Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Reflective Essay: It's finally over!!!

I will not lie and say that I have always enjoyed writing, or that I even claim to enjoy doing it now. Whenever a paper has been assigned to me, I cannot for the life of me remember a time when I was excited to do it. I do, however, love writing for myself, such as in a journal, or on topics I care about, without a length requirement. Because of this lack of excitement for writing, I have always felt that my writing was mediocre and could have been better. I have always ended up rushing through papers, and leaving out details, which my AP English teacher always got on my ass about because in that class, details in our essays were what got us the scores we needed to get college credit for the class. She told me I had good ideas, I just needed more details to support those ideas. Well I honestly don’t feel as if I have gotten any better at utilizing details to support my ideas, with the exception of my post about MySpace, in which I felt I relayed details pretty well, as you can see here: “MySpace uses simple language, big, bright, bold links to useful operations such as music and videos, and there are usually directions telling you how to use these tools…MySpace really speaks out to younger kids also because of its focal point, to connect with other people and show off your own style. With so many options for your page, such as music, backgrounds, pictures, graphics and text, you can really express who you are on this site. You need to recognize a need to be different and expressive to really use MySpace to your advantage.” When it comes to topics such as this, a website that can be easily analyzed, I have gotten better at writing more descriptive details. I still feel I need to take more time to develop these details to support my ideas and thesis, but I have come further along in that I can at least recognize that lack of supporting details is one of my weaknesses in writing.
A strength I know I have always had in my writing is my voice. I find it very easy to put my own character and personality into my writing to make sure that reader’s can identify my point of view and hopefully understand where I am coming from. When we had the free write assignment in May, I chose to write about my relationships with boys as strictly friends, and I felt my voice came out in that post the easiest, as seen in this passage: “Well for one, my boyfriend had a bitch fit about it, even after I explained I have known Bryce longer than I have know him, and that it would be safer as well. He compared it to him living with some girl he has known for about two years, and I became so irritated, I hung up on him.” Anyone who knows me just a tiny bit can see me actually hanging up on my boyfriend, and I feel like I wrote that story as if I were telling it to a friend the next day.
An attribute I feel I have taken from this class is the ability to write for certain audiences. Honestly, before this class, I never really considered who I was writing a piece for, I always just wrote for my teacher to read. The format of this class as a blog has really opened my eyes to considering who is actually reading your work, and I think I have come to be a better writer in that aspect. My first post about MySpace, as you can see above, was very formal and followed what the teacher wanted to a letter almost, but near the end of the class I found I could add more humor and stray from the path of the assignment just a bit because of the college audience I was writing for. I found I could be more honest in what I really thought, as when we started the unit on Rhetorical analysis, and we had to choose a photograph to write on as an observation, then a reflection and then an argument. I was not ashamed to say the picture I chose reminded me of the kid’s movie Cars, “The first reflection I had about this photo came to me the first time I saw it, and that thought was about “tractor tipping” from the Disney movie Cars. It made me laugh because I could see the scene from the movie where Mater and Lightening (two characters from the movie, for those of you who haven’t seen it) go out into a field in the middle of the night, where the tractors are all sleeping, and then they proceed to honk in front of the tractors to startle them awake…”.
Overall, I am very happy with what this class has done to my writing skills. I feel I am more prepared for future college writing experiences, I just need a little more work. But you can’t fix everything at once, now can you?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Rhetorical Analysis: Propaganda Used Today

The current debate over the War in Iraq has pretty much divided the country, and many feel that the other party is to blame. Conservatives and Liberals are almost at each other’s throats over what the strategy should be in Iraq. This piece of propaganda I found online clearly demonstrates a Conservative view on a war and how they feel about the Liberal’s in the process. It depicts an American pilot standing in the cockpit of his plane, while squadrons of bombers fly behind him. Red, white and blue lettering and background colors spark a patriotic feeling, despite the text that puts down half of America, stating, “Shut the Fuck Up, We’ll Protect America….Keep out of the way, Liberal Pussies.” The propaganda style of this poster brings back a World War II feeling of patriotism that effectively inspired a nation to support the war effort. The rhetoric being used here is a combination of ethos and pathos, but show a complete lack of logos. Using the image in the style of World War II propaganda, this poster utilizes the ethos of propaganda and the pathos of patriotism to portray Conservatives as the heroes of the war while stating the downfall of the Liberals in America with offensive language.

Original World War II propaganda was used to demoralize the enemies of America and to inspire Americans to put all their effort into the war. This more modern piece targets another set of Americans as the target, namely Liberals, and the text uses comparison-contrast to show that Conservatives are heroic, real Americans, and then blatantly calls Liberals “pussies”. This contrasts the bravery and cowardice of the two political stances. Cause and effect can also be seen when the picture shows that if Conservatives can get Liberals out of the way, we can win the war. It is also using a descriptive strategy by describing the Liberals as “pussies” and the Conservatives as taking care of business. These development strategies employ the rhetorical strategies of ethos and pathos. The red, white, and blue colors used in this poster are examples of the ethos used to argue that Conservatives are more American and heroic than Liberals. Our country’s colors are a symbol for being All-American, and convey a certain sense of credibility and power. The vision of the perfect American pilot, standing proud on his plane, and looking tough all contribute to this piece’s ethos. Americans are usually thought to be the saviors of countries in need, and we are supposed to be good looking and masculine, which is represented here. Overall, the whole propaganda look of the poster brings a certain characteristic of patriotism and being true American, which is ethos in itself. The original real World War II poster targets the Japanese as being brutal and torturing our troops. This compares and contrasts America’s treatment of prisoners of war to Japan’s, and is aimed at inspiring Americans to believe in the fight against Japan and to not trust them as a race. It too is descriptive in the piece of real newspaper that tells the horrific story Yank prisoners killed by Japanese soldiers.

Propaganda was a form of psychological warfare that inspired our nation during the last big war to stand behind our troops and our nation. That ethos follows the form of propaganda of being super patriotic. When it comes to the pathos of the propaganda, the patriotic colors and images invoke feelings of well, patriotism and reminiscent of a better time when America was at war, but the whole country supported the fight. The scene on the poster also creates that feeling of being proud to be an American, and that adds to the argument that only the Right Wing side of the spectrum can bring us back to the good old days of glory and patriotism.

The style of propaganda itself supposedly has several ground rules, which, according to Charles Roetter in The Art of Psychological Warfare, were making sure it has an aim or purpose, has a target, carries credibility, and is a means of communication or dissemination (24). This piece here does have a purpose of establishing a bias against Liberals, and the target would be Liberals. It is a means of communication, but it hardly carries credibility in its argument, except that the generalization that Liberals are more against the war and want to pull out, while Conservatives are gung ho about the war. This difference arises from the associations with political parties, the Liberals tending to be mostly Democrats, and the Conservatives being Republican. This message is being sold through the use of propaganda which has a powerful effect on the enemy if it carries credibility, but if it doesn’t, it won’t get the attention of the target enemy, or at least it will not hold that attention for very long (Roetter 17).

The message being sold here that Conservatives will get the job done in the war better than the Liberals is presented through the strong use of text and foul language, and vintage pictures of victorious American troops. It is made to look like it was printed in 1940’s America during the Second World War, but there was no kind of debate during that time of whether Liberals or Conservatives had the right idea about what to do in the war, so it is a current piece. Also the use of the “F word” and the name used to describe Liberals were not commonly printed on propaganda to be hung in public. It can be read to mean the War in Iraq. The fact that the words speak the whole message in bold large font while the picture doesn’t really show an aspect of the argument makes the point much easier to catch on to. The viewer can be an average person and simply read the words and then look at the picture to see what he is trying to be told. Making the message accessible to the public will ensure it is spread more quickly, especially across the lower class people.

An offensive, bold poster such as this is going to catch the attention of any average American, and then make its point that they need to place there trust in the Conservative side of the political spectrum to hope to glean any success in the war. It clearly argues, simply through its text, that Liberals do not have what it takes to give America another victory. The propaganda style of the poster invokes patriotic emotions which can lead to patriotic support of the Conservatives and their plan for the war. Using the rhetorical appeals of ethos, with the propaganda style itself, and pathos, the American colors, to convince an audience of the Right Wing way of life compared to the Left.

Works Cited Page

Roetter, Charles. The Art of Psychological Warfare 1912-1945. Briarcliff Manor: Scarborough House, 1974.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

May 15, 2007: Don't Buy Gasoline Day

Recently while logging on to Facebook and Myspace, a bulletin and event have caught my attention. Apparently people are a bit sick and tired of the spike in prices of gasoline, with the average price being somewhere around three dollars a gallon. Its been called an early spike before the summer traveling season, and is only expected to go higher when summer officially arrives. Well in response and protest to this, a few groups have posted events on these networking sites stating that in 1997, there was a "gas out" where millions of Americans decided not to buy gas on one day, and supposedly, gas prices dropped $.30 over night, because of the huge profit lost by the fuel companies. This idea has been proposed again, stating that if on May 15th, everyone, at least on Myspace and Facebook, should not buy any gasoline at all. If its successful, then hopefully it will cost the fuel giants a profit of somewhere around $2,163,302,190.00. This gigantic loss of profit in the course of one day should prompt them to lower gas prices, if only temporarily. This logic is based on the assumption of course, that we all fill up everyday, and I feel it won't have the exact desired effect, but I will do my part to not fill up that day, unless I absolutely have to, like if its an emergency. I do find it disgusting the kind of profits these companies incur over the year, considering how we are all bitching about the price of gas, but I have my doubts as to whether this "gas out" will work. But I was glad to see these networking sites being used for a reason with depth for once, and not to superficially boost one's self image based on the number of friends they have.

True Fan vs. New Fan

As a little girl, some of my best memories are four wheeling through the mountains with my dad, listening to country music. I have always loved country music, because I feel that, at least to me, it speaks to so many people in all kinds of situation, and I have always held the belief that if you want to say something important to someone, you should say it with a country song. Moving to Denver, I was excited to take advantage of places like The Grizzly Rose, which is one of the best country dance clubs in America. They have a great setting for intimate concerts with some of my favorite country artists, and a fairly large dance floor. Going to this place though has caused more irritation lately than fun. First off, every one there on Sundays, which used to be the only night for anyone under the age of 21, line dances. I feel like line dancing is an excuse to not learn how to really dance with a partner, and the kind of people there doing the dances confused me. Country music has a growing fan base these days, but new fans tend to only pay attention to new and somewhat different country artists that I, and other older fans, have a hard time as classifying as true country music. Its frustrating to see when a Merle Haggard song is played, no one wants to dance because they don't know it, but as soon as Rascal Flatts is played, they know every word. I should be happy that my kind of music is more popular tha ever right? So why am I so frustrated with ignorant new fans who all of a sudden claim to be country because they bought a Kenny Chesney record?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Why can't guys and girls just be friends?????

Since I can remember socializing, I have always felt much more comfortable hanging out with the boys in my school than the girls. One reason being that I don’t play those stupid little games girls play behind each other’s backs, and I don’t tolerate it either. I tell people how it is, and I don’t apologize for that, so many girls have had a problem with me. My boys have always been my best friends, since first grade I have hung out with two guys named Jake and Dennis, and I would rather have them stand up for me at my wedding than anyone else. But lately, I have noticed that this kind of friendship is seen as unlikely and even looked down upon at certain points. Recently I have thought of living with another great guy friend, Bryce, who I have known since I was 2, and is literally like my brother. He almost lives with my parents in Leadville, so why not live with him when he moves down here? Well for one, my boyfriend had a bitch fit about it, even after I explained I have known Bryce longer than I have know him, and that it would be safer as well. He compared it to him living with some girl he has known for about two years, and I became so irritated, I hung up on him. Also, trying to find guy friends down here is close to impossible. Apparently, in Denver, it’s highly impossible that a guy and a girl can be friends without anything else being between them. Well, I guess I better learn to be better at being a girl, or I am screwed.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Absolute Impotence

One of the best ad parody’s I could find, this photograph of a “flaccid” bottle of Absolut Vodka illustrates a side effect of drinking too much. This advertisement also uses a quote from William Shakespeare, “Drink provokes the desire but takes away the performance". There is use of comparison-contrast, where this ad contrasts with the original Absolut ads and the message they try to get across. The picture of the weirdly shaped bottle also employs an example or illustration of what the product can do, which is deprive a male drinker of his ability to successfully attain an erection. Another rhetorical strategy observed here is an analogy, where the bottle and its new shape are analogous to what will happen to a man’s penis if he drinks too much. It is more of a visual analogy. The comparison-contrast tactic uses the appeal of pathos, as it is funny to think about the point trying to be made. Logos is implemented as well in all three rhetorical strategies, because it is a fact that alcohol intake can inhibit that appendage from working properly when it is needed to. Ethos comes into play with the brand usage of Absolut. This parody uses the original Absolut ads that boast “the Absolut Man” with a photo of James Bond, and other images like that to show that only the best drink Absolut, because it is the absolute best. The parody ad makes fun of the fact that you are not very close to being the Absolute Man when you cannot even get it up for a night of fun. The social commentary is that we place so much value on being the best, most masculine, whatever. But using alcohol to accomplish that isn’t going to get us very far because all it really does is inhibit us from being our Absolute Best.