Contrary opinions upon a dispute tend to articulate an intricate and powerful clash of principles, morals and beliefs. These differing outlooks regarding an issue are meticulously interdependent upon the perspective from which the issue is being observed. This notion is voiced within Geoffrey Robertson’s ‘The Justice Game’. Through his exemplar essays ‘The Trials of Oz’ Robertson uses the contest of free speech and conservative censorship to elevate the sanctity of free expression, while within ‘Michael X on Death Row’, Robertson reveals contradictory views upon Michael X’s execution, to propose the universal immorality of capital punishment. Correspondingly, the Sydney Morning Herald editorial “Political Vanity Personal Pride,” (22 June 2013) by Peter Hartcher, presents divergent opinions upon the ex-Prime Minister Gillard, to establish the necessity of leadership change. Henceforth we are able to witness the employment of conflicting perspectives, as authors position the audience to favour their viewpoint.
The Trials of Oz pronounces to the audience the contest between conservative influential power brokers whom possess old traditional values against neo- liberal free expressionists seeking freedom of expression and rejecting the shackles of censorship. Robertson elucidates that the old bailey values of rigid English tradition is still very much alive and is highly influential and prevailing. The extended metaphor of the ‘lordships pen’ as “It slows and directs… evidence not taken down will not feature…” makes reference to Judge Michael Argyle as a conductor of a ‘theatre’ demonstrating that he represents the political will of a highly conservative British society. The harsh plosives in ‘infinite toxicity’ are paradigms of adjectival reference, serving to convey the obsolete conventional opinion of the court, thus reiterating the authoritative power of conservatives in censoring expression. Conversely, Robertson selective manipulates the audience to perceive the “non-financially’ motivated editors of Oz magazine as modern day champions through the rhetorical question “What good came of it?” utilizing the plight of the editors as though they are martyrs of free speech. Robertson positions the reader to recognize the unimportance of Argyle’s ‘outdated’ conservative view through anecdotal evidence “Am I waking you up…He’s a boring old fart,” conveying Argyle as mistrustful, corrupt and irrelevant to the modern subtext. By undermining Argyle’s authority and elevating his own ethical position, Robertson selectively influences the responders to perceive the fundamental rights of a free media.
Likewise, Robertson portrays, through Michael X on death row, the unjust political nature of capital punishment, against its supposed role as a democratically elected, moral, legal process. Set in the nation of Trinidad, Robertson enunciates the inevitable execution of Michael X, and the legitimacy of capital punishment as “established by the will of a democratically elected government.” Robertson selectively denotes through an anecdotal account of a ‘street level’ conversation with a Taxi driver who is “not opposed to summary execution ‘gunning down of tyrants…armed robbers… terrorists’…this is poetic justice,” reflecting the public will of a nation whom accommodates the execution of Michael X as a high profile political dissident. Nevertheless, Robertson’s own dismissal of a sovereign judicial system and its witnesses as “none of them convincing…saving their own necks” discredits his own appeal to law. Robertson, hence, positions the audience as he desires through selectivity of materials chosen to communicate a fraudulent political sphere biased against Michael X. “Fingers scratching…screeching and shouting…” Here Robertson employs sibilance integrated with torture imagery, evoking sentimentality and sympathy amongst the responders to enable them to see the inhumanness of capital punishment, thus rebuking its hypothetical role as a keeper of humane law. Audience is further swayed by Robertson through his accumulative, “Michael X became the cancer of the good people of Trinidad… demonized… drank blood,” utilizing farce to position readers to see the political circus that is the Michael X trial. As such, through construing an empathetic sense of injustice and brutality, Robertson is able to decipher the act of Capital punishment, by selectively depicting the case of Michael X as unjust and inhumane.
Correspondingly, the article “political Vanity Personal Pride” manifested the conflict regarding whether to keep Julia Gillard for stability or seek new hope in her replacement. In context and contest, Hartcher initially questions the validity of Rudd’s leadership ambitions. The editor uses a sarcastic and bitter tone “Dozens of people lost their jobs for Kevin… It doesn’t affect him… He’s all right,” placing audience to see Rudd as an immoral opportunist. Support for Gillard is further evidenced through the logos, that “It is because of the rival camp’s intransigence… that Gillard could yet survive,” as the editor deliberately illustrates that although Gillard may not be popular, she is at least stable and will not split the party. Nevertheless, Hartcher’s goal was to ultimately position audience to call for the resignation of the incumbent PM. In support for the return of Rudd, Hartcher appeals the readers to think of the common good. The composer hyperbolically alienates the audience from Gillard with “[her] performance has extinguished any realistic hope… she faces political annihilation,” emphasizing Gillard’s pointless struggle. Like Robertson, the undermining of politically powerful figures is a representation employed by Hartcher, in which Gillard, like Argyle is stationed to be ‘out of touch’ with the responders. To reinforce his position, Hartcher, through utilization of Ethos and Logos, “Break the dead lock… with Rudd the [nation] will have a fighting chance,” outlines the need for a real ‘choice’ and ‘contest’ in parliament for there to be democratic governance. Hartcher influences the audience through the veiled threat that if Liberal were to win in a landslide, it destabilizes the very nature of democratic elections. Thus, it is apparent how through the use of conflicting perspectives on the ex P.M Gillard, the editor has powerfully built a case for the replacement of Labour leadership, for the good of Australia’s democratic legacy.
Thusly, through analysis of these texts, it is evident that authors are empowered with the ability to influence the representation of an event, personality or situation, thereby manipulating the perspectives of the audience to perceive and support their viewpoint.