September 21

RCL #4: Civic Artifact Speech Draft

I. Introduction

Picture this: it is the early ’90s, and a new episode of the hot smash hit, The Simpsons, is about to grace your television screen. The opening sequence plays, and once the iconic scene of the five main characters sitting on their couch to watch T.V. is shown, that’s when it hits you: seeing as the titular family is intended to be a portrayal of the stereotypical American household, and given this particular segment appears before every episode proper, you realize just how great an impact the television has had on your culture! In addition to its prominence in a popular cartoon, you then reflect on other ways in which T.V. has shaped the modern world. After giving it some thought, you fully acknowledge the how a box full of “moving pictures” has not only revolutionized the way we see the outside world, but has also inspired generations of individuals to take action and stand up for their social and political beliefs.

 

II. General Impact of TV

  1. BRIEFLY mention usage of radio for news/entertainment; “pre-TV” life
  2. 1950s: Television sets commonplace in American homes (find/cite source on ownership statistics)
  3. Televised news:
    1. Talk about visual component being resonant with viewers, broadening understanding of outside world
    2. Compare radio unfolding of Pearl Harbor to T.V. unfolding of 9/11; differences in emotional impact
  4. Televised entertainment:
    1. Motion pictures and cartoons no longer limited to movie theaters
    2. Sports games no longer limited by radio and stadium tickets (may need to cite sources on this; not a big sports guy!)
    3. Video games no longer limited to arcades
    4. Discuss some of the memories shaped by televised entertainment
  5. Miscellaneous Innovations:
    1. Our “addiction” to staring at screen likely laid the foundation for designing personal computers, smartphones, etc.
    2. Commercials

 

III. Call to Civic Action

  1. Mention resonant visual component again
    1. Images of a situation oftentimes have stronger emotional impact than auditory/textual descriptions alone
    2. The more emotional impact, the more people feel the need to take action
    3. Cite 1968 Vietnam War pictures as example of this
  2. Informing viewers on politics
    1. Impact of televised debates (research Kennedy v. Nixon debate)
    2. Media “frenzy” nowadays possibly stirring up too much political controversy
  3. Informing on misc. issues
    1. Crime, poverty, hunger, natural disasters, etc.
    2. Discuss influence on how people help as a result of broadcasts
  4. More subtle ways of calling to action
    1. TV shows, for example, that are thought-provoking enough to inspire others to make a difference
    2. Mention The Simpsons again, discuss how they satirize relevant issues to convey a message.

 

IV. Conclusion

The television was not only a revolutionary piece of technology, but a quintessential tool for influencing modern-day civic duty, with the power of visuals being able to convince an individual to get off the couch and make a difference in their world, whether it be by getting informed to vote in their next election, or by volunteering to help starving children in poorer countries.

September 14

RCL #3: Feeling “Unwelcome”

The name of the fourth chapter of It’s What I Do, “You, American, Are Not Welcome Here Anymore”, simultaneously sets the tone of the story Addario intends to tell as well as the underlying message she may also wish to convey. She does the latter by immersing her readers in a particular situation in which she felt especially uncomfortable at her assignment, hoping to put her audience in her shoes and instill as sense of empathy in them.

Almost immediately following the attacks of 9/11, Addario flies off to Peshawar, Pakistan, hoping to cover the imminent American invasion of the nearby Afghanistan. There, she interacts with many civilians sympathetic towards the terrorists behind the recent tragedy. While doing a photo-shoot at an anti-American rally, the clearly Western Addario is aggressively groped by several agitated men. The author proceeds to go into vivid detail about her unpleasant experience, specifying where she was grabbed, how many men touched her at once, and so forth.

Addario’s approach to revisiting this incident is likely done to have the reader truly understand the feeling of being “unwelcome” in a foreign, hostile environment. After later attempting to enter a mosque once the American bombing had begun, she is told by a woman the exact phrase that the chapter is named after, thus bringing it all full-circle. In a way, Chapter 4 can also be seen as Addario specifically putting American readers into Muslims’ shoes, allowing them to empathize with victims of Islamophobia; just as an Islamic terror attack caused many Muslims to feel unwelcome in the United States, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan invasion causes Americans to feel unwelcome in the Muslim world.

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As a writer, I am greatly inspired by Addario’s use of immersion; it is a powerful tool in helping a writer resonate with his or her audience, and I commend her for effectively using this tactic to deliver a both a strong message and compelling reading experience. Coincidentally, I utilized similar strategies in writing my passion blogpost on Sonic Mania just last week, going into detail on my positive personal experiences with it as a means to recommend it to others, and I plan to continue and refine this persuasive technique in future writing endeavors.

P.S. Check out my first passion blog post here! : https://sites.psu.edu/seiffpassion/2017/09/06/sonic-maniac/

September 6

RCL #2: Short vs. Long-Term Passion

Although her grandmother, Nina, enjoyed a brief, passionate relationship with Sal, recounts Lynsey Addario, she ended up marrying Ernie, as the latter was a better provider financially. However, Nina does admit to a feeling of having missed out on the romance that Sal would have brought into her life. At first glance, it appears Addario is using this as an anecdote as a means to justify what she had also been going through at the time: a sudden relationship with Uxval, a man she had just met in Mexico.

In my opinion, Addario’s true intention of telling her grandmother’s story is unveiled once she revisits the life-changing decision she made on September 11th, 2oo1, in which she chose to leave Uxval to go to Afghanistan and further her career as a photojournalist. Nina made the choice of marrying Ernie based on what would do her good in the long run over what felt good in the short term. Likewise, deep down, Addario knew that continuing her passion for photography would likely bring her more happiness in the grand scheme, and had even expressed skepticism over “getting involved with someone who would break an engagement over a gut attraction to a stranger”; she simultaneously shows why she included Nina’s story as well as how she prioritizes her career as her ultimate happiness.

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A time in which I was similarly conflicted between a short-term and long-term interest was, ironically, was when choosing a theme for my passion blog. I was split between the everyday activities of an introvert vs. the discussion of video games overlooked by my age group, and ended up choosing the latter. While the former subject initially came off to me as the more “unique” one, I came to realize that it was not an area I was particularly passionate about, and would only last me a few blog posts; there are very few, very mundane things an introvert like myself does in his alone time, but gaming is something that truly excites me, and I would rather give off that message of excitement to others than explain boring, solitary behaviors. That being said, I hope you all look forward to “Games for Kids”, coming very soon!

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