Ethos, Logos, Pathos and Kairos are Ever Present

Ethos, logos, pathos and kairos are all concepts that are present in everyday rhetoric. Sean Morey details these concepts in The Digital Writer. These concepts are not just limited to digital rhetoric, they exist in other forms such as in print and face to face whether the author and audience are conscious of it or not. Ethos refers generally to the ethics or trustworthiness of something or a message. To me the word that describes it well is credibility. Logos is based upon logic, why your rhetoric is relevant or why it makes sense for the audience to take an interest. Ethos and logos closely relate, in my opinion a sense of credibility can evoke logic and vice versa. Pathos is about using emotions to appeal to the audience, depending on how it is used it can come across as manipulative. Kairos is about timing and finding the proper moment for a message or a response.

Atlanta Brave Dale Murphy was at the center of the sports zeitgeist in 1982.
(Image Credit: Sports Illustrated)

All of these elements are at play on the cover of the August 9 1982 edition of Sports Illustrated. The Sports Illustrated name alone provides the cover with a sense of credibility, or ethos. The magazine had a reputation for decades prior to 1982 as the premier sports magazine. They further their credibility by featuring Dale Murphy (photographed in action, admiring one of his hits I presume) on the cover, Murphy was one the best and most popular players in baseball at the time. This leads in kairos Dale Murphy and the Atlanta Braves as a team were very relevant in August of 1982. Murphy was an established presence in baseball who was in the midst of a career best season. The Atlanta Braves had not been to the playoffs since 1969 and were perennially thought of as losers, but in 1982 the Braves were leading their division heading into the final stretch of the season. The cover also points out that they were the new kids on the block when it came to relevance with the line “Eat Your Heart Out Dallas Here Come Dale Murphy And The Atlanta Braves” Their games were also broadcast on TBS giving them a strong presence nationally. Their national presence combined with their lovable underdog reputation gave them an emotional appeal. This is highlighted by the subtitle of the cover “America’s team II”. The subtext aims to appeal on emotional level to potential readers.

It’s interesting how all of these elements are relevant in nearly all forms a rhetoric whether we realize it or not. The concepts also all seem to compliment and play off each other. They all definitely exist on their own, but they way the bleed into each other is fascinating

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