A Critique of The Culture of Shut Up, an Article by Jon Lovett

Categories: Freedom Of Speech

In the essay The Culture of Shut-Up, the author Lovett makes several bold statements and revelations about the internet and free speech as well. Many of these points made by the author include controversial phrases such as the word “faggot”, such language, to a degree takes away from the purpose and causes focus on it. Nonetheless, audiences learn a lot from the story at the beginning and the following conversation paragraphs. Although, some attention is taken away from the main point, the author does draw everything together towards the end! The author is successful in his efforts to prove that the first amendment needs to be protected by internet users.

In this essay, the authors use the rhetorical techniques of ethos, pathos, and logos. By using these rhetorical strategies, the author is able to persuade audiences to his point of view more easily.

Especially, since he utilized all three; ethos, logos, and pathos in this essay. The author desires for audiences to act and preserve the first amendment which regards our freedom of speech.

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While also showcasing, in many ways, how freedom of speech is being ruined by citizens. The same citizens who desire for this right to remain a right. The author also shows us how the internet is evolving our culture and directly effecting this first amendment. Several explanations and scenarios conclude to showcase such points, such as the short story that is initially stated. The author begins the essay with a short story and then moves into conversation of the issues being presented.

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Personally, I feel the author is all over the place in this writing, it is sort of difficult to understand and piece together the main points. Although, towards the end I could begin to do so a little. His use of these rhetorical components makes it somewhat easier to understand the key points of this article. Ethos or ethics is utilized by the author in many ways. We first see an example of ethics in the story.

The author claimed there were only three elders who could speak, therefore they were given the duty to make decisions. This reveals unethical practices, because three people which is the minority should certainly not have the ability to make all the decisions for the civilization. But the question arises regarding who the majority can have a voice if they have no ways to communicate. Such issues should be resolved in order to create fairness in the system. Which, I feel the author is comparing to todays world. Only a few have the ability to make changes, and although the majority can talk, they have no power. Another ethos example in this article is when the author discusses about our right to freedom of speech. For us to not have such a right, is highly unethical. The founding fathers of America were pretty smart when create the Constitution, and what they included are rights that all Americans should have.

Although, some things should not be spoken of, such as inappropriate or malice words, people still have the right to say them. This is what makes America great, having the freedom they do. Anything less would anger people, and they would certainly deem removing such a right as unethical. The author also uses pathos or emotion within the essay. Emotional components are woven into many paragraphs, and makes people look at the situations a bit differently. When the author claimed: “Now if you were one of the many villagers who didn’t have a way to speak, you just hoped that one of the three elders who could speak would make the argument you wanted to make. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t. And it was okay, but it bothered you that these three voices didn’t really speak for everybody” (Lovett, p.13,2014).

This evokes emotion in audiences, partly because they can relate to such issues. There are many times that political leaders make choices on personal interest, rather the good of society. We know how frustrating these decisions can be, but yet, we have no control, just as these people. Although, we have freedom of speech, that doesn’t mean our words will be heard. That also doesn’t mean that those hearing our words even care in the slightest regarding what we want or do not want. Another instance of pathos in this article would be when the author stated the internet is the cause and solution to many problems in the world. Sad, but true, In many ways. But audiences realize that without the internet, many things would not be possible.

So even if it does cause problems, in my opinion, we would be much worse without it. Audiences feel deep emotions during this realization. A sense of hopelessness was felt throughout my body during this part of the essay. The last rhetorical strategy used in this article was logos, or logical approaches. The author used logic in the statement listed above regarding the internet. This approach is very logical in nature, because it is the cause and solution to many problems in the world. For instance, the internet allocates forums for people to cyberbully, many of which go on to commit suicide. But these same forums allow families to communicate easily and free of charge when members are studying abroad. These statements produced by the author add logic to the topic to showcase such issues.

Another point of logic displayed in this article was when the author discussed how many things are given a bad stigma. Such as the example of not having the ability to discuss the opposing views of homophobic. This, inevitably hinders the rights of the first amendment, which relies on the fact that people become offended by these conversations. Inc conclusion, we can see how the author uses ethos, pathos, and logos to help show his ideas to audiences. These aspects not only help draw conclusions in audiences, but make you think the same way as the author. Although, I am not American, even I can relate to many of these same issues discussed in this article. People need to stand up, or soon, they will not have the right amendment at all.


  1. Lovett, J. (2014, April 7). The Culture of Shut Up. Retrieved March 5, 2018, from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/04/the-culture-of-shut-up/360239/

Cite this page

A Critique of The Culture of Shut Up, an Article by Jon Lovett. (2021, Sep 27). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-critique-of-the-culture-of-shut-up-an-article-by-jon-lovett-essay

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