Bully the Baker comment thread period 2

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23 responses to “Bully the Baker comment thread period 2

  1. Rohit Harapanhalli

    Will’s column on a Colorado baker and a gay couple contains a few rhetorical moves to persuade his readers that what the couple did to the baker was wrong. He begins with a seemingly absurd idea, that the Supreme Court is hearing about when a cake counts as a constitutionally protected speech. This wacky scenario leaves questions in the audience’s mind, such as “What is the basis behind the hearing?” enticing them to continue reading. Though Will concedes that the baker didn’t have any grounds to stand on in the courts, he claims that what the gay couple did to the baker was “nasty.” He mainly uses emotional arguments throughout the second part of his column to convey this. He writes how “Philips has stopped making wedding cakes, which was his principal pleasure and 40 percent of his business,” and how “Denver has many bakers.” Wills attempts to portray the gay couple as homophobic bounty hunters, intentionally targeting a baker who stands by his religious beliefs.

  2. Naveen Durvasula

    George Will’s argument is unlikely to seem convincing to any readers that are not already aligned with him. He spends the first 80% of his argument to show that the baker is in fact in the wrong. While it is likely that his purpose in doing so is to qualify his argument, that the gay couple is shamelessly bullying the cake maker, the disconnect between his large qualification statement and his actual argument will likely leave most readers confused. In fact, the tone change from his qualification statement to his argument actually works against him. While he discredits the baker’s legal claim in a logical, matter of fact method, his entire basis for shaming the gay couple is from straight-up personal statements. His argument seems weak in comparison to his supposed counter-argument. His attitude can come across as patronizing. He will not convince the right because of his strong qualification against the baker, and he will not convince the left because his argument is a set of personal statements. The only readers left are those that agreed with him without reading the column.

    • Jenny

      In George Will’s “A cake is food, not speech. But why bully the baker?” he argues that both the baker, Phillip and the gay couple, Craig and Mullins are at fault to make a situation that involves a cake such a big issue. The baker has religious views, refusing to bake a cake for the same sex couple, which takes into account the extent of how far protecting the First Amendment goes. One strategy he uses is comparing the baker to a florist and chauffeur. He describes that a baker’s job ends “when he sends it away to those who consume it.” Unlike a photographer, they must be present to document a ceremony and chauffeurs must be actively delivering participants to the ceremony. Contrastingly, to prove that Craig and Mullins “behaved abominably,” Will appeals emotionally to the readers by choosing to write about how Phillips has stopped making wedding cakes, lost 40 percent of his business and caused him to have serious financial loss and distress. Not only that, but Will says “[Craig and Mullins] sicing the government on him was nasty.” One important factor that Will chose to omit was that Craig and Mullins came to Phillips regularly to have other cakes baked–Phillips isn’t just a random baker they chose to bake their wedding cake. This may or may not be in important factor to take into account.

  3. Niles

    Will sets up his argument by introducing the supreme court case, and why the same-sex couple should win the case based on constitutional principles. Will likely does this in order to not come across as being a biased social conservative, but a person who rationally considers both sides of the case. He is able to convince average Americans, not just social conservatives, to consider his seemingly logical argument, without having them turn away because of it seeming like the banterings of a social conservative. Will then introduces this court case has caused Phillips, the baker, “serious financial loss and emotional distress.” Readers may feel sympathy for Phillips, and as a result, decide that what happened to this poor man must in some way be unjustifiable. While American liberals will likely be decidedly against Will’s stance, this author is able to reach both social conservatives and American moderates with his argument by making it seem rational and and trying to gain readers’ sympathy for the baker.

  4. Carl Levan

    George Will, in his article “A Cake is Food, Not Speech. But Why Bully the Baker?” provides an argument based on a Constitutional interpretation and an emotional appeal. After some relatively lengthy contextualization, Will refers to the First Amendment to disqualify the baker’s stance that practicing his craft qualifies as speech, as cake is a consumable that does not require his association or attendance of the event–in this case, a gay marriage–in question. Will then turns to a more emotional appeal, making the baker out to be more of a victim, as the the gay couple to whom he denied service did not have to “sicc the government” on him.

  5. Class Comment

    Class thesis: Constitutionally the argument that Phillips must serve the couple is correct, but that shouldn’t matter because it’s unacceptable to go after a non-malicious person in this vicious legal way.

  6. Vijay Balakrishnan

    Will’s main argument is that the actions taken by Craig and Mullin were too extreme for the situation and had unfair repercussions on Phillip’s business. It actually kind of comes out as a shock at the end, as Will spends the majority of the article criticizing the baker, admitting that his argument is not justified. However, he then says that since the baker didn’t cause any real harm to the gay couple, they should have let it go rather than take him to court. His main rhetorical technique is an emotional appeal – he describes the struggles of the baker after the incident, and how he has lost business and stopped making cakes. He encourages the reader to feel sympathy for the baker and think that his punishment was undeserved. He also paints the gay couple as bullies and false-activists rather than true heroes.

  7. Anna Phung

    George F. Will seems to be at first, supportive of the gay couple’s actions, but he later reveals that he disapproves of it, describing the entire case as excessive “bullying.” He introduces the issue with a vague sentence: “The conversation about a cake lasted less than a minute but will long reverberate in constitutional law.” He establishes the importance and significance of the matter, but he does not give any explanation about what the particular “conversation about a cake” is. Because of human’s natural curiosity, readers will inevitably ask questions and be compelled to read on. George F. Will agrees that the couple was legally in the right. The baker defended himself, claiming that being forced to bake for a gay marriage would “violate his constitutional right to speak freely.” Will counters this through referencing the civil rights movement. In America today, people praise the bravery of African Americans who participated in sit-ins at restaurants and counters which resulted in the principle that “business must serve all who enter.” If the baker were allowed to refuse to give service because of his beliefs, it would undermine the principle that African Americans fought and struggled for. George F. Will then argues that the couple’s actions were excessive and morally wrong by revealing the effects the case had on the baker. According to Will, “[the baker] has stopped making wedding cakes, which was his principal pleasure and 40 percent of his business. He now has only four employees, down from 10.” Especially to anyone who owns a business themselves, readers can understand that the couple ruined this man’s business and livelihood and will be compelled to feel guilty for him.

  8. James McGhee

    In his article, George Will decides to encourage the idea that, while their argument is justified, the actions of the gay couple who sued Phillips were reprehensible. He begins by explaining that the baker wasn’t protected by the first amendment in his denial of making the cake, suggesting that it would be a slippery slope, and that a cake isn’t sufficient participation in the wedding. However, he continues, saying that the couple went out of their way to embarrass and maim the baker’s livelihood, by suing him, when they had plenty of alternatives to turn to.

  9. Casper Lindsey

    Will’s argument suggests that both parties were in the wrong– Phillips because he refused to make the cake in the first place, and Craig and Mullins because they constantly badgered the baker. Will expresses his opinions to appeal to his audience’s emotions for both sides. On Craig and Mullin’s side, he’s showing that gay people can’t even get cakes for their weddings and they have to actually search around for a bakery that isn’t against homophobic. On Philip’s side though, Will says that Philip has stopped making wedding cakes even though that’s where 40% of his money comes from. Will also says that there are plenty of bakers in Denver who would gladly bake a cake for Craig and Mullins.

  10. Edom S.

    The first rhetorical device that George Will uses in this article is pathos. Near the end, you start to see Will use emotion to describe how the baker lost most of his employees and stopped making wedding cakes (which is 40 percent of his profit and his main pleasure). Will also uses logos near the end of the article; when he says that the couple could have gone to any other baker in Denver who would have been happy to make a cake for the couple. Instead, they focused their attention on this one baker who didn’t agree with them. The third rhetorical device Will used is ethos; when the baker said that he had freedom of speech not to do something that he did not believe in under the First Amendment; yet Will mentions that under the ethical restraints of the First Amendment, the baker stretches the boundaries too far.

    • mrklein

      Interesting. I felt that his analysis was analytical and dispassionate. So much so that when Will does try to marshal sympathy, the audiences emotions are less engaged than they could be.

  11. Saba Tesfaye

    The author, George F. Will, admits the fallacies of the cake artist’s position that are presented by the opposing side. In the first few paragraphs, Will addresses the constitutional problems with the cake artist’s argument with allusions to the Civil Rights Movement and belittles the cake argument by pointing out cake is only food. By detaching the cake itself and the stigma being created around it, he can argue the cake as an art expression. To help the audience further understand and sympathize with his claim, Will offers photographers, florists, and chauffeurs to help the audience relate. Will argues the “victors” are now unfairly attacking the cake artist. Using “victor” puts the same-sex couple in a position of power and leaves the reader to conclude the couple may even be uneccessarily taking advantage of their situation.

  12. Mark Jung

    Will establishes a tone of disgust to describe Craig and Mullins’ actions. While he agrees with the virtue of the case, writing that “Philips ought to lose this case,” Will expresses contempt for Craig and Mullins’ need to “submit Phillips to government coercion.” He goes into detail about Phillips losing almost half his business and livelihood. Why, Will writes, take a case this trivial, which did not seriously harm them in any way, all the way to the Supreme Court? The reader’s sympathy for Phillips allows him to answer with a mockery of the other side: “Evidently, however, it was necessary for their satisfaction as asserters of their rights as a same-sex couple.” The success of his argument relies on the success of his emotional depictment of Phillips’ situation; if the reader was not moved by his story, they would most likely not be amused with his tone.

  13. Fucheng Li

    George Will argues that the baker Philip and the gay couples are both at fault in their sides. Philip is wrong at not providing cakes to gay-couples. Will points out the fallacy within Philip’s argument: a cake is food, not speech. Philip argued that the cake as a speech, therefore it is protected under First Amendment. However, as established in the civil rights law from the 1960’s, “those who open [restaurant’s] doors for business must server all who enter.” Not everything can make as an argument of freedom of speech. The couples are wrong because they exemplify the case. They sued a baker just because he refused to make a wedding cake for them. And this is where Will uses his pathos to convey a sense of sympathy among the readers. The couple is unjust to law-sue a non-malicious baker.

  14. Avery Todd

    Will begins his column with a summary of the events and then a summary of the baker’s reasoning for refusing to make the cake, and ends it with a sarcastic “well,” as if to say “well here’s how you are wrong.” He uses this to lead into how he is wrong, stating that there must be limits to the first amendment. He points out that the wedding is not illegal, as it is taking place in Massachusetts, and his creation of the cake did not mean that he was participating in the event of the marriage. He compares it to chauffeurs who participate in ceremonies as drivers, and that if the 1st amendment meant they didn’t have to drive people to ceremonies they didn’t believe in, that would be ridiculous. Photographers directly participate in the ceremony, so they would have a strong case, but since the backer is not directly participating, and he doesn’t have a strong case. Will also sites a historical principal set by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which is that “those who open their doors to business must serve all that enter.” Phillips is thereby breaking the law by refusing business to the couple. However the article is not just to prove that the couple is in the right legally and that Phillips should lose this case. He switches from cold logic about forms of expression and their relation to the first commandment to chastising the gay couples mannerism towards Phillips from a emotional and moral perspective. He makes the audience sympathize with Phillips, noting that he is no longer allowed to make wedding cakes which not only was a large portion of his income, but was his “principal pleasure” and that the couple having “caused him serious financial loss and emotional distress” did not need to call the government on him. He claims the couple did not need to be so aggressive towards Phillips for his devotion to his religion since he didn’t really inconvenience them, which he backs up by pointing out that there are many bakers in Denver who would happily have taken their business. Will’s audience his of higher education, as he uses a lot of big words and complicated comparisons that one could not expect uneducated to grasp. Also, Will’s article is skillfully crafted in the way that it can be read by both Democrats and Republicans without offending the morals of either group. He doesn’t bring his own personal opinion about same sex marriage into the article, nor does he make any claims about the legality of it, he instead focus’s on Phillip’s argument and his first amendment rights. Neither does he bash on or support Phillips argument of it being against his religion, he simply states it as his reasoning. He doesn’t name the religion, so people we can’t make the issue religious. Will manages to not offend any group and still keep his perspective in by analyzing the argument legally, and then viewing the issue as not a man refusing gays because of his religion and making it a gay marriage issue, but as a man refusing gays and then making it an issue of human decency and how Craig and Mullins went way overboard on this poor man, taking away his life’s joy from him. Effectively, this makes it an issue not of gays vs. religion, but of how we should treat our fellow man.

  15. The author did a good job of representing both sides of the argument. He explains official government documents like the Constitution that might support the baker’s stance. He expresses a conservative view in defending the baker, as a liberal perspective would be in more favor of the couple. He does however, explain how, legally, the baker is incorrect in his statement which supports the writer’s credibility aside from his personal opinions. In supporting his own views, the writer explains ways that the couple could have avoided such a lengthy legal process. He mentions how they could’ve just went to any other baker, and this reinforces his conservative stance. The writer expresses good reasoning and doesn’t make the whole article solely biased.

  16. Nishka Parikh

    George Will writes about an incident involving a cake artist and a gay couple seeking out a wedding cake. Will opens his argument with an attention grabber. He writes, “The conversation about a cake lasted less than a minute but will long reverberate in constitutional law.” This makes the audience curious as to what about an ordinary cake could possibly have such an impact on constitutional law. Will then goes on to highlighting the flaws of the baker. Phillips was wrong in not agreeing to bake a cake for the gay couple. Will writes that cake is food, not speech, therefore the baker is unjustified in claiming that he is exercising his First Amendment right. After pointing out the flaws of the baker, Will then moves on to the couple. By showing the reduction in staff and business at the cake shop, Will illustrates how Craig and Mullins have damaged Phillip’s livelihood. Will takes a unique approach to discussing a highly controversial case. Rather than choosing sides, Will critiques both Mullins and Craig, and Phillips. He provides perspective by shedding light on both sides of an argument to a predominantly liberal Washington Post audience.

  17. Neo Zhao

    To start off his discussion about the Craig and Mullins v. Masterpiece Cakeshop case, George F. Will first provides details about the case. Phillips, the proprietor of Masterpiece Cakeshop, is introduced with his appeal to the right of free speech. Will then thoroughly explains the reasoning behind the invalidity of that appeal. The amount of effort devoted to this venture not only clarifies the appropriate decision for the case, but also shows Will’s consideration and understanding for the opposing side. It is then that he presents his true position and argument. Highlighting the emotional and economic stress that Phillips went through as a result of the couple’s accusation, Will appeals to humanity. He describes Craig and Mullins actions as “nasty,” comparable to bullying. And he reminds us, for gods sake, this entire scandal is literally just about cake.

  18. Oreet Zimand

    Will makes his point in his characterizations of the main players in the story. He spends a long time trying to convince the reader that in this story the baker is not a malicious homophobe, but a “devout Christian” who is only trying to follow his religion as best he can. Will compares the baker’s refusal to make cakes for gay marriages to his refusal to make halloween cakes, using the latter as a straw man for the former that makes his argument more agreeable by eliminating the fact that in the first case, the baker was discriminating against a certain group, whereas in the second case he won’t make halloween cakes for anyone. The characterization of the baker as a harried artist just trying to do his best in the eyes of god contrasts deeply with Will’s illustration of the gay couple who confronted him as “nasty”, “abominable”, and coercive. He plays on his audiences subconscious biases, feeding into the ideas of the religious right that gay people are generally on a lower moral ground than the rest of society, especially religious society. In this way he makes his claim that although the baker had no legal standing to refuse to make the cake, the gay couple who approached him are really the ones at fault because they targeted him to expose his actions rather than going to another baker they knew would easily be able to help them.

  19. Doucelvie Mizingou

    Doucelvie Mizingou
    Will acknowledges that Phillip’s refusal to bake a wedding cake for the gay couple is unjust and unnecessary. However his main claims that the gay couple who sought his punishment, “behaved abominably” as it caused Phillip’s business to decline. He uses parallel structure as examples of photographers and florists for the purpose of contrasting the responsibilities of certain jobs. Throughout this column, he wants his audience to know that the custumors took things to an unreasonable extent. Their actions were not right by taking it to the supreme court because it ruined Phillips business dramatically. In this column, Phillip is slightly victimized because George Will mentions the after affects that took place with Phillip but he doesn’t mention how this whole ordeal affected the gay couple.

  20. Andrew Golden

    I remember hearing about this case a good time ago, (relatively speaking) a case about sexuality wasn’t seen publicly before, it’s happened to people, being denied based off of sexuality and race. Just not on a legal scale. The way Will tied this discrimination to race made a massive emotional appeal to POC. Somewhat banding POC and the lgbt community to come together to deal with this injustice, if you will. Him doing that added more pressure from people critical of the baker to the enemy side. The critics didn’t recognize his artist expression with his cakes as speech, which him saying it’s merely food puts the idea that things that can be consumed aren’t speech. This in my opinion can have a fine line, people do art with food all the time, and if someone who made this art doesn’t want it associated with something, i don’t think he has to.

  21. Lily Kirsch

    In “A cake is food, not speech. But why bully the baker?” George Will attempts to build an argument that the gay couple who sued baker Jack Phillips for a refusal to make them a cake for their wedding should not have done so and behaved “abominably.” Will establishes the idea that the couple’s actions were an overreaction to the baker’s in the first sentence, writing that “the conversation about a cake lasted less than a minute but will long reverberate in constitutional law.” The extreme contrast between a minute long action and a lasting impact sets the stage for an argument questioning whether Phillips deserves the significant consequences of this case for his arguably less significant actions- but Will quickly loses track of this argument as he launches into the first section of the column. He begins to describe the situation in a dispassionate tone, laying out the background of the case before beginning a logical progression of facts and historical references which argues against Phillips’ assertion that a cake constitutes speech under the first amendment and that he therefore has the right to withhold the service of baking it. Will instead argues that a line needs to be drawn somewhere between speech and action, and that in this case a cake is “certainly, and primarily, food,” not speech. This section of the column seems counterproductive to Will’s overall argument. In building a fairly airtight factual case against Phillips’ action, Will leads the average reader to be on the side of the gay couple, especially given his use of widely popular ideas such as civil rights as support for his conclusion about the cake. It seems that Will included this section mainly to build credibility with the reader- it shows that his position is not based purely on emotion or partisanship and that he has considered the facts carefully. The section also serves as a way to avoid oversimplifying or politicizing the issue- instead of saying that because he disagrees with what the gay couple did the court should rule against them as many in today’s polarized US would (see: comments section), Will recognizes that the basis for Supreme Cort decisions has to be in the constitution and not in political opinion. Having made this concession, Will then attempts to use the credence he’s gained in the previous section to gain support for his main point that “siccing the government on [Phillips] was nasty” because of all the distress the case has caused Phillips. But this switch may leave many readers confused and unconvinced- Will abandons the previously established formal tone of the article completely, instead jumping into a moralistic judgement of the gay couple with little factual support. The reader, who has just read what seemed to be a strong argument for the couple’s correctness according to the US constitution, which most hold in high esteem, is not primed to accept a more subjective claim with none of the same backing. The only reader Will’s entire column will resonate with is a similar-minded libertarian-leaning intellectual; someone who needs no convincing that when possible the government should stay out of people’s lives but still respects the constitution. The part of Will’s column arguing against the couple comes across as underdeveloped- essentially just him saying “can you do this? I mean yeah, but come onnn.”

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