Issues Brief Ideas- Anthony and Jim

We are going to make our issues brief a proposition and curriculum for a modified RCL course that teaches rhetoric but focuses on issues regarding sexual health and safety. We believe that this unique approach could inform students and encourage open dialogues on campus while still teaching them about effective oral and written communication.

Sexual health/safety
Rape from a victim’s perspective
Rape from a bystander’s perspective
STDs (minor)
Sexual Harassment
Rape culture
Rhetorical mediums to use:


  • Issues Brief
  • Paradigm Shift
  • Daily readings
  • Blogging
    • Reactions to readings, documentaries, in-class discussions, and speaker events
    • Class is for experience, blogs are for reacting.
    • Different Penn State Reads


  • Civic Artifact
  • This I Believe
  • TED Talk
  • Deliberation


  • Public controversy video
  • Documentaries in class
  • Speaker youtube videos
  • Public controversy video



  • Multiple points of view and standpoints
  • First-hand accounts, research,
  • Magazine articles that were successful and articles that failed.


  • Build a sense of empathy between students
  • Productive dose of fear.
  • Normalize and encourage conversation about topics
  • Inform students for their own safety
  • Make them consider their own opinions after being informed
  • Give students confidence and comfort talking about these issues
    • If you can talk about rape in front of 25 classmates, maybe you’ll be more comfortable taking a stand as a bystander in a situation
    • Dispel myths
    • Inform inform inform so that students are aware of the levity of the subject.


-UVA rape case Rolling Stone


-Clery Act

-Date rape activist

-Social media and tinder.

This I Believe Rough Draft

During the last year, I have woken up in my bedroom at home, a hospital bed, a hotel room, a friend’s couch, and a dorm. Regardless of where I wake up, I begin nearly every single day the same way: praying in the shower. With the water pouring on me in a silent room where my mind is free to become fully alive is where I feel the most empowered to give thanks, reflect, seek forgiveness, and ask for guidance.

The few people who I tell this daily habit of mine to don’t exactly understand and I can’t blame them. Last year, I was talking to the priest at my high school about prayer and I told him about my personal approach to daily prayer. He suggested that I reconsider how I pray and try setting aside some time solely devoted to it. Although I could see his logic about how the shower is not the most sacred place to interact with God, I had to disagree. I don’t pray in the shower because I don’t have other free moments in my day. I pray in the shower because it has become a part of my morning routine. In the same ways that I prepare my body for the day by brushing my teeth and trimming my beard, I prepare my mind and spirit for the challenges that lie ahead of me every morning. It’s the same thing every day and even though it’s so simple, days without it just don’t seem right.

Whether it be the good night text that I send my mom every time I climb into bed even when it’s 2 am, the “Thank you” that I always try to remember to end every email with, or the prayers that I say each morning in the shower, I believe in the power and meaning of routine. When I talk about routine, I’m not talking about the endless quirks that Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory has or even the systematic way you mindlessly put your right sock first on every day. I’m talking about the things that we consciously make important enough to ourselves to repeat day in and day out, regardless of circumstance.

Routines are so simple and seem so monotonous, yet, they play such a critical role in my life. Life is so unpredictable that few things in it are constant. What we make constant though are the things that we value and the ones that make differences in our lives.

Routines are part of who we are and demonstrate what we truly value. Few people will understand what you do and even less will have a clue why you do it. Like my priest, they’ll question you and even make sense. What matters are the reasons that we have for doing something every day and the ways that we find our inner sense of comfort, stability, and peace.

Week 1

This I Believe

For my This I Believe podcast, I want to take a small, daily task or habit of mine and use it as a vehicle to say something about who I am and how I view the world. When thinking of daily habits, I came up with two things that I do every single day that I believe can help explain why I am the way that I am.

Every night, before I go to bed, I write in a journal one thing from that day that I am thankful for. The avenue that I would take in developing this idea would be to emphasize my belief in the importance of written word in order to express one’s self.  The other daily habit that I am considering focusing on is my daily prayer. While many people of all different faiths pray everyday and for a variety of reasons, I do mine in a unique way: while showering, brushing my teeth, and shaving. A priest I spoke to last year told me I should reconsider when I pray because he didn’t think I was focused enough on it. However, I believe incorporating that time of reflection into a morning routine makes it mean more to me because it is part of how I get ready and prepare myself for the day. I believe that mentally and spiritually preparing oneself for the day is just as important as the physical preparations.

Passion Blog Ideas

My passion blog last semester focused on social media and everything that it enables its users to do every day. This semester, I plan on broadening my focus to modern forms of media in general and paying additional attention to issues that they present, as opposed to just analyzing ways that they can be used. Controversial topics that I plan on addressing this semester include privacy, ethics, accuracy, bias, and modern forms of libel. I am very displeased with the current state of our media and the ways that it is misusing all of the Internet’s many practical and useful application. I am going to be writing to millennials who are equally frustrated with not knowing what is true, what agendas are being pushed, and who is controlling their information. I hope that by the end of the semester, I’ll have found ways that the modern mass media can improve and even a few honest, ethical, and reliable outlets.

Civic Issue Blog ideas

I want to gear this blog towards issues regarding education, specifically higher education. Although not nearly as controversial as the other options like race or the environment, education is a very relevant issue to us as college students, whether it be astronomical tuitions and student debt, the purpose of an education, or the pressure placed on students of all levels in the United States. Our education system is quite flawed and much more demanding than those of other countries, which actually test better than we do as a country. This semester, I want to explore why and how we got to where we are today.

Ted Talk Outline

TED Outline Format

Oral Content


Topic: The influence of streaming services


Purpose: To analyze our evolution as an audience and what that reflects about our changing, modern society


Thesis Statement: While Netflix and other streaming platforms may seem to be just making watching shows and movies more convenient than ever, they are also simultaneously reconfiguring our culture to be both more individualized and individualistic.



Attention Strategy/

Orienting Material:       How will you begin this presentation in a way that appropriately garners audience attention?


Anecdote- 2 options

  1. Personal account of buying a TV for school a never really using it



  1. How we got here
  2. Entertainment has been an ever evolving industry
  3. Silentàsound, b&wàcolor, theateràhome, streaming services
  4. How can we improve it? Make it more accessible? Get best content?
    1. Streaming services answer all these questions
  5. Before, we had to go to theaters with friends and watched TV with family


  1. Main Idea – Complete Sentence

Where we are

  1. Whatever we want, whenever we want it
  2. Watching shows and movies by ourselves
  3. Up to three users at a time so no need to be together
  4. Consumer data characterizes our viewing experience
  5. Content is catered to us and our needs
  6. My Shows
  7. Suggested shows
  8. Libraries are unique to each country
    • Global reach
  • Main Idea – Complete Sentence

Where we’re going

  1. Death of TV and movies via Apple TV and Chrome Cast
    1. Future of news and sports can come online
      1., NFL now, ABC News
    2. Movie premieres online
      1. The Interview, Netflix originals
    3. Never have to interact to entertain ourselves
  2. Magazine subscriptions
    1. Time Warner wants to adopt a business strategy to sell magazine subscriptions similar to how Netflix provides programs
  3. Netflixing education
    1. More individualized, caters to our needs better




Streaming services place more emphasis on the individual. Good for giving the power of choice and catering to individual experiences and wants. Bad for promoting non-social behavior.

Paradigm Shift Idea

For the paradigm shift essay, I want to analyze the change in the ways that our modern society watches movies and TV shows. This realm of entertainment has seen multiple eras that were each characterized by a particular dominant medium that underwent its own evolution and modifications. First, it was the cinema. Next, it was television. Now, it is online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

These services that dominate our modern forms of entertainment have shaped the industry, first by bringing down movie rental stores like Blockbuster with Red Box, then by growing the popularity of network shows that are available seasons at a time online at all times, then by competing with cable networks for viewership with original series, and now by dominating how millennials watch television.

How we entertain ourselves is reflective of values that we hold as a society. These current services promote a culture of immediacy and instant gratification.

Areas that I intend to focus on in the paper include the impacts that streaming services such as Netflix have made in just a short amount of time, what they say about our current society, reasons for this shift other than advancements in technology, how they have reached so many different demographics especially older generations who normally might oppose these types of changes, how they will continue to grow, and how they may be combatted in the future.

I plan to fill out the PDF for thinking about a paradigm shift to further develop my ideas concretely, but just from looking at the questions, I was able to come up some ideas and directions to take this paper.


1878- First motion picture debuts

1894- First commercial exhibition of film

1927- Sound is added to films

1927- Invention of television

1934- First drive in movie

1948- SCOTUS Hollywood Trust Cases

1976- VHS introduced

1995- DVD Player invented

1997- Netflix introduced

2002- Redbox introduced

2013- House of Cards, first Netflix Original, debuts

The Circle Post 4

One of the hardest things to achieve in a society is true democracy. Perhaps the best example of participatory democracy where all citizens had a say is Ancient Athens. The only issue is that citizenship was limited to free men so a majority of the population affected by the democratic structure had to comply with the decisions made.

Although Demoxie provides what may seem to be the purest form of democracy in the history of mankind, it loses the meaning and value of acting civically by coercing citizens to participate. Any person who wants to be an active member of the Circle online community has to partake in the democratic structure and likewise, anyone wishing to be part of the governmental decision-making has to be online.

This duality of Demoxie is ironic because of its namesake roots; “democracy with your voice and your moxie” (400).

The intent of Demoxie is good- “to make sure everyone…can weigh in on issues that affect their lives” (400) because of the apparent power it gives to the people. When users cast their votes and a banner reading “You are heard!” (401) appears, there is a sense of the value in their opinions being cast and the role that they play in the modern society. In contrast though, people are forced to take that power; responses are “expected” (400), “speedy” (400), and “essential” (400).

While users have a voice and are able to put their own influences on the direction of society, the coercion to vote and to be part of something kills the whole essence of being civic.

Being civic isn’t a box to check off or a requirement to fulfill. It’s an ongoing and voluntary responsibility that we have. We should take action because we want to be engaged and to serve our communities in some of the most basic ways, not because we are told that we need to do so in order to use our Circle accounts.

Completing the Circle is unattainable because of the various dissenters such as Mercer and Mae’s parents. Demoxie though provides what may be the closest the any civilization, fictional or real, will get to direct democracy. However, in doing so, the spirit of democracy is lost.

Participatory democracy revolves around what the adjective implies- participation. As an adjective, “participatory” carries more active connotations than other words that are used to describe doing something. Demoxie doesn’t make democracy participatory; it makes it mandated and required.

In a sense, the whole foundation of achieving this democracy comes from a higher power forcing users to operate democratically…dictatorship-directed democracy.

The Circle Blog 3

In Mae’s meeting with Eamon Bailey, he uses his authority over her to manipulate her thoughts and lead her to come up with the mantra that “SECRETS ARE LIES, SHARING IS CARING, PRIVACY IS THEFT” (305), which summarizes the intent of the Circle quite thoroughly. These three statements all seem quite radical from our cultural standpoint which values the protection of our rights and individuality, but in the eyes of the Circlers, who take connectivity to the extreme, they represent the ideals that are the basis of successful societies.

Secrecy can be viewed in two very polarizing ways. In one, it is a source of trust. In the other, it is a vice that protects people from facing the consequences of their actions. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that secrets are lies because not all secrets have to be bad. More importantly though, secrets are the truth, not lies. The whole idea of keeping a secret is to enshroud reality. Doing so though can be used for both good and bad purposes. By keeping secrets about a planned surprise party or about a close friend revealing his or her sexual orientation to you, you aren’t lying to the world. A lot of the time, you’re being a good and reliable friend. Conversely though, secrets can be used to hide an affair from a spouse or to keep dangerous knowledge away from the public. The problem with secrets isn’t the secrets themselves; it’s how people take advantage of them for their own gain and security.

In spite of the radical exploitation of information, the Circle’s intent to promote the sharing of content isn’t inherently driven by evil. Sharing is caring is the one part of Mae’s mantra that I actually agree with for the most part. The whole idea of making all of this information so public is to promote the shared enterprise of all people, such as SeeChange enabling Eamon’s son who suffers from cerebral palsy to see things that his condition prevents him from doing and leaders “going clear” so the public can hold them accountable. By posting about their own experiences, users share their worlds with others, who hopefully do the same in return to create a more informed and interconnected society. How people use the Internet in real life is very similar to this as online reviews are intended to inform future customers, stories of social injustice go viral and raise national awareness, and warnings about potential violent or weather-related threats are streamlined to individuals’ phones and televisions to protect them.

Sharing can truly be caring, the problem with the Circle though is that it goes far beyond promoting shared enterprise. It exploits the public and discourages any type of privacy, which Circlers believe is an act of theft.

Privacy is where the line should be drawn on the idea of sharing is caring. Unlike secrecy, privacy involves an individual’s protection of himself or herself and really cannot be used malevolently. The Circle though aims to eliminate any type of privacy because it idealizes the beliefs that a perfect world wouldn’t need it and that not having it wouldn’t be a big deal because no one would have it. By losing their privacy, people lose touch with their personal lives. Mae, for instance, is discouraged from living a life outside of the Circle and is placed under a microscope for a petty misdemeanor, which may even be a bit of an exaggerated description. The Circle eliminates privacy in leaders through the “going clear” campaign, which manipulates the elections as people feel as if they can only trust officials who live their lives transparently. Every person should be entitled to his or her own privacy; it’s a constitutionally granted right. Disclosing personal information from the world isn’t stealing; it’s protecting one’s self. We all have the right to protect our financial and health records, personal issues, or whatever else it is that people value.

The Circle could be used for so much good, but its ambition to dominate society is its weakness. These themes that stigmatize secrecy and privacy and that lionize sharing lose sight of the true purpose of the Circle, which is to serve its users, a warning from Dave Eggers about who really is in charge of our world and leading it.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

  1. President is a figurehead and source of unity for the public
    1. Rallies Americans to have hope
    2. Different motives, platforms, and views but similar appeals and messages
    3. American society has remained fundamentally the same, we want the same things Americans wanted 150 years ago but for different reasons and in different ways
  2. Return to American idealism
    1. Lincoln references formation of nation
    2. Trump links himself to Reagan
  • Why they both work
    1. Historical context (Kairos)
      1. Lincoln àCivil War, need for unity
      2. Trump àHe and audience believes America has to be made great again
    2. Pathos
      1. Lincoln àDon’t let these lives lost be in vain, crossroads
      2. Trump àHope
  • Both give people a duty
  1. Ambiguity opens audience
    1. What does answering the call mean to you
  2. Need for action
  1. How American society is different
    1. What they say about us
      1. Simple slogan having as much meaning as iconic speech
      2. Both synonymous with rhetor
  • What we value and want in our nation
  1. How American society is similar
    1. Similar ideals
    2. Rallying cry
    3. Puts America on pedestal…patriotism/nationalism
    4. Still look to politicians for reassurance
  2. Conclusion
    1. Consistency in messages of campaigns and heart-wrenching speeches
    2. American ideals extend through eras and across party lines
    3. (Examples)
    4. Despite time between Trump and Lincoln and differences between their views, calling for us to do the same thingsàBe civic