Stressed and sore-footed Americans everywhere are clamoring for the exciting new MagnaSoles shoe inserts, which stimulate and soothe the wearer’s feet using no fewer than five forms of pseudoscience. “What makes MagnaSoles different from other insoles is the way it harnesses the power of magnetism to properly align the biomagnetic field around your foot,” said Dr. Arthur Bluni, the pseudo scientist who developed the product for Massillon-based Integrated Products. “Its patented Magna-Grid design, which features more than 200 isometrically aligned Contour PointsTM, actually soothes while it heals, restoring the foot’s natural bioflow.” “MagnaSoles is not just a shoe insert,” Bluni continued. “it’s a total foot-rejuvenation system.” According to scientific-sounding literature trumpeting the new insoles, the Contour PointsTM also take advantage of the semi-plausible medical technique known as reflexology. Practiced in the Occident for over eleven years, reflexology, the literature explains, establishes a correspondence between every point on the human foot and another part of the body, enabling your soles to heal your entire body as you walk. But while other insoles have used magnets and reflexology as keys to their appearance of usefulness, MagnaSoles go several steps further.
According to the product’s Web sit, “Only MagnaSoles utilize the healing power of crystals to restimulate dead foot cells with vibrational biofeedback…a process similar to that by which medicine makes people better.” In addition, MagnaSoles employ a brand-new, cutting-edge form of pseudoscience known as Terranometry, developed specifically for Integrated Products by some of the nation’s top pseudo scientists. “The principles of Terranometry state that the Earth resonates on a very precise frequency, which it imparts to the surfaces it touches,” said Dr. Wayne Frankel, the California State University biotrician who discovered Terranometry. “If the frequency of one’s foot is out of alignment with the Earth, the entire body will suffer. Special resonator nodules implanted at key spots in MagnaSoles convert the wearer’s own energy to match the Earth’s natural vibrational rate of 32.805 kilofrankels.
The resultant harmonic energy field rearranges the foot’s naturally occurring atoms, converting the pain-nuclei into pleasing comfortrons.” Released less than a week ago, the $19.95 insoles are already proving popular among consumers, who are hailing them as a welcome alternative to expensive, effective forms of traditional medicine. “I twisted my ankle something awful a few months ago, and the pain was so bad, I could barely walk a single step,” said Helene Kuhn of Edison, NJ. “But after wearing MagnaSoles for seven weeks, I’ve noticed a significant decrease in pain and can now walk comfortably. Just try to prove that MagnaSoles didn’t heal me!” Equally impressed was chronic back-pain sufferer Geoff DeAngelis of Tacoma, WA. “Why should I pay thousands of dollars to have my spine realigned with physical therapy when I can pay $20 for insoles clearly endorsed by an intelligent-looking man in a white lab coat?” DeAngelis asked. “MagnaSoles really seem like they’re working.”
In the face of a rising consumer culture and a subsequent full of common sense, the onion uses a satirical tone to draw attention to the public’s gullibility and the advertising industry’s power.
Through subtle, tongue-in-cheek humor, it mocks the seductive diction of real advertisements. The article first asserts that through “no fewer than five forms of pseudoscience,” the sole inserts will “stimulate and soothe.” This plays on the ever-popular more-is-better mindset of the consumer public. “Where one solution may be good, five must be even better” is the ringing cry of an almost greedy consumer. The Onion makes light of the post WWII baby boomer “more is more” sentiment that often clouds and misguides human judgment. Also, the alliteration of the words “stimulate and soothe” promote a sense of false well-being. Further on in the article, the onion draws attention to another common misconception: the idea that all things eastern are healthy and wise to do. By replacing “orient” with “practiced in the occident” (emphasis added), the article subtly and humorously underscores this fallacy.
The satirical tone continues as the article proceeds to create problems where there were noe and propose that magnetic foot soles are the ultimate solution to this plethora of problems. The MagnaSoles promise to “[restore] the foot’s natural bio-flow,” implying a problem with human biomechanics. By using mocking buzzwords such as bio-flow, they create a false sense of professionalism, though clearly there is nothing wrong with the population’s ambulation.
It then suggests hilarious and absurd problems with the consumer, such as one’s feet being out of frequency with that of Earth, causing “the entire body [to] suffer.” Such humorous assertions cause the audience to step back and re-examine the problems one truly faces and what can actually be done about them. Conversions of one’s own bio energy (which is more closely resembled by E in the Gibbs free energy equation) can realistically never be achieved, and thus it is certainly not a legitimate health problem.
The Onion even comes up with its own versions of scientific diction, mocking that of real advertisements. Here, nuclei become “pain-nuclei,” neutrons into “comfortrons” poking fun of such silly names as “hydra-smooth” on wrinkly creams and other marketing ploys.
Beyond this satirical diction, the article then ventures into the realm of absurdity, promising the impossible and giving case examples of misled—but believing—patients. The MagnaSoles will supposedly “utilize the healing power of crystals to restimulate dead foot cells” in the ultimate fit of humor: promising to raise the dead. Using this age-old hallmark of quacking, the Onion dispels real ad’s claims of rejuvenation and new life. The article closes with two quotes from users who have used the soles as an “alternate to expensive, effective forms of traditional medicine.”
This excerpt in and of itself is a warning to consumers about the appeal of ads and how they may lure you away from true, researched treatment. A Geoff DeAngelis proclaims they “really seem like they’re working” after rejecting spine realignment through physical therapy. This apparent gullibility is a cryptic warning by the Onion to stop consumers from making foolish and even harmful choices based on smooth advertising.
This article aims to raise awareness, give warning, and create humor about the often-misleading advertisement industry. Through its humor and clever diction, the Onion is effective in its satirical, tongue-in-cheek tone.
While the article from The Onion announcing new MagnaSoles inserts may seem to e simply explaining a new product out on the market, it actually pokes fun at the techniques marketers use to sell their products. Through its subtle jokes and humorous quotes from users of the product, the article effectively satirizes the way in which products are presented to customers.
This article uses tiny jokes throughout the piece that just barely catch the reader’s eye. Halfway into the article, the author declares that “MagnaSoles go several steps further” than other insoles, creating a pun with the actual purpose of the product. It also calls a report on MagnaSoles “scientific-sounding literature,” jesting at the “semi-plausible medical technique” of reflexology. These very subtly hidden puns give the entire piece a lighthearted and satiric tone that causes the reader to chuckle at how ridiculous the whole thing is.
The piece also uses a direct quote from a user of MagnaSoles who pokes fun at the fact that doctors use a lot of fancy-sounding names to make consumers believe that what they’re buying is very high-tech, so it must work. The quote comes from someone with back pain, who describes the product as being “clearly endorsed by an intelligent-looking man in a white lab coat.” In the very first paragraph of the article, the author explains how MagnaSoles use “no fewer than five forms of pseudoscience” to satirize how doctors or scientists always exaggerate the quality of a product by claiming that it’s innovative with the amount of technology used.
The article also discusses Terranometry, discovered by Dr. Wayne Frankel. The articles shows the absurdity of Terranometry when Dr. Frankel (who also created kilofrankels, the Earth’s vibrational rate) claims “if the frequency of one’s foot is out of alignment of the Earth, the entire body will suffer.”
The article from the Onion satirizes a new product called MagnaSoles by claiming that the doctors use impressive-sounding techniques to make consumers buy the product, inserting a funny quote from a user and pointing out the absurdity of some of the advancements. Through all of these techniques, this article creates a funny and witty portrayal of marketing techniques.
With the use of criticism, this press release is used to satirize how advertisement is degrading to Americans. By using obvious fictional facts, and somewhat surprisingly thorough persuasive writing skills, this article is humorous and completely irrelevant. However, with the correct use of persuasive writing techniques mixed with irrelevant and unrealistic factual information, the authors create a humorous satirical scene.
Advertising is completely dependant on one’s persuasive skills. In this piece of writing techniques such as factual information is provided to make the audience more impressed by the product. Although the information is unrelated and obviously fictional, it is used in the correct context. This is how it is made satirical. The definition of satire can e defined as a story or piece of literature that is simply making fun, or criticizing a subject or matter. This press release is criticizing the world of advertising.
In addition to the use of factual information, the personal interviews make the publication more persuasive. Dr. Arthur Bluni, not only gives additional factual information, but also his personal opinion. The chronic back-pain “sufferer” gives his personal opinion, therefore adding more reason to purchase the phony product.
Last, the most obvious technique used by the authors can be defined as over-exaggeration. This article contains an immense amount of over-exaggeration. With the excessive amount of fictional information as well as the unbelievable personal interviews, the audience can safely infer that this is a satirical piece of writing. It was written to criticize the world of advertising.
By making fun of an everyday advertisement with the use of persuasive writing techniques, the writer(s) create a thorough and obvious satirical piece of literature. Factual information, personal interviews (phony of course), and major over-exaggeration are what mold this press release in order to make it satirical.
AP English Language and Composition
2005 Scoring Commentary
This question called for rhetorical analysis. It offered students a mock press release from The Onion, a publication devoted to humor and satire, announcing a new product called “MagnaSoles shoe inserts.” The students were directed to write an essay analyzing the strategies used in the mock press release to satirize how products are marketed to consumers. The question asked students to examine and analyze a humorous text from the contemporary media, to base their analysis—at least in part—on their understanding of the role satire plays in the promulgation of ideas in their culture, and to write clear, correct, analytic prose.
This essay responds very effectively to the prompt. It provides a full and effective analysis and displays a particularly impressive control of language. The essay clearly identifies the satirical purpose of The Onion article and directs its analysis to the rhetorical strategies that develop that satire rather than merely focusing on the strategies of marketing. It offers a particularly sophisticated discussion of the consumer mentality being exposed by the satire, and it does so with sentence structure and diction that allow for subtle distinctions and revealing emphases. The one-sentence introductory paragraph illustrates this control and gives a concise overview of the analysis that will follow: “In the fact of a rising consumer culture and a subsequent fall of common sense, the Onion uses a satirical tone to draw attention to the publics gullibility and the advertising industry’s power.” The essay then enters upon a full and insightful discussion of how “Through subtle, tongue-in-cheek humor,” the article “mocks the seductive diction of real advertisements.”
The analysis of diction opens into a perceptive discussion of “the post wwii baby boomer ‘more is more’ sentiment that often clouds and misguides human judgment [sic].” The essay’s analysis of the article’s use of the word “occident” shows the student’s insight into how a slight turn of diction can expose a broarder “fallacy.” The third paragraph’s continuing analysis of “satirical tone” gives a full treatment of the “mocking buzzwords such as bio-flow” used to “create a false sense of professionalism” and thus expose the ways in which actual advertising uses similar language “to create problems where there were none.” The essay’s identification of the article’s promise “to raise the dead” with the “age-old hallmark of quackery” shows the student’s ability to place the object of this satire in a broader tradition of false advertising. Thus, the range and sophistication of the essay’s analysis put it among the most successful of essays written.
This essay adequately responds to the prompt. It provides an adequate analysis of the article’s satirical strategies and identifies specific examples of puns, jargon, and appeals to authority through quotations and testimonials. It gives a clear, well-organized explanation of how these elements develop the article’s satire. The essay recognizes that puns (“go several steps further”) and internal contradictions (“semi-plausible”) “give the entire piece a lighthearted and satiric tone that causes the reader to chuckle.” The essay also sees clearly how the article, in its use of direct quotes, “pokes fun at the fact that doctors use a lot of fancy-sounding names to make consumers believe that what they’re buying is very high-tech.”
While the essay is successful in identifying and analyzing these elements of satire, it does so with a diction and sentence structure that is simple rather than particularly sophisticated. Terminology such as “tiny jokes,” “fancy-sounding names,” “pokes fun,” and “a funny quote” is adequate to convey the essay’s ideas clearly but does not have the conciseness that would warrant placing the essay at the highest level. Likewise, while the organization and explanation of examples are adequate, the essay is not as fully developed as essays that receive scores at the highest levels.
This essay is inadequate in its response to the prompt. Although it correctly recognizes the satiric intent of the article, its attempt to analyze the satiric strategies lacks the perceptiveness needed to make it successful. The introductory paragraph displays misuse and vagueness of diction in the word “degrading” and the phrase “through [sic] persuasive writing skills.” In the second paragraph, the imprecision of the analysis combines with a breakdown in grammar when the essay asserts that “techniques such as factual information is [sic] provided to make the audience more impressed by the product.” The discussion of “personal interviews” in the essay’s third paragraph, while correct, is not sufficiently developed to make a convincing point. The discussion of what the essay redundantly terms “overexaggeration” in the fourth paragraph again reveals imprecise diction and incomplete development. Thus, the essay remains inadequate in its response to the prompt, even though it correctly identifies some satirical strategies and has unified overall focus.