Visual Rhetoric– Namastebean


O:01: “The Awkward Silence Presents” reads across the screen in bright yellow. Behind the text is a clean fishtank on the top of a stack of books. To the right of the screeen you can see worn files organized horizontally next to the fish tank. Resting on top of the old files are video cassessets. Everything appears to look very worn and outdated comapred to the bright fish tank.

0:02: The camera pans out and we now see a gentlemen sitting crossed legged. He is an adult aged man wearing a clean brown turtle neck and khaki pants, along with pristine white sneakers. You can now see strange decorations around the room, like a glass swan and unicorn resting on the table next to the man, a decorative duck on the opposite table, and a couple of out-dated “scenic” paintings on each corner wall. In the same yellow font, “How to continu” begins to appear on the screen, leaving us to wait to get the whole sentence, perhaps wanting us to really take it in and pay attention.

0:03: The man continues wording the sentence which now appears as “How to continue the talk with your friend about;” about what?

0:04: “How to continue the talk with your friend about their mental health” Ok.

0:05: “How to continue to talk with your friend about their mental health after;” the suspense again, after what?

0:06: “How to continue to talk with your friend about their mental health after you asked them about how they are feeling.” Ok. It seems like we are about to be instructed.

0:07 The rame is centered on a young woman, from the top of her shoulders to her knees. She is wearing jean-overalls with a white tee shirt underneath;her hair is long and blonde. The girl is sitting on a green couch inside what I believe to be her parents home, based on how comfortable she seems; with a paisley pillow resting on her left side. Also, the furniture seems outdated. In addition, there also seems to be a decorative duck on the end table next to her, which millenials most likely wouldn’t choose to decorate with.

00:08:She seems to either be texting, or typing elsewhere on her Iphone, based on how both her hands are gripping the phone with both her thumbs on the screen.

00:10: The frame is now zoomed out so you can see what is now clear to be a living room. The house seems very lived in, you can see books stacked on the coffee table (with another miniature duck sculpture), a coffee cup and an empty plate sitting on the opposite end table of the couch. You can now see a second girl, sitting to the right of the blonde texting on her phone (her elbow is now resting on the left arm of the chair). There is a large space on the couch between the two girls. The other girl does not look comfortable at all, as she is looking down, but not at her phone. Her hair is curly,full, and brunette. She has on a pink sweater and light skinny jeans with speckled white paint for aesthetic. She seems to have an embarrassed/regretful look on her face and she seems to be hugging her body. Her legs are crossed, while the blonde girls legs are relaxed and has an emotionless look on her face, almost in a zombie like state on her phone.

00:11: The blonde looks up from her phone, with her eyes slightly veering towards her right. Her mouth seems clenched. She is suddenly annoyed, like she heard the uncomfortable girl breath too loudly. The brunette hasn’t seemed to move

00:12: The blonde now slightly turns her head to the right, giving the girl next to her a quick glance. The brunette still hasn’t moved.

00:13: The blonde is now looking back on her phone, once again in a zombie like state. The brunette’s eyes are now open, they seem wide, maybe shock. It seems she knew the blonde was looking at her, though she never looked back at her.

00:14: The blonde looks up from her phone and pouts her lips. She seems regretful. The brunette still seems bothered, or perhaps maybe more on the upset side. The brunette’s eyes are open, but not looking in any direction

00:15: The blonde brings her phone into her chest, still pouting, as her eyes begin to gaze towards her right again. The brunette, clearly uncomfortable, in the same position she has been but not hugging her body so tight, is now veering her eyes off to the right as well, away from the blondes glance.

00:16 The blonde seems immediately discouraged, as she is now looking towards the floor and no longer at the girl across the couch. The brunette seems to be looking towards the floor as well, her face clearly showing emotional pain.

00:17: The blonde is now hugging the phone to her chest, her eyes are shut, and her face softens. The brunette still has not moved.

00:18 The frame is now similar to where it first started, however you can now see half of the blondes face, as her left arm is reaching towards the end table with her phone, seeming to be setting it down.

00:19: The phone is down and you can now see the blondes entire face and she is pouting. Seeming remorseful

00:20: The frame is now beginning to pan out, and the blondes eyes begin to look toward her friend again. It is clear it is up to the blond to reconcile their relationship, whether that being because she is the reason for the brunnette being upset or she has to be her savior.

00:21: The blondes face is now turned slightly to the right. She seems upset.

00:22 The frame is now at the same angle, but from the brunettes perspective. Her eyes are low, and still looking at the floor. Her face seems flushed and unnatural, she is extremely uncomfortable. It is obvious she is aware the blonde is now looking directly at her.

00:23: The brunettes mouth now is beginning to open, perhaps a simple movement to break her stillness, though she has no intention to speak first.

00:24: The blonde is now completely faced towards the brunette; her back is leaning towards the left arm of the couch and her legs are curled up with her hands in her lap. She has a slight grin and seems to be preparing to making conversation. The brunette is looking at the blonde, with only her head turned; her body remaining still, proving to still feel discomfort. She seems hesitant and nervous; her eyes are wide.

00:25: The frame is now just on the blondes face; her eyes seem serious as they are glaring at the brunette. Her left shoulder is slightly hunched up as she seems to be mustering the confidence to speak.

00:26: The blonde is slurring the first words between the two so far. Her eyebrows are raised as she begins to speak, showing genuine intent; the way her mouth is only opened slightly shows she is being cautious with her choice of words.

00:27: The frame is now on the brunette’s face who is now grinning with a “kermit smile” in reply to the blonde’s attempt at conversation. She seems pleased; suddenly much more at ease.

00:28: The blonde still has the same look of seriousness, but now with a slight smirk, as if she is surprised at the brunette’s reaction.

00:29: The frame is now back on the man from the beginning, that seems to be in the same basement as the girls, but in a different corner. He is more likely than not is the fictional host in the clip. He is sitting in an armchair with his legs crossed and both his hands giving a “thumbs up,” likely referring to the improvement in socialization the girls have made.

00:30: The man is still holding his “thumbs up” pose, with his eyes wide and mouth in a small grin, showing satisfaction; this is just his latest triumph.

00:31: The frame is now frozen with yellow text reading “Find out how you can help a friend with their mental health at seize the” Behind the text is a blurred image of both of the girls, same as they were positioned last.  

00:34:  Old text disappears and new text appears: “Seize the awkward” in a quotation bubble. Ah! 

2 thoughts on “Visual Rhetoric– Namastebean”

  1. 00:08
    I like the blend of observation and analysis, Bean. Describing the scene is one thing. Letting readers know that not only is she in room with a certain decor, but the decor indicates her relationship to the room is the essence of the exercise.

    I’ve watched a similar video probably from the same series in which a young man sits in a room clearly he would not have accessorized and who gives psychological support to his friends by acknowledging their reality and humanity. It’s about “being there.” If I were watching these opening seconds you describe, as a viewer who has seen the other story, I’d probably recognize the theme.

    And that is part of the conversation we’re exploring here as well. All that we have experienced as viewers of visual argument prepares us for the next ad, the next music video, the next bit of TV or theater. Video directors know that too, and they use our experience to their advantage, using “tropes” as shortcuts to engage our emotions or our reasoning.

    I haven’t watched “your” video, and I won’t for now. I’ll just respond as any reader might to what you say, and ask for clarification where I’m confused.

    [It’s true that “you can see,” but we don’t say so. The 2nd person is banned. So we say, “The frame is now zoomed out so WE can see.”]

    Are they related? Are they both at home? Is one (the uncomfortable girl) a visitor? Is the uncomfortable girl here for comfort? You have two people in a shared screen, but you haven’t said whether either is aware of the other. Is either looking at the other?

    I was impatient (but you could have told me in second 10 that they WEREN’T paying attention to one another). You were a second away from telling me about their interaction. This is an interesting reaction. Even if it turns out that the blonde is NOT irritated, it’s a telling detail. The brunette girl might be a bit of an annoyance or an intrusion. I wonder if the blonde was texting ABOUT the uncomfortable girl. I’ve read your note again. I’m going to conclude very early that the brunette has sighed to get the blonde’s attention, and that the blonde has no time for her.

    A quick glance means she’ll be turning back shortly, I imagine. We probably don’t learn much from this exchange except that the blonde was either “checking up” on the UG, or was expressing irritation, perhaps confirming my prediction. You’re encouraged to make such predictions too, NB. Right or wrong, they enter our consciousness and either HELP or HURT our ability to follow the argument the director is making.

    That’s interesting. What do you conclude from the fact that the brunette HAS A INTUITION she was being looked at?

    Things are progressing slowly. We’re being kept in a state of indecision. (Or perhaps the soundtrack is providing clues.)

    It’s unclear from your language whether the brunette and the blonde are both now looking at something to their right or whether the brunette is avoiding eye contact with the blonde. Maybe you don’t know, but you could tell us which you believe, or that the meaning is unclear.

    This is amazing. So much psychological detail (or at least psychological possibility) in a few seconds. Any idea whether the brunette is just in a painful situation, or whether the blonde has CAUSED the painful situation? You could speculate.

    There’s at least a possibility in what you say that the blonde has received a text from the brunette, sent earlier, to which the blonde is now reacting.

    Is this “return to an earlier state” intended to be a slip back in time to another view of the scene re-starting, or are we still moving forward in linear time? Can you tell?

    Interesting. Care to speculate?

    I keep thinking the blonde has caused the brunette’s distress and that a reconciliation is coming based on something the blonde has read on her phone, from the brunette.

    No idea what to make of this new angle or perspective.

    I expect speech, but I don’t know even as much as you do.

    Whatever the subject matter, these two are about to have THE CONVERSATION that will help the brunette cope with something that the other people in her life are uncomfortable talking about. The blonde will bridge a gap others are afraid to bridge. That’s where I think we are. If you feel any of that watching the scene, you could and should say so here. I’m guessing, but I do have the advantage of having seen another such video about a year ago.

    Yeah. It’s an uncomfortable conversation, but she’s mustering the courage.

    Lovely moment.


    It’s delightful and a relief for both girls—and the viewers—that the lightheartedness comes so quickly after just a few syllables. We’re all happy the blonde decided to confront something difficult.

    00:28 (More)
    At this point, I’m guessing we might not even hear the words being spoken. The subject matter should be broad and vague. If it’s too specific, the message won’t be general enough. Maybe a voiceover explains that they’re having THE CONVERSATION without detailing what this one is about.

    He’s “the host” of this little episode, which he always happens to preside at. It’s a fictional space, right, this cozy but slightly moldy place where people come to get comfortable with difficult subjects?

    He’s done this before and this is just the latest triumph.

    That’s clever. “Seize the Awkward.” I’m going to stick with my impression that we probably don’t hear any actual subject matter, just eavesdrop on the body language.

    I’m very impressed with your overall approach, NB. If anything I’ve said resonates with you, I invite you to incorporate another level of analysis into your observations.

    If you decide to update, please don’t create a new post. Just Update. And if you wish to continue this feedback loop, please add a Reply to the conversation, make revisions, and put the post back into the Feedback Please category.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the considerable review of my first attempt at a visual rhetoric. It was a fun excercise, but not as easy as it appears. I read my rhetoric again without viewing the video in a few days and your responses were all very helpful. Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s