In the article, “A New Dream: Barack Obama and the Rhetoric of “A More Perfect Union,” Vanderslice describes the tactics that Barack Obama used to win the hearts of Americans in his 2008 speech, A More Perfect Union. In his speech, the soon-to-be president described his childhood as a young mixed-race boy growing up Chicago. Raised by an African father and a caucasian mother from Kansas, Obama spoke about the American Dream and the individual rights promised to the people of our nation. Despite the drawbacks in his campaign (i.e. his lack of experience, Pastor Wright’s controversial sermons, etc.), Obama used the fact that “his election would fit in with an American history defined by progress and improvement” to propel himself to the head of the election. Vanderslice carefully explained that Obama’s ability to reshape the context in which in the eyes of not only minorities, but in those of ”mainstream” Americans as well.
The article’s style and tone contributed well to the overall voice of the writing. The author used a variety of different political writing sources, which added credibility to the already professionally-toned paper. Vanderslice also organized the paper in a unique, yet effective way. The beginning gives a brief background of Barack Obama at the present, then tells how the rhetoric he used in the speech came from his own ethnic background. Most of the writing consists of the author backing up his thesis that Obama’s use of rhetoric was a key factor to his success in the election, and it ends with a description of Obama’s dream of America. Throughout, he cites directly from four books written by the president himself. Using the president’s own words was a brilliant way to show the rhetoric used by the politician, not just in his speech but also in his own writing.
One major similarity I noticed between all the academic writing was the accessibility of the information that was being presented. Even when describing complex topics, such as rhetoric in Vanderslice’s work, the authors condensed extensive ideas and made them clear to a wide variety of audiences. My writing review consisted of detailed experiments involving microorganisms, chemical biocides, and difficult procedures that may have only been understood by someone experienced in the field of science. The literature review I completed in class was on a completely different topic, but the same rules for writing and level of detail applied. The same could be said for Vanderslice’s article and the other articles found in Deliberations; extensive subjects like politics, persuasion, religion, race, and commercialism were made compatible with many different readers without taking away from the underlying meaning in each and every authors work.
Joyce Yu’s paper defines the meaning of “authenticity” through a dissection of country-pop’s roots, structure, and legacy. She initially and very generally explains that authentic music needs to balance the new and the old. I noticed after reading, that this vague definition was what hooked me into reading the rest of the paper and served as a very solid core to which new evidence and insight is planted on. The first body subtopic brings the audience back to the roots of country-pop and sheds light on why it was widely criticized and likened to a “plaque.” Yu effectively brings a variety of sources to liven this necessary history lesson: magazine headlines, sociology phenomenons, and example artist. At the end of this subtopic, the evidence skews in favor of the old and makes country-pop look like a digression from an important country music value – community. It keeps the audience reading, wondering how country-pop can still serve as a model for authenticity. Yu shifts gears and examines the merit behind these claims by bringing in a case study of Patsy Cline’s music. Analysis of song structure and lyrics points out the features that are unchanging and those influenced by pop. Inclusion of sample sheet music reflects all the points mentioned and makes visualization a lot easier. A chronological documentation of the evolution of Patsy Cline’s music and her struggle compromising two seemingly polar opposites finally recapitulates that hybrids can create a new identity and bring out the best of both worlds, the very definition of authenticity.
One big aspect of Yu’s writing I greatly admire is her skill with keeping the reader interested. I noticed that my own writing does not carefully withhold information and instead keeps both sides of the story homogeneous. I don’t know if this would be appropriate for scientific writing, but I do know that it is perfect for keeping a general audience (like myself) interested. The contextual evidence is also very well integrated and directly back up her arguments. I know my own writing is not as direct and require a few sentence of explanation; I think that detracts from the focus of my writing.
Yu, JY. (2010). Keepin’ it real: how commercialization of country music does not define artificiality. Deliberations,
In the article ‘”Speak Softly and Carry a Lipstick”: Government Influence on Female Sexuality through Cosmetics During WWII’, by Adrienne Niederriter (2009), the author explored how lipstick changed how women expressed themselves during the 1940′s. Red lipstick became a staple for women who were either in the war industry or serving in the military. For these women, the lipstick became the symbol of strength and female sexuality. It allowed them to show that they were women even though they were doing what was considered a man’s job. Women were encouraged to wear make up and to fix their hair up while on duty. However, they found it hard to keep this routine when the demands of war left little time for the women to care for themselves. Women back in the United states had taken begun to volunteer to be featured as pin-up girls. These photos of these girls were supposed to give the men at war more moral. However, these pictures were controversial because some thought that these pictures were too sexual. Female sexuality was dangerous territory, but it was nonetheless needed. The use of red lipstick allowed women to become more independent in their social lives, and their sexuality (Niederriter, 2009).
The author of this article was able to complete the goals of Writing 20; engaging with the work of others, articulating a position, and situating writing in a specific context. Niederriter engaged in the work of others by finding ads, journals, and letters, from women in the 1940′s and interpreting them, even with decades of separation between these women and the author. She was able to articulate a position by stating that the use of red lipstick allowed women to discover their freedom socially and sexually. Niederriter had written this paper for a specific audience in mind, the modern men and women of today’s world. She was able to get this audience to understand the hardships of the women in the 1940′s and how the lipstick was so much more than just make up.
In another article called ‘Politically Incorrect: Gran Torino and Racial Facades’, by Laurel Burk (2010), the character of Walt Kowalski in the movie “Gran Torino” is analyzed. In today’s society, we are taught to be politically correct, even though we may harbor some prejudice in our hearts. Walt, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite. He says many racist comments to his neighbors in the movie, but he ends up befriending the son of the neighbor. He was very politically incorrect on the surface, but held no real grudge in his heart. His actions spoke far louder than words. Walt took the son under his wing and taught him how to fix things and was able to help the son secure a job. In the end, Walt ended up leaving the son his Gran Torino, his most prized possession. Walt represented the exact opposite of how today’s world deals with racism. He did not care if he was politically correct, while people today stress over this all the time (Burk, 2010)
The author of this article was able to work with the goals of Writing 20. Burk was able to engage with the work of others by interpreting the movie “Gran Torino” in terms of racism. She also articualted her position that she believed that in today’s world of being politically correct can be very difficult to decipher how a person really feels. She was also able to write in the context that she was writing for a fairly general audience and adjusted quotes from the movie accordingly.
In academic writing, all authors have to engage with the work of others. They use this information as evidence to form a position on a particular argument. Also, writers also have to write with specific audiences in mind to effectively get their point across. In my literature review I expected that my audience would have a fairly good background in science. Therefore, used terminology that might not be understood by a broader audience. My literature review would be inappropriate for Deliberations because much of what I wrote would not be understood.
Niederriter, A., (2009), “Speak Softly and Carry a Lipstick”: Governement Influence on Female Sexuality through Cosmetics During WWII. Deliberations, 4-9
Burk, L., (2010), Politically Incorrect: Gran Torino and Racial Facades. Deliberations, 21-24
Adrienne Niederriter’s article “‘Speak Softly and Carry a Lipstick’: Government Influence on Female Sexuality through Cosmetics During WWII,” explores the relationship between cosmetics, women’s sexuality, and the war effort. During WWII, women had to abandon their traditional gender roles as housewives to fulfill jobs that had traditionally been held by men. While this was a necessary change, society still desired women to maintain their femininity. As a result, the government during WWII widely endorsed the use of cosmetics, especially red lipstick, by females since it kept their sexuality in place as these women increasingly took on masculine roles in society. Red lipstick became a symbol of strength and femininity, and a necessity to women both directly involved in the war, and those supporting the war effort from home. Niederriter argues that the use of the red lipstick during WWII influenced women to expand their independence, and foreshadowed the feminist movements of the 1960s and 70s.
Niederriter’s title was very clever since it alluded to Roosevelt’s widely known slogan “Speak softly and carry a big stick” but was cleverly and appropriately modified to “speak softly and carry a ‘lipstick’.” This title not only draws the reader in by presenting something that is known to the reader but with a twist, but since Roosevelt’s slogan had to do with the war, the title gives a hint as to what the article will be about. Furthermore, the author uses a wide range of works previously done by others such as advertisements, letters, personal diaries, and newspaper articles, among others, to support her position about the influence of lipstick, and other cosmetic use, on women gender roles during WWII. The author effectively ties in her article to her respective discipline, the rhetoric of what we wear, by describing how wearing red lipstick during WWII not only allowed women to maintain their feminine sexuality while they fulfilled masculine jobs, but how it also influenced women’s movements to gaining independence.
Since for Aquatic Invasive Species we are writing for a scientific community, some of the techniques employed by the author would not be appropriate for our literature reviews. For instance, the author introduced her topic with:
“Imagine manning a submarine beneath the Pacific waves at the height of war. You receive orders to surface immediately and evacuate to safety. In your dash to escape, what items would you bring with you? Precious photos? Letters from home? Your favorite watch?”
Although using a theoretical scenario was extremely effective for the author, it would not be an appropriate technique to introduce a scientific writing. Furthermore, in a scientific literature review, the use of direct quotes should be minimal since they can be confusing, while in the writing of the author, the use of direct quotes strengthened her position.
Grace Wei’s writing piece titled Gaining Access to Myanmar, follows the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis and how the people of Myanmar, in desperate need of the foreign aide, are being barred from the aide by the Myanmar militaristic government. The Myanmar government believes that accepting foreign aide will make Myanmar appear weak; however, this strategy has backfired as more and more nations condemn Myanmar for its inhumane actions against its own citizens. Yet the Myanmar government still refuses to concede that it needs help dealing with the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.
One aspect of Grace’s writing the differs from my literary review is that Grace uses some militaristic rhetoric to portray her strong dismay about the Myanmar government. Although I initially used similar rhetoric in my first few writing pieces for this course, since reading and responding to Larson 2005, I have learned that militaristic rhetoric has little place in scientific writing. However, I believe that in pieces of writing similar to Gaining Access to Myanmar, such rhetoric is necessary in order to properly demonstrate the gravity of the situation. Grace accomplishes this by using phrases such as “abysmal official response,” “military government suppresses political activity,” and “[the government's] lack of sincerity.” Additionally, Grace effectively uses quotes that follow similar rhetoric to help support her argument: “for the government, these people are no more than dead animals in the fields.”
Furthermore, one aspect that my literary review lacks is pictures. In addition to effectively using quotes, Grace also effectively uses pictures to portray the devastation and suffer that the people of Myanmar are experiencing. For example, the pictures of all the Cyclone survivors show faces of pure disappointment and anger in their government, a will to fight for survival that is slowly being broken, and diminishing feeling of hope. These pictures do a very good job supporting the position that Grace is articulating. It seems almost impossible to be able to find a picture of an invasive aquatic species that could have the same effect as these pictures of the cyclone survivors. Readers can more easily connect to the emotions shown in Grace’s pictures than with pictures of invasive species because everyone at one point has felt either almost helpless or entirely helpless.
A combination of Grace’s writing tone, details, pictures, and quotations help to support her position on the situation in Myanmar following cyclone Nargis. Her tone and details effectively portray her passion for her position. And lastly, the pictures and quotations help supplement her own thoughts and make her writing piece even stronger.
In “Politically Incorrect: Gran Torino and Racial Facades,” Laurel Burk shows readers that in the movie Gran Torino, the character Walt is a good example of a person who on the exterior, seems blatantly racist, though through his actions, he seems to be the complete opposite. This sparks a discussion on politically correct language in today’s culture. Burk says that watering down our language when discussing race simply seems to have an inverse effect upon the situation, only making the person seem like they’re trying to cover up their racism instead of trying to be less offensive. This seeming racism on the inside yet not on the outside has been dubbed de cardio racism, or “racism of the heart.”
Burk then continues with a discussion on the plot of Gran Torino and how Walt’s racial slurs, though shocking to an audience today, are not actually representative of how he is, and in fact, inside, he is not a racist. Burk uses the movie Gran Torino to structure her paper, first discusses politically correct language today, then following the plot of Gran Torino to show how though at the beginning of the movie, the audience may write off Walt as a complete racist, since we are so unaccustomed to hearing racial slurs, but as we look closer at Walt’s actions, it becomes clear that he is in fact, not what he appears to be. His neighbors, who are asian, may hear him use a lot of offensive slurs and stereotypes against them, but in the end, he actually takes the teenage boy in the asian family, Tao, under his wing, and in the end, makes the ultimate sacrifice for the family’s well-being and safety. This shows the audience that Walt is really a “de cardio nonracist.” Burk not only engages with the movie Gran Torino, but also with other papers on racism and uses these to back up and help articulate her position on racism and being potilically correct in an interesting way. Burk would present an idea from a paper or the movie, and then interpret it and bring in her own ideas to make it relevant to her paper and tie together her thesis. It was very well-done and put together. This piece is well-situated in Deliberations because, like Burk said herself in the little paragraph under her picture, it was tough to strike that balance between what was acceptable to include in a paper such as this, but not being to PC in a paper discussing just that. Despite this challenge, I think she strikes the perfect balance. The thing that struck me most about this piece was the way that the author was able to discuss being PC and de cardio racism by simply following along with the plot line of a movie and letting that foster discussion points. I thought the way she wove that together was masterfully done.
Though my literature review and Burk’s piece were obviously on vastly different topics, there are some very basic similarities. We both have a thesis, which we develop throughout the piece, and also begin with a sort of introduction at first on the topic to segway into the greater point. In my case, I gave some background information and examples of damage done by purple loosestrife; in her case, she gave a little background information on the evolution and creation of PC before the segway into Gran Torino. There are also many differences though, especially since my literature review asks for introduction and research on beetles, whereas her review asks us to consider an aspect of how our culture has evolved. I don’t quite think my literature review would fit into Deliberations because I wrote it with the intention of it being read by an audience from Frontiers, so I wrote on their level of background knowledge and more towards their interests, whereas the casual reader of Deliberations would be completely overwhelmed by some of the scientific jargon and concepts that I present.
The main essay I chose to read was “iSmart: The Commodification of Intelligence” by Bao Tran-Phu. This essay explored the idea of economic principles being applied to intelligence, an abstract entity. The author begins with an introduction of how the capitalist market has taken over many facets of life that, in the past, were seemingly not commodifiable. For example, the human body is now subject to the market as a result of the need for organ transplants and the use of surrogate mothers to carry babies. This goes hand in hand with how intelligence has now been commodified in the capitalist economy, which the author insists is leading to a widening in the gap of socioeconomic disequality.
The author goes on to defend his thesis by demonstrating the existence of intelligence in today’s market. He referenced the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic several times to demonstrate that increased intelligence leads to an increase in income, as yearly salaries increase progressively from high school dropouts, to high school graduates, to college graduates. Similarly, Tran-Phu points out that electrical engineers make approximately four times as much as farmers in America. This is because the intelligence to become an engineer is much more exclusive, he says. Since becoming an engineer requires paying a larger price in college, the ability to receive a good education is subject to economic background.
The ability to pay for education determines how good of an education someone can receive, and the author points out that this proves the current gap in socioeconomic equality. Intelligence does have a price. Besides the ability to pay for a good education, the commercialization of “intelligence-boosters”, such as tutoring services and Adderall, Ritalin and other nootropic drugs, has influenced the need for money to improve intelligence.
Finally, Tran-Phu applies all of the economic examples to support his thesis and push his opinion. He argues that, if intelligence continues to become commodified, then the American idea of equality will be sent backwards. Society has changed to allow for equality of races and religions, and subjecting intelligence to socioeconomic status will send America’s progress backwards.
The author successfully gets his point across in this essay by organizing his arguments into a logical, coherent manner. He keeps the idea of the capitalist market alive in his audience’s thoughts by commonly using economic terms and references to value, utility, and expenditures versus returns. His list of references is impressive, citing sources from several federal organizations such as the F.B.I., as well as many primary sources. More importantly, he integrates the knowledge from these sources very well; he uses overall ideas from these sources to support his argument in a highly effective manner. His position on the topic is well articulated, and supported by the structure of the essay. He presents his audience with such a wealth of knowledge on the topic, which builds his credibility and causes readers to appreciate his opinions at the end. His writing is situated in a context that educates his audience well, and then draws on his sources to effectively show his own opinions. The essay has images and quotes that actually add to the argument, rather than act as filler space.
At first glance, Tran-Phu’s essay, is very different from my literature review. He discusses how intelligence has become commodified in the capitalist market, while I discuss how the spread of invasive species occurs at a rate too fast for humans to keep up with currently. However, upon a deeper look, there are many similarities between our writings. We both develop our own thesis, and use the work of others to support this thesis throughout the essay. We also both structure our essay similarly, in that an introduction of the overall idea of the essay needs to draw the reader in, and then a wealth of knowledge must be presented in a logical manner that directs to the thesis. Finally, opinions can be presented after a level of credibility is established. In these ways, writing is very similar across disciplines. Some essays, such as Tran-Phu’s analysis of intelligence, require more abstract thought processes than what we write about in scientific writing. Despite differences in objective versus abstract thinking, there are certainly similarities in developing the central thesis across all sections of academic writing.
The main article I read was by Grace Wei, entitled “Gaining Access to Myanmar: On the Fight to Deliver Aid in the Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis”. The article explained Cyclone Nargis, its effects on the Myanmar people, the reasons why the Myanmar government only supported limited relief efforts, and what the world could do about this.
Cyclone Nargis occurred May 2, 2008 in the Irrawaddy River Delta, killing or displacing around 135,000 people. Those that survived lost their homes, friends, livelihoods and often, their will to survive. The Myanmar government is a military regime, which has been in place since 1962. The leaders, or the junta, are intent on keeping foreigners out and showing the world they are strong and capable of confronting any national crisis, even a deadly Cyclone. The government initially turned away relief efforts offered by numerous countries, including the United States, Britain and France, but allowed access to the hardest-hit areas after tremendous international pressure. Still, most of the aid comes from Burmese peoples and local Buddhist monks. It’s been suggested that the government would rather maintain national pride than help the Cyclone’s survivors, so what should be done?
Wei’s essay was structured like a newspaper article, similar to something that could be found in the New York Times. Indeed, Wei actually referenced the New York Times, as well as CNN and BBC. She certainly takes a position by suggesting that international attention needs to be kept focused on Myanmar to break down the government’s closed-door policy. In addition, Wei acknowledges this is a challenge because there’s always something new in the media to talk about that will divert attention away from Myanmar. I thought Wei’s images were relevant and added to the emotional aspect of the article, and I liked how she had new headings that indicated a new subtopic of the relief efforts of Cyclone Nargis. I felt like the audience was meant to be the general public because it was styled after a newspaper article. On that note, the writing was perfect for the context of the article because it was easy to read so the general public could understand it, while images were used appropriately. Wei utilized short succinct paragraphs, just like in an actual newspaper article.
I think all writing should be straightforward and concise. Sentences should avoid jumbled phrases and complex structures, especially when something is written for a general audience. Wei’s writing style should be similar to the writing in my literature review because both are for a general audience. In my literature review, I tried to avoid lengthy sentences that could potentially become confusing because then the meaning could be lost. Citations weren’t used in Wei’s article, although the source was mentioned if it was a quote. In my literature review, I used information from other sources heavily and the citations were actually in the paper in parentheses. Wei’s article and my literature review both had a list of references following the article.
Wei, G. S.. 2008. Gaining Access to Myanmar: On the Fight to Deliver Aid in the Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. Deliberations 11: 25-29.
All 10 articles in Deliberation have successfully reached the three goals of Writing 20. Specifically, I focused on Grace Shuting Wei’s article of Gaining Access to Myanmar, which was a comprehensive journalistic report on the situation of the cyclone Nargis relief. The author engaged with the work of others by properly citing a number of media sources, such as CNN, BBC, and The New York Times. She incorporated the contents in these news articles smoothly into her article through indirect and direct quotes.
After providing a through and detailed introduction to the past and current situation in the cyclone relief, the author articulated her own position by stating that it was evident that cyclone relief was not the Myanmar junta government’s top priority. She supported her view with the facts that the junta lacked sincerity in cooperation with international aids. Therefore, she claimed that sustained international attention was imperative to keeping the junta away from interfering the relief. She also urged the media and the public to play their parts in ensuring that the government carried through its promises by staying engaged in the situation in Myanmar and calling for action.
The author situated her writing in the contexts of both Deliberation and the specific discipline of a journalistic report. She depicted the big picture of the situation through a combination of numerous smaller images of the devastated Myanmar. By doing so, she managed to draw the readers’ attention and sympathy. If more widely published, the article might well serve the purpose of raising public awareness. To better situate the writing in the context of Deliberation, the author included vivid pictures, a clear timeline, and hyperlinks to the websites where readers can join the cause of the aid. These elements added a nice finishing touch to the article.
The similarity between Gaining Access to Myanmar and my own literature review is not significant in that my writing was much more based on natural science. Nevertheless, our writings do bear some resemblance in terms of how we developed our thesis. Grace first introduced the aftermath of cyclone Nargis on a general scale, then dived into detailed smaller images of the issue, and finally came up with the thesis. By the moment a reader reaches her thesis, he or she can easily understand the author’s idea as it has been fully developed and supported throughout the article. I adopted a similar approach during my composition of the literature review. Unlike most of my peers’ literature reviews I’ve came across, I pointed out my thesis in the later part of my article rather than highlighting it at the beginning. I began the review with an introduction on the current situation of Asian carp invasion, then compared several studies, and concluded my thesis in the last few paragraphs.
I’m impressed by the hard effort that Deliberation authors put in their writing projects, and I would like to learn from their success as I work on during the rest of Writing 20 and my future courses at Duke.
Wei, G. S.. 2008. Gaining Access to Myanmar. Deliberations 11: 25-29.
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.