Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Self Critique

As far as blogging goes this semester, I think I did an ok job. I had a lot to say about certain prompts and not so much to say about others. The blogs that I wrote significantly more about and went further in depth to were often the ones that had interesting and thought provoking prompts that allowed me to elaborate. Some other prompts I felt like there was no way I could write 500 words on, so I fell short.

The blogs that I felt like I did well on were the Gender and Bathrooms post, Preliminary thoughts post, and the Challenging media post. These prompts really engaged me and gave me a lot to consider when writing. Plus, both the challenging media and gender and bathrooms prompts provided another source such as a video to accompany the explanation. I found these other sources very helpful and they helped me be able to go in depth in my response.

The blogs that I felt like I did not do well on was the discussion forum post and others like it that simply asked you to say what you thought about the forum. I provided my thoughts but beyond that there was not much more I could provide. I just felt like the prompt was not sufficient enough for 500 words, so those posts were significantly shorter than the rest.

What I have learned as a writer and blogger this semester is how to address a broad audience such as what you find online. You have no idea who is going to read your post, so I think that enabled me to stretch my writing in order to be appealing to various types of people. My relationship with writing publically has changed, just in the way I support and defend my arguments in all my papers. Because I now know that many people are not persuaded simply by an argument, but by sources and evidence. Having such a broad audience has caused me to try to strengthen arguments I give.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Annotated Bibliography Post

Here are my three sources that I plan on using in my response essay so far:
This is a website devoted to stopping abortions in the U.S. They provide a lot of facts on abortion types, people who get abortions, annual abortion statistics, why abortions are preformed, etc all within the U.S. It also deals with a lot of questions or arguments that arise on both sides of the argument. Has a lot of good facts. Also explains why we should care about abortion occurring. We have a responsibility to stand up for the innocent ones who cannot defend themselves.
This website presents 10 reasons why abortion should be objected against. The reasons are well thought out and well presented. They are also researched and supported with sources. Offers some great and detailed arguments against the pro-choice belief. Uses a variety of sources ranging from the Bible to medical research.
This is an article by Peter Kreeft where he explains the argument against abortion as "the apple argument." This is a very unique, and I think effective way to go about explaining to pro-choice believers that we do know that the fetus is a living human being. It does a great job simply putting things into perspective and offering a different viewpoint on the fetus. I think I can use quotes and references to this argument in my own paper.

Response Essay Post

What I have decided to do my response essay on is the prelim essay on abortion. This prelim essay is presented in the beliefs of a "pro-choice" activist which is the complete opposite of what I believe (pro-life). Since this essay is opposing my views so directly, I think I will have an easy time writing a five page response.
As far as the beginning goes in my response essay, I don't quite know exactly how I am going to start yet. I do know that the three main points I want to discuss will be :
1) How the abortion rates in the U.S just continue to increase every year and what this is saying about our society.
2) I will acknowledge that yes, there are some sad situations, such as rape that happen. I will however argue that whatever the circumstance, the baby made is completely innocent and deserves the chance to live.
3) I will also argue that although abortion was legalized in the U.S in Roe vs. Wade, the claim made in the prelim essay that "abortion was proven the most moral, ethical, and legal way" to handle unwanted pregnancies is false. I will offer situations, other choices, and objections to that statement.
It is probably clear from above that my main goal in my paper will be proving the validity of the pro-life arguments. I will mainly be focusing on disproving the belief that pro-choice is right by offering other views and arguments.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Challenging Media Post

I watched the video on the Disney company. First of all, I do not agree with any of the arguments made by the researchers in the video. I believe that the man who started it all, Walt Disney, had the only intention to provide family safe entertainment. His goal was just to give families something wholesome to watch and enjoy together. The stories that most children grew up watching, therefore, were Walt Disney's ideas and I believe they all had good intentions. I was raised on disney myself, so was my sister, and neither of us believe in white supremecy, racism, or overlooking abuse. The fact of the matter is, that when most children are watching those videos, at an early age, they cannot even think about the issues that these researchers have presented. All the kids care about is being entertained with a good story line and interesting charcters. I just consider the arguments made by the researchers to be results of over-analyzing what are supposed to be simple and innocent stories meant to just be clean entertainment. As a matter of fact, there are several disney movies that can dismiss the arguments made about disney only representing whites in thier movies. Movies such as Mulan, Aladdin, and The princess and the frog all represent minority groups in a well-respected light. All of the heros and heroines in these movies are of different races but have all the qualities of the white heros and heroines in other disney movies. How is disney racist or promote white supremecy if they made movies such as these?
One thing I absolutely did not agree with is the ending statement made by one of the CEOs of disney. Since disney made their start by entertaining children and still make most of their profit from children, their number one concern should be wholesome entertainment for kids. Without children they would not be where they are today. Walt Disney made Disney company for children, and the fact that now the company has corrupt individuals in power who are only concerned with money is very discouraging.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dissenting Voices Post

I recently read an online article from msnbc.com entitled "Obama: Weak economy drove election outcome." I mainly disagreed with how Obama portrays the republican party in the elections as well as the comments Obama makes about the outcome. Obama says that Republicans "were able to paint my governing philosophy as a classic, traditional, big government liberal. And that's not something the American people want." I highly disagree with this comment and think that it is very contradictory. Everything that Obama has implimented, including Health care, stimulus package, etc. has given the American people the impression that he is for big government. Considering that the health care bill he has been pushing so hard gives a lot of control, basically all control of the health care system, to the government, why shouldn't Americans assume that he is for liberal, big government? The Republicans did not have to "gang-up" on him and mislead the American people into wrong assumptions like Obama claims; his polices and actions have spoken for themselves. 
Obama also makes the comment that "Big election losses suffered by Democrats were "first and foremost" a reflection of the economy's weakness rather than a wholesale rejection of his policies, President Barack Obama said on Sunday." I feel like this comment is ignoring everything that the American public has been expressing over the past few months. The public has clearly expressed through polls and surveys that overall, they do not agree with the actions and policies that Obama has  been pushing since being elected. Not only are Americans upset with the economy, but they are not happy with Obama's overall actions. Several sources indicate that "A majority, 52 percent, now disapproves of the way Obama is handling his job overall, another first in ABC/Post polls." This clearly indicates that the people are not just unhappy with the economy. I do not agree with Obama's strategy by using the economy as the sole excuse as to why the elections did not turn out in his or his party's favor. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Online Interaction Post

Honestly I do not feel like the blog posts are really extending much communication past the classroom. I read and comment on other people's blog posts, but not frequently and extensively enough to really communicate with classmates that seriously. I do not receive many comments or conversations relating to my blog posts either, which makes me think that some of my classmates are in the same boat. However, when we do meet in person, I feel like there is a lot of meaningful and helpful conversation. I think our class really helps each other out in person, but online it's just harder to effectively communicate about various things.
When I do receive comments on blog posts, they do not start good discussions very often. Most of the time they are in agreement with what I have said or words of encouragement. Don't get me wrong, I really like getting those, it just doesn't really start a discussion. When I am commenting on other people's posts, I do the same thing and just point out the ways in which I agree with them. Considering the various topics we have to make blog posts about, I feel like it is difficult to really start a meaningful discussion. If I were to pick between the blog posts and the discussion forums, I would say that the forums provoke more in-depth conversations. The blog posts are ok, but just a little harder to comment on.
I guess what I would change about the blog interactions to make them more effective, is when commenting to ask questions to one another instead of just saying "I like this.." I need to change my reactions as well when commenting. Maybe asking questions about posts would at least encourage a further discussion.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Qualitative Concerns Post

My biggest concerns when doing qualitative research are asking the right questions, and finding enough research to write on. When I am conducting my interviews, I want to make sure I am getting genuine responses, not anything that the person getting interviewed thinks I want to hear. So, as I am writing my interview questions, I have to be very careful to ask only open-ended questions, without any hints to lead the answers in a certain direction. Also, I am concerned about finding things online to give me enough information to write on. I know there are blogs and other resources out there, I am just nervous about finding them. I guess to ensure I have enough information to write on, I will pick only sources that are in depth.
I am a little worried about making sure my information is qualitative and not quantitative. In order to prevent my paper from sounding quantitative, I will try to include my viewpoints when starting the research and what I actually found when researching. I will also make sure I am including statistics and data like that, but not more than the information from personal sources such as interviews and blogs.
The best aspects I think about qualitative research is the variety of research you can explore. I am not just stuck with charts, graphs, and statistics, but can also look at people's personal opinions and how they express them. I get to immerse myself in the subject instead of having to stay objective. I think I will enjoy really learning the truth of what people out in society think about the topic I am researching. I think it will be a very interesting and unique experience.
I definitely expect to face limited information, especially from my interviews. There is only so much someone is going to sit down and say on one subject, so the rest is up to me to find. I plan to get past this limitation by planning my interview questions very precisely and carefully. Also when searching online, I will try not to just use the first source I come upon. I am going to search for awhile looking for the best possible sources of information I can use in my writing.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stereotypical News Article Post

When reading this article, I noticed the format was almost identical to the public article I am using for my paper. Basically, the order in which he says articles present information is exactly how my article is organized. The journalist presents the main idea of the information, adds quotes from various sources, and briefly elaborates while adding an image relating to the research topic.
When it comes to the tone of Robbins' article, he is very sarcastic and knowledgeable about scientific news articles. He assumes that his audience will get his puns and sarcasm without explaining the ideas or motives behind them. Based on that fact, I think you can assume that Robbins is targeting an audience who is well versed on scientific articles and research. Only individuals who regularly read scientific articles in magazines, newspapers, ext. could understand the humor Robbins uses. Also, the citing and quoting used in Robbins article is not serious whatsoever, therefore targeting those in his audience with a good sense of sarcasm and humor.
Robbins article made me see several key differences in not only the wording, but also the organization of my scholarly article and public article. The most obvious is how simple and short the paragraphs are in my public article as opposed to the scholarly one. The scholarly one is all in one paragraph, which means it is shorter than the public one, but a lot more information is presented at one time. The shorter paragraphs appeal more to a general public audience because it appeals shorter and easier to read. The long, joined paragraph appeals more so to the academic community because the information is all presented in one place. These kind of organizational differences all come together to target the audience intended.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scholary Article Post

The scholary article I chose to use for my paper is about a new planet discovered that scientists say could support life. It is written by a collaboration of several astronomers from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington D.C. The link is: http://arxiv.org/abs/1009.5733
The public article that I have chosen to accompany it is one from National Geographic talking about the same planet. The link is: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/100930-new-planet-discovered-first-habitable-earthike-water-gliese-581g-science-goldilocks/
Some concerns I have for this paper is just being able to understand the language of the scholarly article enough to explain the differences between that and the public article. As most scholary articles are, my article is short, but very detailed and is almost completely written in scientific terms. So, I just hope that I can get a grasp on what is being expressed in the article. I plan to look up the terms talked about if I dont' understand them so I can be as accurate as possible. I am also worried about making sure I do not just discuss the differences in the articles, but go in detail as to why the differences exist. I think that will be difficult to focus on, instead of getting caught up in just listing and explaining the differences themselves. I think what I will do to make sure I am staying on track is stop after ever difference I list and make sure I know how I did or will explain the reasons for that difference. I think I'm going to have to check myself every so often during the writing process. I do not have an outline planned out yet, but have started looking at the differences between the articles.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Discussion Forum Post

I think that the discussion forum was helpful in cetain ways. I think that reading other people's comments was helpful and gave me a different perspective. I did not participate as much as I wanted. I had a lot of work that day during the forum so all I managed to get done was my posts. I did not comment on others' posts, but did go back and read their comments. Other people in the class had some great things to say or add onto one another's post which created a great discussion.
I think a forum discussion would be good to have in the future, but perhaps have them on a more contreversial or popular topic. I found it hard to talk about those articles in depth. If the class had a more "exciting" topic to discuss, I think everyone would participate and enjoy the forums a little more. I like the opportunity to discuss things in a cyber-setting with the class, I just think a different topic would impove the quality and participation of the forum. Overall, the discussion forum was an interesting and unique idea and I would not mind having one in the future, especially with the improvements I already mentioned.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Entering the Conversation Post

I loved this article by Liberman. The number one thing I think you can learn from his blog is the fact that no one should take science based writing for fact without putting a little bit of research into it. Obviously, Liberman proved that this particular writer for a well-known science magazine was completely twisting results from an experiment just to make a popular story. Instead of the public simply taking his word for fact, it is important to research the results he talks about in the article for yourself.
Liberman is able to prove this article wrong by real, reported data from the exact experiment the writer refers to. The results are even cited as to where they came from for anyone to look at. Clearly the results are the complete opposite of what the writer leads people to believe. Also, Liberman adds that the man that he got the data from is now cited as a source on the science magazines article. Further proving that whoever reads the science magazines article should and now can look at the true results of the experiment. Unlike the science magazines columnist, Liberman makes good use of citations and legitimate sources. The sources I think are very helpful to the reader and reassure him/her that what they are reading is true and proven.
The best and most effective way I think there would be to remedy the problem of false information in the media or resources seen by the public is for the editing that goes on within the sources to be concise and strict. Obviously, the writer for the science magazine had to submit his work to a supervisor for editing before the printing and publishing process. This supervisor did not do his/her job by checking the sources used by the writer or whether or not the information that will be presented to their readers is correct. The best way to prevent false information from being sold to the public is stricter processes of editing within the magazine, newspaper, ext companies before going to print. I believe it is their responsibility to ensure the material in their media is correct, and part of the blame for this misleading article should be on the writer's supervisor. Cracking down on this editing process and having certain standards of citation and proof available in an article would help the problem we see in this particular science article.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Open Writing Post

The consequences of writing openly on the internet are often talked about. Many times we hear "don't put things on facebook, myspace, or twitter that would be inappropriate or give someone too much information about you." There are certain dangers to putting too much information on the internet or expressing opinions about a certain topic that might upset someone out in the cyber world. I do think that a lot of people take advantage of the internet by putting information up on facebook such as addresses, phone numbers, email and so on. Many people who can see this information might take advantage of it and contact you or try to use your information inappropriately. Also, there have been several instances where someone blogs or writes about their opinion that they feel strongly about. This can sometimes severely upset and offend someone else and extreme measures have been taken physically against such bloggers. Basically, I think that you need to be considerate of others when posting online, and also conscious of how much information you reveal to others.
The benefits to writing openly online include reaching a very large amount of people instantly and all at once, as well as making a difference in what people think or know. It is awesome that so much information from so many different points of view are available in one place, the internet. It is undoubtedly one of the best and most valuable sources of information that exists. I think what attracts so many bloggers online is the fact that they can openly express their feelings and thoughts to others, which they might not be able to do in their everyday life. They can also receive instant feedback and connect to others from all over the world. There is just such a diverse and large community online, that it is hard to resist for a lot of writers to take advantage of.
I think that in class we do utilize the freedom to speak online to a good degree. We do talk about our opinions and feelings on certain topics to the public. Most of the time I forget that other people besides the class can see what I write! I just think about other classmates reading my posts. But it is interesting and new for me to write online to such a degree.
I think the biggest challenge faced when writing online, is being careful how you word your opinions, especially on touchy topics. Just like I said before, you don't to offend people to the point where they no longer want to read what you write. The best way to overcome this is by just wording things in a so called "politically correct" way. Just consider other people's points of view on topics. Not to limit what your ideas are, but to say them in an appropriate way.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Feedback and Critique Post

When it comes to offering criticism of other people's work, I think I can offer it in a decent way. I'm not the best at it because I do not want to say anything that will hurt someone's feelings or offend them. I can very easily point out grammar and spelling errors and other practical things like that, but commenting on the body of the paper is hard for me. I am always fearful of saying too much, or being too harsh and judgmental. I have gotten over that more than I used to be because in high school, my English teachers made us all peer review each others’ papers. I have been doing it for awhile, so I think it will continue to get easier and easier with time.

My idea of good constructive criticism comes from my previous English teachers' comments when they critiqued my papers. They always offered really good advice, but in a nice way. All the advice was simply given to make my papers better, not because of their personal opinions. I try to give advice like that whenever I critique another person's paper.

The most useful criticism I think someone can give me is if I sound confusing at some point in my paper. If one of my points doesn't make sense to the reader or is not clear, I want to know about it. It is better for me to know that ahead of time, instead of when I turn it in for grading. I appreciate when someone kindly but honestly points out places where my writing is not clear. That above everything else, is the most helpful.

Based on what others have told me about criticism, I think I can offer valuable critiques. I try to find things in every paper to praise as well as correct. The papers I read in my peer editing group did not have that much that I would correct. I thought that each person presented something unique and different. Besides small, things I did not have too much to say about each person’s paper. Overall though, I try my best to give valuable advice to each writer.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What is it? Blog Post

Based on what we have discussed in class and on our own, I think a rhetorical analysis is mainly a break-down of the text, (whatever that may be,) with a detailed look at each aspect. Whether that be the motives behind the text, the circumstances that might have affected the text, the audience, or the constraints placed on the text. Instead of just simply looking at the text as a whole, a rhetorical analysis focuses on the underlying issues that inspired the text. Why did the author argue a certain point, and who is it trying to persuade? What is the main rhetorical appeal used? How might the appeal draw people in? These are all main questions that I think a rhetorical analysis should answer. As for organizing a rhetorical analysis, I think they are most effective when putting the information into sections. For example, look at each aspect of the text individually and discuss each aspect one at a time. If you start to group details together, valuable information can be lost or become confusing. Also when considering the audience, exigence, and constraints; it is still important to discuss each one at a time, elaborating thoroughly on each subject.

When I write my own rhetorical analysis, I plan on organizing the information similarly to what I described above. So far, I plan on analyzing a BP commercial, so the first things I will discuss are the audience, exigence, and constraints possibly targeted in the propaganda. I will elaborate on each and try to explain my reasoning behind each of my beliefs. Next, I would talk about the rhetorical appeals used in the commercial (pathos, ethos, logos), still keeping the information in an orderly and concise manner. After this, my final piece would be my argument, or the positive and negative things I see in the commercial. As I write, I will probably come up with new points or ways to organize my arguments, so it is kind of hard to say right now exactly how it will be. But I will definitely try to keep the paper flowing smoothly and presenting my information in a clear effective way.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gender and Bathrooms Blog Post

This blog does make really interesting points. The world, in general, considers women the secondary figure to men. Women are just the variation of men, therefore not a true representation of "mankind." I'm not saying that everyone believes that or promotes it, but it is almost engrained in our thinking in society. Unconsciously we act as though women cannot be as good as men in certain aspects, sometimes unfairly. As for how we characterize men in America: men are seen as having to be tough, a man's man, and the one who does all the work. Women are seen as being meek, timid, and the support system to the man. In our society there are still hints of that notion that women are meant for housework rather than a career. The men are seen as responsible entirely for "bringing home the bacon." We also seem to characterize all men as being predatory like the blog said. The picture shows a male figure looking over the stall at a female figure, therefore inferring that all men should chase after women constantly and be overly protective of them. This really demeans men, and generalizes them into one indifferent group. In the same sense, women are always pictured as being gentle, shy characters. They are often pictured looking down at the ground as if women cannot stand up for themselves or defend any kind of position. This is also demeaning and generalizes all women as objects that need to be fended for and protected; almost as a helpless figure.

Without realizing it, something as simple as bathroom signs automatically classify all of us as indifferent, non-unique members of a gender group. The signs infer that all women should act a certain way and dress, act, ext. in the same way. The signs in the same way infer that all men should have certain characteristics, and if you don't you aren't a true man. This stresses the sense of conformity that is so prevalent in our society today. If you don't conform to certain standards and expectations of your gender, then you fail as an individual and are not generally excepted. Reading this blog really opened my eyes to the judgments we make about others without even realizing it.

Preliminary Thoughts Blog Post

 What I am thinking about analyzing in my first paper is one of BP commercials that I have seen on T.V. or one of the commercials made by the Government about the same topic: the oil spill. I found the commercials of both parties to be really misleading and lacking in the facts department. What was and still is being reported on the news about the oil spill and the investigation still going on about it, completely contradicts the commercials made by BP and the Government. BP insists that they are making great strides in the clean up process and that they are doing all they can to get the gulf back to the way it was for the people who live there. The Government insists that their fast actions and decision making saved the Gulf from a lot more oil that could've washed up on the shore. To me this is ridiculous. How can the Government possibly know what could've happened? And in the news, there were several reports that stated that Obama held off on sending several available skimmers. Also, other countries reportedly offered to help us with the clean up and our Government refused. These are all issues that I hope to effectively discuss and present using the rhetorical strategies in each commercial.

In both commercials I think the strongest rhetorical appeals are pathos and ethos. The position of the employee of BP speaking to the public can persuade some people that he knows what he is talking about and is telling the truth. Some people assume that a big company like BP must be right on the matter of clean up in the gulf. Also Obama narrates the Government commercial, so his position convinces a lot of people to believe whatever he is saying. Pathos is also addressed in both commercials. The speakers both say they are doing all they can and that they genuinely care about the people of the gulf. The viewers are tempted to feel compassion and understanding towards both parties.

My main roadblock that I need to overcome in writing my paper is organizing my arguments and thoughts and making sure I present them in a logical way.

Propaganda Blog Post

The most obvious and impacting change there has been in propaganda since WWII is the means by which is it spread. The main means of spreading information or asserting opinions during WWII was by posters. Today, the main means of spreading propaganda, I think, is through online newspaper articles, actual newspaper articles, and of course, T.V. Through these main means of communication, a larger and more diverse audience is reached in our world today. Almost everyone has a computer and email/internet access. If not purposely seeking out news events or political opinions, someone can still be confronted with news articles through their email account. Before even logging in to most accounts, there are recent updates and posts  about current issues. Being online, it is almost unavoidable to not be overwhelmed by news headlines.
If someone does not have email access, there are still newspapers and T.V. shows that are constantly competing with one another for the minds of the American people. They fight for the peoples' opinions and approval; to agree with their point of view instead of others. There is a demand for current news and knowledge of world events unlike there ever was during WWII.
The message the Government and other companies are sending to the American people today, (especially concerning the BP oil spill) is to blame the someone else for the occurring problems. We continually see the blame game played back and forward between BP and the Government. As more and more facts are becoming known still, months after the actual spill, Americans are having to decide for themselves who is to blame. But one thing is for sure, the Government and BP both have kept some things from the public and media purposely.
I think that Americans fear terrorists most of all right now. Attacks and threats are shown in the media very often keeping us constantly aware as a country that we could still be vulnerable.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rhetorical Triangle Makeup ad

This is an old ad for lipstick from the 1950's. I believe it primarily appeals to pathos or the emotions of the audience. The target audience is women, because they are trying to persuade them to buy the lipstick. By saying that a man will find you more attractive if you wear this lipstick, a woman's emotions are targeted. They may feel like they should go buy the lipstick in order to attract men because of the message in the ad. The ad also uses Ethos but in a less direct way. By saying it is "fashion's magnetic new color," the reader feels like the speaker is an authority on fashion. They may be even futher convinced of buying the lipstick because they want to be hip and stylish. I think that the message in the ad, is primarily to use the lipstick to find love. I think it is very effective in the time frame that it was created. It may not be as effective today, but it targets the women of the 1950's and their mode of fashion very well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Response to "How to say nothing in 500 words."

This essay by Roberts was extremely useful and relevent despite the year it was written. Several of the points made about different writing mistakes often made by freshman in college did remind me of some things I commonly do. I find that I do try to 'pad' my papers, especially when there is a word limit, by adding longer phrases in order to make one point. Instead, Roberts reminds me to just get to the point and not dance around it too much. I also find that sometimes I go with the obvious choice in opinion papers. Instead of thinking about an interesting, and not often used topic, I opt to go for the easiest and fastest option. Before reading this essay, I knew somewhat that I made these mistakes in some of my papers; but I didn't know exactly how to correct the mistakes. I think after reading this, I have some pretty good ideas about how to improve my writing.