In Class Writing 11-30-12

Earlier in the semester, we did an exercise where we tried to use logical fallacies to sell a product (‘SEVENTH GENERATION’ CLEANERS) via a textual advertisement. When I wrote it down, I decided to take a more aggressive route and turn it into an in-your-face style advertisement that insulted you and your family if you didn’t decide to buy or accept the product. One sentence that stood out as one of my favorites to write is as follows:

“So you only got two choices here: be old like your MOM or be COOL and use ‘Seventh Generation’ cleaners.”

This sentence isn’t one that I find necessarily deep but, overall, I think that what it’s asking would be intensified LESS if there was visual accompaniment. The way that it’s worded forces the reader to look at their own life and put the things that they visually know to be true into question. Since I don’t state how their mother looks physically, reading this sentence (or the 30 other times I mention their mother) forces them to imagine their mother in the sentences’ context. When I call into question the coolness of their mom without any sort-of visual aid, it forces the reader (for a split second) to think about their mom as being the antithesis of cool. To put it another way, say I was to mention to you that your friend had a really weird way of laughing compared to you. Initially you may be hesitant to accept it. However, as you notice your friend laugh more and more, you will begin to understand what I mean and start believing that they have a weird laugh (even if that’s not the case). The mother idea is similar; when posed with a strong comment about the characteristics of someone you know, you will begin to analyze it in a defensive way at first but then come to an understanding about it later on.

This is where the other mediums take a toll on the idea. If I was to do a visual sentence, I would have to physically personify in a visual manner some sort of analog that would be the basis of the “mother” in this sentence. The problem with this is that if I want the reader to actually relate or understand what I’m getting at, I would actually have to portray their mother. Since my chances of accurately portraying one reader’s mother visually is one in 3.5 billion, I will take a chance and say that it would be near to impossible. This forces me to go with the alternative; portray an old woman and make an assessment that that’s the embodiment of their old mother. However, the human mind is more akin to denounce this comparison and view the image as satire if they can’t really relate to it. Imagine if someone was to walk up to you and say “your mom’s old, see?!” while pointing at a picture of a really old woman you’ve never seen before. You’d probably laugh and say “that’s not my mom/that’s not funny/shut up.” The poignancy of the point is diminished when you can’t relate to the reader on even the most basic level.

Clearly, this is something to take into account whilst writing the paper or doing the project. If there are points that I really want to hit home, it would be best if I could actually contextualize them in a way that the reader can relate to as a means to keep my point strong. I don’t want to lose the reader because of a silly embodiment of an idea that they are supposed to embrace as reality when they know full on that it isn’t real at all. In short, if I wish to make my project real, I need to keep it real for the reader.

Biography Project!

The idea of doing a biography is both exciting and infuriating. I really want to touch upon an interesting subject matter but I find that there’s a lapse in agreement when it comes to what I find interesting and what others find interesting

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Pictured above: Interesting

For a subject matter, I wanted to focus on a person who has more of a celebrity status as opposed to someone in my immediate family. I also wanted to do someone who would have a good amount of information surrounding them but it would be something to work for as opposed to something easy to come by. For example, I personally love Peter Gabriel. However, so don’t hundreds of millions of other people and my attempts to personally make a biography on him, I feel, would be futile due to the major resources found elsewhere on him.

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Though he looks cool, don’t he?

This narrowed the playing field for me and brought my choices down to one logical person in my eyes: The person who made the start-up sound for Windows 95…

In fact, the guy who made this sound made every sound for the Windows 95 system. Some of the sounds are still used today. You are definitely thinking “why the hell do you want to do this?!”

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Pictured above: The dude who made the soundtrack to your first computer.

This is Brian Eno. Besides doing the sounds for Windows 95, Eno has released a total of 25 solo studio albums, 24 collaborative albums, 13 compilation albums, 8 video albums, two live albums, 7 singles and a handful of soundtracks. Some of the people he’s collaborated with include David Byrne from Talking Heads, Robert Fripp from King Crimson, and John Cale from The Velvet Underground. Brian Eno was also a member of the band Roxy Music in the 70’s.

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Pictured above: The dude who made the soundtrack to your first computer except more odd looking.

Brian Eno has also produced a total of 43 albums included albums for John Cage, David Bowie, Devo, Talking Heads, U2, Coldplay, Grace Jones, and many many many more.

Unfortunately, Eno isn’t the pop culture icon that he should be. He’s a guy that’s more exclusive to people who know a thing or two about production and the music industry. He’s extremely innovative and is, arguably, the most important face in contemporary music history. He created recording techniques that are now considered normal, he coined the term “ambient music,” and was one of the first musicians to ever combine the idea of visual art and music to create a listening and viewing experience.

As for me, I don’t know what exactly I’ll pinpoint. I was thinking about doing a whole broad look at his career but I might also decide to focus exclusively on his solo work. It’s all up in the air right now but I’ve definitely made progress in deciding a person to work on.

As for me being a part of the story, it would be fun to be a part of it. However, my part is exclusively as the consumer nerd who has all of his albums on vinyl (where applicable).

There are certain things about comic books that I love. One of those things is not Scott McCloud.

Sorry Dude.

However, the fact that he knows what he’s talking about is undeniable. He’s relatively eloquent with his presentation and is very good with examples to the point where anybody who reads him will instantly feel like that they are a comic book scholar.

Mercifully they’ll “feel” like it, not turn into one.

There’s something interesting with Paul’s chapters that seems to be almost consistent all the way throughout. The first half of the chapter is almost entirely text-reliant making it almost entirely additive or word-dependent. Near the middle, the relevancy of the text sort-of diminishes. And it becomes additive in favor of the pictures or just becomes overly picture specific (and in some cases employs the idea of montage). Right after this, the comic returns to being textually additive and/or word dependent.

A chapter that embodies this the best is “The Stooges” where we are treated to Paul taking David to the theater to see a movie. Back then, instead of having “coming soon” features, they would play cartoons or a quick television show. In this case, the snippet that’s played is an episode of The Three Stooges. In fact, it’s an entire marathon of Three Stooges shorts.

Missing the best Stooge, unfortunately.

The first three pages are all word-specific. There’s no denying it. It eases the reader into the chapter perfectly. On page 123, upon their arrival, it becomes additive because the facial expressions are a bit more coherent and form a story in themselves that is intensified textually. This continues for the next few pages until page 126. At this point, the relevancy of the words is negated and the comic becomes more picture specific. This continues until page 130 where it becomes word-specific again until the end of the chapter.

I find this to be a flawless way to ease the reader into a comic book style of reading whilst not being a fan of comic books. The textual reliance at the beginning is a sort-of way to lull the reader into a false sense of security; it makes them expect that the text will be prominent and significant throughout so that they will continue reading the entire thing without fail or trouble. Then it slowly and seamlessly transitions into a picture reliance that, once over, unconsciously forces the reader to rely on the pictures to tell the story that’s no longer being told through text. Then, as the chapter concludes, the reader is doing both at the same time despite the fact that it is textually dependent again. A brilliant idea for those who may not be into comics for sure.

These guys couldn’t care less, however.

“The Ride Together” Blog Post #2

I will be the first to say it; I really don’t like Scott McCloud. For a man who knows “a lot” about comics, he sure doesn’t draw much anymore. The thing I like when it comes to some comic artists is their sense of modesty or just outright insanity. Artists like Art Spiegelman, R.Crumb, and Alan Moore created some fantastic pieces of work while being modest, crazy, and batshit insane respectively.

Don’t look into the eyes of Alan Moore… There is no escape.

I know the work of Mr. McCloud. I know it well. I’m guilty of owning an issue of “Zot!” or two and I think he has a great style when he uses it. Nowadays he parades around on TedTalks and any Boston comic convention he can get his hands on to show off his “inventions.”

Scott McCloud is one of three people I know that has a separate section on their website for “inventions” they made. The other two are scientists that actually invented something.

Take that, Scotty Boy

I digress.

Scott’s article (when not prancing around his own ego and his bloated personal ideas) gets to a point (somewhere) about how comics are only as good as the person expressing the ideas. Which makes sense in any and all senses.

The chapters done by Paul are in comic form. There are a few things that I find to be very interesting about these chapters. First and foremost, they aren’t really lucid. You might be asking yourself what I mean by this. Well, there’s one glaring elephant in the room when it comes to Paul’s chapters…

“Guys?.. Guys?!.. GUYS?!?!?!”

Paul didn’t experience this. At all. In any way/shape/or form. His only knowledge about the incidents that he outlines are via second hand knowledge from the parents. This is really interesting to think about since each of his chapter’s are very vivid and detailed. This begs the question; how does he manage to construct a reality over virtually nothing.

“If you build it… They will think it’s reality and such”

It’s clear that there’s a strong animosity when it comes to the 50s. The perspective of the future and, at that matter, reality during the 50s were pretty skewed when one compares it to the temporary actualities of the 2000’s.

Pictured Above: The Future.

Had it not been for constant misdiagnoses, the story of David might be entirely different today. However, this isn’t the case and David was, unfortunately, a product of his jaded time. The worst part is the fact that his parents were also a product of this time and are easily pushed over when it comes to acceptance from people of higher powers. Due to a lack of internet and a lack of clear understanding of virtually everything, people in the 50’s were forced to accept and believe people who were in a position of power. Whenever you were sick, the doctor was the ultimate authority. Since the doctors told them what they said was the truth, David’s parents were quick to accept and believe them.

This subservient attitude was the undoing of David’s parents and made their struggle greater. The response to this murky attitude is simple; make the atmosphere of visages of that time bleak and murky. This completes a void that was set up through story telling by telling a separate story; the story that was never told but implied.

“The Ride Together” Blog Post #1

Initial impressions are really hard to convey when it comes to books you’re assigned in classes. If we get down to the nitty gritty when it comes to first impressions, it’s almost always “dammit, another book I need to buy and pay money for for a couple months.”

 

An accurate depiction of college students reading.

That was my initial reaction to this book, I will be completely honest. I questioned why I had to read a book for a writing class. As I finally got over myself and looked at the back of the book, I got a bit enthused. It seemed like an interesting concept when it came do a narrative. Personally, I enjoy reading graphic novels and don’t have a problem with the medium whatsoever. I think it’s an excellent way to tell a story, particularly to right-brained people.

“Worst…Self-Diagnosis…Ever.”

“The Ride Together” has a style that works flawlessly, in my opinion. The fact that certain ideas and thoughts are specifically presented in either graphic style or textual style is a beautiful concept. Had it not been like this, I don’t think I would enjoy it as much.

 

Identify the rhetorical strategies used Judy’s narrative chapters. What does each rhetorical strategy enable her to do? How do they help her tell her story?

Judy’s chapter’s are the text based chapters that have a very strange and somewhat unusual longform style. Initially, the eye shies away from the writing style since it’s more of a long list than a coherent chapter. Instinctively we are drawn away from listing because it isn’t  aesthetically pleasing and conjurs up images of shopping at stores and/or McCarthyism.

“I have in my hands…A List… A List of Names… And snacks”

For the record, by “list format” I mean writing in very short and very thing paragraphs and spacing everything out.

However, when one gets over the fact that it isn’t a comic and isn’t pretty, it’s actually pretty interesting. The style that is used is that of pure simplicity and clarity. Judy makes things easy for the reader and tries to explain things at a ground-zero level of understanding because she clearly realizes that some of the readers might struggle to empathize with her family situation. At the same time, Judy’s simplicity makes it easy for people who can understand her situation as well.

As a reader, one strives to understand the underlying point and idea that the writer is getting at and, overall, this goal can be achieved easier when one writes in an easy style. Judy also makes this easy on us by using the first person. The combination of the easy writing and the first person makes her selections flow like a natural voice.

“A” voice, not “THE Voice”
Though Cee-Lo would make the situation easier.

Finalized Storify and Reflection.

http://storify.com/cricci/spotify

 

In regards to constructing the Storify argument I made, I didn’t find putting it together entirely challenging. One thing that helped was the incredible prevalence of information on the internet. Storify certainly helped when it came to putting all these things together but I still found myself googling articles and placing the links in as opposed to using the tools offered by Storify. Call me “old school” if you will but my general routine fit my comfort zone. This being said, the tweet/youtube/facebook search options were absolutely stellar and made that part of my quest that much easier.

The part that normally took the longest (the hunt for articles) was surprisingly short because of the options provided by Storify. Had these options not been there it definitely would have taken longer.

I feel as though I did a good job composing everything in a logical format and the options provided by Storify helped me feel better about my craftsmanship. The way it looks aesthetically is equally pleasing and is definitely the best part of the entire experience. As proficient as I feel when it comes to constructing blogs and other similar posts, it’s awfully reassuring to see a drag-and-drop formatting option to make it all look right as I’m constructing it.

Self-appraisal aside, the Storify tool is only as good as the person using it. It’s definitely something that can be used to the advantage of any writer but, in the end, you need to be able to use it and make sense of it. Had I not taken time to analyze other Storify articles and mess around with the program freely prior to this article, I doubt I would have been as confident as I was.

I’d probably argue (with landslide results) that creating this article in Storify was 100% more fun and more efficient than most articles I’ve written in the past. There’s a sort-of egotistical sense of accomplishment when it comes to seeing your essay coming together right in front of your eyes while simply being able to drag and drop all the things you want or need in a logical order as opposed to bending over backwards and correcting everything to make logical sense. That’s the beauty of this tool overall. However, had this project been one strictly set in WordPress, I feel as though I still would have had fun overall.

The argument that I am trying to make is that the downloading culture that we are accustomed to is choking musicians and stunting careers before they are even feasible. I attempted to aim this discussion towards the current generation of college students or people guilty of downloading and streaming so they can see what the underlying problem is.

A lot of the choices I made in regards to the argument were in a comedic vein to try and lighten the mood. I also used more simplistic language so the point I was making would be conveyed in a lighter and easier fashion as opposed to a full on academic dissertation that would turn people off on the subject. I also leveled on various occasions and used direct examples of musicians and songs as a means to make the discussion more relatable to the reader and, overall, more realistic. After each argument, I reiterated the main point as a means to bring everyone back to the overall meaning of my paper and as to not lose the reader in incoherent psychobabble.

I think, overall, people shouldn’t have any sort-of trouble grasping any part of the article due to the simplicity of the writing as well as the superfluous amounts of articles and related material that the user can click on for more information or more clarification. Overall, I really hope that when people read it, they will have a better understanding of the situation and really think about what they’re doing. I also hope that, in doing that, they will take a step back and realize that there are more ways to be a supportive fan of music as well as art in general.