RCL 11

As we talked in class, many people were discussing how the power of words to evoke one’s imagination is far superior to the power of an image. I simply disagree, and I think John hits on some key points in his blog post about this. Sure, if we are talking about the description of a certain character in a novel vs. the image of this character in a movie, it is clear that the movie leaves less room for interpretation at the surface. What I find the key to this argument to be is the distinction between interpretation and imagination. While books require the reader to form their own images of what a character or setting looks like, movies don’t allow the reader to form their own interpretation about that specific character or setting. This does not mean, however, it restricts the imagination of the reader/viewer. It simply changes the frame of imagination in the audience. By this I mean that while books require their readers to use imagination to form images, movies require viewers to use their imagination to form context of an image. Take the picture of the orc vs. a written description of the orc. The text obviously allows you to form a visual picture in your mind of what the orc looks like and acts like, which requires imagination. The picture of the orc makes people associate that image with other images in their life (as John described the image of the Devil) which in turns sparks the imagination of the viewer to make assumptions about the image. These assumptions can be about the character itself, yes, but images allow for a deeper imaginative quality. Images allow the viewer to use their own personal experience to form a backstory about the image, about its past and what happened before the image, and about its future and what happens after the image. Essentially the point I’m trying to make is that textual description is a bottom-up imaginative process. Many words are used to help a reader form images about the subject. While images are a top-down imaginative process in which a viewer takes an image and uses imagination to form the context and story behind the image. Both text and images require imagination to interpret, but one is not more powerful than the other.

RCL 9: Concession speech

Whether you support the losing candidate or not, its always sad to hear a concession speech. Even if you don’t agree with anything a losing presidential candidate stands for, the candidate is still a person that has devoted years of time and energy fighting for what he believes in. Romney truly believed that he could move America in the right direction and has spent the last year or so under all the stress and pressure that comes with the political spotlight. It is not easy being followed all times of every day, having every word recorded and knowing that the smallest misspoken phrase could potentially end or harm his career. It was a year of constant moving from place to place, endless speeches and no time for leisure. A year of hell like this would all be worth it to him in the end if he had won. But he didn’t. He lost and it seems like there may have been no point to all his hard work and dedication to his cause, whether you support it or not.

His concession speech was spoken by a man who was trying not to feel hopeless. The opening of his speech was, from what I could tell, not scripted at all. He started off by congratulating Obama and his family. Then he thanked his own family, and Paul Ryan, and all those who helped on his campaign. The second half of his speech was short, and scripted (I think). He spoke about the direction of the country, and how the American people didn’t choose his direction so now he, along with his supporters, have to support the president in his direction and pray it doesn’t go bad. Overall, it was a pretty blah speech with everything you’d expect and nothing spectacular. It just must be terrible to put so much effort and money into one thing and come up empty handed.

RCL wk7

For my paradigm shift, I chose to do the increase of democratization and voter power in the United States over the last century. There have been several examples, most at the first half of the 20th century, of when the power of a voter has expanded. I said that the expansion of voter power reflects that our society is one that places a lot of importance on individualism and self expression. For the Ted talk I figure there are many examples I can talk about in this shift:

1. Women and minority right to vote. Both the 15th and 19th amendment allow women and non-whites (respectively) the right to vote. Before these amendments, only white males were allowed to vote. Allowing universal suffrage to everyone in the United States shows that we have placed emphasis on our ability to express our own opinions and make our own decisions.

2. The direct election of senators and primary elections. Before the 17th amendment, all members of the U.S. senate were appointed by state legislatures. This was an attempt to remove the people from the policymaking process and improve government efficiency. However, it was less democratic and didn’t give people the chance to vote. The shift in allowing people to vote for senators shows that we believe in democratic principles and self-expression. Before the early 20th century, potential candidates for office were selected by political party leaders instead of primary elections. By the mid 20th century, most state party organizations adopted the direct primary that let the people decide who their nominee would be instead of a few influential people. This is yet another example of how society believes it is important for everyone to be able to express themselves if they so please.

RCL: Herman Cain College Truth Tour

This Wednesday, October 17th, Herman Cain stopped in State College, PA at the State Theater while on his “College Truth Tour.” This tour consists of dozens of stops at colleges all over the country and focuses on “the state of the student”. More background information on the tour itself can be found on the tour’s website, but I want to get in on what he spoke about on Wednesday. I will first talk about the content of his speech, then talk about the effectiveness of his delivery and argument.

Truth Tour Vid

Even though the tour itself is advertised as aimed for the college student audience, I would say at least a third of the people in attendance were older, middle-aged or even senior, citizens. This probably has something to do with the fact that most young people are democrats while older people tend to be more republican. This was not a problem though, because his speech really wasn’t targeted at just anyone that wants to improve their future.

Taken from the website Collegetruthtour.com

He started off talking about the American dream, and what the dream should consist of. He used himself throughout the first portion of his speech as an example of someone who has lived the American dream. Having a father who worked three jobs, and only being able to afford school lunch one day of the week, he spoke of how he came from a poor background. Then he talked about what it means to be successful and how you can get yourself there. He had three main points on success:

1. Success is a journey and not an endpoint. This simply meant that there is a difference between achieving small goals and achieving success.

2. Having no goals is far more detrimental to a person’s life than having unachieved goals. This was more insightful than the first point and I thought interesting. He spoke of how his first goal out of college was to make $20k a year. He worked himself up the pay-grade scale of the navy and found himself a job that paid just that. What I thought was the most important point in this part of his speech was that success is whatever you want it to be, but you need to set goals on your way there. After landing a $20k a year job, he decided he wanted another job and be the Vice President of something then President, and so on. (which he ended up achieving it all).

3. Success is a zig-zag process. This is pretty self-explanatory in that you will hit problems on your way to success.

The first portion of the speech as explained above was almost like a speech on how to better your life from a motivational speaker. The second part, however, is where it got political. Cain shifts from talking about what makes success to what can get in the way of success. In short, his answer was the current government and he offers three specifics of what will get in the way of the graduating student’s success.

1. The current tax code. Cain suggests that the current tax code is far too complicated and is not concrete, which hurts small businesses. Small businesses, including the businesses of the thousands of owners Cain has talked to, are afraid to expand their businesses because they are unsure of what the government may change about taxes. He suggests the tax code needs to be completely rewritten and simplified into either just a flat income tax, a standard national sales tax, or his trademark 9-9-9 plan (which he went into very little detail about). Cain said that simplifying the tax code will help us “grow, not spend, our way to prosperity”.

2. Energy dependence of the U.S. on oil countries. Cain briefly hit on this point and spoke about how the dependence of the U.S. on other countries for energy hurts our economy and we would be better off with opening up our own resources. He didn’t provide much details on how or why, but did also say that we would be “screwed” in a global military conflict with our oil countries because we would run out of energy. An interesting point that I wasn’t sure was relevant at all to becoming successful in life.

3. SPENDING. His most important argument of the night was that “what is happening in Washington is insane” in that we are spending way too much money. Probably his most profound quote of the night (and in my biased opinion, my favorite) was in reference to entitlement programs of the federal government, “If you don’t put any money into it, you aren’t entitled to anything“. The whole audience clapped at this point, and Cain went into the details. Simply put, he thinks lowering the tax rates and congress not spending money on things that the government shouldn’t (in his opinion) spend money on will fix all our problems.

At the end of his speech, Cain tells everyone to be an informed voter and to be a part of the solution. He finishes with a speech with a quote from the Pokemon movie: “Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible. It’s never easy when there’s so much on the line. But you and I can make a difference. There’s a mission just for you and me.”

So what can I say about his speech’s effectiveness? A lot. But I will bring it to a few main points I took notice of.

Herman Cain is a great public speaker. Regardless of your political affiliation or your opinion of Cain, it is obvious that he has public speaking down pretty good. He always looked at the audience. He spoke will emotion as if the speech was not rehearsed and candid. And his body language perfectly portrayed his emotional state in the speech. I believe that this public speaking ability is the only reason he did so well in the Republican primary race. He was able to debate so well, that everyone forgot that he was just a business man and had no real qualifications to be lead the U.S. military and our country. Its this natural speaking ability of his that really builds his ethos of his argument and makes him effective.

 

Herman Cain is also very funny. A couple things that made me laugh:

  • He wanted a job that paid $20k a year because an American Express card required you to earn at least $10k a year and he wanted two
  • In order to be VP of all the Burger Kings in the Philly region, he had to work in a store making food and running the register for a day
  • When he got off the plane in Nebraska to take over Godfather’s Pizza company, he looked around and said, “There are no black people in Nebraska. What the hell is this?”
  • If he were president, he would get congress to stop spending by sending them a one page memo simply saying “STOP”
  • “Stupid people are ruining America. Don’t be a stupid voter.”
  • He ended with a Pokemon quote. Pokemon.

All kidding aside, his humor really helps him relate to his audience and build his ethos. Which brings me to my last praise of his speech: He really knew his audience. Never throughout the whole night did I feel that he was talking down to me as if he was more successful than I. Nor did I feel intimidated by any of the speech. He kept his points very simple and spoke as if full of reason, making his delivery of his speech more effective.

One thing I didn’t care for about his speech was his huge lack of logos in his propositions on how to fix the economy. He mentioned his 9-9-9 plan, but didn’t say what it entails. He said we need to become more energy independent, but didn’t say how or why. He said we need to stop spending, but gave no suggestions on what to stop spending on and how much.

All together, I felt like a speech with not much sustenance to it, was delivered very well and still had some valid points. He could have been way more specific on how to fix the economy and how to get students back in jobs, but he didn’t. What he did do is use his cultured public speaking skills to convince his audience that they want to be successful in life, but they can’t with the current government operating as it is. The points he made were not really challenged because of his incredible ethos. But with a little more insightful critique, Cain just offered a need for certain results, but no actions or path to achieve those results.

RCL: Ryan Biden Debate

Here is my rolling commentary for the debate. I hate VP debate because the VP position is pretty much worthless unless the president dies or gets impeached. But here we go. I’ll watch it on CNN. I love the ticker and the live tracker of people’s opinions. (Sorry Professor Minbiole)

8:58 Cnn guy just said that both VP candidates are as nervous as a hooker in church. Love Cnn….

9:02: Already this moderator seems better than the last. BIDEN WINS THE COIN TOSS

9:03: Tough first question about the embassy attack. Biden looks very comfortable. He is looking up the whole time. Nice transition into hitting Romney off the bat. I feel like he is losing his point though. I don’t think Romney wants a war.

9:06 Ryan talks about Obama’s failure to call it a terrorist attack. He looks just as comfortable, but maybe less professional. I feel like he is more human. Nice talking about Joe’s son.

9:08 Ryan seems confident in what he is saying. But Biden seems very upset and cuts Ryan off. Biden said Obama has done everything he said he was going to do. I think both side of the political spectrum would disagree.

9:10 Biden is on the defense from the moderator about the intelligence failure about the protests. Side note: Vice presidents pretty much have no say in foreign policy. Why are they debating this?

9:12 Ryan perfectly answered the question about Marines peeing on egyptian corpses. Good job moderator cutting off though

9:15 I like how Ryan answered the nuke in Iran question, but that is my partisan opinion. I wish they would elaborate on what these sanctions are. Biden seems upset but I can’t follow his logic in refuting Ryan.

9:18 Back and forth between the two. I feel like we are losing the point of this debate. Biden is just sitting back and laughing when Ryan talks, but when he talks, he is not as clear and straight-forward as Ryan. Biden just keeps saying “not true” but he won’t say why. JUST EXPLAIN WHY

9:21: Its clear they Ryan is saying that by pulling away from Israel, we are giving Iran more room to make a nuke. What is Biden saying? I feel like he should have used more facts.

9:23: ON TO THE ECONOMY. Biden up to plate-Starts spewing off facts on how the economy has improved under Obama. HE JUST SAID 47%. HE JUST WENT THERE. I hate when people say Romney doesn’t pay taxes. He donates over 15% of his wealth to charity and gets a crap ton of tax breaks. Who makes the tax code? Brobama. I like the Emotion from Biden though. Ryan needs a calm counter-stike

9:26: Ryan tried the Scranton tactic, but he doesn’t have much facts. He just said the economy is slower. I like the 5 point plan though. We’ll see if Biden rips it apart. Oh man-Ryan just shot back at Biden saying that Biden doesn’t always know what he is talking about.

9:29: Biden talks about his late wife. Builds pathos, but I think he overused it last election cycle.

9:30: NFL UPDATE- Steelers down 13-10 12:30 left in the 2nd

9:31: Ryan shooting holes in Obama’s track record. I think its too late to blame the economy on the Republicans of the Bush admin. because Obama promised all these numbers that haven’t happened yet

9:33 Whats up with Ryan’s letter to Biden? I think Biden’s laughing is a little condescending or like he isn’t taking this seriously. I don’t think its helping him. The Live Tracker of Undecided Voters on CNN would agree

9:24: Ryan talks about medicare reform. I agree that Obama’s plan isn’t great but I don’t know if Romney’s is any better. Lets see what Biden has to say.

9:26 Biden is sneaky and compares Ryan to Palin. As a fellow Ryan, I am offended. Hahaha. Biden is very emotional while Ryan is calm and collect. I wish Biden would elaborate on his points.

9:39 My fingers hurt from typing. Its getting real feisty. Biden keeps cutting down Ryan. This has a different feel than the last debate

9:44 BIDEN STOP TELLING PEOPLE TO USE COMMON SENSE. IT SOUNDS DEMEANING. Once or twice is fine. But now its not…

9:48 Ryan is talking numbers refuting the claim that the middle class will be hurt by wealthy tax cuts. He speaks clearly and discredits Biden. Biden is just laughing. I want him to actually speak and discredit Ryan!

9:50 Ryan just got shot on the specifics of the tax plan. He fumbled and didn’t give any specifics. This is getting real heated. I’m interested to see who the media says “wins”.

9:53: Biden’s angry attitude is too much. Its those hotheaded political talks that ruin politics

9:54 This debate is much more technical than the last. SO MANY NUMBERS. I feel like singing “Why can’t we be friends” Football score is just the same at the 2min warning before the half.

9:58: I feel like this debate has just lost its credibility. I am starting to see this as a whole joke. The role of the Vice President is essentially a figurehead position unless the President dies. I feel like neither of these guys has established their ethos effectively.

10:01 Ryan talks about his best friend in Afghanistan. I think it was a good call. Its an interesting point that Ryan makes about not wanting to tell enemies we’ll be out by 2014.

10:03 I never thought about how our enemies can take advantage of a timeline. This moderator is much better than the last.

10:04 Biden makes the assumption that the JCOS are immune from politics. Joke… How could you walk into the White House and not be political

10:07 Ryan just gone PONED by Biden about sending fewer US troops into Afghanistan and more Afgan troops

10:08 NFL UPDATE Titans kick a field goal 10-16 Halftime

10:09 What more can you do in Syria Biden? Ryan doesn’t come up with a clear answer. Biden’s counter is weak. This debate is deteriorating.

10:14 ABORTION QUESTION TO TWO CATHOLICS ON BOTHS SIDES OF THE SPECTRUM. WHERE DID THIS COME FROM. Ryan- He is pro-life because he believes life starts at conception. Nice job talking about his own kid. Then he attacks Obama’s infringement on religious liberty on Catholics. Biden- He is personally against abortion in his own faith but doesn’t believe that they should force his views on others. Then why did ya’ll try to make churches pay for birth control for church employees? Forcing others to believe what you do?

10:19-Side note about Roe V Wade, the woman who sued because she wanted an abortion is now avidly against abortions and is openly pro life. Funny factoid

10:22 Both asked about the rhetoric and campaign ads. Biden somehow brought in 47%? Don’t think its quite appropriate here. Biden did not address the question of what he feels about the culture of politics and the negative campaign ads. Ryan’s response is just as bad. He just started attacking Obama again when the moderator wanted them to talk about how its bad to attack each side.

10:26 I just don’t believe any stats from either side at this point. Moderator asked how each would better the country in a way nobody else could. Ryan’s response was okay, Biden is mad he doesn’t have as much time. Can they see the clock that Biden is almost 2min over Ryan?

10:29- Biden talks about inheriting a bad situation in his closing statements. That argument is not credible because they promised to fix it years ago. %47 again. I was hoping for a deeper meaning.

10:30- Ryan thanks Biden. Interesting. Just talking about how Romney will fix all problems. Steelers kicked a field goal. Down 13-16. I am so done with this debate.

10:32 ITS OVER!!! Time to put the game on.

 

WINNER OF THE DEBATE: Martha Raddatz (Moderator)

RCL blog 4

So this is probably one of the saddest things I have ever seen on Facebook. I am friends with a girl I went to high school with whose name is Taylor Parker. She is a sweet girl who is a year older than me and loves to ride horses. She posted this a couple days ago:

Everyone go home and hug your parents. Tell them you love them. You don’t know when the world will swipe them away. I lost the most important human in my life today and I am across the country with a delayed flight. My dad is gone and there is nothing I can do about it. Be grateful of your parents and let my Dad rest in paradise. My life will never be the same.

 

I am not sure the circumstances that led to her father’s passing, but it is all very sad. Her post on Facebook is one of the most beautiful, pathos driven posts I have ever seen from a friend, no matter how sad it may be. Her word choice is almost poetic when she says the world may “swipe” your parents away. The image of your parents being alive and well at one moment and they next they are quickly gone is put in my head. Immediately this passage fills me with sorrow and I sympathize with Taylor greatly. Her last sentence is very powerful as well. It leaves the reader to think about their life and how it would be with the loss of a parent, which elicits an emotional reaction from the reader.

This post is so sad and so powerful that it is needless to say that I picked up the phone and called my parents. I would imagine that the majority of people that read her post called their parents making her post very effective.

RCL Opinion article

For this week’s RCL blog, I chose an article from the New York Times titled, “5 Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now.” The link if you would like to read it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/27/opinion/5-reasons-to-intervene-in-syria-now.html?ref=opinion&_r=0moc.semityn.www

 

This was an interesting opinion article that is exactly what the title makes the article out to be. The authors of the article start off with a brief intro on Obama’s foreign policy shaped by his actions in the Libya crisis. They say that Obama is known for going quickly in and out of countries instead of intervening in the long term with countries. Then the article goes on to provide 5 reasons we should go quickly in and out of Syria.

I don’t believe that this article is effective in getting its audience to side with the authors’ opinions. The authors use a primarily logos based argument to try to persuade its readers that Obama should take out the president of Syria. The article provides reasons that include giving the U.S. a tactical advantage in the middle east, making allies with anti-Syrian middle east countries, and controlling the Islamic conflict in the middle east. All of these reasons are sound, but the method of presenting these reasons are flawed.

The authors almost just list the reasons with brief explanations after and do not make much of an attempt to persuade the readers one way or another. Instead the authors should have presented the information in a way that put out a sense of urgency and appealed to the reader’s sense of patriotism and humanitarianism. They should have added more text that implied that if we didn’t take care of the Syrian problem, that the United States would become less of an international power, and that many civilians will continue to die under the current Syrian president. Simply naming reasons without any appeal to the reader’s emotions is hardly effective and would not convince many to side with the authors, regardless of how logical the reasons are.

Romney: Truthful or Wrong?

The answer is a little bit of both. We’ll start with the truth. It is very true that there are a large proportion of Americans who not only use, but rely on the extensive network of social programs the government puts out for those in need. It is also true that Romney would most likely cut spending on what he claims to be unnecessary social programs that hurt the economy, cause the government to spend too much money, and that cause people to rely on the government instead of getting a job and stimulating the economy. There are many people who believe that they could not survive without the vast number of social programs the government provides, and therefore will vote for a president that will not only keep the current social programs, but will probably expand the social programs at the expense of the national debt (and not the American middle class because he promised not to raise taxes on anyone that makes less than $200,000 a year). That said, I believe that there is some truth in that Romney will certainly not win a big chunk of the electorate because of his economic policies.

Where was he wrong? I think he made too big of a generalization in grouping the whole 47% together. There are those who don’t pay taxes, but are not completely dependent on the social programs and who may vote for Romney for his social stance, not economic. I can promise there are people out there who don’t pay taxes, but plan to vote for Romney because of his stance on issues such as abortion. I don’t think Romney worded his point correctly and don’t think he should have cast off the entire lot of people who don’t pay taxes. His audience was wealthy campaign donors, and it’s important to be blunt and real with your donors. But I don’t believe it was smart to generalize all people who don’t pay taxes. His point was valid, but his delivery was flawed.