Persuading and Advocating Assignment Idea

I am working with RJ for this next upcoming assignment and the topic that we are going to do concerns itself with getting more funding for student aid and financial policies to allow more students to go to college. The reason why we decided to choose this policy is because, although we are already in college, there are thousands upon thousands of potential students that cannot afford to go to college without some form of aid or scholarship. It is a big issue among the people around our age, because the best way to be prepared for the real world is to go to college for a higher education, but not everyone has a financial situation that allows them to attend college. We are advocating for more federal funding and a larger wealth of scholarships that are easily accessible to the public. Not only would it benefit the students by giving them more opportunities in the future, but also it would help the entire country by providing the nation with a better educated and trained workforce.

This I Believe Draft

Over the course of my life, there have been so many different little moments that have shaped me into the man I have become today. And with all of my almost nineteen years of experience, I believe that certain people are made for each other. Not to say that in life you only have one soul mate, but that in this life, there is a small handful of people that are one hundred percent compatible with you, and if you are lucky enough to bump into one of those people then you have to fight in order to keep them in your life because you don’t know when or if you’ll ever meet one of them again. Life is too short to not take advantage of the opportunities, especially if you happen to find someone that makes you so nervous when you’re around them you cant eat, or whenever you catch sight of them you’re heart starts pumping so fast that you’re afraid your heart will jump right out of your chest. So many hard things in life that most people have to go through, life is so much easier when you have someone to carry your burdens with. One of the most special things about being human is the ability to make these profound connections with other people that just seem to overwhelm you and control every facet of your life when you’re with that person. People need other people because there is no other feeling like it in the entire world, and the only way to possibly feel this feeling is to become absolutely intoxicated by another person. Some people think of love as something that starts small or that takes a long time to grow, but that isn’t true. Love is like a firework, it burns bright and its loud and explosive, and hits you like a ton of bricks. This I believe.

New Semester Initial Blog

One idea I have about about my “This I Believe” podcast is the fact that, growing up, I lived in 9 different states I had to adapt in order to make friends and the easiest way I learned to do that was just to be easy going and that helped to formulate my belief that life works itself out and there isn’t a problem that time  can’t fix.

Another belief that I have in my own life is that certain people are actually made for each other and certain people aren’t, and will never be able to stand each other. Through my own personal experience I’ve witnessed personally how people instantly are able to make connections and and bond within only a matter of minutes.

For my passion blog, I think I’m going to write about my favorite superheroes and what makes them so appealing, and why certain ones are incredibly popular throughout the populace. My main goal with this blog is just to try to analyze and understand what is the appeal to the people.

One idea for my Civic Issue blog is the problem of racial profiling. Inherently it is a horrible, racist policy that is used way too often in our society and doesn’t have to be utilized because there are other policies in place that we can used. We shouldn’t as a culture, assume that because someone looks a certain way, it means that they are a criminal or possible guilty of a crime that hasn’t even been committed yet.

Another idea for my Civic Issue blog is that the United States of America has a terribly negative view when it comes to homeless people. The usual connotation is that somehow it is their fault, as in they lost all their money or spent it all away on booze and drugs. And that is a serious problem that we can change if we were to teach more compassion while growing up.

The Creation of Nations out of Cities

My paradigm shift is the clear change in human civilization, and specifically, how our governments and civilizations are organized. This shift is very clear because over time humans have consolidated their power and moved their governments from the Ancient random collection of city-states into massive nations that span entire continents. The ancient model of city-states and a plethora of small nations would not work in modern day society for a multitude of different reasons.

There are a variety of different points that can be made to help prove this and I could go a multitude of different ways on this TED talk. One direction that can be taken is that the worlds population is far to high to be able to sustain that lifestyle. There would have to be entire nations devoted only to farming or tourism or lumber because that is all they would be able to produce with the limited amount of land that they possessed. Another would be the ways that certain nations throughout history were normally collection of smaller nations or of city states, and they almost all crumbled or eventually combined into a larger one, and also how strongly unified nations usually were the most powerful. Another would be how as  technology advanced and we began to live in massive metropolis’  we needed more room to produce the necessary food yields in order to sustain our rapidly growing global populations.

There are a couple different ways I could open this, I could do something along the lines of  “Aren’t projects/problems so much better when you have a group of people with you to help tackle it” and make reference to how the nations got more productive and were allowed to grow and become more advanced once they became nation states and not just a collection of smaller nations.

These are just a couple examples of the images that I could use in my TED Talk.

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece.




Mae: The Dumb Villain

By the end of the novel Mae has officially become the most infuriating protagonist in the history of literature. She, through her own stupidity, did nothing to stop the Orwellian future from becoming a reality. She was too ignorant of the incredible power The Circle had at their disposal and was blind to see all the numerous negative applications that this type of technology could have on the world.

It would almost be better if she was written as a crafty mastermind who only wanted to execute her diabolical plan of controlling the world through the expansion of The Circle’s power. If she was written more maliciously, it would’ve without a doubt made the entire novel better. However, I believe that I am in the majority in my utter dislike for the ending of the novel. It is reasonable to be disappointed in this ending because she is presented with all this information that would sway anyone else and yet she refuses to change and ultimately help out humanity. And I realize that this is supposed to seem like a tragic occurrence but it just comes off as poor plot just to get some shock value out of the reader.

Imagine how ultimately more interesting a villainous Mae would have been to this novel. To watch her rise through the corporate ranks, scheming and conniving her way into the inner circle, Mae planting seeds of her “open” world through technology and data, and even insidiously using the tech once she has gotten high enough in the company. that would’ve been so compelling and interesting and would have put a darker overtone that could’ve been much more subtle than the way that technology and data were represented in the novel. And just like any novel or movie with a subpar villain, the payoff doesn’t have the same impact as it should.

At the end of the novel, you don’t feel any closure. It feels as though nothing has changed. Yes, Mae is a inherently different character than the one we were introduced to at the beginning of the novel but since her values changed so early in the novel, it ends up seeming like once the conclusion comes along, there is no weight to it because it seems like the answer should be so simple for Mae. She should know that the right thing to do is but she makes the wrong choice, which does go against common literary conventions where, at the end of a novel, everything ends up being alright, or there is some kind of conclusion that completes the novel.

It seemed that Dave Eggers pulled a cheap, television trick on the readers by making it seem as though Mae was going to do the right thing only for some time to pass and have the reader discover that se did the opposite of what it seemed she would do. It was different and unconventional but it could have been done so differently that it would have seemed natural instead of preachy and shoe horned in. If Mae had intentionally been written as the villain, the novel would have been much better as a whole.

Transparency and Its Implications

Mae has voluntarily given up all of her privacy and is being monitored 24/7. This would seem to be a nightmare to most, a life where nothing that you say, do, or see is for yourself. Everything you do is subject to thousands of comments and people asking questions about what is happening. This is such a strange and wild concept for those of us in reality but we can imagine some of the things that could possibly be effected by a decision like this and some of these things even happen to Mae in her life.

One such embarrassing example of this is when Mae goes to visit her parents. She initially goes to see why they have taken down the cameras that are put up in the house and if she can convince them to put them back up. When she enters the building she doesn’t hear any response or know where they are, so she goes upstairs to find out and accidentally sees them preforming a sexual act. Afterward, she asks if that footage can be deleted so that she just didn’t reveal her parents sex life to the world, but she is denied. This seems insane to us because we do not feel obligated to share private moments with the rest of the world. This seems to be unthinkable to us. Our society as it is today, balances our private moments with the ones that we share off with the rest of the world.

Another is that the only way that she cam interact with people without everything being recorded and shared is to talk to people in the bathroom where her microphone doesn’t work. But she never goes in there on her own volition, she always is brought down there by other people wishing to not be recorded. She has become so indoctrinated by The Circle that she cannot understand the strangeness of what she has forced upon herself. She is also blissfully unaware of the uncomfortable situation that she puts people by having everything that they say or do be put under the review of the rest of the world. She is so selfishly involved in revealing everything and making sure that there are no secrets, that although she accommodates their wishes to speak in private, she feels the need to apologize to her “viewers” and even go so far as to sometimes explain to her viewers as to what they were discussing.

It seems unbelievably to us that a normal person would be this open, but this is Mae’s reality. She has been brainwashed by the company that she works for into creating this open world without realizing any of the problems or harmful effects that are entirely possible as well. They willfully ignore all the negative aspects of all the new technology and uses for data that the company produces, only viewing the positives. That is a dangerous way to think, and transparency only helps to prove that through all the different social implications the come along with it.

The Mantras

At this point of the novel, The Circle has adopted three different mantras that demonstrate their ideals; Secrets are Lies, Sharing is Caring, and Privacy is Theft. These three separate statements all reflect not only the company’s views on data, but also the employees personal views when it comes to the internet and information.

Secrets are Lies. Well technically that isn’t true in the real world. A secret is just some form of information that you don’t desire to other people and can be for any number of reasons. You could be embarrassed about it, you could possibly get in trouble over it, you could be protecting someone from it, or you could even just be selfish and don’t want anyone else to know. And a lie is, in its most basic form, a deception that you tell to someone else. And in the real world, this doesn’t really make any sense. Almost everyone has at least some form of a secret ranging from minuscule to earth shattering. And we also live in a world where people’s secrets are being released constantly, but we don’t consider them to be lies. But, this is relevant in the world of the The Circle. The idea of transparency also becomes apparent by this point in the book, with Congresswoman Santos revealing that from now on she will no longer have any secrets. Because she will have no secrets, she believes that the people of the nation will trust her deeper because she will not be able to keep anything from them, and therefore will be unable to lie to them.

Sharing is Caring. In the physical world this is a very true statement, although usually when we say it we are talking about physical things, such as sharing food or wealth. As a society, we are very promoting of sharing because we believe that sharing makes us all better people. We believe that giving part of what we have to others is a kindly act that all of us should work towards to achieve. In terms of the novel though, the company is primarily concerned with just the sharing of information, in the idea that if you share all your information with the rest of the world, then you are doing what is best for everyone. By sharing all of your data, you are expanding everyones network, and only good things can come from that. The main example of this in the novel is when they talk about potentially chipping children in order to prevent child kidnapping. While this would effectively solve this problem, it also would create some very serious privacy issues, which leads into the final mantra.

Privacy is Theft. In reality, privacy is valued very highly and people pride themselves on having private things and having their own privacy. There is even a prevalent issue today is the argument of privacy versus security where we are so uncomfortable with giving up our privacy that we are willing have less personal security in order to maintain our privacy. However, in the Circle, they view privacy as a theft of human experience that you are being selfish and keeping for yourself. The best example of this is when Mae is at Francis’ place and  they have a sexual encounter which he films. When she asks him to delete the footage, which soon the rest of the company will be able to see, he says no because it was as much his experience as it was hers.

The Relationship between Data and Privacy

In the real world, we live in a very interesting time period when it comes to privacy. Absolutely anyone can put anything out on the internet for not only those people who are “friends” with them, but for anyone with access with to the internet to see. Now we acknowledge the public nature of all this information but we still are not incredibly forward with our knowledge of all this.  Allow me to explain. Imagine you check on Facebook and see that one of your friends went on vacation to Bermuda.  You may bring it up in casual conversation or you may have a conversation about it if that person were to bring it up, but you wouldn’t start to place her into a group of people that have ever travelled to Bermuda and then be confused as to why you did not attend a meeting of this group of people.  While these seems a little absurd to us in the real world, in Mae’s world this actually happened to her.

Mae once went to Portugal five years before she began working at the Circle, and because she put pictures of her trip up online, she was placed in “Portugal Brunch” that she is unsure whether or not she should attend.  The man who organized it feels slighted by this and has a meeting with her human resources rep in order to find the cause of her no show.  It is eventually cleared up but it still shows the lack of privacy that the people in this world when it comes to data.

Another example of this negative relationship between data and privacy is when Francis uses Mae as a example for a new dating service that helps to choose possible dates that would be good to take her on. The worst part about this is that, not only is it in public in front of the entire company, but it also reveals personal data such as food allergies and specific restaurants that she has either liked or disliked.  Mae storms out of the auditorium as soon as she can and confronts Francis afterward, but he doesn’t feel as though he has done anything wrong because all of the information that he used was readily available to the public because she had posted it all online at a prior point in time.

That is one of the scariest lines in The Circle that I have read. He truly doesn’t believe that she has invaded her privacy because he only used items of data that she herself had allowed the world to see. The people that work within the Circle apply data as open and free, even if the data regards personal information. It is very clear that initially, Mae is not alright with this application of data. However, as you progress through the novel, she becomes guilty that she doesn’t view data and her privacy in the same way, so much so that she even begins to change her views and truly become a member of the Circle.

Civic Artifact Speech Outline

I’ll start off my speech by showing my civic artifact, which I’ve chosen to be a WWII propaganda ad.  I’m just not quite sure which one I will be picking.  But essentially whatever one I will pick I will analyze it, and then apply in to WWII and the time period in which it was created.

For my introduction, I’ll ask the class if they have ever been asked or persuaded to give something up for the “greater good”.  After that quick prelude, I’ll move onto the actual civic artifact where I’ll describe what it actually is and other general background information including when it was made and who it was made by.

Next I’ll analyze its rhetorical value.  I will see how the selected piece goes about trying to persuade its intended audience, which will more often than not be civilians. I’ll go through the images and why certain aspects are significant as well as the word choice and why those specific words were chosen.

What I’ll do next is analyze the civic qualities of the civic artifact.  I’ll analyze why the artifact was initially created and who is it specifically trying to sway.  I’ll also analyze what it exactly is that artifact is trying to accomplish.  I also plan on analyzing what kind of effect that this piece would have on citizens and civics not only in that specific time period, but also in modern times in order to try and determine the overall effectiveness of the piece of propaganda.

I will conclude with a statement concerning the overall effectiveness of the artifact and how pieces of propaganda such as this can be incredibly effective and motivational when concerning topics such as national pride or the nations safety.  Thats my general plan for my Civic Artifact Speech.


My Civic Artifact

When I initially found out that we had to pick a civic artifact on our own and analyze it, I was not really sure what I which on I would pick.  There were so many possible choices for me to select from that I was overwhelmed by my options.  So I have narrowed it down to a couple different options that I could choose to analyze in both my speech and my paper.

One is a the Nike logo “Just Do It”.  It has quickly become one of the ubiquitous sayings through its constant use in television commercials, internet ads, and billboards across the nation.  This artifact holds dear to me because I find it to be incredibly motivational through its simplicity.  The phrase does not beg any questions, it doesn’t allow for excuses, its message is simple and unforgiving.  Now this may not seem like the strongest civic artifact, but I believe that the phrase, and the company itself, have made a positive impact on society and push people to do more in their lives.

Another artifact that I am considering using is the WWF, the World Wildlife Fund.  I have always loved animals and that is a large reason as to why I am considering choosing this for my speech and paper.  The organization has released many different ad and ad campaigns promoting people to help in their conservation efforts.  This organization promotes civic life by asking people to go and contribute to a good cause that effects everyone.  And there are many different documents and examples that I could use if I were to use this example.

The final artifact that I am thinking about using is all the American Propaganda that was used during the duration of WWII.  I have a deep love of history and I find the time period around WWII to be hands down one of the most riveting times in human history.  Similar to the WWF, there are so many different examples that I could pull from and use.  These pieces of propaganda promote civic life by asking the American public to make sacrifices or do things that are necessary if they want to help out the American soldiers and win the war.