Outline Exercise 11/24/15

Thesis 1: After experiencing college firsthand, I think the best way to prepare high school students prior to graduation is no longer allowing teachers to drop grades, as well as eliminating retakes entirely.

Thesis 2: Popular culture provides a positive depiction of today’s youth, encouraging young people who consume the media to seize the day and make every moment matter.

Advertisements

Weak Spot Blog

The article “Is the American Dream Over” raised more questions than it answers. Cal Thomas writes in agreement that the American dream is in fact over by suggesting that there are too many things wrong with the world today. He speaks on subjects such as the monopolistic government and nonstop war-fare as reasons to back this up but to me it does not quite seem to entirely mean the American dream is no longer alive. His arguments are true in the fact that there are many things wrong with the way our nation is today, which nonetheless effects the people that live here. However I do not believe the decrease in the economy has caused the American dream to come tumbling down. If anything, it has just shifted and just transformed a bit from what it once used to be.

Thomas brings up valid points that support the truth on our troubled economy but does not directly tie it back to the central point. I think it would be a much stronger piece if he were to state that the American Dream is not in fact over, but there are many factors like the ones he explained that are slowly killing it.

I also believe Thomas should further elaborate on why he says that the American Dream is not taught or supported by culture. He begins the second to last paragraph by saying this and then continues on to explain the “rules” for achieving this dream as known by pervious generations. Thomas provides to reasoning behind why it is that the new generation is unaware of all of this information whereas the past ones are.

I think this piece was well written but it was just not very convincing to me.

Thinking about Metaphors and Culture: Blog for 11/12/15

First of all, it is difficult for me to believe that metaphors said by foreigners can be analyzed in a way to find world views of certain cultures. I think bringing up the “What if your language of birth is naturally replete with violent metaphors?” is important because it points out that this method is truly not a secure one. I can definitely understand the difference between a neutral and violent metaphor can make, however not all violent speakers should be categorized as suspicious simply by the manner they express themselves. It is true some people are just violent by nature, not to mention that a handful of metaphors translate to sound something they truly are not. Such as the saying “it’s raining cats and dogs” and “am I talking to a brick wall?” These metaphors directly say things that they don’t literally mean. Saying that it’s raining cats and dogs just means it is raining heavily. Asking someone if you’re talking to a brick wall is a response to let the other person acknowledge that you know they aren’t listening by comparing it to speaking to a wall. I’d say these metaphors would be considered cultural in the U.S. because they are hyperboles. I think that they show our tendencies as Americans to exaggerate or put a strong emphasis on things.

Walmart Readings and the Labor/Work

I was introduced to Wal-Mart’s corrupt system back in 7th grade. I was visiting my brother for a week and we were driving to the supermarket and he drove right past Wal-Mart. I asked my brother why we didn’t just go there when he said that he doesn’t support the way the chain operates, so he no longer puts his money into buying from them. This is when he taught me a little bit about how they are unfair to their employees with both pay and health care aspects.

Like Karen Olsen states in Up Against Wal-Mart, I couldn’t understand why a company making over a billion a year was so unjust that it lead my brother to refuse to shop there. I also learned about Olsen’s point of the suing of Wal-Mart for sex discrimination prior to the reading when my AP Stats professor presented the case to the class to show how Statistics is useful in real life. The Statistics behind this lawsuit actually indeed find Wal-Mart guilty of doing this. I think bringing that point up made Olsen’s argument a lot stronger because it served as solid proof on Wal-Mart’s wrongdoings.

I believe my background and values learned about work influences my stand a lot relating to how the corporation handles healthcare. Jennifer McLaughlin is spoken about in the reading as she is an employee at the store that must count on Medicaid to cover her son while she goes without as there is a high deductible taken from each paycheck for it.  She puts so much effort in doing her job considering there is not even a sufficient amount of workers for the amount of things that has to get done. I would think decent healthcare would be the last thing she has to worry about for a company that successful. She is not the only one, and it is unfair that employees are victims of this with the tiny exception of managers and those that have been working there for 20+ years.

Sebastian Mallaby mentions many good points in “Progressive Wal-Mart Really.” One that sticks out the most to me is when he acknowledges that the pay at Wal-Mart is much less than the annual salary of those who work at Target and Costco, however the low prices make a huge difference. He says it benefits the poor, which I agree with. Mallaby points out that the percentage of those that are on Medicaid at Wal-Mart is equivalent to that of other large retail forms, making the health care issue seem less than it truly is. This made me second guess my opinion on how I saw the point when reading the chapter prior, so I would say I need to know more about that to settle on a position.

Preparing for Essay 3

Emil and I are in agreement that the “American Dream” is still alive. However, we think it has had a sort of paradigm shift because of how much the world has transformed. As the article “What’s Up With the American dream” stated, the dream itself is this idea of going to school, studying, getting jobs, and working hard will lead to financial security or maybe even great wealth. It is what anyone would consider rising from the bottom and arriving to the top, or in other words a dream come true.

This is a great picture of how the American dream was mostly visualized as during the 1940’s-1950’s. It shows the happy family in a quiet neighborhood. It appears that the husband surprising his wife with a new car for the family.

buick-american-dream-1000x635

The dream back then was marrying into a happy couple and having children. The men would aim to hold titles such as businessmen and work hard to support his family, while the women would dream of taking care of the children at home.

In today’s world, the American dream for most women is definitely not the “stay at home mom” job. Women are getting in fields that used to be traditionally men only, such as medicine and engineering. Things have also changed much since then because our culture has developed a lot since then. People today dream of becoming rich and famous more than ever. With the help of what we have been given the privilege to grow up with technology wise, this has grown more and more. There are people today who are living their American Dream being Instagram and Twitter famous. They have thousands and thousands of followers, making money advertising and blogging on these social media sites starting as young as sixteen years old. This form of entrepreneurship or achieving the “self-made” success was not available until recently, and it has skyrocketed many people’s dream.

Emil and I believe the American Dream is still alive without a doubt, however, we think it has transformed drastically and will continue to do so forever.

Sources:
Writer, Guest. “The American Dream of the 1940s & 1950s.” Ultra Swank RSS. 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 29 Oct. 2015.

Drafting Essay 2: Brainstorm

I remember watching CSI: Crime Scene Investigation consistently throughout the ages of twelve to sixteen. At the age of seventeen up until now, I’ve became a regular binge watcher of Prison Break and White Collar whenever I get any amount of free time. I would say I’m definitely attracted to the mystery/thriller genre and I have been for quite some time now. These are all influential in the sense that it allows the viewers to think outside the box.

For example, Prison Break is constantly throwing surprises your way as more and more conflict piles up, interrupting the planned escape. For example, there was a certain pipe that the protagonist managed to melt through (essential for the escape) that was actually replaced for one that is indestructible. The problem comes in when the viewers are unaware of this until the episode that the initial escape takes place, surprising both the characters and the audience! This of course sets the escape date back and you are left guessing what is going to happen next. This calls for thinking outside the box for the obvious reason that escaping from a prison is clearly not a simple task, whether it be in real life or on a screen of a show that is in charge of making it as realistic as possible. It is apparent that whatever will happen next won’t be something predictable, or else the show would not doing a good job under the thriller aspect. I could not possible count how many times I was left to create an alternate escape plan using what I already knew about the prison and prisoners from the previous episodes until the next week.

White Collar is another television show that calls for its viewers to subconsciously think outside the box. The show is about an incredibly intelligent and multitalented con artist working as a criminal informant for the FBI. Considering it revolves around highly wanted criminals, and the FBI, it is no surprise that the plots of each episode have intense climaxes.

Steven Johnson argues that the growth of TV shows and its level of complication that has increased over the last couple of decades has lead viewers to be intelligently effected. His argument is that the human mind to be effected in a positive direction whereas Dana Stevens explains the “ridiculousness” behind this attempted explanation of the influence behind television. Though I would not necessarily say TV has “made me smarter,” I don’t think my train of thoughts would be as creative as they have became if it weren’t for these mysteries and thrillers. I think my interest for problem solving has increased while watching a certain genre, however I could not say that it is the reason behind it

Childhood TV: Draft Essay 2

Though there are not many things I can easily recall about my childhood, I do remember surfing through channels after school in hopes I’d come across an episode of my favorite show, whether it be a new one or a rerun.

This show was called Codename: Kids Next Door and I could never get enough. It was about a group of ten year old kids who practically lived in a giant secret treehouse. They would build elaborate contraptions using anything they can get their hands on, from chewing gum to spare tires. Each kid had a specialty and worked with the rest of the group to win silly “battles” with adults. I think my obsession with this show acted as an introduction to the field I found myself majoring in today, nine years later. I would watch in awe as the kids were always creating cool new machines to assist in all kinds of challenges. Being impressed by this is no surprise considering that as I grew up, I became more and more interested the creation of all the new things I was being introduced to. I’m now majoring in a technology field, in hopes of learning about what already exists and the progressiveness of what could. I would not say that watching this silly show as a kid made me “smarter,” but I definitely think it opened my mind to creativity. Seeing as though I was merely hitting the double digits age-wise, I clearly could have not came up with the cool new widgets the kids were making on each episode. It pulled me in and absorbed all of the attention I had to offer.

I think that my interest in this show influenced the shows I got into later on as well. Codename: Kids Next Door was a show where there was always conflict needing to be resolved and I feel as though that type of storyline stuck with me through my teenager years. I grew interested in shows like CSI, White Collar and Prison Break. All of these tie into one another due to the fact that they all belong to the problem solving and thoughtful  TV genre.

Meta-Commentary Exercise

Using Metacommentary to Explain what They Are Saying:

Essentially, Steven Johnson is arguing that watching television (even the shows that you least expect) expands the mind and makes the viewers think critically, hence the title “Watching TV Makes You Smarter.” Johnson writes that shows contain narrative threads that lead to those watching to pay attention, have patience, and retention due to the multiple threading, flashing arrows and social networks. While at first this may seem confusing, what he really means is that the audience knows the general plot of the series, but each episode involves new challenges and unexacting conflicts arise that call for a form of “mental convention.” As I mentioned earlier Johnson wants readers to understand that television culture has definitely effected our minds, but not in a negative manner. To put it another way, what Johnson wants us to realize is that television helps ultimately allows us to analyze complex social networks, recognize patterns, and track narrative intertwining. While at first this idea may seem trivial, readers should realize that there are many series on television that really do require you to recall certain scenarios and use a bit of background knowledge from earlier episodes to fully understand, not merely just sit back and watch.

Using Metacommentary to Highlight What You Are Saying:

 To put it another way, I believe that ______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________. Essentially, I am arguing that ____________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________. My point is not that Freire cares about ___________________________________________________________, but rather that _________________________________________________________________________________.  In order to prove that ____________________________________________________________________ is true, this paper will explore ____________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________.

Blog 10/8

Before:

In my opinion, both sides of the argument present valid points. I agree with Mott about the benefit of increasing the level of maturity in relationships between both sexes, yet at the same time Morrow makes the good point that turning these organizations into coed ones defeats the purpose of why students join in the first place. Morrow also mentions the fact that these groups are more than just their universities, and if the idea was brought to the national offices, it would be immediately rejected as it does not follow tradition. New York is not allowed to have Greek houses, therefor I dorm with a couple of girls who are founding sisters of their sororities. I was able to ask them some questions, and it turns out that Morrow makes an incredibly valid point because both national and international office are indeed extremely strict regarding even the smallest things, let alone a complete transformation.

After:

My feelings on the issue are mixed. I agree with Mott about the benefit of increasing the level of maturity in relationships between both sexes, yet at the same time Morrow mentions that turning these organizations into coed ones defeats the purpose of the reason students join in the first place. This is not to say that the idea is entirely out of the question, but rather that it carries multiple pros and cons. Morrow brings up the good point that these groups are more than just a part of their universities and that the idea would be rejected immediately if presented to national offices. To make a case in point, the state of New York is not allowed to have Greek houses; therefore I dorm with a couple of girls who are actually founding sisters of their sororities. I was able to ask them some questions regarding the process they had to go through in order to begin the sorority at this university, and it turns out that Morrow makes an incredibly valid point. Both national and international offices are indeed extremely strict regarding even the smallest things, such as following tradition with recruiting, hosting events and organizing charities. If this is something the offices do not offer even the slightest bit of freedom on, it is highly doubtful they will give any leeway on other things, let alone a complete transformation like going coed.