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In fact, y and z actually support a.” In the case of this article, Gladwell himself is not actually making this type of argument; rather, he's summarizing a discovery made by Ann Mc Kee about patients at the Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Mass.Doctors at this hospital thought that their patients were suffering from dementia because of their symptoms.It turned out, however, that postmortem brain scans showed that those very symptoms were actually indicators of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, known as CTE.
This is one of the types of arguments I find most intriguing and, if done well, most persuasive in real life.
The argument goes something like this: “I, you or we (depending on how presumptuous the author is) always thought that x was true. Well, it turns out that a (the opposite of x or a completely different idea) is true.
On this particular day, as I hunkered down to read Gladwell’s thoughts on professional football, I experienced a conversion of sorts. I looked up, thought about the article, and said to myself, “Wait, was he just comparing football to dogfighting! When searching for a term for my experience of reading Gladwell, I considered using “the Gladwell effect.” A quick search of this phrase returned a 2006 profile that recounts how Gladwell’s critics deride him for encouraging “lazy thinking,” and a post by writer/editor Richard Bradley who defines the Gladwell effect as describing “writers who try to imitate Gladwell's techniques in hope of attaining something near his popularity, regardless of their expertise in the relevant fields.” Gladwell is a divisive writer in academia, in part because he is so successful.
As I rushed to finish the article before my stop, Upper West Side stations whirring past the windows, I became more and more convinced of Gladwell’s position.
This was the first book I read for my bookclub upon returning to Texas and I’d read the essay about ketchup v.
mustard just before my family arrived for Ella’s baby blessing.
A collection of thoughtful, brilliant essays by Malcolm Gladwell, What the Dog Saw is just my kind of non-fiction.
It should come as no surprise that I loved this book.
A descriptive paragraph later, Gladwell performs a dazzling rhetorical trick. We have to pick between these two analogies, which suggests that (a) these two analogies work well in discussing the issue of football injuries and (b) either one of these is the right answer: a classic false dichotomy.
For a few more pages, Gladwell details horrific injuries, again utilizing the counterintuitive argumentation model of which I am so fond.