Emotional Power

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Anti-abortion, religious websites would be an example of the use of emotional power. I won't link to any since the sites are usually very graphic, but you can Google "Army of God" or "Wicked Shepherds" to see what I mean.

The websites hold emotional power through the images of aborted fetuses. These images are often very graphic, sometimes bloody, and always of fetuses with features of a fully formed baby. Though these images are powerful, they are exaggerated in that the images shown are usually from only one type of abortion (dismemberment). Exaggerations can also be found in what the websites leave out: images of other types of abortions.

However, as brought up through the image "The Scourged Back" in Katz's book, we must ask the question to what extent is exaggeration of the full reality by an image justified by the justness of the cause it is serving? The purpose of these sites are to show the gruesome side of abortion, and they do exactly that purpose. Someone wishing to be more informed on the multiple sides of abortion would best go elsewhere. But just because the website exaggerates or contains incomplete information, does that make it poorly designed? Or is it accurately designed to served it's specific (albeit exaggerated) purpose?

The major problem with the web design isn't from the images themselves, but what accompanies them. The websites usually contain flashing banners, waving caution flags, and blood-dripping font. They also often hold extraneous amounts of text and strong, accusatory words like "evil" and "murder." They also long hypertext link lists to other articles and essays that can be read containing similar content. All of this is usually interspersed among the images, making them less effect.

As Katz puts it, including exaggerations or superlatives can "raise the volume without increasing understanding." As the sites currently are, with the poorly designed layout, extra text, blood fonts, accusations, and links, I can't take the website design seriously. Therefore, I can't take the website's argument seriously. But I can't deny the emotional power of the photos. How more effective would the site be if the extraneous stuff were taken away and the whole design was replaced by a slide show of graphically aborted fetuses?

Effective website design can clearly make a difference between viewing an argument as extreme and nonsensical and viewing it as powerful.

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