Age Effecting Ethos

Despite his age, 11-year-old Birke Baehr it is an excellent example of a speaker who appropriately establishes ethos. The boy is not trying to speak as if he is an adult but is rather presenting his own experience and perseptions of the food industry. In doing so he is making himself a representative of children everywhere. This is often not the most effective was to establish ethos but because the child’s perspective on many social issues goes unheard, Baehr as representative is not alienating but instead refreshingly different. Baehr also uses humor that is appropriate to his age and to his audience. Also, the light-heartedness and innocence of his humor makes him even more appealing and supports his established identity as a typical kid. It is possible that an audience might not take him seriously because of his age, but because Baehr caters his speech to his own idenity, making it believable coming from someone of his age and not overly academic, he maintains strong ethos and delivers an effective and convincing speech.

Caroline Spence


3 comments so far

  1. Erika Berg on

    As I watch this link, I wonder how Humes would react. Besides his lack of a definitive power gesture, he does create a speaking environment that draws in the audience through jokes and perspective. However, I do agree that perhaps his age hurts his ability to get through to his audience. It seems that way by the comments on the link. I found it shocking that people were attacking his information and therefore his credibility. He is just a child! I guess that goes to show I looked past the effectiveness of his speech as well because of his age. Is age just a number in public address? Or does it reflect a sense of wisdom and credibility for a topic?

  2. cihuber on

    I think you make an interesting point here. Establishing ethos is not an easy thing to do, especially as an 11-year old boy talking about something as large as social issues. However, as you pointed out, staying true to yourself makes it a lot easier. By presenting arguments that you are passionate about and familiar with, establishing ethos will come easy.
    Another important point you make is the idea that exigency is NOT only available to adults when it comes to social issues. Exigency can be established by anyone, any age, on any topic. With that being said, a speakers constraints will be different depending on their age, etc. But in the end, there is a rhetorical situation in any situation.

    Carly Huber

  3. cejsmith20 on

    I think that the constraints on him being an 11 year old is that the best way he can maintain his audience is through humor. Since he is so young, he will not be taken seriously, as was mentioned above. I think that the boy used his constraints well in not being serious, because if he is talking to adults, they will only respond to humor that is true, and if he is talking to kids, they won’t understand or enjoy listening to serious talks.

    – Cody Smith

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