Insects for Dinner?

I chose this speech on eating insects because I was impressed with how the speaker tackled a rather challenging argument to make. Obviously, most people would be grossed out by the idea of eating insects and would be hard pressed to try an insect treat let alone eat bugs on a regular basis. However, Marcel Dicke makes eating insects seem quite practical and his argument makes the bug treats seem at least intriguing if not possibly quite tasty. Dicke manages to make a convincing argument in several ways. For one, he notes that all humans eat an average of 500 grams of insects per year! Also, he notes that many of the foods we already enjoy contain a certain amount of unavoidable insect protein. Dicke also points out that eating insects is economically and environmentally practical and that adopting insects as food will actually allow us to have a greater variety in what we eat!

Although I think his argument is sound I think that he could have stood to use a little more pathos in his speech. Specifically, it would have been beneficial to discuss more insect recipes and the delicious flavors of various insects. To be fair though, he show some tasty chocolate/bug covered strawberries and notes that grasshoppers are quite similar to shrimp. As someone who has eaten a flame broiled june bug I would say that he is right, and insects really aren’t all that bad tasting with the possibility of being delicious depending on the bug and the recipe.

Also, his speaking style was important in crafting his argument. The laid back, casual and excited tone of voice made him seem like someone who had eaten some delicious bugs and really knew what he was talking about. The excitement and humor that he used made him sound believable and convincing. Would you eat a bug snack?

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2 comments so far

  1. julie1990 on

    Though I don’t know that I would necessarily intentionally consume an insect as nourishment, I agree that this address is fairly well crafted. I was particularly struck by the point that he makes toward the beginning, that bugs already play a very important role in our food chain because they are eaten by small animals, which are eaten by larger animals, which are eaten by us. I feel that the most impressive part of his speech is that he appeals to many different aspects of our logical reasoning -he speaks to diversity in diet, nutritional value, and even the benefit of feeding the growing global population. This variety in arguments makes it difficult to deny the validity of his argument.
    A minor comment I would like to add to the analysis already presented here is the non-verbal element of his presentation, specifically his “costume”, being a t-shirt demonstrating a wide variety of the species which he is commemorating. .

  2. irene531 on

    What first caught my attention about this speech was how the speaker was his preparation for his power opener. We were taught in class that if we ask the audience a question, we should ask someone or a few people to make sure we get the response that we are expecting. However when Marcel Dicke receives an unexpected answer when he asks his audience, “Who of you ever are insects?” He utilizes humor to work with the audience. Because he does not seem thrown off by the audience’s response, his credibility is established immediately.

    What I also noticed about this speech is that Dicke uses only simple visual aids that relate to what he is talking about at the moment. The pictures are simple, and the text does not introduce new information that fight for the attention of the audience. However, although these visual aids do not distract the audience from what the speaker is saying, they are not necessary to enhance the speech, and only a few would be sufficient in demonstrating how an insect dish could be enjoyed. Without visual aids, he makes an effective argument by establishing logical support for his position.

    Throughout the speech, his main arguments for eating bugs use logos. Some examples are that insects already exist in our food according to U.S. health regulations, some foods are made with insect products, and eating current meat such as pork can spread disease. Although he does present these arguments in a laidback “matter of fact” way, I agree that it could have benefited from more pathos. By including a good experience that he had with eating insects, by demonstrating to the audience how they can personally benefit from eating insects, or even by sharing a story about the damages that eating mass produced meat can cause would have been more persuasive. Nonetheless, his speech is interesting and his upbeat delivery keeps the audience engaged.

    Irene Tsai


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