Requirement for English 1101

Monday, December 15, 2003

In English 1101 the class was required to keep a weblog; popularly called blogs. These entries were relatively short reflections of what we observed from personal reading or personal experiences. The overall class goal of course was for the project to serve as a way to increase our skills at writing. More personally I thought of these blogs as a way to try and re-familiarize myself with the style of writing I had left since I quit writing for the local newspaper. My personal belief is that this new style and type of publishing has increased my abilities as a writer and broadened my horizons for future posting of my work. The ability not only to practice writing but to learn a relevant medium is what makes me say that I have learned something important in this class.

One entry I made which I though showed an increase in my skills was the blog entry where we had to discuss an evaluation argument. In this blog I discussed an article about increased attendance of African Americans at UGA. What I really liked about this entry was the way I quickly divided the topics and discussed each without bias. The first paragraph discussed the problem, the second the solutions, and the third contained some of the consequences. I have often been told that when I write I have a problem carrying on and I was proud of my ability to not place my own opinions in my post.

Another entry which I enjoyed writing was the blog about the lesson of Walter Benjamin. I enjoyed not only writing about Benjamin but also reading him especially. His works contain a deeper essence like what you would expect to see in Thoreau. Benjamin’s writing about storytelling made me think a lot of my own family. I was able to add a personal note about personal experiences with my family. I felt that adding this detail enriched the purpose of the writing despite my personal dislike for a person writing about their experiences off handedly. The reason it enriched the story is that I feel that I was able to relate it to the writing in the form of an argument without trying to use it directly as a replacement for actual meaning.

A blog that I felt like I was able to accurately depict my actual feelings about something was the blog about our topic for the second paper in class. My paper was about the movie Cool Hand Luke, a 1967 Stuart Rosenberg film staring Paul Newman. In this blog I was able to write with the liberty of opinion and fact. This is something that is almost unattainable in the world of news. In news you have to be the best of the best to write editorials about your opinion, whereas blogs offer the opportunity to instantly publish your personal view be it good or bad. In this blog I directly stated facts about the movie, things about the movie that appealed to me, and a few other off-handed facts.

The final blog which I enjoyed writing was the blog about Camera Lucida . This text was an eye-opener not only for the medium of technology, photography, and their relationship to time, but it also presented a chance to write about a text I didn’t entirely enjoy. Despite my problems with Barthes’s world views I found the book to be on the most part enjoyable. The further class discussions we about the significance of his mothers picture and the ever reminding factor of our own human frailty and mortality drove the final point of humans need to be remember in my mind. My final conclusion about photography from all my blogs is that humans take photographs as a way to preserve self in an everflowing stream of time.

One blog I did not have such an easy time writing was my first blog. As I wrote this blog I still had the new student gitters and was not entirely inclined to write as much about myself or to seem as outspoken as I really am. It seem strange that the blog I feel was my worst was my first, but at the time I really did not feel like writing in front of the calss, much less writing about myself. Since that time I have become accustomed to college life and the other students in my class and I have dropped the earlier fear which was on the whole a rather silly reason to not be writing at my best.

Monday, December 08, 2003

A presentation that I found to be informative was the group which blogged about food at Georgia Tech. I was suprised by the apparent dislike for the vegetarian cusine found on campus. Not being a vegetarian I am not able to comment on what is or isn't good in this particular area of dining. Having always eaten at the dining hall I can understand this groups wish to eat away from the traditional and not so appetizing food they serve. After this group presented I really felt like I had a much better understanding of the facts about eating out at Georgia Tech.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Reloaded is a text by Tara McPherson discussing the use of the Internet as a medium for media and more specifically corporate control. She discusses how corporations are considering ways to make the Internet another realm where they can offer a TV substitute with limited interaction. If any such site exists now and is making money it won't last in the long run. In fact most sites on the internet are not going to make it in the long run. This is one of the basics of the medium. The internet is dynamic, it will not change with the times, the times change with it. The amazing power that the internet commands over our lifes now is only a foreshadowing for the future.
She also discusses how the medium presents the viewer with the concept of passing time. There is more to the popularity than what she elaborates on. A user can also create... and even an average person can become an enigma, phenomena, etc. Several very successful websites are made by ordinary people. One such site is a simple video made in flash about the end of the world. The video itself didn't take long to make... but for a short period it was one of the most viewed peices of the internet comedy culture. It has since then slipped into obscurity. This constant flow which she relates to time is more closely related to the constant flow of users new creations and societys preference for what they wish to view.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

In Camera Lucida, the author Roland Barthes discusses photoragphy as a medium. Unlike previous readings this text takes a more concentrated look on the roles of people involved in a picture. He mentions the three ways a person can be connected to a photograph. A person can be the subject of a photograph or a person can observe a photograph. Barthes relates his experiences as both of these postions, however he states that he has no knowledge as the person taking the photograph. I found it interesting to consider a person who does not understand the role of a photographer.

Another interesting topic Bathes mentions is the discovery of a picture of his mother. When he looks at the older pictures of his mother he realizes he did'nt know her. Of course he knew her when he was writing, but he starts to think about who she used to be and how he did'nt know the woman in the photograph. I have never thought of old photographs in this aspect. Whenever I've looked at older pictures of people who I know it's just not a thought that crossed my mind. I think this was a good text to show that there are always new ways to consider what we take for granted.

Friday, October 31, 2003

The American Memory Project is a website maintained by the library of congress to preserve early films. All of these appear to be from Thomas Edison, I'm not sure if this is because the library of congress is trying to preserve his films in particular or if it is because most of the films that are left are from him. It is true that his production company was the largest movie company of the times which ofcourse means that it would have made most of the early films. Either way, these films are important to us as Americans. They help to relate a different time period to us. By watching these films people are able to better understand the views of the times. One such example are the films which show people from the country being unsofisticated enough to understand the concepts of film. This would have been a semi-popular subject of the time seeing as how it occured after the Hatfield and McCoy fued. This was a time in which people from the rural south in particular were being classified as "hillbillies" or basically a group that was uneducated and of generally lower class="links" align="center">

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Friday, October 10, 2003

The visual text I plan to discuss in my paper is the movie Cool Hand Luke. The movie is a 1967 Stuart Rosenberg film staring Paul Newman. It is a representation of the lives of prisoners in roadside chain-gangs, which were often used in the south during the early 40’s. The main character Luke (Newman) is a new addition to a chain gang, but he quickly shakes the foundations of the establishment. Luke is the man who will not conform. His rebellious makes him an attractive character who appeals to almost any audience. The movie ends with Luke being killed because of his refusal to corporate with prison officials. One famous line often quoted from this movie is when the prison boss says to Luke “What we got here is… failure to communicate.”

I would like to write my evaluation on how this film is a representation of biblical values. Luke certainly fits the character of a modern day messiah. I think that this is a movie everyone should watch. It has the amazing ability to be a fun movie to watch while simultaneously teach about human values. It shows one of the great struggles of the human spirit. Luke becomes an idol who you viewers wish to emulate. It displays the human part of criminals which can be applied to any person thought of as sterotypically bad.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Technology has certainly affected the way we remember events. Photography in particular is something which people spend endless amounts of time researching and perfecting. Magazines are devoted entirely to the artistic quality of photographs. Some pictures are so powerful that they inspire people to change. The ability to change people’s perceptions of the world is one of the greatest powers a person can hope to achieve. However, other people abuse photography. They seek to create a false sense of memory about an event by creating poses to be recorded. The time they spend taking these meaningless “family photos” detracts from the experience of the event. (I’m sure everyone has seen a photo album that has the same people in the same pose behind any variety of backgrounds.)

Something as simple as a photo can be infinitely complex or totally meaningless. It’s impossible to judge photography as a medium. Every picture in a roll of film starts of blank. It’s the person behind the camera who creates the persona of the picture. It is this person who makes a picture good or bad. They are the person who can make a picture have value.

In my family there are examples of both good and bad photography. My father is a terrible with a camera. He insists that we assume the same familiar poses, with the same forced smiles. There are no memories recorded on this film. But, who is to say it’s bad, it makes him happy and it obviously works for millions of others. My mother, however, has had her photography published establishing her as good photographer. She told me once that something important for pictures is to take the photo when the other person isn’t aware they are being watched by a camera. The essence of life can be seen in her pictures. But, that’s only my opinion. Since photography is really a form of expression like any other kind of art quality is determined by the audience.

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