For the History of Public Controversy project, my group is still looking to settle on a topic. While we aren’t sure what exactly we’ll research, as for roles we discussed who will be doing what. Nicholas will be doing presenting and research, Katie will also be doing research, Hinkal will do video editing, and Jacob will do research, script writing, and presenting. As someone without background knowledge in controversial issues, I will assist in research but could also help with script writing or editing as needed.
My paradigm shift paper is about the change in rap, since it’s peak in popularity in the 1980s to modern rap.
Rap music has always been a reflection of its time and the community its come from. In the 1980s, there were injustices that the rappers of the time, like Public Enemy or NWA, made the subject of their lyrics. They spread the private struggles of the black community and used their platform as artist like a megaphone and made it not just a racial issue but a societal one. Today’s rap music comes from a different place, where hyper-masculinity is sold to boys when they are young, girls are faced with objectification in the media, and socioeconomic status determines an individual’s place in society. That’s why in my paper, I want to discuss how rap music is societal-based reflection rather than a community-based one, and that the solution to this is with the consumers of hip hop, the youth.
I am speaking in response to the prominence of rap music that speaks on personal and material gain instead of making proper use of their platform and accessibility to young people. My audience is the American youth, the consumers of modern day artists and inheritors of America’s future. My delivery can be informal since I’m addressing people the same age as me and informative since not everyone is familiar with the history of rap and the role it plays within the African American community’s struggles. Some parts of my explanation may require visual aids.
For my rhetorical analysis essay, the topic I’m considering is social media. Much like photography, social media started out with good intentions, such as helping people connect, creating communities for people to join, and overall improving more ways for people to communicate with each other. However, with this increase in dialogue there has also lead to online conflicts, a sense of hierarchy, and self-importance. Social media sites have become more of a way to establish a sense of self than to communicate with others.
Within the essay, I plan to discuss a similar thesis statement to my civic artifact speech, the long-term effects of these actions on individuals. In reality, everyone is a part of the public. We all have more or less of the same affect on society as a whole, we make it run, and keep the system going. However, online, if you have more followers or get more likes on your post or photo you’re more popular than someone with less of these things, automatically making what you say or do more important. Yet, outside of the internet, it doesn’t make a difference.
One thing I do wonder about is what this division means to people as a society. Humans are social creatures and have many needs. A sense of belonging, attention, community, to feel like who we are and what we say matters. But how does the social pyramid within social media affect these needs? Does it affect an individual’s overall outlook of their self-esteem and -confidence? Does it extend even further and affect their personal performance? These are some of things I plan to discuss.
To conclude the essay, I’ll argue that the original intention to get people to communicate more is still there and that there is more dialogue. However, social media has also removed people from the interactive and social skills gained from communicating face-to-face with someone else. As a solution, I suggest pulling away from the latest feed and starting up a conversation with someone.
English 137 – Sec. 9
21 September 2017
Should Everyone be a Photographer?
The concept of the photograph was first developed by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in the early 1800s when he was experimenting with a new means of creating drafts of images that did not have to be produced manually. This experimentation lead to the invention of heliography, or a process of photographing using the sun’s reflection on a movable mirror. To us, as people in the 21st century, such a process seems inconceivable. Covering a flat surface in an oil-like substance, leaving it alone for several hours of exposure time, then coming back to an impression of the image on the surface would be too much work. Since the 1800s, time and access to new technologies has allowed us digital cameras and smartphones that auto-adjust to take the perfect picture. Recreating images without having to draw them is not only no longer a concern, but photographs can be used to display and spread information, aid people in viewing things that cannot be seen by the human eye, or for more personal means, like capturing a beautiful scenery and documenting small moments in our lives. Photography and its uses have evolved, but is that evolution actually an advancement for the better? In my paper, I plan to dispute the claim of “living in the moment” versus “capturing the moment” through its harm in developing long-term memory, creating apathy, and preventing the development of real-life experiences.
- Inhibiting long-term memory (photo-taking impairment effect, coined by Linda Henkel)
- Psychologist Linda Henkel “Henkel, who researches human memory at Fairfield University in Connecticut, began an experiment by sending groups of students to the university’s art museum. The students observed some objects and photographed others. Then, back at the laboratory, they were given a memory test. Henkel found what she called a ‘photo-taking impairment effect.’ ‘The objects that they had taken photos of — they actually remembered fewer of them, and remembered fewer details about those objects. Like, how was this statue’s hands positioned, or what was this statue wearing on its head. They remembered fewer of the details if they took photos of them, rather than if they had just looked at them,’ she says. Henkel says her students’ memories were impaired because relying on an external memory aid means you subconsciously count on the camera to remember the details for you.” (NPR Staff 3, 4)
- Creating apathy
- “serious crimes still result in ugly voyeurism. After a man was stabbed in Glasgow in September last year, it emerged that onlookers had stood around filming the attack rather than going to the man’s aid.” (Castella 7)
- Prevention of experience development
- “Steven Colburn is a PhD student at Sussex University, working on a doctoral thesis on people who film concerts and post the footage on YouTube. ‘They accept that in filming the concert they’re withdrawing from the live experience but they are also taking away those memories. And then they’re uploading it onto YouTube, demonstrating their attendance at the event.’” (Castella 4)
There’s also corruption in the professional photography world, where people seek pictures that will bring them fame, framing the subject in pretense with the motive to sell something. However, there are still people in this world that make photography something meaningful. In Lynsey Addario’s It’s What I Do, we see that photography is an art…
- Counter-claim: photography does positively contribute to society
- …is about the urge to display the truth and share information, it is something that is intimate for the subject and possibly also the person capturing the moment
- Evokes emotion, makes us care, has the ability to change the world when used right
- Steve McCurry, a photographer of National Geographic, and his photograph of Sharbat Gula “ …her intense, sea-green eyes told the world from the cover of National Geographic’s June 1985 issue a thousand diplomats and relief workers could not… [her] stare drilled into our collective subconscious and stopped a heedless Western world dead in its tracks. We knew her instantly, and we could no longer avoid caring.” (Draper 3)
- “To witness the calamity of war in the gold-mining region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is also to envision a glimmer of hope: Show the gold merchants in Switzerland what their profiteering has wrought, and maybe they’ll cease their purchases… [t]hey saw Marcus Bleasdale’s images at a Geneva exhibit, and their Congolese gold purchases halted almost overnight.” (Draper 3)
Photography has the ability to move hearts and change lives when used properly. The issue with photography in modern society is the wide accessibility to it. People take pictures of things that intrigue them, creating a collection of ‘memories’ they never look back on. The original goal of capturing the moment and making a memory lost in backup storage of a smartphone. The solution to this is to be present and observe actively, which will increase the likelihood of the event itself being remembered and allow the experience to provoke us, whether it is thoughtfully or actively. Life does not last long, and each moment spent trying to document our day for others to see is a moment of our lives wasted.
Addario, Lynsey. It’s What I Do: a Photographer’s Life of Love and War. Penguin Publishing Group, 2015.
Castella, Tom de. “Five Ways the Digital Camera Changed Us.” BBC News, BBC, 2012, www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16483509.
“Photography at 125.” The Power of Photography, ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/10/power-of-photography/draper-text.
Staff, NPR. “Overexposed? Camera Phones Could Be Washing Out Our Memories.” NPR, NPR, 2014, www.npr.org/2014/05/22/314592247/overexposed-camera-phones-could-be-washing-out-our-memories.
In Part II of Lynsey Addario’s “It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War”, I learned something about the September 11th issue that I had not previously considered. This incident is a lesson frequently taught in middle school history courses, the devastation, the destruction of families, and the formation of community that came from it. It was emotional, real, and enormously pathetic. I sympathized and never questioned the one-sidedness.
The series of chapters of her time spent in the Middle East after the attack was a new perspective. The more she learned, she empathized for the Middle Eastern people and felt dubiousness towards the U.S. army; the sense of justice she gained as she concluded the section. She had to do this to reveal the truth. Her purpose is to educate the American public and pull back the blinders that media authority set on America, thinking raw and truthful information was “too real”, and leave it for the people to decide. This type of resoluteness isn’t something I’ve experienced yet.
My interest in anthropology came from my interest in humans as social creatures. The way we interact now, the way our ancestors acted then, I want to know this and be the bridge that traverses the lingual and cultural barrier much like Addario does when she pursues her photojournalistic instinct. She began this book with danger and intrigue. As the reader, we wanted to know what type of story we’re getting into, why she’s out there, and what would we do in such a serious situation with our lives on the line. She hints at issues that prevail within the story, the difference in treatment between men and women in the field of journalists and photographers; the inability to maintain proper relationships; the danger, the worry, and the urgency to pursue reality. I would like to set my passion blog up like this. To reel in the reader, portray the urgency I feel for this matter and have them develop intrigue in it as well. FInding this balance will be difficult, and I plan to use credible sources to pinpoint the seriousness of self-esteem and -confidence issues in our society. My first blogs will be experiments in aiming for this goal, but I plan to achieve before these blog assignments are over.
Addario used the anecdote about her Nana’s missed chance at love to explain the relationship she has with her job as a war correspondent. If she hadn’t pursued it, she would have ended up regretting it and wondering what would happen if she had chosen it.
However, unlike Addario, I’m not as decisive and often choose comfort over change, leading to me wondering all the what ifs afterward. A situation that frames this well is my cousin Felicia’s but also mine.
Whenever I talk to my cousin, I can’t help but think of how complicated her life is. Aside from my brother who’s twenty-five, there’s no one else around her age, and as a twenty-seven year old with a daughter, there’s a lot on her plate. The person she’s dating also has a child around her daughter’s age which I’m sure alleviates some of that pressure. At one point, they lived together but broke things off for a while. Now, they’re back together again but Felicia lives back home with my aunt instead.
While I don’t always know what’s going on with her, if I could venture to guess one of the things that concern her at the moment, it’d be that she was lonely. This is something I sympathize with because I’ve been in a similar situation.
When I was younger, I would hope for a friend that would stay up late talking with me and that I could share my problems with. I finally met someone like that in high school. There was a moment when my relationship with them reached an unhealthy break, and my friends advised me to break things off. However, instead, I hesitated and hoped for things to change and get better on their own.
I didn’t want to leave them because they were the closest person I had. And when the usual family gossip circulated, I learned that Felicia felt that way too. She told her mom that she was afraid no one would love her again. So she stayed. And I did too.
I’m fully aware of the lack of confidence behind this decision. That things would never be the same, that I’d have to wait for someone new and start all over again. Even though things are much better on my end, I wonder if I made the right choice every so often.
Decisiveness and confidence are two attributes that take time and trial and error to achieve. However, the lesson I want to take from this and want to share with you, the reader, is to not be afraid of change. The best ingredient for fear is resolve. Your instinct is the first step, your decision the next, and your resolve the final. My hope is that my passion blog can give courage to people in situations like these where they’re afraid of making a change, whether it’s small or large. I want to be able to tell them what I wish I knew.
That nothing’s ever impossible if you prepare yourself for it.
Looking back on it as a freshman in college, middle school was a big turning point in my life. During the time I struggled with self-image issues, I discovered baking. The cakes and cookies were always ready-made, packed in a box to mix and bake, but the effort I put into preparing them properly and decorating them were all mine.
The idea to do this might have arose from the fact that, during holidays, everyone had a job. My mom would buy the sodas and make roast beef, my Aunt Phia would make macaroni and cheese, my Grandma’s house would be the venue and so on. I wanted something to do, so I wandered toward the baking aisle and started from there.
My family has always been frugal with their money, so the amount and type of things we can afford besides necessities wasn’t much. However, when she could, my mom would pay for the mix I needed and I’d prepare it for the holidays. Since this mini-debut of mine, I’ve tried making things from scratch and have failed miserably many times. But the most rewarding part of the process is not making the cake, brownies, or cookies successfully, but bringing it to my Grandma’s house the day of the event and seeing everyone take a piece. To me, that is the baker’s joy. Seeing the pleasure his or her food brings to others.
At the same time, I was also stuck in a place where I felt unhappy and alien. I went to a charter school from kindergarten to eighth grade, so by the time we moved to middle school most of us knew or at least saw each other before. However, middle school is also the time when hormones come into play. So of course, I began to notice all the girls in my class were becoming attractive, wearing makeup, accessorizing, wearing their hair different. We weren’t little kids anymore. Now their were boys and their were girls.
I started to look at myself critically. My legs, nose and lips were too big, my chest too small, my hair too kinky, and my eyes and skin too brown. It didn’t help that we had to wear a uniform, the differences were only that much more obvious. Needless to say, I was stuck in a rut and I wasn’t confident enough to come out.
It wasn’t until I graduated and started high school that I became brave enough to surpass it. The scenery was so diverse that I was in awe by the different types of skin tones, body types, sizes, and fashions. And yes, there were no uniforms! I felt like everyone had found themselves in the clothes they wore and wore it with confidence. And so, I was forced to once again face the image I saw in the mirror every morning. And as I kept doing this, I began to realize that what I saw wasn’t that bad.
Through this process of debating blog topics and questioning happiness, I decided on making a self-awareness blog for those of us who don’t take the time to stop and look anymore.
When you consider us as a society, we often rely on outer appearances so often that we dress even our daily lives up on social media to seem more appealing. There are, of course, people who dress how they like and display themselves as such in the world and online. But how often does anyone set aside a few minutes after a shower to appreciate themselves physically and relax? I don’t mean this sexually, though I won’t deny that’s one way to go about this. However, relaxing can be whatever is comfortable to you. Like, laying down and taking a nap or being on your phone or laptop.
So this is my first suggestion. It may be impossible with college lifestyle, assuming your roommate doesn’t want to walk in on you naked; but in a time of solitude or when you’re back at home I recommend giving this a try. Not frequently, but once in a while as a change of pace. I hope that you find this transforming, or at least think of it as nice way to relax.
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