Posts Tagged “Deliberations”

I was very impressed with Tran-Phu’s article not only for subject matter and topic, but his ability to articulate and provide a strong argument using his sources. He also did more than merely cite his sources, but was fluently weaved them into this prose to form a very interesting and strong argument that intelligence, an abstract concept, can and has been commodified by the  market activities just as other tangible goods such as dairy have been. What I enjoyed about the article was the use of examples to help explain and introduce the reader to the concept of the abstract concepts being marketable, such as the commercialization of organ transplants and surrogate motherhood

Bran-Phu argues that intelligence can be commodified within a market just as any tangible good. One of his strongest points was that knowledge has a discrete exchange value and can have a quantitative economic value expressible in monetary units.  He presented an argument which included economic concepts such as supply demand, opportunity cost and incentive as he discussed how intelligence in our modern world has been commercialized. One of the major components of Tran-Phu’s article was a relationship between intelligence, educational level, certification, and career opportunity. The article goes on to further analyze the correlation between wage and intelligence in which he argued that wage disparity remains because access to knowledge and enterprise is protected to prevent devaluation.  He provided an example of a farmer and electrical engineer to show this disparity. One of Phu’s strong po9nt was using Marxian theory to solidify his argument an I found this very entertaining as he showed that products and services such as Adderall, Ritalin and tutoring all aid in the commodification (commercializing) our intelligence and these false incentives we use actual detract from the pure essence and value of intelligence.

In addition he believes that the commodification of intelligence can lead to a loss of freedom.

While Tran-Phu’s writing seems to fit under the category of social science, but in regards to my MWP1 assignments has a lot of similar context. For instance the opening the introduction was, while short was written in a professional, non-fictional tone which was similar many science related-jargon. In addition, he provided much quantitative evidence for his argument, quite suitable for the context of his paper, and natural science papers.  

While the tones in our paper s are similar to an extent, there is also a difference. Tran-Phu’s tone is more targeted to a general audience, while my writing tone for MWP1 was more focused on both the scientific and general community.

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Paul Jordan did an outstanding job of analyzing the relationship between religion and popular culture in his Writing 20 paper, using the examples of Borat and Saved!. The introduction grabbed my attention right away, describing a scene from Saturday Night Live. Throughout the paper, Jordan elaborates on satire’s ability to engage the public in broad cultural discussions, specifically surrounding religion. He describes how satire provides a protective “shield” that renders authors able to express their opinions over taboo topics in an “unfiltered” manner. This blatant honesty fosters the reflection of audiences over more serious topics such as religious prejudices.

The points that Jordan made were quite shocking, yet entirely true. A large percentage of the population learns about world affairs, religion, and politics through offensive (yet comical) shows like South Park and SNL. Two years ago I watched that same SNL skit that was described in my introduction; this caused a debate in my Theory of Knowledge class in high school. As ridiculous as it may sound, satire does provoke thought/debate.

Jordan uses two examples to expand upon his thesis: Borat and Saved!. In the movie Borat, Baron Cohen plays a homophobic, racist, misogynistic anti-Semite who comes to America as a reporter from Kazakhstan. As he travels across the United States, he commits a large number of socially crude acts and makes many negative racial and religious comments. The irony in it all is that Baron Cohen is a Jew. Therefore, according to Jordan, Cohen’s use of ironic satire “should be understood not as engendering of racial and religious hatred, but as a condemnation of these prejudices.” In this way, most viewers come away from the film with a sense that the absurd nature of the film ultimately points to something greater.”Exaggerated satire,” used in the movie Saved!, is described as also provoking reflection and evaluation of religious perceptions, biases, and stereotypes. This film takes place in a conservative fundamentalist Christian school, where the characters, who are supposedly “Christian jewels” that have a “holier-than-though” attitude, are hypocrites. While a character named Hillary Faye tries to seem like a “perfect Christian,” she is actually acting snobby and condescending. These images illustrate the inconsistency between fundamentalist beliefs about “loving thy neighbor” and the manner in which they actually interact with society.

Overall, Jordan sculpted an excellent essay, using specific examples, outside sources, and personal opinions. He also adds some of his own humor or “satire, ” to the essay, which makes it easy and very interesting to read. This paper caught my eye at first glance, and I could not put it down until I had read through the whole thing. A major reason that I enjoyed this paper so much was that I had seen Borat and Saved! before, so it was intriguing to look at them from a different perspective. While watching these films I didn’t realize how much I actually “learned” from them, but after reading this paper I agree that, in these cases, comedy provokes serious thought.

This paper was very different from my MWP1, which was written with a more scholarly tone. This topic was also very relatable, whereas my literature review was more directed towards scientists educated in the invasive species field. Science writing is definitely different than descriptive/opinion based writing; I often prefer the latter, however through this writing 20 class I have learned to appreciate scientific writing more as I have become more educated on the topics.

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Yu’s essay studies country-pop music and its status as an independent genre rather than just a mix of two styles.  First she covers its origins in Nashville, where Owen Bradley and other musicians added modern technology and techniques to country music.  This combination was despised by both old-time country fans and popular music lovers because it removed the ‘authenticity’ of country while still supporting backwoods culture.  As such, many have considered country-pop to be a mix of genres rather than a genre of its own right.  Yu refutes this through an examination of its musical techniques and its fan-base.  Though the music is fundamentally a mix of country chords/vocals and pop instruments, the mix is innovative enough to be considered an original style.  Likewise, the shunning of country-pop by traditional country fans and the standard pop audience has separated its listeners from both of these groups, making a new fan-base with a distinctive culture.

While the subject of this essay is a far cry from invasive species research, its form is strikingly similar to our literature reviews.  Yu first states her thesis, then gives background information about the situation, then supports the thesis with examples of artists, songs, and other authors’ work.  The sources she cites are not analyzed in-depth, like in some writing style, but instead used as examples or building points for her own theories.  Scientific citations are likewise used as sources of factual information rather than objects to deconstruct and study.  While Yu’s use of citations sometimes bordered on the unnecessary – like the Marx reference during the discussion of Patsy Cline – her way of concisely explaining sources to support her views definitely parallels scientific writing.

The difference between this sociological writing and scientific writing is primarily the informality.  While the first person is not used, Yu’s use of rhetorical questions and stub sentences in the introduction would not be appropriate for a Frontier literature review.  This is because the target audience is probably music-interested citizens instead of environmental scientists.  All in all, Yu did an excellent job of articulating and defending her viewpoint while at the same time making the essay interesting to read.  You can also tell that she is passionate about the subject, something that benefits writing no matter what the genre.

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