Monday, February 27, 2006

Organizational exercise

This is a rough outline for my paper. I compiled this when doing the prewriting exercises. I found that in choosing to outline as my organizational exercise, it really does help me with preparing and later creating my papers.

I. Introduction
A. Brief history of the equestrian community
B. Introduce controversy
C. State what will be displayed about said controversy all throughout the paper
II. History of the sport
A. How it came into being
B. Typical participants that are actively involved in this community
C. Customs and Traditions made and practiced within the community
D. Generalizations made by and about this group and its members
III. Controversial Topics within Equestrian Community
A. Examples of the mulitiple controversies that have arrived
1. English vs. Western Saddles
2. English showing vs. Western showing
3. Riding for fun vs. riding to acquire place and excellence within your community
B. Chosen controversy
1. How by nature the Equestrian community is exclusive, therefore categorizing this community as elite
2. Examples of how the controversy is present within this community
IV. Exclusivity and Elitism in the world of Equestrian sport
A. Perspectives of those who support this community’s reputation and believe that it is meant to be that way for a reason (thus, should not change).
B. Perspectives of the opposing side of the above arguers. This includes examples that support those who believe that it should be a sport that should be available to everyone, and not include any type of discrimination (such as race, gender, money, etc).
C. Other examples from miscellaneous groups and individuals that come from all different corners on the issue
V. Organizations and Associations that incorporate this “elitist’s hobby” into the lives of those who otherwise cannot participate
A. American Competition Opportunities for Riders with Disabilities (American ACORD)
B. Work to Ride Program
C. Sierra Club
VI.Organizations and Associations that mandate qualifications and guidelines for those who want to be members of their equestrian community, and willfully turn down any of which are not up to standards with their criteria
A. Unites Thoroughbred Trainers of America (UTTA)
B. Deep Run Hunt Club
C. Equine Colleges
VII. Conclusion
A. Restate the chosen controversy
B. State how this research has or has not shaped your own opinions about your community

Sunday, February 26, 2006

My Annotated Bibliography so far. . .

1. Bacon, Richard. Equine Business Guide and Research Project. 2004- 2005. Moreton
Morrell, Warwickshire College. 22 February. 2006

Within this source it discusses the importance of having knowledgeable trainers and participants in the equestrian sports. This Project highlights a specific focus on those who participate in such sports at the equine college Warwickshire. It also talks about the different types of people who are presently involved in the industry as well as the hopes for where the practice might some day be.

2. Brown, Christin Michelle. E-mail to President of Association. 20 February 2006.

ABRA stands for the American Barrel Racing Association. I have planned on using the contact information available to reach the President of this association in order to hopefully receive some help. I will be asking for any type of documents or personal interviews of the knowing of the controversial aspects of barrel racing, as well as their perspective on the perception of the Equine Community. In getting responses from the different type of riders and their organizations, I will be able to piece together the way in which this community is exclusive by nature.

3. Cave, Suzie. “Widening Participation in Equine Training and Education.” 2003-2004. Warwickshire College. 22 February 2006.

This is an article that was in with the “Business and Research Guide” by Richard Bacon. This article discusses the barriers in the equestrian world as well as the liberties that it can allow its community members to face. Also, this article covers how in gaining and obtaining a vast knowledge of the sport, can help tremendously with many other aspects of being a rider.

4. Feezell, Randolph. Sport, Play, and Ethical Reflection. Chicago: University of
Illinois Press. 2004.

This book discusses everything from the love of sports themselves, to the ethics behind the game and the players playing that game. The first part of the book follows the whole experience of being involved with a sport and the ways in which playing an active role, and sometimes a too intense role, in that sport can affect you. The second half of this book talks about the meaning behind an athlete’s character and values to the sportsmanship factor help by all. The madness behind “cheaters” and why they might go so far as to actually rig a sport in order to ‘just’ win. I think that it is good to have at least one or twp sources whose audience is not just one particular type of athlete or sport.

5. Freund, Charles Paul. “Who Killed Culture?” Centre for Civil Society. 20 Febraury 2006.

This text tackles the “elite” reputation that many arts and sports have been labeled with throughout time. This source will help in understanding how my community as well as many others that are similarly compared with it. This article also goes into why these different arts and sports are categorized the way that they are.

6. Ivanhoe Broadcast News. “Work to Ride.” Ivanhoe’s Medical Breakthroughs. 24 February 2006. 25 Feb. 2006.

This is an article that discusses a program called “Work to Ride.” This program is designed for inner city children to get involved and be apart of this environment. The program is said to “‘give them [the kids] a lot of responsibility, builds a lot of self esteem.’” In looking into the programs that help take children out of the city and into a different and fun cultural experience is a great way to learn the different ways in which the equestrian sports are thought of as “out of reach” for some and not others. Therefore, helping to differentiate horseback riding as elitist or not.

7. Kaplan, Max. Leisure in America; A social Inquiry. New York: John Wiley
and Sons, Inc., 1960.

This is a book that covers the many ways in which the people of the United States choose to do for leisure. Other than talking about the numerous amounts of different activities that one can do, they discuss how there is a particular ways in which we do things and also how the social structure of a place can highly affect what kinds of things that people from there take leisure in. This text will help with uncovering the many sides of the equestrian world, how they came to be, and why it has the reputation that it does.

8. Nagey, Judy Serie. American Competition Opportunities for Riders with Disabilities (ACORD). Email to contact person for Association. 20 February 2006.

This is another organization that I am emailing. ACORD is responsible for organizing safe way for riders with disabilities to participate in horse shows. This group allows people with various disabilities, who would usually not be able to be apart in the horse riding community, and takes it to the next level, and creates safe and quality ways for the people to participate as if no one there were disabled. In contacting this group I hope to be able to piece together the way in which this community is exclusive by nature, and the ways in which that categorization is becoming obsolete in some cases.

9. Ramer, Sam. United Thoroughbred Trainers of America (UTTA). E-mail to Primary Contact person. 20 February 2006.

This is another Association that I am emailing. In emailing them I hope to hear the counter reaction to that of the response I will receive from ABRA. The difference between the two, form my perspective anyway, is that ABRA consists of the Western rider where as UTTA consists of the more prestigious and competitive English show riding, most of whom slightly frown upon the ways in which the Western riders choose to treat their horses and the ways in which they choose to compete. This will help with the figuring out of the different parts of this community and how they interpret each other.

10. Cohen, Michael P. The History of the Sierra Club. California: Sierra Club Books, Inc., 1988.

This book is one that I chose after visiting the Sierra Club’s website ( and learning about all of the different things that this organization has been doing for kids for generations. This group offers a program called ICO, Inner City Outings, which offers the opportunities for young inner city children to come and experience trips into the wilderness. These trips have made vast differences in many of the children’s lives that are involved. There is a whole page that is dedicated to the testimonials from some of the youths where they dedicate their striving for more on the experiences that they have encountered with this group. This is also another source that I can use in helping define and piece together the way in which this community is exclusive and the ways in which that categorization can become obsolete in some cases, such as this one.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

My final thoughts on that good book!

Although one may think that in telling a story in a way that seems totally backwards, would defeat the purpose of the way a story should be told. However, I found that in the book How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Alvarez’s use of strategically placing events from end to beginning helps illustrate to the reader the importance of one’s beginnings and the way that those times indefinitely affects your future. The opening of the text therefore makes the rest of the text almost an extended flashback to what got them to where they were by 1989.
Throughout the entire book there is a major emphasis on the Garcia’s status in the United States compared to the way they were used to living in the Dominican Republic. When on the island, the family had plenty of wealth, servants, a nice home that was connected to their beloved and large family, and were basically in the lap of luxury. Whereas in the States, their once high social and financial status is stripped away from them; scrambling to make ends meat, being disrespected by others, and no sense of family or belonging.
Within the beginning of the book, it seems that the girls’ mother was the most affected by the complete and drastic change that their lives had been forced to undergo. She was constantly sad when they first moved there, and felt that she needed to find a skill that would make her as important in the American society as she had been in her homeland. But in reading the rest of the text, it is shown within all of the Garcia’s that there is a vast difference between the way that they fit into the culture of the island and the way they seem to counter- fit into the culture in the United States.
In the case of Yolanda however, her character seems to make a complete circle in terms of where she begins, goes, and ends. The fact that Yolanda was one of the sister that found herself to be able of communicating in a good enough way in English that she felt comfortable in many interactions that her sisters, who could not imitate her use and technique of the language, could never feel. Yoyo finds herself contemplating staying on the island for good when she returns to it after five years in the beginning chapter, which is a plan of action that could easily be foreshadowed if the contents of the book ran in the correct chronological timing. One of the examples that support this idea that stood out the most to me is that of the kitten Yoyo named Schwarz in the section “The Drum.” In this chapter, Yoyo takes a young kitten from its nesting place with its brothers and sister, when a man shot his gun and scared away its mother. Because of being told by the same man that shot that gun, Yoyo was aware that taking an animal away from their mother at too young of an age can critically maim that kitten therefore making it a bad pet. Then when Yoyo is tired of the relentless “meowing” of the kitten she takes it out of her drum, and throws it back outside to find its own way back to the shed in which she had taken it from; it’s home.
Although the kitten disappears and may not have ever found its home again, here, the kitten can easily be symbolic of Yoyo, Sandra, Carla, and Fifi, being taken out of their native Dominican Republic and its culture at such a young age, and hurling them into the American culture that inevitably causes them to find themselves back in their island, just as Schwarz was trying to do.
This was a great book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Researching my community

Within my community, I will be focusing on how it qualifies to be an exclusionary sport, and therefore elitist. I will also discuss how due to this catagorization of my community, the controversy of the high financial demand that being an active part of the “horse rider” community entails. Within the active horse rider community, there are quite a number of things that are of great importance and necessity that are also quite a hard hit on the wallet. To name only a few, there is the horse itself, the cost of the running of a barn or the cost to board your horse somewhere else is you do not have the means (or land) to have it where you live, the prices of large veterinarian and Ferrier bills, saddles, bridals, feed, blankets, and many more. And most of these expenditures are ones that need to be made on a regular basis.
In picking out this controversy, it made me think of the many different controversies that exist within this particular community. But although there are obviously a lot of different controversial issues surrounding this community, I still chose to focus on the controversy how this elitist hobby expects extremely large amounts of money by any active member of the community. This is something that affects everyone in the entire community, and is a huge loss for those who are passionate about horses as well as the sport but are not able to participate and become a member due to their lack of funds.
In finding sources on this matter, I have found that researching in the “sports” department in the library really helped my out. This morning I went to the library on a mission to hopefully find some books that would aid me in my topic. When I finally found some I was relieved. Some of the books that I found, including Leisure in America: A Social Inquiry, Sport Play, and Ethical Reflection, and Fair Play: The ethics of Sport, all of which are books I am finding helpful facts in that I was definitely not aware of before now. Another book that I found today is that of one called, Managing White Supremecy: Race, Politics, and Citizenship in Jim Crowe Virginia, which I believe will help me in desiphering the real and imaginary lines between other controversies and my community, along with how the affected one another. I am thinking, with the help of Prof. Malesh’s suggestions, that if I take more of a historical approach, then it will be more substantial and much easier to research and write about.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

More on my community and controversy project

Here are the answers to those “specifics” about my controversy that Professor Malesh asked for us to define. My topic is the exclusionary, therefore elite, equestrian community. Here are some of its vital and defining factors explained (with one or two things that aren't in here due to more tweeking that needs to be done) :

My role: I have been a part of this community ever since I was little. My family has two horses and we live on 13 acres, almost half of which is for the horses and their different areas. However, I am not as active as I used to be due to my living away from home now.

Geographically: It is a necessity for members of this community to have access to or even to own land. Land is a necessity for the horses as well as the riders. The horses feed, graze, and have plenty of room of exercise and run around freely. The riders use the land to ride, train, groom, wash, and sometimes just watch their horses. And due to this, the barns and other open areas that are used for this sport are often times not in the city, but instead in the surrounding suburbs or country.

Shared history: Mostly, one will become interested in being apart of the elite equestrian society when members of their family, or even their friends are horse enthusiasts. Also it is much easier to get into the sport when you know that you are able to handle all of its needs financially. When one’s parents, siblings, or friends are not horse enthusiasts and are afraid of the animal, often times it is more likely that due to the reaction of those around you, you yourself will not want to participate in this activity.

Age: I’d have to say that this sport is all ages. From the littlest of kids to the seemingly too ‘in shape’ elders, there is an enjoyment made out of the equestrian lifestyle by all. However, it is with the older riders, where often times you can find arrogant and even rude remarks and actions being made to those whom the elders feel are not “good enough” to be within their league.

Interests: Within this community there are many different interests that the members are apart of. Just to name a few there is breeding, racing, showing, buying and selling, just to ride, or even just for the love of the animal. This community also represents a certain style, grace, and eloquence that many people join to be apart of such a group.

Ethnicity: It is mostly white females although it used to be a sport where it was mostly men who rode, due to the danger factor. However, if the group in which you are apart of is not one that is discriminatory, then it is not odd to find both boys and African Americans riding along with the girls. But on the other hand, there are many different groups of riders that do discriminate against people who try and be apart of their community, and feel as though that’s the way that every elitist group should be.

Membership: In this community, other than the limitations that are mentioned above, it is fair game to anyone that wants to try and be apart of. It is not by invite only, but in order to be taken seriously, you must be able to show that you are into the sport as much as the already existing members are as well as wanting to be apart of their community with them, not just to do it for the reputation it entails.

Rewards/ Costs: The rewards here are the discipline that you retrieve, the good form, the good reputation for being apart of a nice, well respected community of people. The costs for this community can also be part of the rewards. For example, when being an active part of this group, the costs are outrageous. Between the horses itself, all of its proper attire (bridal, bits, saddles, shoes, blankets, etc), along with any type of money used for land use or boarding fees, it can become quite expensive. Due to such expensiveness, it limits the number and type of members that can join. And though this might limit some, the ones that are able to proceed with all of the necessities in hand, it creates a reward for that person, a spot in the elite community of (rich) riders.

Language: As far as language is concerned, the only things that I believe you can consider ‘language’ is that everyone that is in this community knows all of the specific terms that relate to horses, the barn, riding euipment, grooming equipment, along with many more miscellaneuos terms that every person with a sport or hobby would know about something that they are routinely involved in.

Appearance: I would say that the dress, rituals, and behavior, all depend on what type of riding style you prefer. But as far as the way I was taught, along with many others who prefer the more prestigeous English riding, every owner must have a few things. Every English rider should own at least a saddle or two for every horse that they owned, everyday “out in the fields” leisurely attire for their horses (like blankets whens it’s cold, comfortable cloth bridals, cotton lead lines, fly masks, etc.), as well as the nicer bridals and fixings that one would use when riding at the barn or maybe even a show. As for the rider, it can be predetermined that they own a whole wardrobe of ‘barn clothes’ which consistes of those jeans and t-shirts and sweatshirts that you don’t mind getting filthy and smelly from being out with the horses all day. They would also have many pairs of the various riding boots that are expected for the different types of working and riding that they do. Right above these fabulous boots would, accordingly, be “jodfer” pant which are very tight tights that usually have the suede patches on the insides of the knees. If one were to be showing or wanted to dress up to ride, they would accompany the tights with patches with a collared oxford shirts, long with a nice navy or black blazer. And the last two items that I find every rider, no matter what style they prefer, will own a pair of chaps and of course a helmet! Riding isn’t fall proof, therefore there are certain saftey precautions that must be taken.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My thoughts on a good book I'm reading. . .

Outside of my reading for my own classes, one of my friends had recommended that I read this great book that she had had to read in one of her classes last semester. The name of that book is How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez. I just finished the first few sections of the book and I am going to post my reaction to what I’ve read thus far.

Throughout the first two sections of the book, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, the struggle between the girls and their Dominican culture as well as their American culture is very intricately described. In many of the sections there is a constant theme of a direct battle between “the four girls” and their father. Though it was their father, Carlos, who originally brought the girls to the United States due to the heinous dictatorship of Trujillo, he is portrayed just as harshly of an authoritarian than that of what he and his family escaped from in the island. The four girls; Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia, find themselves really struggling with the vast difference between their lives on the island of the Dominican Republic and their new life in New York. At the beginning of the novel, the family has come together again for the birthday of their father on the island, which is a tradition that they always do. Throughout history, Dominican males tend to be the protector of the households as well as the protector of his female children’s virginity. Due to this role that Carlos finds himself trying to uphold, in both New York and the island, he is indirectly stunting the girls from their independence that is needed for them to grow as people.
There is a particular example that stood out to me when reading that totally embodied what can happen when someone’s independence, both overall and sexual, is severely hindered. It is that of the relationship between Sofia and her father. It occurs when Sofia has her father’s birthday party at her own home, instead of what they usually do. She does this in order to reconcile with her father and show off her family’s newest addition, a new baby named after her father, Carlos.
Sofia and her father had not been on speaking terms due to her marriage to Otto, a German man that she met while “vacationing” in Columbia with another one of her previous boyfriends. Vacationing for Sofia was the only way to become intimate with her boyfriends. After Sofia returned from her vacation, her father found sexually explicit letters from Otto, and then accused Sofia of trying her best to ruin the family’s name and everything that he had worked so austerely to provide for them. This is the reason for throwing the birthday party at her home. Towards the end of the party, Carlos seemed sadder and sadder due to thoughts of being old and in order to cheer him up a game is made. The game consisted of all four of Carlos’ girls and his wife. They were to come up to him and kiss him while he is blindfolded and he is to guess which one it is. Due to him being able to guess all of the other ones but not Sofia’s, it really hurts her feelings. Sofia then wanted her kiss to be easily recognizable, therefore kissing her fathers ear with a big, wet kiss. This enrages Carlos and he ends the game immediately. In this part of the story it is clear that the way that Carlos thinks his daughter’s should act and the way they see fit for themselves are two completely opposite views. Sofia and her sisters see themselves as women first and see their culture as a close second, whereas their father holds their reputations, culture, and traditions high above them as individuals.
The way in which this book is formatted, with starting from the end and then going back into the history behind the characters and circumstances, makes the story even more relatable because when your looking and thinking back through the years about the things that have really affected you and made you the person you are today, that is something that everyone can do and relate to. I hope that the rest of the book is as engaging as the parts that I have already read!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


For one of my other classes, we watched the film Casablanca and then had to write a response that included how we felt the music played a big role in the movie. We also had to comment on the different types of scores that were used.

The 1942 film, Casablanca, is that of a classic romance that is surrounded by turmoil and blatant emotion. The major dilemma in Casablanca is to get out of there. War is on its way to this small place and its inhabitants are doing anything they can in order to escape; even if it means to gamble in order to get the money to leave or even to illegally buy transit passes with forged signatures, as long as it gets them out of Casablanca. The music within this film helps to undoubtedly clarify to the viewer the emotion that the characters are going through. Although some might take offense to this, I believe that the music, in this case, is not condescending towards the viewer at all. In fact, Steiner, the composer, made sure that the synchronization between the characters and their circumstances portrayed through the music is extremely supportive.
Within the opening scene of this film there are loud horns and drums. Towards the fading out of the music, where the characters will begin to speak, a tune that slightly resembles that of a middle-eastern tone presents itself. These, like many other musical sequences in the film, are constantly replayed whenever Steiner wants the viewers to remember a certain point in the movie that links to the present one at hand. Another example of repeated musical themes would be that of the jazz orchestra along with Sam and his piano inside of Rick’s Café. Being the protagonists in this film, Rick and Elsa have a certain themes of music that is usually played when he and/or she is on screen.
For instance, when Rick is shown, there is usually a jazzy, yet sad sounding tone that is portrayed by the piano, violins, soft horns, and light drums; occasionally the sound of Sam’s singing following. Elsa’s theme music, however, is that of a more depressing, confused tone. Her theme has a lot of sad, slow horns, followed by slow piano. These themes help to translate musically to the viewer how the characters are feeling as well as how they do not want to feel. Though the themes for Elsa, Rick, and other certain areas in the film which have a constant sound are non diagetic, it is that of diagetic music which basically guide the film.
A song that is a huge part of the emotion in Casablanca is “As time goes By”. This song is displayed in many different ways throughout the film. In one scene it will be Sam playing his piano while singing the song, usually when requested by Rick or Elsa. In the next scene only the soft melody of this song will be played by that of a jazz orchestra with no words at all. Through playing this song so much throughout the movie and in so many different ways, Steiner, not so subtly, lets the viewers know that this is probably a good hint as to how the characters had once felt as well as how they might feel in the end. Though Elsa states that “As time goes By” is her favorite song, it is played in parts of the movie where it is obvious that Elsa is upset. This is a good example of how the same music can be interpreted in many different ways.
Another example of diagetic music in the film would be that of the constant sound of a jazz orchestra blaring from Rick’s saloon. This portrays to the viewer a happier, lighter hearted feel for the city of Casablanca as well as what its people are going through. The jazz orchestra also represents the sound of a good time and happiness. It is not often that you will hear a person listening to poppy jazz music, or see them dancing to it when they are having a problem.
I believe that the fact that this film has much more diagetic music in it, rather than non diagetic really does help the viewer to feel as though they can perfectly imagine how the characters are taking in their situations at hand. It is obvious that Steiner felt this way as well, because he was one of the first composers to really use synchronization to his advantage in the films that he composed.

Monday, February 20, 2006

At the Library. . .

Today for class we met in the library’s computer lab contrary to our usual Haley rendezvous. After the ten minutes of the students, who have not been blogging regularly, were throwing out arguments trying to persuade Professor Malesh to not count off of their final grades before the date of her e-mail sent with the consequences, we had a guest speaker come in.
The guest speaker was a librarian here at Randolph- Macon College. During the time that she had with us, she talked about the many different choices that our library’s website allows us, as students, to access. After the class was over, there were many people in and out of the class that I talked to that said that they had also had the same type of lecture tons of times here and that they knew all about everything that was covered. However, I had not.
I mean, I was well aware that R-MC’s library page allowed you to access certain online journals and what not through the Expanded Academic link, but I had no idea about the page that she had pulled up with all of the “Finding articles and more” that displayed about fifty different “scholarly” and “popular” advanced search engines. Most of these links allow you to choose a specific searcher that will help you with particular topics that you are looking for; omitting half of the struggle and stress that finding reliable sources usually is. Even some little things were new news to me. For example, when we were discussing the difference between scholarly texts and popular texts, which come to find out are only really easy to spot out when looking at them first hand. When looking at a magazine like People, you can clearly tell that it is a popular text due to its simpler language as well as its general appeal with its context and displays (such as color and pictures), but when those articles from a magazine like that are just a bunch of black and white text on a piece of white paper, it is a lot harder to tell. The same also goes for the scholarly texts. When looking at them in their published “hard copy” version, it is rather easy to pick one out on a book shelf, but when taken out of its final, boring looking form, but it is in reading its much higher educated, well sculpted language that we can decipher what kind of manuscript it is. Our speaker today was useful to me in that I leaned some things that are now going to be a necessity to me when researching.
I am almost embarrassed to admit to my not knowing about all of these different resources that have been within my grasp for the past two years, but I look at it as finding out later is better than never finding out something at all. Now that I am well acquainted with our library’s many different uses, I will be sure to use it whenever the chance presents itself.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Style Summary (Lesson 2)

This lesson, titled “Correctness,” discusses the many different outlooks on what it is to be a writer who strictly follows the many tedious rules of Standard English versus what it is to be a writer who uses the knowledge of the rules to embellish their work and do so ‘correctly.’
In talking about the many rules that are a big part of correct writing, I again found relief and comfort in reading about the many, many generations of writers who have not understood the best ways or best rules to use in order to achieve a correct and crystal clear way of portraying their argument to an audience, or reader.
On page 15 Williams states, “For the past 250 years, grammarians have accused the best writers of violating these invented rules, and for 250 years those writers have ignored them. . . The fact is, none of these invented rules reflects the consensus of unselfconscious usage of our best writers.” This is the passage that first made me sigh in relief to know that even the best of writers have had similar struggles to those that I have had myself.
The ‘invented rules’ that are mentioned in the above quotation, are also known as “folklore.” Folklore’s are the few rules that have been made up by grammarians that often times “well educated” writers apparently to fixate on. Just a few of the rules are as follows: as to not ever split infinitives, to never ending a sentence with a preposition, and to not replace the word which for the word that.
Although this lesson informs us about the many rules and regulations that many of us have already tried to drill into our memories, it also gives a positive perspective on the times where it is best for the writer to use their language as they see fit, whether or not it be “legal” by the strict guidelines of Standard English. Williams even go on to say that if all you do when writing, is mindlessly follow the rules, that consequently you will be giving up a certain privilege called choice. If a writer only writes on the basis of the rules and restrictions that they are given, then they are asking to have a much harder time completing their piece; something that is much easier when you apply the rules that you know to your thought process when writing, but still allowing yourself to play with whatever information you are working with and write in the manner you see fit to your text.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Controversy from one of my communities

J/ Choose the "controversy" you will be working with all semester. Write a one page, in-depth, detailed description of your controversy AND describe the characteristics of the community that you are examining your controversy as part of. This should be a community to which you belong.

The controversy in which I will be focusing on is the high financial demands that being an active part of the “horse rider” community entails. Ever since I was little, I remember being around horses. And once I was actually old enough to participate and ride a horse, I was immediately enthralled.
One of the main reasons why I am choosing the controversy of the high costs that are apart of this sport is because it was not until the other day when it was mentioned in class that I had ever really thought about how much money my family alone has spent just for this hobby of me and my sister. Though both of my parents totally supported the idea of us being interested in such an elegant, well- renowned activity, they were always worried about our safety. Due to these concerns of theirs, they made it a point to always buy the safest, newest, and best products that were available; which is also the case for many other riders’ and their parents.
Within the active horse rider community, there are quite a number of things that are of great importance and necessity that are also quite a hard hit on the wallet. To name only a few, there is the horse itself, the cost of the running of a barn or the cost to board your horse somewhere else is you do not have the means (or land) to have it where you live, the prices of large veterinarian and Ferrier bills, saddles, bridals, feed, blankets, and many more. And most of these expenditures are ones that need to be made on a regular basis.
In picking out this controversy, it made me think of the many different controversies that exist within this particular community. For one, there is the choice that every rider must make, and that is whether to ride in an English styled saddle or to ride in a Western styled saddle. Within this particular choice, in my experiences, I chose to ride English due to its prestigious reputation and the beautiful form it promotes. I did not choose Western due to its reputation with links to animal abuse that often occurs in the popular Western shows such as rodeos and barrel races; those were not the type of riders that I felt I wanted to ever be and the English riders were. The next controversy that came to my mind was that of the controversy that can be found in issues held between those who support “showing” and basing their whole riding experience on that of being ranked, and those who honestly just love the thrill of riding and do it for the love of the sport and animal.
Although there are obviously a lot of different controversial issues surrounding this community, I still chose to focus on the controversy of the high financial demands made by being an active member of the community itself. This is something that affects everyone in the entire community, and is a huge loss for those who are passionate about horses as well as the sport but are not able to participate and become a member due to their lack of funds. This expensive community is one that I do not take for granted and are happy to be apart of for so many years now. And although I have been playing a much less dynamic in this community since my senior year in high school, the moment I pull back into the driveway at my house and see my two beautiful Arabians, my love and my drive of being a rider comes rushing back.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A response I have to reading chapter 21 in Everything's An Argument

Print, Read, and Annotate Hacker's section on "Assessing Sources" (on Eres) and Behrens and Rosen's excerpt on "Creating Effective Summaries" (on Eres). And read and annotate ch. 21 in EAA.

In reading the above assignments, all three texts cover the many detailed aspects of the evaluation and usage of sources. They analyze how to use every different type of source, how to properly use and write quotations in your own text, as well as how to summarize, paraphrase and use visuals in the manner that they are supposed to be used.
Being that I have always taken challenging and stimulating English courses, I was well aware of many of the guidelines that were in the readings “Assessing Sources,” “Creating Effective Summaries,” and Chapter 21 in Everything's An Argument. I have come to know the MLA format pretty well over the years. However, one thing really stuck out to me during my reading in chapter twenty-one in EAA. On page 421, in the section about using visuals, it made me realize the real impact that a visual can make. This section starts off with stating, “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then using pictures calls for cuation: one picture might overwhelm or undermine the message you are trying to send in your argument . . . In choosing visuals to include in your argument, make sure that each one makes a strong contribution to your message and that each is appropriate and fair to your subject or topic and your audience,” (EAA 421).
After reading that introduction to the topic of the importance placed on the usage of visual aids. Not only must you make sure to choose the appropriate photograph to display and to attract an audience. In addition to the pressure of doing that I had no idea that when using a photograph within a piece of your own, you must ‘provide a caption that includes source information and describes the visual,’ as well as ‘cite the source in your bibliography or list of works cited,’ (421). This stood out to me because it was something in the reading that I did not really know a whole lot about. Most of the other information that was covered, I have probably heard a million times; all of the strict rules to citing your sources and what sources to use and how to use, analyze, summarize, or paraphrase them correctly.
In hearing all of the visuals’ limitations and methods that take place when choosing to use such aids, it was good to know that I am learning those rules now, though I wish that I would have known more about such vital information much earlier than my sophomore year in college! However, I am glad that I was able to effectively read this chapter and being able to find something new and unknown to me and then learn it, and then be able to apply it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

An example of Community that I found in another class's reading

I have started reading this book in my history class, The Sixties, called The Politics of Ecstasy by Timothy Leary, Ph. D. In reading this book I think that there are some really good examples of communities much like the ones that we have been studying in Advanced Expository Writing. This text spans from the time in which Leary was a lecturer on clinical psychology at Harvard University to the “Summer of Love.” I will explain the community that I found after I read the following passage:

“. . . At the time, predictably enough, few of these novel notions went over very well with Leary’s hidebound colleagues. But their rumblings of skepticism rose to a chorus of outrage when Leary returned to Harvard in 1960 from his pioneering voyage to inner space [his experience from the first time he tripped off of mushrooms] to begin experimenting on himself, his associates, and hundreds of volunteer subjects with measured doses of psilocybin, the chemical derivative of the sacred mushrooms. Vowing ‘to dedicate the rest of my life as a psychologist to the systematic exploration of this new instrument,’ he and his rapidly multiplying followers began to turn on with the other psychedelics. . . LSD sent its hallucinated users on multihued, multileveled roller-coaster rides so spectacular that it soon became Leary’s primary tool for research. And as word began to circulate about the fantastic, phantasmagorical “trips” taken by his students, it soon became a clandestine campus kick and by 1962 had become an underground cult among the young avant-garde from London to Los Angeles.
By 1963 it has also become something of an embarrassment to Harvard, however, which ‘regretfully’ dismissed Leary, and his colleagues Dr. Richard Alpert in order to stem the rising tide of avid undergraduate interest in the drugs. . .” (Leary 121).

Within this reading I found that between Dr. Timothy Leary, his numerous colleagues, and his eager, experimental students, they seem to have formed a community of their own. They formed their own community in the way that they have come together for common reasons, participate in common acts, and are defined as a particular type of person or unit. As a unit, they are also a community in the fact that they were all regarded to as, scolded by, and even dismissed as a whole. The common reason that brings them together is the need and/or the fascination with the experimentation of different realms of their minds and what it is that comes to them during their illuminating hallucination “trips.” The act of actually taking the tabs of the LSD, or acid, and the repercussions from taking it, are the acts that ties all of them together. They share the disorientation as well as the interrogation and harsh judgment from others that do not share their views on taking drugs, no matter the reasons, even if they are due to scientific and psychological trialing.
Even though I was not expecting to find a community within this random book that I am required to read for history, but I was proven wrong. And in reading and learning about communities from the texts we had to read in English 300, when I was reading this book, how these people are grouped together as well as share a certain lifestyle, thoughts, and beliefs, it was easy to identify them as a community during the times that they were all there participating in the controversial experimentation.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Me" Street. . .

J2/ Growing up, you belonged to several communities, but the most obvious one was probably the community that you lived in...your neighborhood. As a young adult, you are moving away from that community and entering others. Help your classmates and me visualize the communities that you belong to as the neighborhood where “You” currently reside. In other words, if “You” were neighborhood, comprised of different houses with residents inside of them which represent the different communities that you consider yourself part of, what would it look like? From the list of communities that you wrote down for Journal 1, choose 4-6 communities and describe them as houses on “You” street. In order to help us truly understand the nature of these communities—their members, their shared beliefs, and the tensions/controversies within them—you may want to begin by freewriting about the following questions (adapted from Thomas Deans):

“A Church”
Although I am not the avid church- goer, I still find that in having to see my church and seeing the people who are an avid part of it, it is a constant remeinder of one of the places where I came from. When I was little, my parents made sure that plenty of me and my sister’s time was spent at our church. The church looks like a quiant little brick church with beautiful stianed glass windows, and a cement wall surrouds it but in the form of lucious greem moss that seemed like the tallest thing ever, even though it is not. I believe that in having a church in a community, even if everyone doent not use it, that it still provides a means in which some people come together and communicate and even worship, and in those ways, I find that it is necessary to include one on my street.

“A Farmhouse”
I have lived in a farmhouse that dates back to 1813, my whole entire life. By doing so, and being pulled into my mother’s fascination and obsession with antiques and old estates, I have come to love my house more than I ever though I would. It is a two story while wooden home with two well defined chimneys a newly painted green shutters. It is surrounded by many acres of land and includes horses running freely in the paddocks. I find that when I personally am taken out of the city and put back in the much more quiet zone of home, there is a constant feeling of solitude and ease, and for those reasons I miss it very much and would have to include it as a part of my street due to its vast influence and importance to me.

“RMC house”
I might regret saying this later, but on my street there would have to be a house that is associated with the Randolph- Macon community. Even though the past two years that I have spent here have definitly not been my favorites, I would have to say that RMC now plays a major role in my life and the possible ways that it could turn out. I initially came here I was really clueless as to what I was in store for and knew that my grandfather’s memories of how it was when he went here were not going to still be valid with today’s college crowd. Although in many ways RMC has not been what I feel to be the greatest place for myself, but in staying here I have made many defining characteristic sof myself as well as finding out the many traits that I never wish to desire. As a whole I am glad that I came to RMC, I have learned a lot and there is definitly no way that I could ever meet people that could replace some of the crazy characters that I’ve met here.

“Log cabin”
This house would represent the way that I feeel when I am around my friends. To me a log cabin is simple; it is built with nature and if taken care of will last a long time. It is a place where you feel that you can express yourself as well as just relax and do nothing.It is a place where even if you like the outside of the cabin, you must look to the inside to see what is really, substantially good about the house, much like life is with your frinds. When I think of my friends, I think of peaceful, fun-loveing people who just want to be able to relax and reboot whenever given the chance. Here, on “me street”, the cabin would provide us a place to do so.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

J1/ In “Community, Commitment, and Individuality,” Bellah et al argue that community involvement leads to and fosters civic individualism/civic engagement. Think about the example of Angelo Donatello, who found that embracing his individual heritage as an Italian-American compelled him to join not only a local chapter of the Sons of Italy but also inspired him to become a civic leader in Boston. Think also about Cecilia Dougherty, whose sense of civic engagement—her desire to help the “have nots have power that reflects their numbers” (pg. 84)—extends from her awareness of her private life, i.e. the values instilled in her by her parents as well as her struggles as a widowed housewife with four children. Make a comprehensive list of the many communities—large/small, formal/informal, serious/silly—that you consider yourself a part of. For each community, reflect on what has led you to participate in these communities. Did you join a particular community because it reflected the values you were raised with (such as a religious youth group or)? The values/interests you are beginning to embrace on your own (such as a “simple living” club or a “literary society”)? The values/interests of your peers (such as a ‘greek’ organization or a “Maroon 5” fan club)? To what degree is your membership in these communities an extension of private and/or social aspects of your personality? Please explain.

Some of my communities:

U.S. Community (more specifically, the Virginia community): I have been born and raised in the state of Virginia. Although I did not really have any say so in moving there, by living there it has instilled many typically southern and American characteristics within me. I am proud of where I am from and would be willing to share anything that anyone would ever like to ask me about it. In addition, it has instilled many traditions and values that my family and I hold very important. It intertwines the social and private aspects of my personality in that I portray cultural characteristics in my everyday life as well as hold them as important beliefs that have been instilled in me and that I will probably pass on.

Trinity Episcopal School Alumni Community: I went to Trinity originally based upon my sister’s success there as well as the wonderful reputation it has of being a prestigious private high school. I found it to be pretty hard at first, but after I got into the swing of things I found myself thriving, even artistically, which is shocking is you’ve ever been in an art class with me! It was the first time where I was really proud of where I went to school and that provided me with confidence as both a student and as and individual. Although quite exhausting, it played a big role in the social side of my personality, some of the people that I have met there are people that I will always remember, and for that reason, it has also affected very greatly privately, in molding many of my outlooks and opinions on things.

Randolph- Macon College Community: I chose to come to RMC during the latter half of my senior year in high school. I really was not sure where I wanted to go but with the prestige of the school, and the fact that my grandfather is an extremely supporting alumnus, I chose to try it out. Although sometimes I find myself really regretting my decision, I am glad that I have the opportunity to even be in college and obtain a degree that is truly a passport to a better life for the future. In that my grandpa and my parents played roles in helping me come to my decision as well as my own reasons for choosing the way that I did, obviously fall under the category of private aspects of my personality. However, the whole college experience with all of the new beginnings, people, places and adventures, it is also clearly a big social aspect of my life for the next years. And it will also consequently shape many beliefs that I will hold on to forever.

Facebook and AIM Community: For me, this is something that is very easy to get addicted to. It is an entirely social aspect for me. It is a way to keep in touch with friends that now live far away as well as a means to talk with the friends that you see everyday.

Episcopal Religion Community: As a child, I was taken to Sunday school every single Sunday, and participated in many of the church’s activities. I was baptized, but felt that as I got older I found that I did not like the idea of congregating every single Sunday. And although I now only go to church for the major services, I am still a believer in many of the things that I was taught within this community and probably always will. It predominately plays more of a private role in my personality. This is mostly due to the fact that although I might believe one thing, I totally respect everyone’s different opinions when it comes to what they believe in. I find that in being given freedom to choose what it was/ is that I feel and think by my parents, that everyone should have the same respect that I was given.

Horse Rider Community: Ever since I was little, I remember being around horses. And once I was actually old enough to participate and ride a horse, I was immediately in love! Within the active horse rider community, there are quite a number of things that are of great importance and necessity that are also quite a hard hit on the wallet. To name only a few, there is the horse itself, the cost of the running of a barn or the cost to board your horse somewhere else is you do not have the means to have it where you live, the prices of large veterinarian and Ferrier bills, saddles, bridals, feed, blankets, and many more. And most of these expenditures are ones that need to be made on a regular basis. This expensive community is one that I do not take for granted and are happy to be apart of for so many years now. Although I have been playing a much less dynamic in this community since my senior year in high school, the moment I pull back into the driveway at my house and see my two beautiful Arabians, my love and my drive of being a rider comes rushing back.

Democrat Community: For as long as I can remember, my parents have never really claimed their definite status as either a “republican” or a “democrat.” And though I don’t really like to categorize myself often, I find that within all of the different events that I have witnessed and all of the information that I have read, heard, and studied, I find my views that of which are most closely linked with those of the Democratic party. Again, my parents allowed me to come to my own conclusions and for that I am very grateful. With this subject I find myself portraying in both social and private aspects concerning this subject.

Shopper Community: I know this probably sounds stupid, but, instilled in me by my mother, is the everlasting characteristic of being one of those people who loves to shop, and is so overwhelmed by the initial shock of all of the beautiful items, that I always forgets to look at price tags before buying, and inevitably find my myself spending way too much money! Through this little problem of just seeing, loving, trying, then buying, it is refreshing to meet other people who share this common flaw, therefore giving you social means of discussing how you always end up splurging. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember and honestly don’t see my self getting any better about it for a while, or at least for the next few years!

Monday, February 13, 2006

An excerpt from the final revision of my critical descriptive essay

For one of my other classes that I am taking this semester, we were required to write a despriptive and critical essay in response to the film The Glass Menagerie and the topic was up to us. I just finished making the final revisions to it after many days of working on it, despite the substantial amount of work in my other classes. I chose to focus on the interactions between the main characters and how it affected each one of them. In writing this, I must have worked on the following passage for well over an hour and a half just trying to find the correct words to describe the characters themselves. I am pretty pleased with the way that it finally came out. For that reason, I wanted to post an excerpt of the passage that I am proud of!

"The Glass Menagerie is a memory play where a man named Tom, played by John Malkovich, tells a story about his challenging relationship with his mother, his sister’s struggle with a handicap, and his mother’s difficulty with letting go of her own past and letting her family live their own lives. It is quite evident in the play that Laura’s brother as well as her mother have a tendency to baby her and constantly worry about her interactions with others. Laura in being so shy, comes across as being very fragile and delicate; exactly like the little glass menageries that she holds so dear to her. . . . Laura, played by Kelly Allen, was also portrayed just as she could be imagined. Her frailty, shyness, and inferior acting responses are captured through her tendency to not make eye- contact, her constant silence, and the way she feels as though she needs to hide things from her mother when she is of age to do what she feels.
Tom, the narrator of the play, has almost a glow of lights around him as he speaks to the audience about his memories that are displayed. His rebellion from his mother and love for his sister shows at the same time his average twenty something male shows through as well. A working man trying to provide for his abandoned mother and handicap sister, he struggles with the feeling of being trapped. However, James Naughton’s performance of Jim O’Conner is not what is expected from the reading. . . In the play I felt as though Jim came over as a sort- of arrogant man with hidden agendas. But at other points in the film, he seems very sure of where is has come from and sure that he pays his respects where they are due. . ."

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Argument based from the Heart

I live on an extremely small country road that consists of only seven homes on the always quaint Robert E. Lee Road. I have lived there ever since I was born, and for the past twenty years it has been an ideal living area with very little commotion or danger.
At the bottom of the hill that our road lies on, there is an old mill that rests right beside Fine Creek that is right next to the house that my two neighbors are putting up for sale. Recently it was brought to all of the roads inhabitant’s attention that the Powhatan Bi-way Committee was having a meeting to discuss the plans for the purchase of my neighbor’s home by one of the members of the committee. That member, whose name I will not mention, has plans to refurbish the mill and add onto it, providing a large area that would serve as a community space where all different types of social and commercial events will take place.
There are many reasons behind my feelings supporting the option for those actions not to take place. This old mill, which until now was not on anyone’s interest list, is in unusable condition. Not only would the construction promote the destruction of the beautiful land that runs right along side of the creek and provides a gorgeous scene of nature at its best, but it would also provide the people whom live on this road a majority of problems that they would never have to deal with otherwise.
In using a residential area for purposes such as weddings, baht mitzvahs, political campaigns, and many other types of social events, there is a certain feeling of worry and apprehension on all of our shoulders. There is no mistaking that at most social events, especially weddings, there is a large amount of alcohol consumption. And it can be assumed that these people who become inebriated during these activities will not all have any other means of getting out of the country other than driving. This here is something that we as people who live on R. E. Lee Road and have to drive it everyday, will be faced with as well as being put in danger by. It is not anyone’s wish to be out on a road with a drunk driver, and I feel as though in building this old mill and home into a large area for various festivities it will be an open invitation to exactly that.
In reading this, I hope that you come to understand the major concerns with this project brought to us by the Bi- way Committee, and hope that you agree that stopping a bad thing before it has a chance to harm anyone is the best way to approach such an issue.

Argument based on Facts and Reasons

Here, I will argue that based on the mirepresentations and discrepencies given to the American people it has directly affected our current status with Iraq and it's people. . .

For decades now the United States and Iraq have had a very strenuous relationship. Between the leadership of Saddam Hussein, the weapons of mass destruction, the terrorism, and the George W. Bush administration, there are many different scenarios that depict today’s current status with the United States and Iraq. However, I would like to talk about the misrepresentation to us, the people of the United States and how it is in some of our own lacks of common sense along with that, that we are in our current situation.
On September 11, 2001, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, not far away from the United Nations Headquarters, were struck by two passenger planes that were taken by Islamic hijackers. Approximately three thousand people were killed and the devastation was immeasurable. Once this happened, many resolutions and laws were made. Though all of these documents came about because of the seemingly terrorist acts happening, these regulations and rules set by our government were barely mentioned after they were passed.
After the U.S. had asked for support from the United Nations General Assembly to sign more articles, those countries to whom the U.S. has had prior conflict with refused to sign such articles. It had been said by President Bush himself that the reason behind going into Iraq was because Saddam Hussein was holding weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and Bush did not want the U.S. to get attacked with them. However, when they got there, instead of the U.S. going in peacefully and having a happy response from the Iraqi people, the soldiers over there were waking up the people of Iraq with air raid sirens. All of these things should not have been happening according to the way that it was represented to the people of the UnitedStates.
Another deception was when the American audiences thought that they were getting the real shots from over in Iraq on the news, when in fact the same tapes were shown on Arab television channels and were not edited; therefore showing all of the horrendous activity that was going on in Iraq and the American citizens had no clue. Not everything that was really going on was being said, and some things were even purposefully covered up in hopes of it not being brought to the attention of the public. For these types of reasons it is easy to state that due to the voting made by the people in the U.S. for President Bush and his administration and not questioning the gigantic retaliation tactics that our government was planning on taking.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Style Summary (Lesson 1)

In reading the first lesson entitled “Understanding Style” it covers the principles and the aims of writing, then a brief history of how the style of writing came about, and also explains how to go from having problems with the flow, clarity, and eloquence of a paper, to writing down exactly what you are intending to write and doing it properly.
Although all of these different bases of writing are covered, there is one part in particular that I feel most students can probably relate to at some point or another. In the middle of lesson one, author Joseph M. Williams discusses how all throughout history the way in which we write is a direct display of ourselves and the way we choose to represent our own thoughts and/ or beliefs. And this way in which every writer has been influenced in one way, at one time or another, it is that of “unclear writing” that prohibits some people from understanding what is it that they are reading. In reading the following passages, I found myself really relating to the subject matter at hand:
“Generations of students have struggled with dense writing, many thinking they were not smart enough to grasp a writer’s deep ideas. . . But more have blamed the writer’s inability (or refusal) to write clearly. . . Others learn not only to read that style [of writing] but to write it, inflicting it on the next generation of readers. . .” (Williams 9).
Here, I felt as though I were reading something that I wish I would have heard many years ago when I first began getting confused by some of the texts I would read, that were, therefore, effecting any writing that I might have to produce on that reading very poorly. I think of my self as a person who enjoys writing, even if I know that it is not my best work. In knowing that my end product sometimes needs even more tweaking, even after my “last draft,” I find myself very frustrated and honestly ready to give up thinking that I am not equipped with the correct writing tools that are needed to make my hopeful final draft what it needs to be. In reading this lesson, it gives hope to the different types of writers who are in hopes of figuring out their flaws and gaining the tools needed to tackle them.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Revisions of an essay in progress

This is a passage from an essay that I have to write having to do with “yellow journalism” and include some examples. With these examples, I have to explain what components they obtain that would characterize them as that of yellow journalism. I feel as though this part of my paper could use some work. Not only are there some grammar mistakes and other stupid errors that I always seem to make, but there are also parts that need to be explained further.

My original passage:

. . . Another article that is a perfect example of yellow journalism and tabloid- like gossip is one from the New York Times titled, “Cult of Stewart Bounces Back in the Magazine”. This article, by Constance L Hays, talks about the rise and fall of Martha Stewart and the possibility of her becoming as popular as she once was once her magazine comes out again, the magazine will either increase her popularity again, or be a waster of paper bought only by those who still love Martha. In addition to this article another one that seems to fit the tabloid title is that of an article from the Los Angeles Times titled, “No More Malibu Weather” by Ruth Ryon. In this article, she talks about Nicholas Cage and the selling of his home in Malibu for approximately ten million dollars. This information is just out there for people to hear in order for them to think that they are somehow in touch with their favorite stars’ lives. This article, in no way serves any other purpose other than an outlet for the latest Hollywood gossip.
In running such stories, it is in my opinion that it is not a good trend for the newspapers. Not only does it lessen the newspaper’s credibility, but it also makes them look like they’re selling out. Although it is bad for the papers in some ways it can be good for them in other ways. . .

My Revision:

. . . Another article that is an ideal example of yellow journalism and tabloid- like gossip is one from the New York Times titled, “Cult of Stewart Bounces Back in the Magazine”. This article, by Constance L Hays, discusses the rise and fall of the one and only Martha Stewart. The main topic that was focused on was the possibility of her becoming as popular as she once was when her magazine starts publishing again. The magazine will either increase her popularity again, or be a waster of paper bought only by those who still love Martha despite her fraudulence incidents.
In addition to this article, another one that seems to fit the tabloid title is that of an article from the Los Angeles Times titled, “No More Malibu Weather” by Ruth Ryon. In this article, Ryon talks about Nicholas Cage and the selling of his home in Malibu for approximately ten million dollars. If the facts are to be looked at here, this article is obviously not a need-to-know fact, unless, that is, if you are in the market for an extremely pricey house in the hills of always fashionable L.A. This information is just out there for people to hear in order for them to think that they are somehow in touch with their favorite stars’ lives or a way to feel as though you know what is going on in the giant world around you. This article in no way serves any other purpose other than an outlet for the latest Hollywood gossip.
In running such stories, it is in my opinion that it is not a good trend for the newspapers. Not only does it take away from the newspaper’s credibility, but it also makes them look as though they are selling out and giving in to the stereotypical popular trends that usually end up not lasting. Selling out in the fact that they now feel compelled to write yellow journalism and tabloids where as they used to get along fine with the regular trades of writing. Although it is bad for the papers in some ways, like losing their credibility to a certain group of readers, it can be good for them in other ways. For instance, not only will it increase the readership of the paper, but it will also increase the profits for the papers; therefore, being a good trend for the papers. . .

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Reaction to an article found in Cosmopolitan magazine

I was reading through the articles in last month’s Cosmopolitan magazine, when I came across what seemed like an amusing article titled, “Why do guys never Cry?” Keep in mind that this article can be found under a section called Dude Brain Scan, obviously not the most intellectually stimulating section of the text.
This essay is all about how “experts” believe that the reason behind the male species not being those of often showed emotions, it directly related to the different way in which the men are raised. Next to this article is a side-view picture of a water faucet with one drop of water spilling out with a caption that reads, “His faucet is sealed shut.” A doctor from Massachusetts, William Pollack, is quoted in this text in stating the following:
“‘Boys are taught to react differently from girls right from the start. . . When a little boy begins to cry, he’s often told by his parents that he needs to grow up. So right away, he learns that behavior [to be] unacceptable. Being unemotional is praised in our society and seen as a sing of strength in a male, and crying is [seen as] a sign of femininity,’” (48).
Okay. Starting off with just the title and the picture with it’s caption is automatically appealing to any reader, more than likely female, that has ever wondered if there were any logical, medical or reasonable answer to the question that the article itself is cleverly titled. In one way, it is totally stereotypical that this type of article would be in Cosmopolitan; due to the vast number of female readers that would be enlightened to hear that the reason behind why some guys that they have personally dealt with have had trouble in the emotions department. Not only is it a question that probably ever girl has at one point or another asked herself, but also an interesting topic that would blatantly catch the attention of any reader because it is a question that deals with a lot more than just what is says. On the other hand, from reading the article, it is thought-provoking to read about the possible reasons behind a certain behavior that is found in men more frequently than not. It’s interesting to know that due to the way that a boy is raised by his parents, and the remarks that they make to him when a certain display of emotions is exhibited, it can affect the display of that individuals emotions for the remainder of that persons personal relationships forever.
Also in reading this, it is almost like the equivalency of taking a sigh of relief. It is refreshing to hear that men can be as affected emotionally by those around them just as girls do, even if it takes place in their childhood and has crippled their ability to ever let out those feelings again.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Commentary on the film RWHC

Just a few days ago, I saw the HBO original movie Real Women Have Curves. I had heard of it a while ago but never got around to seeing it. This film is an empowering story about a girl that finds herself doing things for everyone else but herself. The girl’s name is Ana. Ana is recent high schools graduate who, although has the grades and wants to attend college, is forced to stay home to work with her mother and her sister in their dress factory. Ana’s family, especially her mother, will not have it any other way. Her mother, Carmen, feels as though she could teach Ana everything that she would need to know; however, cooking, cleaning, sewing, and caring for a husband is not what Ana wants or intends to learn about and finds it in no way an equal substitute for college. Throughout the film, Ana is secretly working on her personal statement to put with her college application to Columbia University. She does this with the help of a persistent teacher of hers. He believes that, not only is it unfair for Ana not to go to a university, but that when placed in that environment, he believes she will truly excel.
Though Ana is well aware of her “brains,” it is her “beauty” that she cannot seem to find. Everyday Carmen comes at her daughter with constant remarks regarding her weight and tells her that she would be absolutely beautiful if she were to lose some weight. Ana is not the only target of Carmen; everyone around her who is heavy knows that she is openly criticized. However, Carmen only seems to open fire constantly on Ana and sometimes only refers to her as “the fat one” or “gordita,” which can be translated into “little fatty.”
Due to the constant cut downs and rude remarks made by her mother, Ana dismisses and even takes the meaning out of complements that are made to her. A perfect example of this would be when the boy from Ana’s school shows interest in her and writes his number down on her hand, she is shocked. And then when she finally decides to go out with him, and she notices him noticing her, and he tells her that she is beautiful, she rolls her eyes and almost completely dismisses what she considers to be wrong, due to the treatment of her by her grandmother. The relationship that builds between Ana and this boy becomes one of the two things that I found to give surety to Ana that she is beautiful both inside and out and that there is some one to accept, love and cherish you no matter how fat, skinny, stupid, or smart you are. This inadvertently aids Ana in finding self esteem as well as confidence in her appearance that she was lacking from the beginning. The other incident that I feel brought about this sudden awareness, pride, and full faith in oneself by Ana, is that of her acceptance to Columbia University and her strength to actually leave home and pursue her dreams even without the blessing of her mother.
It takes a strong person to act on what they feel they should be doing in life, but it is even stronger when you do it knowing that the person who you want the most recognition and approval of does not have the strength themselves to back down from their own theories and beliefs and allow themselves to be happy for you and support you. By the end of this film, Ana was that strong, independent person that she never knew she could be. I really enjoyed the film and found great humor as well as touching moments between friends and family. I felt that as a viewer, you really get the sense of each of the characters and where they are coming from. I would definitely recommend it to anyone that is not offended by a typical “chick-flick.”

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Journal no. 2

J/ Describe your expectations for this class. What do you expect this class to be? What is influencing your perceptions of this class? What do you want to leave this class knowing? What are your goals for the class? What are you looking forward to in the class? What are you nervous about? What is the most important change you want to see in yourself of your writing that you think this course could foster?
When I first read the course description for this class I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Obviously the initial thought of taking a course that has the words ‘advanced’ and ‘writing’ in it sounds like an intimidating amount of work involved. After going to the first day of class, I was somewhat relieved in hearing the way that Professor Malesh talked about the skill of writing itself and her asking a bunch of different students why they liked writing and also what drove them crazy about it. I found that almost comforting because I look at writing as something fun and entertaining but at the same time if you are having a moment of “writer’s block” or you cannot think of the correct way to word what you are trying to say, it really is irritating and can drive you crazy if you think about it for too long! I would like to leave the class knowing that I can handle writing argumentative and persuasive essays as well as being able to handle the requirements of an advanced writing course. Something else that I hope to gain from this course is also something that makes me pretty nervous. The fact that I am a little technically challenged and always seem to have some type of glitch with my computer or internet, it makes me nervous that I will have trouble with the posting and setting up of our “blogspots.” Not to mention that in this course I am hoping to become better about being so shy with my work and come to terms with the fact that this class requires you to post up your writing where anyone can read it and critique it as they please. Although some parts of this might be a challenge, I believe that I am up for it and willing to go outside of my comfort zone to hopefully gain more skill as a writer as well as gain more confidence in my writing.

Journal no. 1

J/ Discuss your experience with writing. How do you understand yourself as a writer? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your writing techniques/process (i.e. Do you do any prewriting? Are you are compulsive drafter? Do you wait until the last minute? Do you use paper or a computer to compose? Do you follow any formulas for writing?)
I have not had tons of experience in writing, although all throughout school I have seemed to do the best in my English courses and always preferred writing papers over taking any type of test or exam. When it comes to seeing myself as a writer, I seem to be drawn towards depicting realistic situations that I feel have affected me in some way or another. And this is directly related to my strengths and weaknesses in writing. Because I usually get excited about what I am writing, especially when it is something that I am truly interested in or have gotten to choose myself, it takes me forever to get the introduction going. I’ll literally sit there for good over an hour just trying to figure out the correct way to word the hundreds of things going through my head and then convey them into words. I’m also that person that usually writes out every paper by hand, on paper and then type it up and make the changes to the mistakes that I find as I go. Another flaw that I find in myself when it comes to the actual process of writing is that when I have been working on a project for a long time, by the end of it I don’t even look at it again before I print it out. The only time I really procrastinate on writing is when it’s something like a history essay or a lab write up where I have no control over the content of what I’m writing, and instead am writing up facts and data that have no flexibility at all. In writing papers, I prefer writing with the typical style that starts with the introduction, then goes to the first body paragraph followed by two or three more depending on the length and subject matter, and finally the conclusion where you restate your thesis and how you have proven your point or tie up the end of an emotionally stimulating story. I find that writing in that format it easily allows you to outline everything that you need before you even start writing. And in my opinion, when it comes to the organization and context of a paper, any help you can get should be utilized.

Monday, February 06, 2006