Aloha, it’s me yet again. Here’s another assignment I turned in for my English class this year. The title is a play on “In Praise of the ‘F’ Word” by Mary Sherry, the article we were meant to analyze and create an essay about. If you haven’t read it, skip the first half of the essay that’s in purple (it is solely included to fulfill the teacher’s rubric) as it won’t make any sense. Anyways, I’m off to dot my eyes and cross my teas. As always, feel free to criticize, applaud, etc.

Upon leaving high school, thousands of students claim that they lacked meaningful friendships. Many of us like to believe that our rambunctious and carefree acquaintances are the pinnacle of human relationships, but such thoughts quickly dissolve when strained by the pressures of “the real world.”

Working at an adolescent therapist’s office for the past 20 years, I have experienced firsthand that these lonesome students are able to turn these circumstances around completely and be enlightened by meaningful companionships. In our support groups, I constantly hear, “I never knew friends could encourage you,” “I wish I hadn’t stayed lurking in the back corners of the classroom,” “I am happy to finally have someone who believes in me,” and more. And, when I think back to how these students could have changed their lives and pursued happiness, I’ve found that a collaborative environment and well maintained student body create the most enduring student friendships. However, if such isn’t attainable, there is always a tried-and-true method that nearly guarantees friends: the “s” word.

I remember fondly of my own lackluster social life in the ninth grade where I was cast about into a sea of uninterested plebeians who couldn’t tell their right from their left. Wallowing in despair of the thought that I couldn’t find any competent peers who shared my own interests, I became a drifter. That is, until I was introduced to the “s” word.  

My brother, Cornelious, was about to go to college when he bestowed upon me the tool that ended my introverted ways. In our conversation, I thought that he would recommend that I use social media to find groups of people with similar interests and who I could thus have insightful and rewarding conversations with. On the contrary, he stunned me by his drastic course of action. “Having observed the basket case that you are and analyzing your predicament, I conclude that the only thing you say to make your troubles go away is this gift which I’m imparting onto you,” he said cryptically. “You must say ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ to whomever you think could qualify to be your friend.” Obviously, I figured that he had lost his marbles, but, having nothing left to lose, I gave it a shot. The next day, I tested it on my now best friend, Dyke, who immediately became the perfect friend after his realization that I was a fairly precocious gent. 

I realize you still may have your doubts, but I constantly hear of clients who spiralled into depression, untrusting attitudes, and worse as a result of never being able to make a friend. Those with higher standards could never find themselves an equal, and, thinking that they were never going to do so, ended up alone for years, nay, decades. And others who claimed to have friends, never felt that they had trusting persons that they could confide in, leading them to bottle up their feelings and thoughts with no safe outlet. 

Everyone can make a friend, but they may need tools to aid them in this process. Saying “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” allows students to discover like minded individuals and find clever persons who can bond over their knowledge of the word. However, such a method requires one to have the courage to say such a life changing word to numerous people (for not everyone knows this prestigious word), thus one must take into account the required participation of family members and teachers in students’ quest to use the “s” word to find new friends.

Thus, I implore you to go to those you know, those lonely, wayward souls, and spread the knowledge of the “s” word as well as helping them on their way to finally say it and make a friend. Together, we can combat this epidemic of loneliness by proudly saying (even though it might sound atrocious) “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Moving on from that debacle, I hope you can see how this absurd modeling of the text “In Praise of the ‘F’ Word” highlights the dangers of holding anecdotes to the same level as factual evidence and the utilization of persuasive techniques to exploit logical fallacies.


This egregious tomfoolery of the reader can be perceived in a plethora of modus operandi. The most pervasive of which is the use of convoluted diction to make use of the fact that people trust verbose sources that are difficult to understand. The use of unfamiliar jargon and formality as persuasive techniques happens to tap into this fault by allowing one to obfuscate their lackluster premise to the point where the reader begins to trust the work as such text must come from a mind more rational and adept than their own. Oftentimes, the ability to present an idea or concept in a way that is understandable to the most unskilled audience shows true expertise. In addition to that, the use of techniques like name-calling and euphemisms allows writers to give a blatantly false portrayal of topics. The era of McCarthyism (Senator Joseph McCarthy’s practice of calling people communists to remove his political opponents and those he disliked) and the disheartening description of American slaves as “workers” by US textbooks are both perfect examples of how problematic these techniques can be as seen by how they were used to slander, defame, and negate the hardships of others. But I hear the masses’ cries: “persuasive techniques aren’t meant to be explicitly informative, they are meant to be a tool to push a specific view, opinion, or claim!”  This is true, and I am not saying that people should refrain from using persuasive techniques. I am merely trying to bring people to realize that they should be conscious of such techniques because most people tend to dislike being brainwashed, a sentiment that I’m sure Ben Shapiro would back me on.


To highlight this point, I would like to take a deeper analysis, specifically into the faults of the “mentoring” text’s , In Praise of the “F” Word by Mary Sherry, usage of personal accounts as the sole evidence driving their claim. Firstly, anecdotes can be fabricated. Case in point, my prior reminiscence was entirely concocted to bring attention to this: contrary to my wishes, I haven’t been blessed to know anyone of such an imperious name as Cornelious, especially one who had imparted the bogus aforementioned claim. Secondly, anecdotes show one’s own, subjective perspective and interpretation of an event. I would like to make it known that in the US legal system, it is illegal for witnesses to speak on the behalf of another person’s thoughts (hopefully you can make the connection as to why this is relevant). In this article, the foundation of the article consists of the author’s vague observation of their son’s grades following a teacher conference. The author, who fails to mention any details regarding how their son improved and by what specific margin, then proceeds to make the bold claim that the teacher’s threat to fail her son resulted in their amelioration. For all we know, the son could have simply matured, the teacher could have been making grades easier, or he could have changed his ways after “trippin’ ballz.” Additionally, the use of such a specific, sole case to diagnose a larger, systemic problem of students with low grades doesn’t acknowledge the students who might already be close to failing and require actual help instead of being driven by fear. I understand that anecdotes can sometimes be the only form of evidence as scientific proof isn’t available for every subject such as in regards to minority groups as funding isn’t provided for such research. However, my qualm is with the usage of one solitary narrative as the only main evidence to support a claim about a large, complex issue. Anecdotes can be used as evidence, but, if they are the sole form of evidence, there should be many from multiple perspectives so a common thread can be found to come to a resolution. In a car accident, do the police only ask one party for their story? No, so why would we settle for someone using a single story as their paper’s coup-de-grace?


As we approach the limit of how much I can rant, it seems imperative to do the expected and restate my claim. The ability to use persuasive techniques to trick the befuddle with logical fallacies and the pervasiveness of placing trust in anecdotes should, at the minimum, convince one to be wary of the texts they consume. And to any writers, please take this as a call to be better; go above and beyond to incorporate proper reasoning and evidence to support your ideas. Conversely, those who do use factual evidence and the sort shouldn’t rely heavily on persuasive techniques to support their writing since it can make their piece seem less reliable and more like drywall; it looks structurally sound, but is hollow on the inside.