Sunday, December 18, 2016

Reflection on "Marked Women, Unmarked Men" By Deborah Tannen

The article, " Marked Women, Unmarked Men" by Deborah Tannen is an interesting piece that argues that no woman is unmarked. The word "unmarked" in this context refers to the denotative meaning of a word. However, the word "marked" refers to the way language alters the definition of a word and gives it its connotative meaning. In her article, Tannen focuses on how how the concept of "marked" and "unmarked" is relevant in today's society, especially concerning women and men. She details in the text how in English the unmarked tense of words refers to the male while marked tense is made by adding endings such as "ess" or "ette" adding a sort of silly connotation into the mist. The purpose of this text was to relay the tendencies in language, and in real life, that make women marked. She adopts a colloquial tone to make her seem more relatable and  easy to understand. Tannen utilized multiple pieces of evidence to support her claim. Her evidence consisted of personal anecdotes and references to the book The Sociolinguistics of Langiveguage by Ralph Fasold. She conveyed her evidence with the use of several rhetorical techniques such as imagery and diction. In the beginning of  the article Tannen uses imagery to describe the women at a conference she attended and how their clothing and makeup, or even lack of makeup, reflected how they were marked. She then explains that every aspect of the women's clothing was a decision they made that would carry a meaning to someone. For instance, she states, "There is no woman's hair style that can be called standard, that says nothing about her. ...but a woman whose hair has no particular style is perceived as not caring about how she looks, which can disqualify her for many positions, and will subtly diminish her as a person in the eyes of some." Tannen then continued to say that men had the option to be unmarked, an option not available to women. Another rhetorical technique she employed was diction which she used in the example regarding titles. Tannen explained that even the titles given to us on a form are marked for women. Titles such as"Miss", "Mrs" or "Ms" provide a lot of information about a woman. For example, Tannen states that "Checking "Ms." declines to let on about marriage (checking "Mr." declines nothing since nothing was asked), but it also marks her as either liberated or rebellious, depending on the observer's attitudes and assumptions." Her use of the words liberated and rebellious have a great effect on the audience as it not only shows what is assumed by checking "Ms" but also shows this one aspect of language could go such a long way to categorize a woman. I really enjoyed this article as it really broadened my perspective of prejudice against women. I never knew that prejudice went as far deep as the language we speak. This article actually reminded me of an episode of Grey's Anatomy, where one of the older characters was reminiscing about his residency and how one of his fellow residents, a woman, wasn't taken seriously because of her gender. Although I do not know if she was referred to as doctorette, the episode did show that every decision she made as a woman greatly impacted what people thought of her.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Reflection on Pillow Angels

The article, "Pillow Angle Ethics" by Nancy Gibbs talks about "The Ashley Case" which is about a young girl, Ashley, who is brain-damaged and is receiving estrogen treatment as requested by her parents on the basis that stunting her growth would make caring for her easier. The purpose of the piece was to inform the audience about the situation and the backlash the treatment is getting. According to the article many had difficulty determining whether the treatment was ethical. While reading the article it seemed as if even the author believed that the decision was unethical. In fact, she began her article by stating "What kind of doctors would agree to intentionally shorten and sterilize a disabled six-year-old girl to make it easier for her parents to take care of her? " Her use of  the phrase "easier for her parents" portrays the parent's decision as one made by the need to lesson a burden. This one phrase set the tone for the ,majority of the passage. The idea of using medicine to stunt or cease growth is understandably hard to understand and in my opinion it is somewhat of an oxymoron. However, in Ashley's case her both her parents and doctors make a reasonable argument to justify their decision. The doctors also removed her uterus and breast tissue which they justified by saying cancer runs in their family. This is a valid concern and cannot be dismissed. I found this article extremely interesting because I had to look at it form a different lens. I had to put my morals aside and evaluate the situation based on the ethics of American society. On the show "Grey's Anatomy" there was a case similar to Ashley's. There was a child who was under a coma and unresponsive leaving the parents with the decision of what to do. The parents eventually chose to pull the plug even though it must have been an unbelievably hard decision to make. I think Ashley's parent's felt the same way with the estrogen treatment. All they wanted was more comfort for Ashley.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Reflection on Logical Fallacies Activity

This week in class we learned about logical fallacies and their role in invalidating arguments through flawed reasoning. There are numerous logical fallacies and some include but are not limited to Ad Hominem, Slippery Slope, Bandwagon, and Strawman. The existence of these fallacies in arguments indicate the unsound nature of said argument. For this project, my partner, Saba, and I further investigated the slippery slope fallacy. We defined the fallacy as the argument that claims that one event must result from one or more initial events. Slippery slopes are very common in everyday life. My partner and I were able to identify them in speeches, political cartoons and advertisements. The first of the pictures posted shows a quote by Donald Trump which displays this fallacy quite clearly. In the quote Trump goes from stating the worst of Mexican people to saying they're not all bad. This shows the rather illogical manner of slippery slope fallacies. The other image is an ad that calls for an end to animal abuse. The slippery slope aspect of the argument is evident because the ad was asserting that stopping animal abuse and domestic violence are interconnected. These examples show how slippery slopes are easily disguised for the manipulation of the people, making it all the more effective.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Reflection of the article "Don’t Fight Flames With Flames Social Media Arguments: Can’t-Win Propositions"

The article, "Don’t Fight Flames With Flames Social Media Arguments: Can’t-Win Propositions" by Nick Bilton argues that social media arguments cannot be won and that people are better off not commenting their opinion. The purpose of this piece was to persuade the audience to believe that social media arguments are pointless and have no valuable outcome. The author deployed a colloquial tone which contributed to a sense of casualness and trust. He wrote with authority on the subject - as a frequent social media user. Bilton made his argument by providing a personal anecdote about giving one's opinion on social media. He stated " Emotions were running high. O.K. — deep breath — last year I got into an argument with a group of people on Twitter about Trayvon Martin". Bilton's use of diction is evident here as he makes painfully clear his shame for posting his opinion on social media. He went on to describe how his friend saw the situation and told him to "ABORT" and how he was pelted with hate-filled comments. Bilton supports his claim by providing several pieces of evidence proving that social media arguments can't be won. He mentions journalists whose advice was to never engage in conversation. Despite using several pieces of evidence to support his claim, the author never points out any good that can come out of social media arguments. In fact, he portrayed the argument as if that was the only side to the story. While the author fails to mention the positives he did however make some valid points about the motive and the speed of the arguments. However, from a wider perspective, it should be noted that social media is increasing awareness of current events. People can learn about current events from watching a short clip on Facebook as opposed to watching the news or reading the newspaper.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Reflection on The Wisdom of Psycopaths

In the text The Wisdom of Psychopaths Kevin Dutton argues that psychopaths possess qualities that set them up for success throughout their life. Dutton, a British psychologist, asserts that psychopathic traits are an advantage in certain fields. The author mentions that qualities such as fearlessness, ruthlessness and being charming and focused are all attributes that allow a psychopath to take charge and function appropriately in high stress situations. The author lists occupations such as bomb-disposal operatives, surgeons, and CEOs and states that many of these people possess psychopathic qualities. To display the validity of his claim the author provides several studies conducted by several universities. For instance, he describes a study done by Lilianne Mujica-Parodi at Stony Brook University in which they collected fear sweat and regular sweat and made volunteers inhale the sweat with the help of a device. The results showed that people who inhaled the fear sweat were more alert and had more brain activity as opposed to those who breathed in the regular sweat. This allowed the researches to come up with the conclusion that fear is "contagious" and prompted them to inquire about immunity to this apparent biological component that makes stress contagious. After conducting more experiments, the researchers found that psychopaths were unfazed by the fear sweat and thought rationally, without allowing the anxiety to get to them. This study illustrates how psychopaths have a biological component that allows them to be more focused, making them suitable for certain positions. This article was effective as it provided numerous pieces of evidence to support its claim of fact. I took a great liking to this text and it reminded me of one of the characters, Mona, from the show Pretty Little Liars. Mona, who was administered to a sanitarium for psychological treatment, showed the aforementioned qualities of ruthlessness and manipulative charm as well as the the ability to function rationally in high stress situations. Due to this connection, the text seemed more compelling and unique in its categorization of psychopaths as people of success.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Reflection on an Excerpt from "On the Want Of Money"

William Hazlitt's "On the Want of Money" is a compelling piece that takes a look at how money, or rather the want of it, is dehumanizing as it takes away from the pleasures of life, leaving it barren and banal. The nineteenth century writer's purpose for writing this piece could've been to highlight the detrimental effect money has all on people, wealthy and impoverished alike. The tone of the essay can be characterized as satiric due to the fact that Hazlitt dismisses the human yearning for affluence as foolishness. For instance, on lines 18-19 he gives an exaggerated example of the lengths people would go to money. He says that to want money is to be willing to "marry your landlady, or not the person you wish. " This is quite the exaggeration and is clearly satiric as he is ridiculing human kind's desperate need for wealth. Additionally, Hazlitt utilizes diction to further establish his argument. In the phrase "to forgo leisure, freedom, ease of body and mind, to be dependent on the good-will and caprice of others" the employment of words such as "forgo" and "dependent" contribute to a sense of despondency as Hazlitt compares being poor to being powerless in life. He then employs the same rhetorical techniques to show that being wealthy is no better than being poor. For example, he uses words like "envy, back-biting, and false-hood" to show the type of response others will have about someone's wealth. Ultimately, Hazlitt makes an effective argument by utilizing word choice and satire to show that when it comes to wealth, the grass really isn't greener on the other side. This essay is applicable to the world today as it can serve as a reminder to people to slow down from their search for wealth, reassess their morals and live their life to the fullest.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Reflection on AmbienCR Commercial

     The commercial for AmbienCR, a sleeping aid, can be considered effective. The subject of the advertisement is a woman whose life is disrupted due to her inability to have a full nights rest. The advertisement is said to have aired in 2008 and intended audiences include but are not limited to people with insomnia or people who know someone with insomnia. The purpose of this commercial is to persuade the audience that AmbienCR is a very helpful sleeping aid that can greatly influence an insomniac's life for the better. The speaker is obviously someone who has a vested interest in the monetary success of the sleeping aid. The tone of the ad changes from somber to a more lighter encouraging tone. One assumption that the advertisement makes is that the audience consists if people who have trouble sleeping. Additionally, the visuals of the advertisement helped to create an appeal to pathos. After critical analysis and viewing the videos with just visual and then just sound the appeal to emotion became quite clear. For instance, before the subject took AmbienCR the room looked gloomy. After she took the medicine the space around her seemed to light up. A specific example can be found in her work space. Before she took the sleeping aid the window in the far corner was shut and the room looked quite cramped. However, after she took the aid the room was shot from another angle with the window open and had people walking around. The gloomy space is something people associate with discomfort and the bright airy room is what most people associate with a happy mood. 
      Another aspect of the video that made it effective was the use of the rooster. The purpose of the rooster is clear as it is a common element in novels as something that is a disturbance or a nuisance to someone who is sleeping. To some the use of the rooster and the explanation of the side effects seemed comical and not as serious as it should've been. This is something that is quite common in commercials today as some visual elements in the video can be distracting. However, despite the silliness of the situation, the rooster helped grab the audience's attention and helped make the advertisement more effective as a whole. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Reflection on Trump's Presidential Nomination Speech

 Despite questionable campaign policies, Donald Trump's Presidential Nomination Speech, delivered on July 21, 2016, can be considered successful as it accomplished its goal of informing the voters of his views on America's most pressing issues. He was able to do this by including all three parts of the rhetorical triangle and thus focusing on the speaker, the audience and the subject. His use of ethos, pathos and logos allowed him to prey on the audience's fears about the country they live in. Trump easily established his credibility when he states, "I have made billions of dollars in business making deals – now I’m going to make our country rich again." In this example Trump deftly uses his success as an accomplished businessman to build his credibility as a leader.
 He also deployed logos by bringing up facts about the problems America faces today. For instance, Trump mentions the country's increasing homicide rates and states that "in our nation's capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60'% in Baltimore." This information is used to remind the audience that they are in need of someone that is aware of these problems and has the power to do something about them. Lastly, Trump also employs pathos to appeal to the audiences sentiment. The emotion that Trump appeals to most is fear and this is quite evident in his word choice, At one point Trump claims that, "Our Convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country." Words such as "crisis", "attacks", "terrorism" and the phrase "threaten our way of life" are used to instill a sense of fear in the audience. Ultimately, by addressing the audience, subject and himself, the speaker, trump was able to make his speech effective and achieve his goal of getting his message out to the voters.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Reflection On Bush's 9/11 Speech

George W, Bush's 9/11 speech can be considered successful because it accomplishes its goal of addressing the American people about the tragedy and assuring them that these attacks weren't a testimony to the strength of America. He was able to fulfill his purpose by comforting the frightened and rousing a feeling of national pride among the people. His tone was strong, determined and encouraging which prompts the audience to trust him. Bush utilized ethos, logos, and pathos in his speech to make it all the more effective. His use of ethos is evident as he is none other than the President. However, Bush also depicts himself as a fellow American. He stated, "Today, our fellow citizens, our very freedom came under attack..." His use of the word "our" serves to make him seem more relatable and understanding. Bush establishes logos by relaying information about the attack to the audience. He explains that thousands of people died from the attack and described the aftermath of the planes flying into the buildings. The most important rhetorical device Bush utilized, however, is pathos. His use of pathos is evident in his word choice. For example, he stated that "Our country is strong. A great people have been moved to defend a great nation." These phrases are used for the sole purpose of eliciting a sense of pride in their country from the audience. Ultimately, Bush's 9/11 speech was very effective as he focused his attention on the victims of the tragedy and not on the terrorists. He made the fallen seem more humane and real as opposed to just victims. He depicted them as friends and family and his strong word choice further served his purpose to unite the nation.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

First Blog 9/15/16

Hello! My name is Elizabeth Rose Joseph and I love drawing, reading, writing and all things art related. I'm also a fan of trying new things and wish to travel the world one day. There are so many places out in the world that are monuments of people's cultures and lifestyles. I want to explore them and make decisions for myself about the world I live in.

Some of my favorite books include but are not limited to: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Series, All The Bright Places, and The Perks of being a Wallflower. I also enjoy watching shows on Netflix. Some of my favorite shows are Friends, Scrubs, Greys Anatomy, and Quantico.