I read the article “iSmart: The Commodification of Intelligence” (Bao Tran-Phu). This article is about how intelligence now has a quantatative cost and is worth a specific amount of money. He uses the example of college and tutoring to show the large disparities that rich people have over poor people in gaining a great education and having more intellectual power, thereby working for larger companies. His work of others was based mainly in his examples, the idea seems to be his own and most of his postulations stemmed from his own thoughts. The work that stemmed from others was statistics and an example of drugs that are involved in neuroscience. He articulated his position very well and his argument was coherent but, in my opinion, not too logical. Although it progressed logically from one stage to the next, he does not argue the middle part very well where he talks about the “value” of a college education and how a farmer should earn as much as a electrical engineer. Since they pay more for their education, it makes sense that they should earn more money than farmers. In terms of Deliberations, it was situated well and seemed like an informative and “out there” type of article that gains the readers attention. In terms of his discipline, I was impressed by the amount of economic terms that he included in his essay. In terms of my literary review, I do not see many similarities. Since our papers were more about using scientific articles to combine and postulate a thesis, it’s hard to compare to his paper that was mostly his original thoughts and just using statistics as backup info. However, there is a similarity in the fact that we have to develop a thesis that talks about radical new ideas and backs them up. In my literature review, there are many parts that I feel would not be appropriate in this article. First of all, I am not allowed to directly quote from sources and I have to use a lot of information from a lot of sources, since many of the ideas are not things that I instinctively know, or words that most people would understand. Therefore, there is a lot of paraphrasing and a lot of unoriginal ideas mixed into the literature review. This creates a different atmosphere from this piece, which is very original and does not do any paraphrasing at all. In fact, it seems that his ideas do not even stem from those of others. Obviously, the same is true of his work in my paper. If he were to use direct quotes in a literature review or go off on tangents (such as the neuroscience part which does not seem very relevant), it would not be effective at all and take away from the overall idea. In our literature review, the entire idea is based off of coherency and placing every single detail back to the thesis. Even one wrong placed word has the potential to completely change the idea of the piece and the thoughts of the writer. I think in his piece that kind of tangency is more encouraged that in the scientific articles.
In her paper entitled “Speak softly and Carry a Lipstick”: Government Influence on Female Sexuality though Cosmetics During WWII, Niederriter delves into a contemplation of the redefinition of lipstick in the 1940s. She describes the United States government’s decision to sexualize (red) lipstick as a way of preserving the societal view of the perfectly put together woman, regardless of time or place. Enlisted women were provided with lipstick as a “necessity” and were instructed to continue their beautification while involved in WWII. Niederriter explains that lipstick and the image of the perfect woman acted to stabilize the country by preserving the normative visual image expected of women at that time. Lipstick and beauty considerations further acted as morale boosters for male soldiers when “pin-up girls” were featured in ads and photographs modeling and personifying the average feminine woman. The American woman put on her lipstick as a form of “war paint”, stating to the world and especially to American soldiers that she would remain an icon of beauty even in a war that made simpler things commodities to be restricted. Women who remained at home during the war were also expected to portray the standard woman of the time by keeping her appearance beautiful and perfected. Niederriter defines the slim boundary between sensual and too sexual in her article by comparing the controversial opinions on the pin-up girls and on hostess programs which provided entertainment to soldiers. In her final paragraphs, Niederriter emphasizes the long-term impacts of the lipstick push during the war and their empowerment of the common woman in how she behaved.
Niederriter’s article utilizes language that projected images into the reader’s mind—and the accompanying examples of ads enhanced the effectiveness of her descriptive prose. She effectively referenced various sources while rarely needing to provide specific source background because the information referenced was more factually based. In my own literature review, I felt more of a need to describe the sources because of the experimental nature of most of the findings. It wasn’t stated as cleanly as Niederriter’s had been. Still, she does need to describe de Certeau’s theories with detail that is then followed by a simplified sentence for the uninformed reader. I utilized that technique as well. She made connections to the main themes of her essay fit very cohesively into the piece. My literature review attempts to do the same, although the result was sometimes the creation of a more repetitive paragraph rather than a recap. The subheadings in the article were useful in keeping pace with the different focuses of the paper and clarifying exactly the point that Niederriter meant to make at a specific time. At the end, Niederriter’s connections of the past impact of lipstick to current implications of clothing choice allowed the reader to step out of the reading considering the present as well as the past. I found it an interesting and effective technique for concluding what was a multi-faceted article on historical impacts.
Niederriter, Adrienne. 2010. “Speak softly and Carry a Lipstick”: Government Influence on Female Sexuality though Cosmetics During WWII. Deliberations 11: 4-9.
In her article in the Deliberations journal, Laurel Burk addresses the touchy issue of racism and politically correct language by showing its significance in the plot of the recent movie Gran Torino. She begins by discussing how timid many people are when they talk about racial issues because they are scared of seeming racist. This often has the opposite effect however. When white people in particular “employ ‘strategic colorblindness’ to avoid appearing racially prejudiced,” it can comes off as an attempt to cover up racism. The other issue that Burk points out is that racism in modern America is often what is known as de cardio racism, or racism of the heart. People may put on a tolerant face, but inside they are the opposite.
This is where the connection to Gran Torino comes in. Clint Eastwood’s character Walt is an old, white war veteran who throws around racial slurs, but is not truly a de cardio racist. He insults his Asian immigrant neighbors, but eventually develops a close bond with their teenage son and daughter. I won’t give away the end of the movie (though Burk does but that’s okay because I wasn’t going to watch it anyway) but by the conclusion it is very clear that Walt has a very good, non-racist heart.
Burk has engaged extensively with the work of others in her paper. She references studies about racism and interprets them in interesting ways that connect to everyday life. Her connection to Gran Torino is the prime example of engaging with the work of others. The movie clearly made a lasting impression on her (though she admits in her reflection that she forgot about the movie for a while) and the example of Walt is perfect for the discussion that she is having. The discussion, or the position that she articulates, centers on the use of politically correct language and whether is is actually making us less racist. Burk says that unfortunately it can often mask de cardio racism, though Walt is the opposite of this which is what makes him so intriguing to viewers. Finally, Burk manages to situate her writing very well in the context of Deliberations. She discussed in her introduction how the revision process was grueling as she tried to find a comfortable middle ground between skirting the topic and being too controversial. I think that she did so perfectly for a paper of this length and I applaud her for her tact when writing about such a touchy topic.
It is difficult to compare Burk’s use of the Writing 20 guidelines to mine in my literature review because the topics and types of papers are quite different. There was some similarity in the way that we engaged with the work of others because I also tried to interpret the research papers that I read in new ways and make connections between them. Obviously we both articulated a position, though mine was more of a call for action as opposed to Burk’s evaluation of a situation. As I stated, Burk situated her writing in Deliberations very well, while my literature review would most likely not fit in. There are certainly some terms and writing techniques specific to our Aquatic Invasive Species class present in my literature review that would be out of place in Deliberations.
In his paper entitled iSmart: The Commodification of Intelligence, author Bao Tran-Phu connects education in todays society directly to the amount of money one has. He begins by stating the fact that people in the United States who have higher levels of education almost always make more money than those with less education. However, he goes on to explain that higher education and in turn wealth, breeds further higher education and high income. Education in that sense becomes a “family treasure” that not all people are able to obtain after a certain level. Likewise, Bao Tran-Phu describes how the level of education in public schools around the country varies depending on the economic situation in the surrounding area. Areas with higher levels of income tend to have better schools, and the children at those schools are able to afford more helpful educational tools such as tudors. However, areas with low levels of income tend to have worse public schools, keeping the children in those schools from receiving the same level of education as the wealthier kids. Bao explains that education and intelligence in America have become commoditized and are controlled by those who have them.
Tran-Phu does a brilliant job using metaphors and imagery to convey his point to the reader. As with most scholarly writing, his paper had a central theme that he supported and explained throughout the paper, but the metaphors he uses and the imagery utilized enables him to more easily and effectively convey his central theme. In my writing, I did not use many metaphors or very much imagery due to the scientific nature of my paper, but I certainly could have used more. In his writing, Tran-Phu does a great job using the work of others to better support his case for the reader. He uses scholarly examples and evidence to help explain his main theme and uses a logical progression of thought to make his ideas as easy to understand as possible. In my writing, I usually try to be as straightforward and easy to understand as possible, but perhaps I could have used more specific examples as Bao Tran-Phu does in his paper.
Tran-Phu, B. 2010. iSmart: The Commodification of Intelligence. Deliberations 11: 16-20.
In Bao Tran-Phu’s paper “iSmart: The Commodification of Intelligence” the author discusses the impact of commodification of intelligence on society. In short, Tran-Phu argues that intelligence is becoming a commodity that is priced, bought and sold. The author references statistics for the price of education and for the earnings of people with different levels of education, among other research, to support his thesis. Tran-Phu then concludes that to get an education a person must be wealthy and in order to be wealthy a person must have an education. The author believes that this commercialization of intelligence can lead to “losing our freedom,” and a “society ruled by apathetic short-term profitability.”
Tran-Phu’s paper is effective because the author is opinionated, and his decisive tone draws the reader in. He has a strong, well flowing structure that makes the paper easy to access and follow. In addition, the author uses research in an effective manner by citing statistics and using short quotes to back up his argument. This masterful use of referencing allows the author to appear well versed on the subject without relying on other people’s words to make his point.
Tran-Phu’s paper was aimed effectively at Deliberations readers- presumably teachers, students and parents at Duke University. He integrated a variety of sources into his paper in small amounts whereas in Aquatic Invasive Species we tend to rely more heavily on in depth use of a few sources because it is more necessary to describe the technical aspects behind the research to our readership. I do think Tran-Phu picked a touchy subject, which is harder to come across in AIS.
For example, I was offended when Tran-Phu stated that there is an assumption that there is a direct correlation between intelligence and education level in the job market because “nearly all specialized jobs and positions require a degree.” Of course jobs that require an education to perform effectively are going to require an education- this does not assume that the educated person is more intelligent, it assumes that the educated person is more suitable for the job. Also, Tran-Phu argues that paying for tutoring services allows a student to “replace intellectual effort” with “a financial sum.” I found this offensive because tutoring is an effective TEACHING tool, not a replacement for learning! Impressionable students could read this paper and come to the conclusion that only unintelligent people accept tutoring help. In his conclusion Tran-Phu went on to argue that commercialization of intelligence will lead to loss of freedom. Tran-Phu acted as if education was not valued in previous generations and centuries, as if it is a new phenomenon.
In Rehabilitation in Sierra Leone, Stephani Zakutansky focuses on the impact that a civil war had on the citizens of Sierra Leone, specifically child amputees. Sparked just by a single image of child amputees playing a soccer game, the article looks not only to make the reader aware of the treacherous event, but also evaluate a source of happiness in all the violence and fear. Zakutansky suggests the leisure, particularly soccer, can act as a way for the victims to cope with their loss. The children were being used as a weapon of terror and now with limbs lost they symbolize the destructive nature of the event and they represent the sorrow that is held by all the citizens of Sierra Leone.
Zakutansky not only uses an abundance of direct quotes from a various number of sources, but her whole article is based on someone else’s photo. She takes all of these sources into account and formulates a new idea from them. She connects the photo of amputee soccer players to sources concerning leisure as rehabilitation and creates a position that perfectly engages both while also holding her own voice. At the Deliberations symposium, Zakutansky talked about how she approached each specific detail of the photo, even taking into account the symbolism of the boy’s shorts and the smiles on the faces of the boys in the back. In order to have the article situated in a published magazine, she dedicates the first paragraph entirely to background information on the civil war and continues to provide historical facts along the way to keep the reader informed. What was most striking is how Zakutansky was able to produce this article and this idea all from a single photograph.
The largest difference between Zakutansky’s article and my literature review is the use of direct quotes. In order to hold more value in a public readership and to prove her knowledge on the subject, Zakutansky barely writes a few sentences without inserting a quote from a separate source. On the other hand, I may not have used a single direct quote. However, we do both use a range of different sources to support our writing as I believe is necessary for all types of academic writing. There will always also be a certain amount of background information in academic writing. Zakutansky goes into great detail to set up her article while I just brushed over the necessary base information. I feel that if my literature review was to be published I would have to add more information to to ease the reader’s transition between scientific topics. It would also be inappropriate to have as much undefined scientific terminology for a magazine such as Deliberations.
Zakutansky, Stephani 2010. Rehabilitation in Sierra Leone. Deliberations 11: 30-32
Jocelyn Streid’s article “Painted Nails and Personal Narratives: An Exploration of Creative Nonfiction in Medicine” interested me as it presented an interesting belief on medicine that I personally have never heard of. Streid introduces and backs her opinion that doctors need to treat their subjects as not just patients but more importantly as people. She brings about the idea that physicians need to utilize creative nonficiton in their work. With the use of creative nonfiction, physicians are able to bring about a sense of emotion in their profession. Streid argues that although emotion is usually discouraged in the field of medicine, that same emotion is needed in order for doctors to be effective. Through writing creative nonfiction, doctors are able to self-reflect, gain an understanding of the patient’s pain/problems, and create a connection with the patient. Streid’s main point is that doctor’s need to focus on the person with the illness instead of the illness itself. This shift of perspective is possible through the doctors expressing their thoughts and emotions in creative nonficiton.
Jocelyn Streid effectively addressed the three goals of Writing 20 in her article, which is why her paper is extremely strong. Streid formed her position on the matter by coming up with her own opinion and thoughts on how the medical field could be more effective. Her opinion was consistant throughout the entire paper, and every body paragraph was clearly linked back to her original position. Not only did Streid cite examples of research conducted on the idea of creative nonficiton in medicine, but she also used her sources to help clearly explain and clarify unfamiliar terms and studies. She made sure to not use a specific reference too much throughout the article, and instead made sure to divide up each source up evenly throughout the paper. The paper’s style and tone are not only formal, but also are able to be understood by the average reader.
To me, the fact that the author used a personal experience to draw in the reader is a very different, yet strong method. She put the problem of dehumanized medical attention on a level that anyone could relate to and could understand. I thought that it was also very interesting to see how the author first formed her original opinion on the matter through the memory of her volunteer experiences and the old woman with the red nail polish. Streid explained that only through writing about the experience was she truely able to feel and care for the woman with the red nail polish.
Compared to my recent literature review, the author’s organization is fairly similiar to mine. We both started with an original point, then provided evidence to back up our opinions. Both papers contain an explantion of the problem and also contain strong opinions on what needs to be done in order for the problem to be fixed. However, in my literature review, my use of urgency is inappropriate compared to the articles written in Deliberations. Streid’s opinions are presented to the reader in the form of encouragement while the conclusion in my paragraph comes off as rather rash and demanding. Her paper also included a personal anecdote to stress her opinion while the literature review is written solely in the third person. By comparing the styles and tones of both her paper and my literature review, it’s easy to see that our respective styles would not be effective for each other’s papers.
Streid, J. 2010. Painted Nails and Personal Narratives: An Exploration of Creative Nonfiction in Medicine. Deliberations 11: 54-60.
Michael Di Nunzio
In “iSmart: The Commodification of Intelligence”, author Bao Tran-Phu argues that human intellect is subject to the same forces that control a market economy. In a brief introduction, Bao explains that with each increase in education level comes a corresponding jump in average annual salary. This correlation between perceived brainpower and marketability, he claims, allows intelligence to be treated as a tangible good. To support his thesis, Bao first makes an example of the tutoring market. Because tutors effectively decrease the mental strain imposed on a pupil, the author alleges that two people with inherently unequal abilities might receive the same grade. One of the students, however, would have received this grade as an indirect result of paying a tutor for assistance. Thus, perceived intelligence and the opportunities that it brings can effectively be purchased. A similar scenario stems from the sale of nootropics, drugs designed to increase cognitive performance and potentially boost test scores. Abuse of prescription medications such as Adderall and Ritalin also offer increased mental sharpness for a price, and thereby contribute further to commodification of intelligence. Bao expands on his assertions, arguing that because intelligence is now a purchasable good, it can be passed down by families and hoarded from the poor. The resulting disparity in knowledge put society in a dangerously ignorant position. Bao adduces instances in which certain policies have been based on information acquired from dubious research methods. The public, blind by a lack of knowledge, assumed that the information was correct and passively allowed the policies to be altered. The document concludes with a warning of the threats posed by the commodification of intelligence, and the assertion that this phenomenon must be eliminated.
To build his argument Bao not only cites the work of others, but also builds upon the meaning already provided in his sources. For instance, he adduces the rates of change for farming and engineering career paths to ultimately support his claim that intelligence is being safeguarded as a commodity. The relationship between these two pieces of information might not be readily discernible, yet his writing and logic make a clear connection between the two. I also tried to build upon and make connections between the discoveries of others in my review, relating concepts such as mitten crab prevention and newly developed computer algorithms. Bao’s paper has excellent logical flow and manages to effectively articulate his point while maintaining an entertaining element for the enjoyment of readers. I most admire the writer’s organization and prose. His diction is not overly dramatic, yet gives the impression that the subject being discussed is still extremely important. One large discrepancy in style between my paper and that of Bao is the type of examples used to support the thesis. Bao’ work deals primarily with economic concepts, and he therefore makes liberal use of assumptions when trying to prove his thesis. In some cases he appears to beg the question, drawing conclusions from precarious premises. For instance, Bao states that because intelligence is being greedily withheld from the masses “Dissent and free thought…will decline.” However, dissent within a population has no historical connection with intelligence. Rather, the discontented tend to rebel regardless of how intellectually inclined they are. Because my review is based on biology, a hard science, I strove to support my arguments with more factually based knowledge. While both techniques are valid, I feel that a paper based on tangible data tends to have more substance than one centered on supposition.
Grace Shuting Wei’s article “Gaining Access to Myanmar” appealed to me on a variety of levels, in particular the way she was able to incorporate the three goals of writing 20 all at the same time. The article focused in on Myanmar after the catastrophic cyclone Nargis left nearly 135,00 deal in may, 2008. The author showed how a storm such as this one had multiple layers of consequence for the native people. After describing the direct effects of the storm, the author delved into the corrupt Junta government jeopardizing the lives of the Burmese people. She showed how government pride worked against the storm’s survivors, as the country practically refused to accept aid from other nations. This arrogance led to unacceptable suffering that Wei’s unabashedly exposes.
The photos included in her essay not only underscored her criticism for the junta government but also allowed the reader to effectively empathize for these people. Having studied documentary photography for quite sometime, I can confidentially say that photographers such as Walker Evans and Dorthea Lang helped alter American opinion and construct our nation as it is today. Like them, Wei uses photography to make a point. She uses the photos of others to portray her own opinion on the issue. The photographs are rather suggestive, and show how the Burmese people are living through great oppression following the cyclone. Their condition brings the onlooker to believe that no one has done anything to ameliorate their position. It also makes the reader question the Junta government, and does so in a way that makes us look down upon this government because of the way there people are being treated.
Similar to Wei’s writing, I use suggestive evidence to make an argument. Wei’s photographs underscore her point about how the Junta government is not doing much to protect its people. In my paper, discussing lionfish predation rates and its effect on natural reef habitats was hopefully compelling and made the reader realize the issue at stake. Using the work of others to construct an effective argument often times produces good work. I admire Wei’s use of photography for that reason.
Our writing techniques did differ somewhat, as a certain style was required for her paper as another was required for mine. In Wei’s case, the evidence spoke for itself. The pictures needed little explaining as the images brought the reader to understand Wei’s argument. In my essay, a lot of the evidence needed to be explained because a majority of it was rather scientific and therefore would be difficult for the average reader to know exactly what the primary resources I used were talking about.