Post #26: Bob Greene

I’d like to use this post to analyze another columnist for CNN that I have grown to appreciate. Bob Greene is a very good rhetorical writer, and many of his political pieces catch my eye.

In his article, “America, our hands are clean!” written in late August talks about how the H1N1 pandemic pushed Americans into a hand sanitization frenzy. The beginning of this article starts out by describing something you see in your daily life many times, using vivid detail and comical descriptions for those who use this product. Then he announces it: hand sanitizer.

Describing the time before the Swine Flu as generally following the “a little dirt won’t hurt” saying, provides a realistic contrast between then and after the outbreak. He then backs up his assertion that Americans have become a little too Purell obsessed with various facts about the hand sanitizing product industry, for example stating “The marketing research firm Global Industry Analysts Inc. has projected that because of people’s newly awakened concern about the need for perpetual cleanliness, the annual market for hand sanitizers in the U.S. will grow to more than $402 million by 2015.”

Greene even states that DirecTV is in the process of producing the first “antimicrobial remove” that is essentially germ-free…

The tone of this article is meant to highlight the (pretty absurd) dependence Americans have on those tiny little bottles of hand sanitizer, without alienating those in his audience which actually use them. I think he does this brilliantly, because I’ll admit I generally appreciate hand sanitizer and even have one in my purse, but I didn’t feel offended by this article. He uses a light-hearted manner to make his point, but backs his assertions and opinion with verifiable facts and credible authorities. Greene also places responsibility on the outbreak of H1N1, not someone or a group that people would feel the need to defend… everyone hates the Swine Flu and are willing to let it be the scape-goat for our paranoia. I agree with Greene when he says that our society has become a little too “emotionally attached to those little bottles.”

I especially enjoyed the last few lines in his article, reminding me of my own columnist, LZ, who uses sarcasm and witty remarks to add character to his writing.

“So, Mr. Bond, we meet at last.

But first, we’d better squirt some of that stuff onto our hands.”


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