Last day!

Today’s class:

Think/pair/share: How is your artifact for Critique 2 an instance of a broader kind of rhetoric, discourse, or kind of meaning-making (digital or not)? How might it be unique?

Sharing our work. Rather than do a traditional writer’s workshop, let’s spotlight as many writers as we can from the class.  When it’s your turn, tell us about your artifact, its context, its data/language you’ll be analyzing, and the theories you are drawing from to do so. As readers we might also ask for one thing the author absolutely must mention in their paper in order for them to be credible to you.

Participation grade (5%). In your Google Drive folder tell me two things:
(1) How would you would assess your participation in our class based on your attendance, contributions, response essays, conference participation, punctuality, general agreeableness or something else.
(2) Are there ways I could have facilitated the class/course differently that would have led to a different outcome for participation?  

New version of WordPress. File this under #badtiming but the upgrade to WordPress 5.0 (called “Gutenberg”) is pretty radical. The new version is being called a block editor, because it treats every segment of a post as its own rectangle with its own set of options. In other words, while the old WP had one toolbar to rule the whole post, the new version has several — one for each block — and those options are dependant upon what kind of content you’re adding (text, images, embeds, etc.) Let’s look at it today so you’re comfortable enough adding content. 

For next time:

  • If necessary, sign up for an appointment on Monday, 12/17 or email me to schedule something over Skype or phone on Tuesday, 12/18.
  • Add your final paper to this site by the end of the day Wednesday, 12/19.

Video Games and the Rhetoric of Compassion

Video games have widely been criticized by various news organizations and pseudo-psychologists over the past three decades as a means of teaching and encouraging violence within young or damaged people. And while there’s no significant evidence to suggest that violent video games actually have a negative effect on the minds of their players, gaming itself is generally a very violent medium. Most of the highest selling AAA games, such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, are focused almost entirely around putting players in the shoes of what essentially boils down to a murderous juggernaut of a character, capable of taking down dozens of enemies without flinching and eating bullets like candy. It’s the the ultimate power fantasy, and the gameplay loop of “kill enemies, get rewarded, repeat” has been used by thousands of fellow developers in the Shooter, Action, and RPG genres.      

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#FlintWaterCrisis: When Virality Persists

At this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner on April 28th, 2018, comedian Michelle Wolf ended her speech by exclaiming “Flint still doesn’t have clean water!” Anyone with a Twitter account who’s been paying attention during the past two years likely recognized the sentiment: brief, vague, yet culturally, and rhetorically, powerful. I myself was impressed by her unabashed exclamation, which rhetorically identified her with the progressive social movement surrounding Flint and attempted to renew its social prominence to a crowd of politicians and journalists. Interestingly, however, she chose to mention the crisis not during her 20-minute speech at the White House Correspondents dinner, but at the very end, potentially lost amid a thunderous round of applause. Rather than subverting the brevity of the hashtag movement from 2016, she repeated the virally circulated phrase, because that was the aspect of the movement most recognizable to the largest percentage of her audience.

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The Unfortunate History of Toxic Fandom

On December 15, 2017, the latest entry in the long-running Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi was released to generally positive reviews and expected box-office success. The massive science fantasy juggernaut seemed to be stronger than ever and in reality, it was. However, in the days following the film’s release, a backlash against the film by some fans began. Many of these fans disliked certain casting and plot decisions and while online discussions of the film could become quite heated, it was for the most part, fairly civil. But that changed when director Rian Johnson and stars Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley began receiving death threats and a barrage of racist and misogynistic harassment, which lead to both Ridley and Tran deleting their social media profiles. Fans speaking positively of the film have also been met with harassment online.

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Ama creates image reimagining black culture

Ama is an eighteen-year-old young musician from London. She not only writes music, however, she models as well. This year she was featured in an issue of i-D magazine. Her latest single Monochrome was recently released and on November 22, 2018 she debuted a music video to accompany it. The song details the initial feelings one has when one first begins to develop feelings for someone, the uncertainty, the butterflies. This is a feeling in which all listeners, especially younger ones can relate to. The lyrics “I’m wondering if you feel the same” are repeated throughout the song. The not knowing if someone feels the same but confident in knowing that if their feelings aren’t reciprocated that you will never be the same. Monochrome, everything, every aspect of your life and time would be boring without the person and that’s what attracted you to them in the first place, their ability to bring light and life into your otherwise monochrome world. Understanding that the friendship may change, while also understanding that it was worth it to express how you feel. Throughout the song Ama goes back and forth between romanticizing the idea of a relationship between the person and then being hit with the reality that the feeling may not be reciprocated.

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The White House’s Fake News

This past November at a White House news conference, Donald Trump, following a difficult question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, insulted the reporter’s ability to do his job, then demanded that he be seated. When the reporter chose instead to attempt to finish his question, a White House intern responded promptly by attempting to take the mic from Acosta’s hand by force. Acosta stood firm, and continued to question Trump, microphone still in hand. Before he was able to fully articulate his next question, Trump interrupted him. Trump asserts that the allegations against him, suggesting that he colluded with Russia to influence the election were “a hoax.” When Acosta continues speaking, Trump, through body language, threatens to leave the press conference entirely. Then, with the determination of a bomb squad specialist, the intern tries again and succeeds to wrestle the microphone from Acosta’s hands. Following this, Trump ignores the next question in order to hurl insults at Acosta.

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Seesaw in Classrooms

When sending a child to school, do parents wonder what their child is going to do all day, what they are learning and how the student is achieving their work? Elementary school teachers are educated with using an app called Seesaw that allows them to see their child’s work throughout the school day. What is Seesaw exactly? Seesaw is an app that allows students to engage by themselves in the app, which makes the students independent and saves the teachers time. As Holly says, “The Seesaw app is described as a student-driven digital portfolio. Seesaw empowers students of any age to create, reflect, collaborate and share”. Teachers are able to create or find activities to have their students do to share with others. Students take pictures, make drawings, record videos of their work of the day, and other capture moments in a learning portfolio that allow families to see throughout the day. Seesaw could be discovered as the child version of the social media,Instagram and Facebook. Although Seesaw seems like a great tool for the children to connect with their families, there are methods that Seesaw could possibly improve on.

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Analysis of the Digital Rhetoric of Mental Health in Reddit

Reddit, as it is normally displayed as reddit in the original logo, founded on June 23, 2005, is an American social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website. Just like other social media sites, Reddit is just like the many that participants may experience, but are collectively organized through links, text posts, and images, as they are either voted up or down by Reddit users. For those participants who are unaware of what Reddit is typically used for, the site itself is organized into user-created boards called “subreddits”, which cover a variety of topics including news, science, movies, video games, music, books, fitness, food, and image-sharing. The Reddit administrators are also aware of the posts that users post, as they can indicate whether a post would be considered a “harassment” or “inappropriate” as there is a list of rules located on the right-hand side of the site. This essay will provide an analysis that focuses on the use of identification and constitutive rhetoric in both the communication Reddit provides about itself and the everyday communication of its members. In this paper, I will first identify the different mental health issues discussed in this public forum. Then, I will share other scholarly work in relation to this Reddit post on mental health, despite the negative attitudes people pose on themselves.

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The Rhetoric of Eminem’s Music

Eminem, otherwise known as Slim Shady, or Marshall Mathers, is arguably the most popular rap artist of all time. He has sold over 220 million records since his debut album in 1996. Since then, he has had won 500 awards including 14 Grammy awards, and an Oscar for his film 8 Mile. He has at least 3 albums renowned by hip-hop critics as a certified hip-hop classic, but as of recently, it seems as if something changed in Eminem. Or is the world we live in just a different place, that moved on from Eminem as the rapper? In Slow Circulation by Jonathan Bradshaw, he states: “In particular, at the same time that we are asking how things move, we should also be asking how and why things stay. That is: how is it that some rhetorics persist even after further rhetorical interventions” (Bradshaw, 3). So the question is: why and how did Eminem and his past music stay, even after all of the criticism, as opposed to it now? It seems as if TV and radio propelled Eminem to the status that he was once at in pop culture and in music, but as the sources of circulation have changed to a more digital landscape; Instagram, SoundCloud, Spotify, Youtube, and Apple Music, etc, so did he.

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