Rhetorical ANALYSIS, English102 peer response


This article was written by Alexander Dhoest and appeared in the European Journal of Cultural Studies. I believe that this article is aimed more towards a younger generation of readers around ages 18-34 and those who frequent movie theaters and new releases on Netflix. Based on reading the article and the jargon and word usage, I believe this is the artist Alexander had in mind when writing this article. This article appeared in the August 2015 article of the European Journal and Cultural Studies magazine which is close to the time in which LGBT representation was continuing its rise of representation within the media as a whole. This article was written because of the representation that was met from seeing more and more LGBT characters within all medias. The representation of a main protaganist or even minor character as an LGBT character had met either an unfavorable or unsatisfactory end or storyline has been a constant trend since the rise of LGBT characters since the 70’s and 80’s.

The author’s logos is apparent when explaining the lack of diversity mentioned within representation within the media and film community. Alexander also talks about the ethos within this topic when it comes to the relation between the audiences members whom have no relation to the film’s topic and melding them together. While some moviegoer’s who saw films like Boys Don’t Cry and had no connection to the LGBT community could feel the pain and hurt within that demographic without the direct involvement. I believe the author is very credible due to its sources and compelling arguments used within the essay to further the points made.


Religion, as we are learning, is a term that is rather difficult to define, yet fairly easy to explain or comprehend. Miles begins his text by opening with a question, “Can Religion be defined?” He begins to explain that there is not a single definition of religion that is fully accepted. Yet he also goes on to explain that to any one religion, the idea of having a term to define religion as a whole does not effect the actual practices of an idea. If one analyzes that thought in detail, one begins to understand that in essence, within all these practices, those who engage in a particular practice are not interested in the greater picture and how it might be described. Smart uses a different approach to defining the term religion in her text. Instead of it being rather broad, she breaks it down into six categories that she then defines in greater detail. The categories are as follows: Doctrinal, Mythic, Ethical, Ritual, Experiential, and Social. As smart defines these categories she does so in a broad manner, leaving the reader to fill the voids with their own examples to provide validity to the categories. If one compares this to the miles reading, any idea that is discussed is defined with great detail. I think as miles attempts to deal with the inconsistencies of religion he overwhelms the reader with examples. This serves to confuse the reader. While smarts approach left me far more interested, and I found myself deeply engaged as I raced to personally fill the void with known examples to her categories of religion. One of the most interesting notions that smart provides is the thought of how hard it would be in the studies of religion to fully understand what the times were like in that view of study. To fully understand why a specific decision was made within a culture, one must also deeply understand the historical era and what events were taking place. In regards to empathy, Miles’ approach supports the concept of being informed by one’s understanding of textual evidence. One must understand situations and details in order to develop empathy for a situation. It is often impossible to feel empathy without knowing the background of a given situation. It could be argued that this is a leading cause to the problems of bigotry that people around the globe are affected by today. Lack of knowledge about people groups has led to pre-conceived notions and judging of one group toward another, causing racism and hatred; all because of lack of empathy from misinformed people. Smart provides an excellent example of how one must be empathetic to other religious backgrounds in order to respect their viewpoints on all kinds of worldly customs. Smart’s example was in regards to food and drink. Sharing meals with another party with dissimilar beliefs could provide a challenge, but empathy can overcome these roadblocks to provide an environment of mutual respect and enjoyment of the gathering.


Both authors seem to believe that empathy is the best way to understand other cultures religious beliefs. According to Smart on pate 15 “Empathy literally means ‘feeling in’; it is getting at the feel of what is inside another person or group of persons.” He further describes this as feeling where one is coming from as a means to understand their point of view. In my experience this is not a learned behavior. Each person either has this in them or they do not.

Both Smart and Miles also believe the comparative method to give better insight and allow for a greater understanding of other cultures religious practices. Smart discusses “the use of the word “crosscultural” to express the fact that we have to see the world religions together.” He shows its importance in that “it suggests that the traffic is not all from one culture to others, but can cross in differing cultural directions” (Smart, 19) Smart says the main thing we should learn is as on not to push “Western” ideas onto “non-Western faiths.”

On page one of the introduction Miles says “The Western culture… has opened a space in which the once incomparable has become comparable. Looking at the religions of others even from the outside but with a measure of openness, empathy, and good will can enable those of any religious tradition or none to see themselves from the outside as well, and that capacity is the very foundation of human sympathy and cultural wisdom.” Miles discussed the idea of syncretism on page 7 as he defines this as “… the introduction of a feature from one religion into the life of another… ” Miles goes even further here when he states “All knowledge begins with comparison.”

As Christians we have to be careful comparing other religions to the standards we set for ourselves. Different is not always wrong. That is why it is very important to keep an open mind and look at things from different points of view.

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