Commentary on ADHD

write a 750-1,000-word commentary that addresses a topic of ADHD.

On page 287 of the textbook, Trimbur wrote, “Commentary is a genre of writing that uses analysis and interpretation to find patterns of meaning in events, trends, and ideas. The purpose of commentary is not simply to report on things but to give readers a way to make sense of them.”

To help you get ideas for this assignment, consider what has motivated the writers in this chapter to write commentary.

Part 1: Label or Identify the Subject: Provide the name for the subject or create a name for the phenomenon and situate the subject by providing needed context or background.

Part 2: Explain the Subject: Seek to find patterns of meaning in events, trends, and ideas (e.g., speculate as to causes and effects of an event, compare with a similar case, example).

Make a Judgment/Offer an Opinion: Evaluate the merit/efficacy of the subject; offer praise or critique a given situation.

Trends: Labeling trends gives readers a handle on what is taking place around them. Trends rely on the interpretive powers of commentators to name what is happening, thereby giving a series of events a distinct identity. The idea of “branding” in Eric Liu’s commentary is a good example of how identifying and labeling trends can bring an issue into focus. There are plenty of other trends as well— body piercing, tattooing, nostalgia for the 1980s, the growth of micro-breweries, and corporate downsizing are just a few. You might write about the significance of a particular trend that is already well known, or you can invent a new label to characterize a trend that has not been noticed before.

Policy issues: Commentators often address issues of public policy. For example, Lundy Braun’s commentary, “How to Fight the New Epidemics,” analyzes the causes of infectious disease and the adequacy of the “germ theory” to control disease. You might write a commentary that focuses on the causes of an issue that interests you and the implications for public policy. Accounting for why things happen is often the first step in explaining what should be done—to endorse, alter, or control the situation.
Current events: Stories that break in the news seem to call for a swift response by commentators to shape the public’s mood and its sense of issues. You might draw on a recent event to serve as the springboard for your commentary, something current that your readers are likely to know about but where the meaning is still up for grabs.

Rereading historical events: You could comment on a historical event, as Mike Rose does when he rereads the notorious encounter between Frederick Winslow Taylor and the workman Schmidt to find new meanings. Commentators often analyze past events and point out implications that would otherwise go unnoticed. You could write a commentary about the significance of a historic event, an invention, a social movement, or an everyday occurrence.


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