Monday, September 27, 2010

Influencing Others Through Text

            Chapter 3 points out that text generates meaning and people are influenced by what those texts mean to them.  The three branches of critical studies are attitude and method, the concern with power, and interventionism. These theories can apply to writing a paper.
            In a paper it’s important to apply attitude in a critical way and is not intended to be hostile. You want to look beneath the surface and give observations that are not obvious so readers can be influenced and informed. It’s also important to use method by asking questions about the topic being studied and evaluates it making sure you can understand the message in its original context. This will help readers understand and appreciate your message. In conclusion, you want to make sure you can answer the “so what” throughout your paper to make sure readers can be influenced.
            Second, is the concern with power by being cautious on disempowering certain individuals or groups. It is important to be careful because people experience power in groups. Groups can be anything from gender, race, class, religion, age, and more. For an example if a women feels disempowered from a statement you make in your paper then all women will feel disempowered. In a good paper you don’t want to single out any groups by disempowering or empowering them. 
            Last, in a paper it is good to intervene or get involved with problems in order to discover different ways to experience the world. So, in a paper you should give the reader choices for different ways of doing things. You want to show the reader how to find meaning and try to inspire or change someone for the better.  An example of this is presenting ways you can help the environment. There are so many choices and things someone can do to help the environment by recycling, saving water and many more. This gives the readers an opportunity to make their own choices.
            A good paper requires a message people can understand and relate too. So, by including all these branches in a paper: attitude/method, concern with power, and interventionism will lead to a successful piece of work.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Creating Our Own Reality

            In Walter Lippmann’s chapter on “The World Outside and the Pictures in our Heads,” gives the theory that humans create their own reality. Lippmann believes that everyone has his or her own pseudo-environment. Everyone lives in the same world but mentally live in different worlds based on their perception of reality.  I agree with this view because everyone does live in their own realities like people who are devoted to their religion.
            Plato’s “Allegory of The Cave’s”, main goal in life is finding the form of the good and to educate those with the right natures so they can find the form of good. You need to understand everything to understand anything and once you understand anything you can precede the path to the understanding of everything. He believes everyone begins their lives in a cave and education is the struggle to move as far out of the cave as possible.
            We are seeing illusions that are not real but because we have acknowledged them as such for so long, it’s hard for us to accept any other way. Plato believes that throughout our lives we are searching for the truth and we must rely on thought alone. Plato conveys is belief that people perceiving only through senses is ultimately an inferior form of knowledge.  In our modern age there still exist fires that cast shadows on our walls.
            This goes back to the idea that TV and Internet have polluted our senses and distorted the reality we believe in. When we watch the news or research for information on the Internet, we automatically assume that it is the whole truth because its hard to except that our only source of information would deceive us. The news is only focused on giving us half the truth and only report on things that increase ratings. But, knowing this we still rely on the media for information because that is all we know and believe. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

The History of Rhetoric

                 Chapter 2 covers many different ways to define rhetoric throughout history. The Sophists believe that rhetoric is “the art of persuasion carried out through public speaking,” and being able to speak to general audiences on a wide variety of topics (Page 41). Aristotle did not believe that rhetoric was an art but that is was a knack of appearances and flattery rather than reality by fooling people.

            The Greeks claimed rhetoric occurs in traditional texts because that was ideal for public speaking. However, Vico brings a different angle on the definition of rhetoric as a human faculty and is based on human experience. He is saying that you can make your own truth and perception of reality.
            I agree more with Vico rather than the Greeks view because reality is what we perceive and we create our own reality based on our experiences.  By seeing the world in our own way and coming to our own conclusions is rhetoric at work. Unlike Aristotle’s definition that rhetoric is ability to fool people to sway their opinions on issues, I believe rhetoric is how we as humans view the truth.
            Media today would veer more towards the Greeks definition of rhetoric. Obama is a good example of both the Sophists and Aristotle’s views. Obama is a good speaker and has the ability to deliver excitement through his passion and use of words. His campaign theme of change was appealing to the public because everyone has the desire for change and something different. He never fulfills these promises but it sure sounded good and grabbed the citizens’ attention. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Power Roles Played in Our Culture

            In the show, “I Love Lucy,” Lucy and Ethel were disempowered by their husbands. Ricky and Fred were the authority figures and the empowered ones in the show. Ricky gives Lucy allowance and scolds her when he finds out she over drafted her account. Her response is, “Yes sir,” Lucy is giving authority to Ricky and belittles herself. In the show, “Seinfeld,” straight men were empowered and homosexuals were the disempowered. It was more the comments made about the gays rather than the people themselves in this episode. There were a lot if stereotypical comments made like when Jerry said people mistake him for gay because he is single, neat, and thin claiming that’s how all gay men are.
            In “I Love Lucy,” Lucy resembles a housewife because of her dresses and apron, which is iconic. The indexical sign is the apron, when Ricky was put in Lucy’s shoes for a day doing housework and he wore an apron to put him in the mindset. The apron represents doing housekeeping. Lucy resembled the perfect housewife that cooked and cleaned which is symbolic. In “Seinfeld,” the comment “not that there is anything wrong with that” was iconic in which they were trying to address an uncomfortable subject with humor. When Jerry mentions that people think he is gay because he is single, thin and neat was indexical. He is being referred to as gay because of those traits rather than just a normal person. Two men that spend a lot of time together, Jerry and George, are symbolic to gay men. After the story got out about Jerry being gay he did not want to go to the Broadway show with George because he feared of looking homophobic Also, the episode ends with Kramer with an attractive young man which cause George and Jerry to wonder and Kramer explains that he is just the phone guy and ends with “not that there is anything wrong with that.”
            The artifacts in “I Love Lucy” are that women are spenders and men are earners. In the show Lucy and Ethel go to work and they are very unsuccessful. They gave the perception that women during this time were only good at housekeeping and spending their husband’s money. Ricky and Fred stay home and do housework only to fail at cooking, cleaning, ironing and show that they are only good for working and earning the money. In “Seinfeld,” they referred to homosexuals as two men spending a lot of time together and going to Broadways together. If two men spend a lot of time together they automatically assumed they were gay.
            Reality is that women are good at doing the housekeeping but they can go to work too. Even if the husband is the only one that brings home a check it is shared equally among spouses. Culture if men went to work they were in control of the money and wives did not get an equal share but only an allowance. It is perceived that housekeeping and working is not equal but in reality it is. In reality homosexuals are human beings with their own wants and desires and they don’t all have same interest. If there were two men or women hanging out no one automatically comes to conclusion that they are gay. Culture shows that gays go to broadways and spend lots of time together.
            Since the time both shows aired a lot of things have changed on the topics of homosexuals and the disempowerment of women. Today homosexuals are more accepted and many shows have gay characters like Brothers and Sisters. The issue of the disempowerment of women has changed dramatically. Shows today feature women as doctors, detectives and have more power in the household than Lucy and Ethel. They are viewed now as women that can work and make decisions rather than seen as just good housekeepers. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Meaning of Rhetoric

            When the word rhetoric comes to mind I think of English. Rhetoric is the use of language to communicate effectively. In the work place and in class it’s important to use good rhetoric. It ‘s essential to have the ability to use effective language if you want to be taken seriously and professionally by your peers.  In a way rhetoric is also influential.
            Growing up my mom was always strict on how my sister and I answered the phone. If we said, “this is her,” she would tell us to start over and try again. My mom wanted us to practice good rhetoric and by answering the phone and saying “this is she,” was a tool in helping us practice effective communication.
            Persuasion is another word I think of with the term rhetoric. When speaking or even writing you want to persuade the audience that the statements you’re making are true. People use rhetoric when making persuasive speeches. Advertisers use this technique to persuade consumers to purchase their product or use their service. 
            I think that rhetoric is almost like a discipline. Having the ability to communicate well to others makes you disciplined. Rhetoric is the study of how people use language to organize experiences and being able to communicate it to others. When you speak well, you are perceived as a polite and intelligent person. 
            I believe that the word rhetoric is something that everyone needs to use in his or her daily life. Some define rhetoric as a means of obscuring the truth like the media does on a daily basis. But, I don’t think that is an accurate definition of the word at all. I see rhetoric more as an important art or strategy for persuading an audience.