“Annoying Ways People Use Sources” Notes

Commentary:

Being completely honestly, I think Kyle Stedman is the only person in the world who has this many emotions towards sources. This article, “Annoying Ways People Use Sources,” is so hard to take seriously, because of how dramatic Stedman’s tone is and he’s so overly emotional invested that it makes me wonder if the whole thing is a joke. As a college student and an average civilian, I can’t relate to any of Stedman’s pet peeves, and he assumes everyone thinks how he does. One example of Stedman making this type of assumption is when he compares driving to writing standards. He suggests, “…writers can forget that their readers are sometimes just as annoyed at writing that fails to follow conventions as drivers are when stuck behind a car that fails to move over. In other words, there’s something similar between these two people: the knowledgeable driver who thinks, “I thought all drivers knew that the left lane is for the fastest cars,” and the reader who thinks, “I thought all writers knew that outside sources should be introduced, punctuated, and cited according to a set of standards”(Stedman 242-243). Stedman makes these types of comparisons throughout the entire article, and the only thing that comes to mind is, “No I don’t think that, and it doesn’t come close to comparison.” If anything, his article is a perfect example of how being overly emotional can ruin a paper by making the main topic a big joke.

Making Connections: “Toner’s response to the Obama video is like a diving board that Jessica bounces off of before she gets to the really interesting stuff: the pool (her own observations). A bunch of diving boards lined up without a pool (tons of quotes with no analysis) wouldn’t please anyone…”(Stedman 249).

As I first began this blog for my college english class, I was almost afraid that I was putting too much of my own ideas and too little quotations or references from the articles that we are required to analyze for our posts. As I read my peers work, I became even more concerned, because the majority of their blog posts consisted of ideas from the articles. Luckily, I was quite wrong. My professor later addressed how she wanted the class to direct their papers with their own thoughts and ideas, not to just repeat the entire article. As I read different papers, I realized how right Stedman is with his analogy of the diving boards. I would read a paper and get excited about all the quotes and information that my peer had pulled, and it was like they would line a dozen diving boards off, but they would only lead to a kiddy pool. Many papers had idea after idea from the article, but would only make a small comment of their own, then move on. This was frustrating, because I was more interested in their ideas, and I wouldn’t get enough.

 

Summary: 

In the article, “Annoying Ways People Use Sources,” Kyle Stedman states several of his frustrations around the area of sources and using the proper writing standards. Stedman claims how ineffectively siting sources can be harmful for your writings, because readers will get frustrated, confused, or not accept the supporting material. With each of Stedman’s topic areas, he compares what his annoyance is to an analogy or more common everyday annoyance. Stedman does this with the topics of dropping in quotations without introducing them, starting/ending a paragraph with a quotation, using too many quotations, failing to integrate a quotation with the grammar of the preceding sentence, incorrectly listing the works cited and dropping in a citation without making clear what information is from the source. After he discusses the annoyance, he also states how to fix the improper usage.

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“How to Read like a Writer” and “…and by islands I mean paragraphs” Reflection

Currently, it is Friday, November 2nd (the week of Halloween) at 2:33pm, and I am just beginning to type this reflection, simply as fast as I possibly can. I’m assuming I am not alone although, because I’m assuming my peers are on the same ride I am. Yet, I did this on purpose, just to justify a point I’m going to try and describe. In class on Monday’s, my peers have seemed to exaggerate the same topic about their posts (mainly the very first blog posts), and that exaggeration is, “I literally started it at 1pm on Friday.” Now, If you think about it, that only leaves approximately 2 hours to read the article, write notes about it, and write a whole fat reflection on the piece (well, I guess only if you’re like me, who stupidly wanted to strive for an A). This week’s assignment finally came around, and it was almost like a slap in the face. “How to Read Like a Writer,” by Mike Bunn. When I first looked at this article–I’m not going to lie–it was at 9:10am on Monday morning in class. Even when I was reading this article, I had to skim, jump, and speed read through as fast as I could. Of course, highlight a few things here and there and then I’ll be good to go. Then came the real kicker, which was trying to read the second “article,” “…and by islands I mean paragraphs.” How in the world was I supposed to fake-read an “article” that changes every minute? Frustrated, I then realized I was being laughed at, almost toyed with. As I skipped through the majority of an article that was telling me how to read more in depth to help me better understand, I was getting frustrated with another one that wouldn’t allow me to read more in depth. As I jumped further down an article that was telling me to read better, I was literally jumping from paragraph to paragraph with a different article and had been about read to throw my laptop. So, I decided to go back to the previous article, that frankly I had taken for granted. I used Mike Bunns ideas to realize why “…and by islands i mean paragaphs,” caused me so much anguish. “When you Read Like a Writer (RLW) you work to identify some of the choices the author made so that you can better understand how such choices might arise in your own writing” (72). When J.R. Carpenter designed “…and by islands I mean paragraphs,” it was meant to almost prove the frustration that so many people (especially teachers) have with the new generation. We fail to listen, excel in lack of patience, fail truly reading, and excel in getting to the point. Bunn describes, “… I started asking, howhow did the writer get me to feel, how did the writer say something so that it remains in my memory when many other things too easily fall out, how did the writer communicate his/her intentions about genre, about irony? (119–20)” (73). I asked these same questions to further understand Carpenter’s reasoning. “…and by islands I mean paragraphs,” made me feel stuck and confused, and I felt all of these emotions even before I got to read some of the randomized paragraphs. No matter how many times teachers will repeat over and over again to not procrastinate, to read an article before class, or to dig deeper into an article, students will jump again and again to different islands to find a quick read, find a main point and then jump again. If it wasn’t for the frustrating structure and architecture of Carpenter’s article, I wouldn’t have gone back to read Bunn’s article and emphasize the exact point he was trying to achieve. Look at the structure, analysis the building, or your building will tumble, just as mine did.

“Reading Like a Writer” and “….and by Islands, I mean Paragraphs”

 

 

Summary: Reading Like a Writer

To begin this article, the author Mike Bunn starts off by describing his job at the theater. He then leads into his discussion on what it means to read like a writer by introducing his time as an english major in college. Bunn states how RLW means identifying choices an author has made to better understand how those decisions may be implied in your own writing. By looking into certain choices and decisions, Bunn claims it will help understand why different readings have the effect that they do on the reader. Then, the author also discusses the difference in “normal” reading compared to RLW. Bunn describes the differences by comparing it to an architect looking at a building. RLW means looking at a building and being curious about how the building was made, unlike looking at a building and wondering about its history. Following this, Bunn goes into stating some questions a RLW reader should ask while reading. Questions about the purpose and the audience, where the evidence comes from, what genre is the reading in, why is the language the way it is, and are there parts that are confusing. Bunn restates these questions several times in this article, defining his purpose.

 

Summary: …and by islands, I mean paragraphs

When first opening this “article,” I didn’t realize that you could move around the screen. This article is very spaced out and has numbers all over the “page,” almost like it should be a connect-the-dots picture. The paragraphs vary in length, but they are all spaced out across the “page,” and are in a poem-like style. As you read, the paragraphs are subject to change at any point. Not only do the paragraphs change automatically, but if you click certain island graphics that are beside the print, you too can also change the paragraph into something completely different.

Making Connections/Analysis:

The two articles almost seem to contradict each other. One describes how to be a better, more in depth reader to help with your writing, and the other one changes so consistently that you can’t even read the full text. “…and by islands, I mean paragraphs,” almost seems to laugh at the reader, because humans have been straying so far away from actually reading. We are accustomed to skimming, reading quick texts or just viewing over a book to find a quick answer. Even as we read an article about how to RLW, we are jumping from paragraph to paragraph to simply get a main idea of each. How will anyone ever read better, if even when we are reading on how to read better, we skim over it?

 

 

The Selfie Post

When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I decided to create my first social media account through Facebook. Everyone was doing it in elementary school, all that stood in anyone’s way was the, “Must be 13 years-old or older,” restriction. This was easy overcome, considering all you had to do was change the year you were born. After a few years, I deactivated this account and created a new one, and I felt like I had a fresh start. A couple days ago, I logged into my old Facebook account and reactivated it, and I’ve never wished to not have lied about my age more in my life. I cringed reading through my old status updates, watched in horror as my profile pictures just got worse, and hated myself for thinking, “Wow, I should share this!” So instead of deleting the account once again, I decided to analyze and compare why my old Facebook causes my skin to crawl.

When I viewed my very first social media account, I didn’t quite understand how to justify my feelings toward it, except by saying, “It’s cringy.” Between the terrible status updates and the posts I’d share, I was the definition of, “awkward middle-schooler.” Yet, the very worst of my entire account are my pictures. On one of my current accounts, I have pictures that look more like this. Then, there’s my old Facebook account that obtains my elementary school self. Looking at photos like this, all I want to do is tear them out of the internet, but they are now apart of my digital footprint. It’s like what Rettburg discusses in chapter two of, “Seeing Ourselves Through Technology.” Rettburg states, “You can tear out pages or glue photographs over prompts you don’t want to use, but the journal does provide very clear rules for how you should represent your baby’s first year”(Rettburg 22). Facebook provided two ways to express myself, either through pictures or status updates. Yet, I strayed from society’s way of posting pictures and added things like lame photoshop or took pictures at the worst angle possible. Compared to how I am supposed to take pictures today, then looking at my old photographs, I hate them because they aren’t edited how they are supposed to be. Not only did this aspect affect how I now view my old account, but even the lack of selfies replaced by status updates even bothers me. Rettburg justifies my emotions on this when she mentions Montaigne, “In the late sixteenth century, Montaigne noted that drawing yourself was more acceptable than writing about yourself” (Rettburg). Currently, it is common to represent yourself through pictures and selfies, hence the popularity of Instagram over Facebook among my peers. Yet, on my old Facebook, my status updates out weigh my embarrassing photographs, because it’s still not as acceptable as posting photographs. On my current social media profiles, I’m constantly updating and posting selfies, like Szucs does in chapter 3 of Rettburg’s book. Unlike Szucs, I don’t have repetition in my old Facebook profile, especially compared to my current. Finally, the last reason that made me realize why I hate my old profile, especially due to my pictures, is because of who my selfies consist of. Currently, I still take selfies of just myself, but more often then not I have at least one other person in my selfies. On my old profile, all the pictures are selfies that just consist of myself, there isn’t anyone else in them to draw attention away from myself. Especially with my old photos, I wish that the attention wasn’t so focused on myself and my face.

I can’t change how I looked in elementary school, and I can’t necessarily delete the damage my old profile has done, but it’s still me. Overall, my old profile bothers me so much because I didn’t hide anything, I didn’t filter myself in anyway. Even though I posted status updates, had the wrong angles, didn’t post enough and didn’t try to deviate attention from myself, I’m kinda glad I have that old profile. My old account shows a younger, embarrassing part of my self that I can laugh about today, and even if it’s not up to society’s standards, I’m going to embrace it.

“Seeing Ourselves Through Technology” Chapter 3

Analysis: “Rather than curation, Szucs emphasizes quantity and rhythm: a photograph every single day, no matter what” (Rettburg 34).

Rettburg is pointing out the habitual routine of humans always needing to represent themselves. When we post photos on social media, it’s always our “perfected” images, the one out of 50 that we decided is filter-worthy. Yet, we don’t see each other’s camera roll, we don’t see the trial-and-error of photos that consume our phones. Those don’t even account for the photos we don’t save from apps like Snapchat. If you’re like me, a teenager grown from the technology that surrounds us,  really think about how many photos you actually take on a daily basis. It’s not about the filtered images, it’s about the quantity of photos to get to that image. Like Rettburg also states, “Of course we not only have centuries of diaries and self- portraits, but also have ash narratives that are as short as tweets, photo- copied zines that episodically tell stories from the artist-author’s life and artists, like Tehching Hsieh, who have taken photos of themselves every hour for a year”.  In reality, we  do take this many photos, and it’s not for a project.

Commentary: “And yet her project is so akin to today’s streams of images, a little every day and the whole consists of nothing more than a potentially never-ending row of fragments”(Rettburg).

When I first read this quotes, I imagined fragments being when girls take half pictures of their faces, or cover part of their faces. Yet, social media pages are unfinished puzzles, made up by fragments of images. Every picture filters some part of the person, whether it’s a filtered selfie or a family picture. We seem to design our social media pages how we want them, always hiding some aspects of our lives. Everyone decides what they want their “puzzle” to look like, then we just build onto them. This action is even done literally on Instagram, where people post photos that don’t make a full image unless you look at the profile. I wonder if Rettburg is pursuing this idea of fragmenting, or if she has a different idea of fragmentation.

Making Connections: “Part of the fascination of watching time lapse selfies is watching how the subject changes and eventually ages”(Rettburg).

On Snapchat, I find myself being addicted to watching articles and videos on these time lapses of either people taking selfies for a year or people showing fashion styles of the past 100 years. There’s just something intriguing about watching change and transition in what really is a lifetime. Watching how just one person can look completely different with filters is fascinating. Same with watching makeup tutorials on Youtube or even doing my own makeup. Our society seems to have this desire to use filters not just because it’s the norm, but also just because it’s pleasing to experience change.

 

“Seeing Ourselves Through Technology” Chapter 2 Reflection

chocolate cake with white icing and strawberry on top with chocolate
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“I wish I had her looks,” “Why can’t I be the CEO,” “I wish I was built like him,” “I wish I could do the things that she does,” “Why can’t I be her.” Some of these thoughts and others like it may run through our heads a million times a day, so what do we do about them? Well, a small few may go to the gym if they see that someone else has a better body than them, but why do that when we have an app that makes us look smaller? If we see our friends with their happy kids and perfect family, we may make a resolution to spend more time with family, but why do that when we can just post a photo with the family looking happy and together. Instead of truly improving our lives, we use filters to not just fix them, but to create our perfected twin version of ourselves. Today’s society uses filters to create not just a perfect image of themselves, but to create whole new “people.” With literal examples of creating new people, filters that perfect our visual selves, personality, and our lives, humans are obsessed with being anything but themselves.

In America especially, we idolize celebrities and focus more on their relationship status then a natural disaster. Who are we truly idolizing? Over half of all the singers and rappers have changed their name, and most of the time someone else is writing their songs. In an article by Jill Rettburg, this act of forming celebrities can relate to her analogy of a baby book. “You can tear out pages or glue photographs over prompts you don’t want to use, but the journal does provide very clear rules for how you should represent your baby’s first year” (Rettburg 22). When artists want to become famous, they sign on with record companies and managers who tell them everything they need to do. Change their name, change their looks, change their songs. They keep certain parts about the artists, then morph the rest. Humans crave to filter themselves and even admire the people who go to the extremes of filtering. Video games are another example of this behavior. The addictive activity allows people to exit real life and enter a fictional world where you can create your avatar to be whoever, look however, and do whatever you desire. One video game that revolves around this idea are the Sims games, where the entire object of the game is to basically create your own lifestyle. People are addicted being someone they’re not, whether it’s a video game or filtering real lives. We spend hours locked into games that let us escape our real lives, filter our body image, and envy those who filter their identity for fame.  No wonder humans are so obsessed with filters, the most successful people in American society are also the most filtered. What does that say about how to achieve the American Dream and how to be successful? Everyone tells you to be yourself, but where does that get you in life?

Picture a bowl of cake batter. Doesn’t matter what kinda, but it’s just plain cake batter. Then you pour it in different pans, deciding to add sprinkles in the batter. Throw the pans in the oven and bake them. After they are baked, you take frosting and frost each one, then stack the cake layers and frost them together. It’s still a bit plain, so you decorate it with flowers and frosting designs. When do we stop calling it cake batter and call it cake? With filters, when do we stop calling it “filtered” and say it’s a whole new image? There are a million ways to filter ourselves, from changing the contrast in a selfie to having two different profiles on Instagram, one with the family-friendly version and the other with R-rated images and captions. This act of two different profiles is what Rettburg discusses in her article of having two different genres. “A photo album is not a photo album if there are no photos in it, and it is not a family photo album if all the photos are of landscapes” (Rettburg 30). When are the two filtered profiles of one person not just filtered, but a whole new image and face? With the pictures of ourselves, we use filters to cut out our imperfections, make our skin look better, muscles more defined, and even our bodies to be skinner. When socializing, others may state that someone is, “two-faced.” This means that they have different personalities around different people, applying a filter for each one and taking away certain aspects of their personality for each. Not only can people be “two-faced,” but it is now popular to create Finstas, which are private accounts that my peers and many, many others create to post things that range from being embarrassing to being illegal that are only meant for close friends. Between the two accounts, most of the time it’s hard to imagine that they represent the same person. After the makeup, the contrast, exposure, brightness, tint, and photoshop, when does the build up of filters create a whole new image? One of my classmates, Ian, created a perfect example of this idea when they took a picture of a light and completely transformed the image into something new and unrecognizable. When we filter our lives as much as we do, we hit a point to where our original selves become unrecognizable. Filtering isn’t a bad thing, we all have a zit we want to cover up or a bad experience that we would rather filter out and forget about. Yet, when the layers of filters alter every aspect of our image, personality, and even life experiences, we change ourselves entirely. Obsession with perfection has obstructed us from noticing that our true selves have been consumed by filters. Instead of looking at others or their profiles to improve yourself, look at the filters that they apply to themselves. Look at the layers of filters you apply to yourself and realize that you’re not truly improving yourself, you’re “improving” you’re copied version of yourself.

“Seeing Ourselves Through Technology” Chapter 2 Notes

Commentary: “What is filtered out? What flavours or styles are added? The word filter has been used in many domains, but usually to describe a process where something is removed” (Rettburg 21).

Whenever I think about filtering, I almost think of it like a very thin sheet of tissue paper. You have an image or a photograph that you lay the tissue paper on top of and it distorts it in some way. Yet, you can still tell what the original image is. Then you add a different color tissue paper. It’s very thin, so you can still see what the image is, but it’s even more distorted. Living in the 21st century, I think of filters this way due to the way I am constantly using filters for my own photographs that I forgot what a true filter is. When we apply photo filters, we actually are getting rid of different aspects of the photo. Sometimes, I use lighter filters to get rid of blemishes, or darker filters to get rid of my pale skin. I am getting rid of certain aspects of my image, but by doing so I’m also adding to my image.

 

Making Connections: “You can tear out pages or glue photographs over prompts you don’t want to use, but the journal does provide very clear rules for how you should represent your baby’s first year”(Rettburg 22).

Are filters the cause of our journaled baby lives? Are filters the inspiration to having things look a certain way, or are filters a product of having things a certain way? When we are born, our lives are journaled in a baby book in a certain way. Then, we are expected to go to pre-school, elementary school, high school, college, and finally get a job, which we have been preparing for since our relatives began asking the question, “So what do you want to do when you grow up?” They should be concerned, considering that when you aren’t working, you’re preparing for work. Is this the custom that began filters? In our society, this expectation of working has been around for centuries for everyone. Everyone’s guide to education and work is laid out the same, why shouldn’t the small portion of when we aren’t working not be? Filters are the new way to not only work like everyone else, but look like everyone else, have the same family like everyone, and act like everyone else. You can choose what filters that you do and don’t want, just like the photographs. Yet, it’s almost impossible to escape the same format of the journal.

Analysis: “A photo album is not a photo album if there are no photos in it, and it is not a family photo album if all the photos are of landscapes” (Rettburg 30).

Is a genre really a filter? Take two photo albums side by side, one is filled with baby pictures, and one is filled with wedding photos. No one would say that the wedding album is a filtered version of the baby album, but they would describe them as two different objects. There has to be a point to where something isn’t just filtered, but it’s a whole new image, a whole new idea, or a whole new person. When do humans reach this point? I disagree with Rettburg on her topic of genres as filters, because if you completely alter the main idea of something, it’s not just filtered. There has to be a stopping point of filtering and accept that there is a point to where you jump off the cliff of filtering and enter a whole new outlook. Rettburg also talks about filtering coffee in her analogy, “Technically the coffee filter does stop the ground coffee beans from getting into the pot beneath, but the point of a coffee filter is to add flavour to water by slowing its ow through the coffee beans” (Rettburg 21). When you take that same coffee and add in creamer, sugar, flavor, and milk, when do we finally call black coffee a cappuccino?

“The Mechanical Bride” Notes

Making Connections: “These habits blind people to the real changes of our time” (McLuhan).

The world is more connected than ever, yet it has never been so disconnected at the same time. Humans, who were once unable to send letters across seas in under six months time are now able to send messages across the globe in a fraction of a second. With ability, we should know what’s going on everywhere, right? Humans may have developed all this technology to connection, yet we also developed the habit to skim. McLuhan discusses not how social media has caused us to develop this habit, but the newspaper did. This habit has expanded into today’s world and has only grown. When we view our phones, we scroll through and quickly view posts or articles, unless something of interest appears. We started this habit with the newspaper due to it’s jumbled formatting. In school, we may still be taught to analysis, but we do not carry this habit through everyday life because of our built in habits since we were given a cell phone.

 

Summary:

In this article, “The Mechanical Bride,” McLuhan describes how the newspaper relates to work Margaret Mead, Picasso and James Joyce, the cluster of visual material. He then relates physics to prove a point of, “They demand much greater exertions of intelligence and a much higher level of personal and social integrity than have existed previously” (McLuhan).  Continuing to relate works of art with the newspaper, McLuhan states, “The past is made immediately available as a working model for present political experiment.” Yet, he counters this statement by describing how people do not actually take in media by saying, “The sheer technique of world-wide news-gathering has created a new state of mind which has little to do with local or national political opinion” (McLuhan). In the article, he describes how humans do not absorb information because of the past layout of media, how it blinded man to the events around him. This habit has caused man to have no desire for information, as McLuhan claims, “The same man would rather dunk himself in the newspaper than have any esthetic or intellectual grasp of its character and meaning.”

 

Commentary: “This inside point of view would coincide with the practical point of view of the man who would rather eat the turtle than admire the design on its back. Industrial man is not unlike the turtle that is quite blind to the beauty of the shell which it has grown on its back” (McLuhan).

When I first read this statement, I was confused as to what McLuhan was really trying to say about industrial man. Obviously, the industrial man referred to the man of the 21st century, connected to the industry he has built and connected to people through his technology. What is the design that McLuhan discusses? I then realized that it is technology. We grew it, manufactured it to keep use secure, to keep people connected. Through it, we can do amazing things, yet the average male doesn’t realize it. As humans, we hide ourselves within our creation and let it consume our lives, yet we don’t admire what we originally made our design for. We created phones to stay connected to people, but now people give us a reason to stay connected to our phones. Instead of taking in the beauty of our design to stay open to the world, we use it to hide ourselves from it.

 

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