warrant lies in defining the booing as racism – that is, if you boo, you are racist and therefore as racism is morally wrong you should stop the booing. However, as Bolt rejects the notion of the boos to be racist in nature, he in a sense “recommends” or condones the booing to continue as it is simply exercising the prerogative of sports fans to boo the opposition.

 

Booing opposition players is a timeless sporting practice, which lies at the crux of Bolt’s argumentation. His primary claim is crucially the warrant of his argument: that the crowd’s booing of Goodes is in response to his actions rather than an attack on his race, with the justification for this being that Goodes’ conduct is being criticized through the custom of booing opposition players.

 

Bolt is critical of Goodes and indeed quite patronizing, which is enabled through his elevated position as a conservative political commentator. At one point in the article he says, “Excuse me, Adam”, as if to completely discredit Goodes’ opinions as childish and without grounded rationale. This is the tone he takes with Goodes and when addressing those in opposition to his own worldview, which further serves to fuel divided public opinion and strengthens the position of his readers.

 

In such a contentious issue where the ambiguity is prominent, it is difficult to convey comprehensive argumentation through appeal. Bolt is thus limited by the context of the situation, largely relying on appeals to popular opinion which itself is difficult to discern (What constitutes ‘popular’, is it a majority, is it quantifiable?). Here Bolt uses the ambiguity of this term to argue that negative sentiments towards Goodes are held by many – of course, the nature of Twitter is that it is vocal and Twitter itself is a minority audience – and are not racially fuelled by the audience, but are fueled by Goodes hostility.

 

Even if Goodes did not mean his war cry to be hostile, as he says, check out Twitter or the AFL page on Facebook. That’s how it seemed to many watching.

 

Bolt also utilizes appeal to analogy to compare the actions of Adam Goodes to the actions of a past player who was disciplined for similar actions. The precedent set by Mark Williams is compared to what Bolt calls ‘symbolic threating of fans.’ The claims here is that Goodes’ actions were intended to be hostile and threatening and are therefore unacceptable.

 

The Hawks once banned then-goal sneak Mark Williams from celebrating by firing imaginary shots at a ball going through the goals, so why is this symbolic threatening of fans with a spearing acceptable?

 

With such an evaluative argument it is inevitable that some informal fallacies will arise, as is the case with Bolt’s article. It could be argued that Bolt’s entire piece is an ad hominem argument that attacks the integrity and character of Adam Goodes in order to justify the booing from fans.

 

No, Goodes is not booed because of his “race” — with ugly exceptions — but because of what he does.

 

Here, Bolt explicitly justifies why Goodes is booed – his claim is that Goodes plays the ‘victim’ card and chooses to ‘divide’ – the chorus of boos heard are simply and sadly from a vocal Australia whom Goodes has made enemies of. This is a clear attack on Goode’s integrity and an over generalization of the context of racism.

 

This over generalization is furthered exemplified in a portion of the article, which Bolt dedicates to sarcastically exploring a hypothetical race war created by Goodes in a strawperson argument that distracts from the core issue.

 

You’re challenging them to a race war now, during the AFL’s Indigenous Round?

 

Here, the second person pronoun of ‘You’re’ is particularly accusatory in nature, which further emphasizes the conclusion drawn by Bolt. The selected term “race war” is particularly loaded with negative connotations and draws a hasty, suggestive, inflammatory conclusion from Goodes’ actions that portray him as the villain in such a context where the booing of a villain is not only permitted, but imperative.

 

I cannot believe such inflammatory, race-loaded — and symbolic violence — is healthy for the AFL.

 

Furthermore, Bolt extends upon this as he hyper focuses on Goodes’ actions rather than the issue of the booing, utilizing this distraction to draw away attention from perhaps a lack of strength behind his principal argument. Here, Bolt draws attention to a strawperson argument as he labels Goodes’ spear throwing celebration as ‘symbolic violence’, which would warrant fan backlash.

 

Perhaps Bolt’s article is best summarized as a magnus opus of informal fallacy; he furthermore derives from this argumentative support to sensationalize Goodes’ actions and draw attention away from stipulative definitions of what constitutes racism in this context. This time, he employs the false analogy, comparing the concept of reconciliation to Goodes’ hostility, and in doing so, alluding to a slippery slope of warriors, races, weapons and war, or, as he puts it:

 

This the truth of “reconciliation” made visible — the division of Australia into “races”, each with its “warriors” waving imaginary weapons? What next? Players miming throat slitting at rival fans?

 

Again, the strawperson argument is utilized expertly by Bolt, who at this point has mastered the informal fallacy of the slippery slope, ‘miming throat slitting at fans.’ Of course it is ludicrous to suggest that this is literally the case, but as is with Bolt’s sarcastic tone, this argumentative structure is likely to succeed with the audience for which he writes. Nonetheless, these appeals do serve to reinforce his primary claim whether they are “factual” or logical. They are emotionally charged, in line with the beliefs of his audience and provide argumentation that suggests the booing of Goodes is not racist.

 

The primary claim of Wilson’s article is best summarized by its title: why booing Adam Goodes makes you a racist. Highly dominated by opinion than argumentation, it is nonetheless intriguing in its appeals that are emotionally charged in reason. Wilson’s principal claim is that the booing of Goodes is inherently racist, which of course by its warrant, is unethical in its discrimination.

 

The integrity of this article as being a logical argumentation is perhaps immediately lost as she explicitly spells out this primary claim:

 

He is booed because Australians have been forced to look themselves in the mirror by Goodes and they don’t like what they see – A racist nation whose tolerance for indigenous athletes only stretches to affection when they don’t acknowledge their aboriginality.

 

It is a hasty over-generalization to place Australia as a nation in the racist box – however, it is an opinion that could be considered popular. Nonetheless, this either or argument that underlies the rationale of her article; her stipulative definition of the context of the booing of Adam Goodes, she claims, cannot be non-race related. In other woods, if you boo Goodes as she says, you are “as bigoted as any racist in the world.”

 

This is an appeal to ethics; one which is loaded with informal fallacies. Firstly, she states a circular argument, suggesting that a racist could not be bigoted or that there is a scale of racism bigotry which booing falls at the highest end. By her definition of racism this is a not a non-sequitur argument, but to suggest that booing of Goodes can only be racist is itself an either-or argument. Furthermore, Wilson goes on to compare anybody who boos Goodes as the stereotype of former Australia – one in which

 

“you are just as bad as your grandparents and great-grandparent…[not] changing for some smart arse aborigine.”

 

This is an appeal to analogy where the generations of past are characterized by racist attitudes, and thus, by booing Goodes, you are championing for the treatment of non-white races in the past (which is of course warranted by saying that this treatment is unethical).

 

Wilson does acknowledge the position adopted by Bolt’s article, but discredits this completely, saying “Those who are honest with themselves know the real reason.” She utilizes an appeal to anti-authority in attacking the perspectives of opinion leaders, labeling Eddie McGuire and Dermott Brenton as antagonistic, implicitly discrediting their opinions that Goodes is deserving of the booing because of his on field conduct.

 

The antagonists, like McGuire and Brereton, will have you believe Goodes has brought it on himself and that the booing should continue

 

Wilson’s piece is largely counter-argumentative in structure, which works for the platform it is written for. Her supportive argumentation is based on an absolute, simply, emotional appeal that there is no other alternative – you boo, you are racist. However, this paradoxically makes it quite difficult to deconstruct whether her justification is justification, or whether it is entirely informal fallacy.

 

Wilson is also guilty of utilizing a strawperson argument in attacking an imagined opposition:

 

You can be ‘middle class’, live in your three bedroom, two bathroom house, earn six figures and buy a club membership. You can convince your kids you are civilised and tolerant, that you only boo because he milked the free kick.

 

Here, she construes a perceived stereotype of Bolt’s audience before immediately discrediting it on the basis of lingering resentment and racist attitudes towards Goodes as someone who is not welcome to advance a cause and therefore he is booed. However, like Bolt, her argument is too reductive and does not consider any alternative to be viable – ridiculing it rather than unpacking it, and like Bolt, this works for the audience for whom she writes, but would most likely lack the logic to persuasively reason with opposition viewpoints.

 

Sharwood acknowledges both sides of the argument and indeed that, ‘all of these views have at least some merit.’ In doing so, he establishes the tone of his article as one of logic and reason, and thus it is not prone to informal fallacy as is the case with Wilson and Bolt. His primary claim is that by booing Adam Goodes you are indirectly condoning racism, and his recommendation is that you should therefore stop. Again, the warrant here is that racism is unethical because it is wrong to discriminate based on race. Unlike Wilson and Bolt, he genuinely acknowledges the complexity of the context to formulate his argument.

 

Sharwood utilizes an appeal to “fact” and authority when referencing the rulings and statements of authority within AFL on the matter, rather than offering an emotionally laden interpretation of the context. Here, he references the West Coast Eagles in an appeal to authority:

 

We also know that some people are booing Goodes in a racist way. The West Coast Eagles acknowledged this in a statement, which in part read: “There are some boundaries that need to be observed. We cannot and will not condone racist behaviour.”

 

The justification provided here acknowledges that the booing of Goodes can indeed be racist in nature and thus cannot and will not be condoned.

 

He then goes on, after considering a more detailed explanation of the context to his audience, his own stipulative definition of racism in this context:

 

The line is more or less here: that any comment painting one particular race as a lesser form of human is clearly racist.

 

Here, Sharwood implies that the booing is a ‘comment’ upon Goodes as a lesser person, which is discriminatory and by his definition, racism. He utilizes an appeal to precedent and customary practice, saying that:

 

Ninety-nine times out of 100, that logic is spot on. But this is that other one per cent of the time.

 

Here, he acknowledges the primary counter-argument such as the one employed by Bolt that booing is an inherent and timeless custom of sport, but discounts it as a false analogy – suggesting the situation of Goodes’ booing is motivated by racial discrimination.

 

Finally, he summarizes his argumentation by employing an appeal to negative consequences. Here, he acknowledges that indeed the majority of the boos may not be racist in nature, that “a small section of people booing Goodes are racist.” However, he asserts that:

 

If you’re booing alongside them — for whatever reason, racist or benign — then sadly, by association, you are condoning the racist views. It effectively makes you racist, too.

 

It is here that the logic of his argument unravels. It is a non-sequitar to suggest that booing Adam Goodes makes you a racist. However, in the context of the situation, the booing of Adam Goodes is indeed as established by both Bolt and Wilson an either-or scenario, which, as Sharwood states:

 

That’s not fair. It’s not even half fair. But neither is racism.

 

Ultimately, this analysis reveals the complexity that exists and surrounds the art of the argument. Here, it is the contentiousness of whether the booing, which is an inherent aspect in competitive sport, is indeed motivated by racist attitudes towards Goodes. Thus, it is quite difficult to determine the most effective persuasive strategy adopted by each author in such an issue that is predominated by varying interpretations. Rather, all three articles simply present varying worldviews with sound, but at times, constricted justifications that tackle this issue from different interpretations of what they feel is the core issue. At the very least, the success of these articles as artifacts that reflect upon public opinions towards the wider discussions about racism in sport is indeed evident.

 

 

ITEM 1: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/victim-adam-goodes-just-crying-wolf-over-war-dance/news-story/2dd45566e486b438442821ec85050f34

 

‘Victim’ Adam Goodes just crying wolf over war dance, by Andrew Bolt, 31 May 2015, Herald Sun

 

ITEM 2: http://www.aww.com.au/latest-news/lets-talk/why-booing-adam-goodes-makes-you-a-racist-21597

Why booing Adam Goodes makes you a racist, by Rebecca Wilson, 29 July 2015, Australian Women’s Weekly

ITEM 3: http://www.news.com.au/sport/afl/whether-its-racist-or-not-its-time-to-stop-booing-adam-goodes-this-is-why/news-story/f5f57b04dea164baf11682e7efd2792c

 

Whether its racist of not, its time to stop booing Adam Goodes. This is why., by Anthony Sharwood, July 28, news.com.au