--David Merritts, Valedictorian Speech from my senior year, LHS c/o '98
First of all, David's speech was hilarious. Second, you should've been there. I don't mean at the graduation; I mean at that special moment in the late 90s when, in 2 years, the End of the World would be brought forth by a computer apocalypse (as opposed to a more ancient, Mayan one) and the hottest rapper was a mumbling New Orleans native named Master P (who at 6'3" couldn't accurately fit "Lil" into his moniker). Either way, high school (and the end of high school) can be a special time. But this blogpost is about comparing idea presentation, not nostalgic interpretations.
So with that said, I want to look at an article I've posted below, which provides an interesting example of rhetorical juxtaposition. Grantland contributor Rembert Browne provides a clear and entertaining compare & contrast essay. I try to stress this w/ my students: it's not enough simply to point out similarities & differences. You must also be able to explain why those similarities & differences are worth writing & reading about.
Ultimately, Browne presents cleverly the news of Drake's graduation & graduation speech (at a school different from the one he--Drake--recently graduated from). And although Browne doesn't tell us how long ago it was, he uses self-deprecating humor to compare his own high school valedictorian speech to that of the multi-platinum, internationally known, recording artist. And yet reading this through the eyes of a teacher, I can't help but see that Browne's comparisons are built upon several rhetorical principles: decorum--which speaker is dressed better, practical wisdom--which speaker provided the best life lesson, pathos--which speaker had the biggest impact on the female audience, peroration--which speaker had the best ending, as well as other details.
I won't give away who won (because Browne keeps score & tallies them at the end). And, unless you click on the imbedded videos of Drake's 26 minute speech, it's a short, fun read.