"Waiting for Superman" Visual Rhetoric Paper
“One of the saddest days of my life was when my mother told me Superman didn’t exist... I was crying because there was no one coming with enough power to save us.” Just as many children look up to fictional characters such as Superman, parents rich or poor, look up to our school system to educate their children. However, too many of these parents are beginning to realize that proper education, like Superman, is nonexistent. In Waiting for “Superman,” Davis Guggenheim addresses the teachers union about the failing public school system in America. Through the use of ethos, anecdotes, statistics and visual and audio elements, Guggenheim attacks a problem too precious to let slip through our fingers. Davis Guggenheim is a father.
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Near the very end, Anthony is asked why he wants to get accepted. “I want my kids to have better than what I had... I wanna go to school.” This one clip sums up a kids view of not being educated. It shows they are being forced to grow up because of the conditions they live in. With this, Guggenheim implants a gut-wrenching feeling about how terrible our country is for depriving these children from perhaps the one positive alternative in their lives. Once he has filled your brain with these array of emotions, Guggenheim humorously “enlightens” the tone with statistics. In many different parts of the film, Guggenheim takes a break and turns to cartoons to explain specific topics and other stats about our school systems. Some of the most important argumentative cartoons is about tenure. He first includes clips from The Simpsons and also School of Rock just to show how completely outrageous the idea of tenure is. These are comic relief, but there is a subliminal message. Each clip includes a teacher sitting back, telling the kids to teach(tend) to themselves and of course the kids do nothing. This symbolizes that as long as the U.S. continues to accept and protect crappy teachers, schools will produce failing students. Another tenure related cartoon was about “the lemon dance.” It includes characters with bodies of a teacher but the head of a lemon dancing around from school to school getting thrown out do to their lack of teaching skills, only to end up in