Requirement for English 1101

Friday, September 26, 2003

In an editorial about increasing African American attendance at UGA, Todd Young uses an evaluation argument to defend his views on education. He starts by explaining the current problem. His problem is that African Americans are not equally represented by population at Georgia’s largest university. It is easy to display that this problem is relevant by an examination of the entering freshman class. Only 277 of over 5,000 entering freshman are black.

He then evaluates which of three solutions would be the best solution to the problem. One solution is implementing a system of affirmative action. This would solve the problem by making a percentage of every freshman class African American. However, this would create new problems with cost and quality of the freshmen class. Another solution would be to fund more money into need-based scholarships. This would help the large percentage of African American students who are economically challenged.

His final solution which he states is most important is that the state should improve the quality of K-12 education. He discusses Georgia’s low test scores and classroom performance. He states that an increase in the education of not only African Americans but all students would increase college enrollment. He ends with a comparison of UGA to UNC. Despite a lower percentage of there population is black the percentage of black students who are freshmen is twice UGA’s. His evaluation of these three solutions support his argument that increasing education would increase African American enrollment in Georgia colleges.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Riverbend is the penname of a woman is post-war Iraq. In her blog she uses personal narrative as an alternative opinion on current Iraq from what is displayed on American television. Narrative allows for a writer to focus on their personal experiences rather than trying to quote outside sources. This works particularly well in the example of war type blog. This is because someone involved in conflict will always have a more relevant view on it. Her personal experiences of fear since the US occupation of Iraq serve to justify her statements that the US is not working for the good of her country.

For her readers to acknowledge her writing as an effective argument they must first identify with her ethos. This requires that a reader believe that the writer is actually a woman living in Iraq. If this were not true the basis behind all her arguments would have no founding. Her choice to be anonymous does not help to convince readers that she is the real deal. Other readers question her well developed English. She offers the explanation that she was schooled abroad and that Iraq is full of people like her.

Assuming that she is an Iraqi citizen then her blog serves as a perfect example of narrative which has the possibility of changing a large number of opinions. She writes in a very controlled non-insulting manner which leaves an American audience questioning what they have been told about her countries current conditions. Her voice helps to fill a wide gap in the lack of knowledge of what decent Iraqi citizens think of forced American rule.

Monday, September 08, 2003

(This is beside the point, but I believe you could teach a whole class on Benjamin alone. Few writers have sentences that potent. The only writing I can compare is Walden or Nature the famous books from Thoreau and Emerson. Every paragraph is packed with meaning and insight.)

In Storyteller Benjamin describes the writer Leskov, simultaneously he also narrates his feelings about the death of storytelling. I find that Benjamin's definition of storytelling is in decline; storytelling is no longer the relevant medium that it used to be. However, I have to ask, is storytelling essential or even productive? Perhaps it is necessary to observe the death of his story telling from a different, positive view.

I agree that the popularity of novels was the start of the death of storytelling. I disagree that largescale printing caused the novel's popularity. It was not the availability of books, rather the increase in literacy that started the trend of writing and reading stories instead of saying them. Increased education started the decline of storytelling. The use of human memory for keeping relevant stories isn't as noble as it is open to error of memory. Spoken word becomes twisted with time, but written word is concrete.

For the purpose furthering human knowledge storytelling's time has past. Great achievements are no longer aided by "axioms" or "experiences" such as those interpreted by verbal stories. Dissention of unchanging and pre-interpreted information such as that found in newspapers is what is needed for progress. Not that verbal stories don't have a place.

As I first stated, I believe that Benjamin's definition of storytelling is in decline. However, I think verbal stories and great storytellers still exist. But they live in cultural history not current progress. To say that storytelling is declining means Benjamin never spent time with an Irish family. My brothers and cousins were taught to sing "seven drunken nights" when we were young. I think that is a perfect example of storytelling. Something passed down through time with its own cultural value and lessons which aren't damaged with change. Irish family's sing, but every culture has its own way of passing itself on otherwise they no longer have a cultural distinction.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

After reading Rebecca Blood's “weblog handbook”, specifically the section about ethics, I felt both a sense of brotherhood and disagreement. Having once had a job in the journalism industry there are certainly many points I can agree with. However, I find that in general the ideas that she is suggesting will simply not be applicable in the world of blogging. What she is setting out to do is create a code of ethics which bloggers will follow, thus making blogs a more reliable source of information. I believe this is a partially good idea.

The problem I find with what she’s doing is that she is making her code of ethics too much like what already exists in the world of professional journalism. That is not what the future of blogs should be. The beauty of blogs is their ability to display inaccuracy and opinion. In the Art of War Sun Tzu states that misinformation is sometimes necessary for both friends and foes. Tabloids are mostly lies, but their sales keep them in business. I don’t believe that blogs necessarily need to become another source of “reliable” news. I do think they should become a source of information.

Being the author of a blog shouldn’t mean that you have to stick to an agenda. There are more than enough outlets for that in the world already. Blogs should be more of a mental and emotional release. One of the great things about blogs that few people realize is that you don’t have to write to an audience. If other people read, they do so at their own discretion. There is nothing telling you that what you write has to stay on topic or even make sense. I think the ethics of blogs should be that an author stays true to their heart not others interpretations of their writing.

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