The Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century

By Richard M. Perloff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Attitudes: Definition
and Structure
Click onto a Web site for, say, religion, capital punishment, animal rights, poverty, or crime. Or if you prefer cultural venues, check out sites for hip hop music, body piercing, tattoos, sports, or cars. If you prefer the older, traditional media, you can peruse books or letters to the editor, or you can tune into a radio talk show. You will find them there.What you will locate are attitudes—strong, deeply felt attitudes, as well as ambivalent, complex ones. You see, even today, when we communicate through cell phones, laptops, and palm pilots, attitudes are ubiquitous. To appreciate the pervasiveness, depth, and strength of attitudes, I invite you to read over these comments written in the wake of the traumatic events of September 11:
It is time for America to abandon its candy-colored views of what is right and what is wrong. We are dealing with extremists who recognize no restraints, and we as a country should deal with them at their own level to destroy them…. Morality is not the question here. This is war, and who will win it is now the question. If the terrorists want to play on their own terms, then we should play at their level. That is the only way in which they will be defeated. (David Richmond, The New York Times, September 17,2001)
We hate the people who did this, and we want to torture them for what they've done. But that is wrong. Similar feelings of hatred resulted in these devastating attacks. When does the circle of violence stop? We react. Terrorists then respond to our reaction, and we react again. Rather than hatred, this situation should be about change—a new direction that promotes love for your fellow man…. As a nation, let's say a prayer and bond together to get through this. (Clifford J. Fazzolari, USA Today, September 12,2001)
I would like to take this time to ask all Americans to embrace the Arab-American communities in this country and not blame them for last

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