This audio piece, “Lament for Joe Hall” is put together chronologically, though “Joe” is telling the story after the main events have already passed. The author used several different techniques to maximize the effect of the audio. The use of the child’s voice, and making the dialogue from Joe’s point of view was particularly influential. To hear a child talk about white supremacy, and the abuse their family had suffered, and the thoughts going through their mind as they commit murder is a highly unusual experience a person can have, and it definitely engages the audience. The background sounds also accompanied the vocal track well. Music played often to show a shift in the narration. The use of the “white power” recording was also very jarring—to think that people like that exist, let alone that they’re entrusted with the wellbeing of children, is something that the audience would most likely find disturbing. Rather than having Joe describe the hate of his father, but actually playing a recording of what he may have sounded like, maximizes the effect. The use of the dogs howling in the background while Joe and his father were patrolling the Mexican border was also symbolistic of the narration—essentially, they were hunting people. At the climax of the piece, when Joe is killing his father, the narration slows down and the background sounds are quieted. This creates apprehension in the audience, and the tension rises as Joe approaches his father with the gun. They also circled it back around nicely to the irony of the fact that Joe’s father had taught him how to use a gun, and it was this knowledge that allowed him to kill his father in the end.
In my piece, I will use some of the effects that were used in “Joe Hall”. I liked the creepiness of the white noise that played in the background, and since my piece will have a similar mood, I might use this technique. I also enjoyed when the creator mixed up the steady narration by putting in other forms of audio, like the white power recording, and the 911 call. I also like the slowing of the narration to increase suspense, and the fact that the story was told as if it was happening, and from the point of view of the person it was happening too. I think it put more feeling into the piece and made it more interesting.
From the beginning, the not-so-white noise in the background is a sound of disarray while a male and female are arguing with a few obscenities being thrown. These sounds set the tone for the audio piece in Lament for Joe Hall. The next bit of audio contains background story about how Joe came to live with his white supremacist, nazi, abusive father. The story seems to be told by a 13 year old boy who recounts events at 10 years old that led to him being labeled a murderer. Joe’s story is narrated by a young prepubescent boy that makes the story seem and feel as Joe was narrating this bit himself. Had the story been narrated by an adult male, the story would have felt nearly unbelievable or utterly false. Since the events truly occurred, it was best for the director to keep the voice of Joe in the same setting as the story. The voice of Joe, sirens, arguing, graphic story(telling), long pauses with only guitar chords being heard, yelling, and other audio boosting bits all opened up a sense of empathy and sorrow for young Joe. I could not help but feel sorry for him since he had endured in so many terrible, life-changing events in such a short span of life. It is dire to listen to the part when Joe says he had hoped that they wouldn’t find an illegal Mexican because he was terrified that they would have to kill one if found. When Joe kills his father, the effect this had on me, including all the other events, deepens the empathy I felt for Joe. He did not know the negative effects of his actions but he surely knew he had to protect himself and his step-mother. The way this story is told is dynamic. The breaks add a bit of suspense and engage me so much that even throughout the parts that are inherently racist and rude.
I decided to analyze the audio for “Lament for Joe Hall” because I really enjoyed the way that additional audio sources were added into the storytelling. First off, having the story be told from the point of view of the child, and then be voiced by a child is just amazing. It immerses the audience into the story in a way that could not be achieved by having the story be told from the creator. In addition to that, third party audio sources greatly contribute to the storytelling effort. Audio files of sound effects like police sirens, as well as audio taken from a 60 Minutes story really bring the piece together. The piece opening with the sirens gives the audience their first question, which is “Why?” It leaves the audience craving for the details of the story and wanting to learn about the people involved and what happened. To a person unfamiliar with the story, the voice of a child gives a sense of innocence to the story being told, until the story reaches its climax. There was already a noticeable tension with the increasing amount of detail, however, there is still a substantial amount of felt shock and surprise at the climax. These audio elements combined together create a story that is attention grabbing, conveys feeling to the audience, and keeps the audience asking questions.
“Lament for Joe Hall” begins with discordant buzzing sounds followed by the echo of police sirens. Immediately, without any words being spoken, the listener understands that a crime has taken place and the intensity of the cacophonous noises suggests that it was an especially heinous crime. The piece is narrated by a child voicing the part of Joe Hall and the detached deadpan that he assumes as he describes horrific child abuse, nazi rituals, and the killing of Joe Hall’s father is haunting. The voice acting conveys the hopelessness and impassive acceptance that one might feel if their entire life had been a continuous state of turmoil. The affect of the voice acting combined with the jarring guitar chords throughout the piece causes the listener to feel unsettled and disturbed.
Throughout the piece, the producer includes several audio clips that stand out from the narration and keep the listeners ear actively engaged. These clips also aid in establishing the tone of the sections of the story that they are placed in. Audio from white supremacist rallies trigger feelings of repugnance and cause the listener to feel sympathy for Joe Hall. The sound of wolves howling creates a foreboding affect and raises the tension as a dramatic scene is described. The use of what I would assume is the actual 911 audio of Joe Hall’s stepmother calling the police after he has shot his father captures the panic and dread of the scene in a way that voice acting alone probably never could. Telling this story in the audio format and filling it with emotionally affective voice acting, music, and sound effects allowed it to achieve a great deal of rhetorical effect by forcing the listener to visualize each scene rather than supplying them with images as would be the case in other formats.
The story I decided to do was “Lament for Joe Hall”. This story begins very loud with police sirens playing as a child begins to talk. The fact that the police audio is playing plces me and the audience in a anxious state because we want to know what is going on and the fact that there is a child speaking increases this feeling. The child continues to speak going bck and forth between his mother and father, mainly telling bad things that they have done which makes me feel sympathy for the child and even anger towards the parents because they are not very good at parenting. Next, the story takes a turn for the worse when the child begins to describe how he grabs a gun and shoots the father. This description itself adds anxiousness to the story but when the actual phone call is playedd and the police oficer speaks there is a increased sadness that came over me. The wording itself in this audio story adds to the sympathy for example “I had no choice, now I have no future”. The voice echoeing, car alraarms, music, and actual police call all add to the modes of storytelling. The story also starts from the ending audio with the police sirens and works its way back to the beginning and works it way back to the ending. This catches the audiences attention and keeps your attention to continue listening until the end.
The premise of Superpowers! is a common enough topic of discussion among my friends and I. I’ve spent plenty of time debating which superpowers are the best and what heroes (or villains) would win in a fight and have found it hilarious when some people get too serious about the topic and become legitimately angry.
Superpowers!’s rhetoric hits all the notes of the ethos/pathos/logos aspect. To establish ethos, Ira Glass gives credibility to the man who ran the unscientific(anecdotal) study of his peers based on their preferential superpower but introducing him as such to give his listeners an uninflated view of the man, so if we decided to source him, we wouldn’t be disappointed.
That man also speaks from his own experience and calls it as such, in a bid to develop pathos in the listener. The show also has many other people share their own preference of superpower, including those same people sharing their own ideas of what sort of person would choose which power. The reluctance a few people have in sharing their choice, after analyzing the mindset of the two, to choose one or the other gives an opportunity for the reluctant listener to relate more to one of the guests.
They also emphasize logos by discussing the “stages” of the decision, starting with the initial and immediate decision, and going through the stages step by step.
Which appeal drew you in the most? Was it logos, pathos, or ethos?