Columnist Essay

        As a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed columnist, Meghan Daum has no problem getting her point across to the reader in any regard, especially if it involves her predominant topic of politics.  By mainly using several rhetorical devices such as logos, parenthesis, and hypophora along with a humorous, sarcastic tone, Daum successfully persuades the reader.

        Out of her three most common strategies, Daum most often uses logos or a logical appeal.  Daum’s use of logos provides the reader with quotes and statistical information that back up her main points.  In one of her first columns, titled “Raunch is rebranded as confidence,” Daum gives data from an American Medical Association poll regarding sex and alcohol use during spring break.  This information strengthens Daum’s thesis in that it only proves how much scandalous behavior girls indulge in over spring break.  In addition, Daum quotes the Journal of American College Health in order to indicate the average number of alcoholic beverages consumed by either a man or a woman per day over spring break.  In a later article titled “All together now,” Daum uses logos when she quotes Barack Obama in addition to several well known New York Times Op-Ed columnists such as Merill McPeak.  By including these quotes, Daum indicates to the reader that her topic of “Kumbaya” is not all that ridiculous and actually has some seriousness to it.

        In addition to logos, Daum also uses a small, yet effective amount of hypophora where she asks and answers her own question.  In her “Raunch is rebranded as confidence” article, Daum uses this device when she asks the reader in reference to ways that teenagers enjoy themselves over spring break, “Their methods?  Around-the-clock binge drinking and lively cultural activities such as near-naked-girl-against-girl wrestling in giants vats of pudding.”  This use of hypophora clears up any misconceptions the reader might be having and helps Daum get directly to her point in an apparent humorous way.

        The last rhetorical device that Daum uses more often is parenthesis.  Her use of parenthesis serves as an aside and offers the reader some additional information which is useful to understanding the overall intent of the column.  In her column titled “All together now” Daum uses commas as a form of parenthesis when she is discussing conservatives wising to characterize liberals “who apparently hope to shed their hippie trappings by mocking them.”  Even though actual parenthesis are not being used, the device still proves to be effective in that it still provides the reader with the knowledge that by characterizing liberals, conservatives are wishing to “shed their hippie” ways.  Daum’s last use of this comes in her column titled “Still with stupid?.”  In response to how people see intolerance to complexity not as a character flaw, but as a virtue, she responds with “That’s because they’ve fallen into a trap of believing that complicated ideas (“complicated” now constituting anything that requires reading, watching, or listening to in its entirety) are the purview of the elite.”  The information included in the parenthesis only further indicates to the reader that the perception of complexity has changed.

        By examining many examples, it’s clear that Meghan Daum is very effective in her writing for the Los Angeles Times.  Through the use of rhetorical strategies such as logos, hypophora, and parenthesis, Daum effectively persuades and gets her point across to the reader.