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Analysis Of Freakonomics Book By Steven D. Levitt And Stephen J. Dubner

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In Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s non fiction work, Freakonomics, the underlying argument throughout the text revolves around misconstrued facts. The authors challenge with discourse over various subjects with a tone that’s subtle yet slightly sarcastic. They tactfully use the rhetorical modes of arguments, cause and effect and for example to show everything isn’t as it seems. The implied connotation revolves around immersing one’s self into beyond the conventional aspects. The recurrent motif is that there is hidden side to everything, with everything being strong suggested to everything, with everything being strongly suggested to be Economics .

To clarify, Levitt and Dubner used the inner working of a Chicago street gang, the Black Disciples, and paradoxically compares their inner business workings with a McDonald’s franchise. They found this out through a graduate student, Sudhir Venkatesh, who found out how the gang’s financial ecosystem worked. “ An awful lot like most American businesses, actually, though perhaps none more so than McDonald’s. In fact if you were to org chart side by side, you could hardly tell the difference”(89). Ironically a lot of their foot soldiers were forced to live at home due to being paid minimum wage which equates to McDonald’s basic employees. The bookkeeping system is on a level with many major business as is the employee pecking order. To say gangs are just interested in dealing crank and smoking dope is a major understatement. Gangs are big business.

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In the same manner, consider what’s behind a given name. The analogy in the text suggests there is separation between white and black names. For example if there are two boys and one named Trevan and is black while the other is named Cody and white. Trevon is more likely to not succeed as well in life as Cody. All because of his name. Supposedly he’s handicapped by stereotypical black name which foreshadows a low -income, low -education and single parents background. Trevon’s name would even hurt him at job interviews when it comes to call blacks. People like Trevon with common black names are unfairly stereotyped and grouped together as being undependable and troublesome, while Cody and the boy and his group are at an economic advantage. Despite this black parents are enamored with ethnic names.

Equally important are the subjects of death and fear which the authors make a logical appeal to his readers. Bottom line is we are all going to die one day. The argument lies in what is safer car or plane, with the answer being planes. Ironically, broken down to time driving or flying they both are about equal. The hidden side lies in water where boating accident, drownings and swimming pool casualties outnumber people dying in plane crashes. Water is a silent killer, especially to babies, as they can drown in an instant.

Put another way the obvious is always there for everyone to assume, but people should realize there are always other sides. For example when you think of schools and cheat you automatically think of students trying to get the best grades they can or pass a class they’re failing. Cheating even reaches to standard tests with students. The unknown variable is that teachers also cheat. According to the text proof was found in Chicago by former CEO of CPS, Arne Duncan, after retesting certain classes found irregularities. They cheated for same reason students cheat, incentives. Teacher incentives are advancement, placement, GPA and student ranking. Teachers cheated for socioeconomic reason. Meaning they cheated to keep up with their peers for fear of being left behind, while some at same cheated because being left behind would damage their family economically, especially in the case of older students. Incentives provide opportunities to cheat, not just in this example. The higher the incentives the more likely cheating would occur whether it be teachers or students. Does’nt say much for human nature?

In the same way according to the test there is a definite black-white test gap. Entering kindergarten the black and white are on an even plane. After that the black students are continually playing catch-up to their white counterparts. Most blame the school, teachers and their social- economic status but hidden truth is that black students lose more ground than whites when school is out. Supposedly the reason has something to do with the neighborhood. In which the black students lives in as well as the people in that neighborhood. It’s ironic because everyone puts the blame on the schools when the environment outside of school is also a hindrance. In essence the neighborhood is a deterrent to any learning process.

In the same fashion was John Green’ Paper Towns main character, Margo Roth Spiegelman has a unconventional look at people and town around her. This separates her from her family and friends and at the same time suffocates her. ‘You see how fake it all is. It’s a paper town. All those paper people living in their paper house, burning the future to stay warm” (57). Metaphorically poetic. Unconventional teenager unhappy in world that smothered her to the point she was just going through the motions to keep those around her satisfied. She finally had enough and ran away not expecting to be found although clues were left assuring her safety. Margo assuredly is a character with a hidden, yet unconventional side.

In light of Harper Lee’s new novel, Go Set A Watchman it’s quite interesting as we see the implied connotation of her main character, Atticus Finch, brought out. Her first novel , To Kill A Mockingbird, portrayed, Atticus, as a stately non- racial man went to great lengths to defend Boo Radley. “It’s not okay to hate anybody” (246). “ You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view- until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (30). The reality clearly shows a cultural juxtaposition between Atticus in To Kill A Mockingbird and Go Set A Watchman as his attitude colored people changes abruptly in the second novel, especially his new black neighbors. However, only his daughter Jean -Louis sees that while to everyone else Atticus is a pillar in the community and not a bigot. Even characters can have hidden sides in sequels written many years later.

With this in mind recently former pro wrestler turned UFC fighter C.M. Punk recently said in Rolling Stone, August 10, 2015, “People get so mad when I say this, but pro wrestling was fake.” Coincidentally his current boss UFC President Dana White, told Twitter troll WWE Champion Seth Rollins that WWE’s “fake shit is worth $9.99”. The hidden story is C.M. Punk had an ongoing lawsuit with the WWE regarding a staph infection and subsequent firing on his wedding day. Ironically the lawsuit was going on while his wife, A. J. Lee was working for the company. WWE, in the past,has been known to mend fences with disgruntled former employees such as Bret Hart, the late Ultimate Warrior, the late Randy Savage and family and others. A future reconciliation wouldn’t surprise anyone, as the quote could be construed as an oxymoron- sour grapes. As far as Dana White, secretly Vince McMahon and white are negotiating to have Ronda Rousey came to the next Wrestlemania. Rousey is under contract with white and is their female champion. Wrestling may be fake, but there’s more to the story. It’s hypocritical that C.M. Punk calls his former profession fake while still using his wrestling pseudonym instead of his birth name of Phil Brooks. The truth lies in name recognition, where as no one would pay to see MMA fighter Brooks, but they would to see Punk. As far as Dana White employee Brook Lesnar was the current WWE champion his fake comment wouldn’t have been made. The real truth is Lesnar is a hybrid that has been MMA champion before which is a real sport no matter what he does now and White wouldn’t close the door on an eventual return.

In reality my own world revolves around more than what is obvious to most. For example a lot of us teenagers in my age bracket, fourteen to eighteen wear name brand clothes like Nike, Adidas, Pink, Hollister, Victoria Secret , Asics and others. Does this necessarily means our parents are in upper income bracket financially? After all these clothes and related items are extremely costly and most parents at a CPS school like Kennedy get a tuition waiver. So how do they afford the clothes rummage sales, thrift stores and hand-me-downs. Even the popular running shoes. Truth is very few can afford to buy new clothes unless there is real good sale.

With this in mind my own sense of isnt exactly what it seems. My appeal is emotional yet paradoxical. In a complex analogy I’m a Kennedy student who has spent the entire summer buying and wearing Reavis clothing. Ironically I have no intention of transferring to Reavis. My hidden statement is that I’m fed up with CPS. I’m fed up with the strikes, day closed for cold weather, lousy food, outdated equipment , inferior facilities etc. Reavis gets out in June, while we get out closer to the Fourth of July. Summer job- forget about it! Suburban kids have the advantage. I’ve tried other discourses to no avoil. My hidden statement is my release valve.

In a summarization facts explore the conventional side of everyday life. As a society we are used to the visuals statistics and graphics social media places before us. However as I have learned, that’s now the whole story. Beyond the facts lie hidden truths incomprehensible at first but somehow wind up appealing to one’s logic, ethics or emotions. Nothing is at it seems because we are in an ever changing socialistic world that always is in a state of flux. Everything has a story behind. In other words the authors in Freakonomics say there is a hidden side of everything runs parallel. However, there are times we are left with an unknown variable.


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