The Case for Reparations

In today’s day in age most people know that slavery and everything that came along with it was terrible, and horrifying. However, do most people know the effects that it continues to have on black Americans today. Coates starts his essay when slavery and racism is well alive, and he tells the stories of individual African Americans. As he continues the essay he goes later in the time period and uses facts and statistics that tell of how African Americans were put back, and meant to be put back. A fact that he stated that really stood out to me was “The income gap between black and white households is roughly the same today as it was in 1970.” This quote is very powerful because it really shows that even though we think things have gotten better, in reality things have not internally changed as much as we would like to think. Black Americans are still set back every day in ways that we cannot see, but are deep in the system that have stung from slavery. The way that Coates writes does not come off as trying make you feel like your opinion about equality is wrong, but he gives you straight facts to make you see a different point of view. A lot of people in America are against affirmative action, but the way Coates explains it shows that it is a good thing, because African Americans really do have to work twice as hard to get the same things as whites. He uses facts and statistics in all genres, as he talks about family, to housing, to jobs, to Obama, and so on. This could apply to my writing because I really like the way he writes, he convinced me but it didn’t seem like he is breathing down my neck to convince me. Overall, the essay was very interesting because these are not the facts you hear everyday in school when you learn about slavery. Giving another view and adding how it affects people today keeps the long essay interesting to read.


The Remains of the Night

In Rotye’s essay ‘The Remains of the Night’ she tells a story of her days running on a beautiful trail. The way she writes is very descriptive, and you can picture in your head what she is talking about. However, to add to her descriptive writing is the help of many great pictures that take over the essay and make you feel as if you are in the actual park itself. The pictures vary in size as some are small and the writing wraps around it, and some are big with the text inside the picture. There is also little special transitions in some of the pictures, so when you scroll past them a blur/gradient effect follows. She also has other pictures made to look like ads with captions underneath. So when she is talking about all the litter there is a picture captioned keep america beautiful, and I think this helps keep the information that she is talking about really stick in your mind. Also with all the smaller images you can click to enlarge them to get a better look. This enlarging button also makes the essay very interactive, and make you want to click the little plus sign that pops up as you scroll over a picture. The essay continues to be interactive at the end as you can give Rotye’s essay a clap, which I did because I found it to be very interesting and well composed. Also at the bottom you can leave your own comments and responses which I think is a good way to hear audience feedback, and interact with your readers. Overall she used this digital medium to help tell her story, and added wonderful visuals. Just writing on a blogpost definitely wouldn’t have been as fun or interactive to read, pictures always make everything more fun and even the way she placed them made it still look professional.

My Foreign Mom

The essay that I chose to read was ‘My Foreign Mom’ by Mary Choi. I chose to read this article because my grandma and great aunts are foreign, and I wanted to see if there was any similarities. The first thing I liked about reading this essay was how personal it was. I love listening or reading people’s personal stories, and I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it is because I just like hearing other people’s perspectives on things, it is just so interesting to me. I also really like when people tell stories within stories. So this essay was about her mom but she took breaks within the story to tell stories about her mom’s past, and her childhood and I think that is really interesting and gives you more perspective on the current essay she is talking about. The third thing that I think made the story interesting was the the mother daughter dynamic in the essay. Since I am a daughter myself I found some of these scenarios very relatable, like when she was talking about being embarrassed when her mom showed up at school to give her lunch. I think when you can relate to an essay it makes it more intriguing because you understand the situation more and can agree with what’s happening.

Consider the Lobster

When you hear “Maine lobster festival” you automatically think just a festival about eating lobster somewhere in main. However, Wallace tells the story of the event and everything that happens that not everyone would talk about. First he gives some background on the event to get his audience oriented, and he explains that 25,000 pounds of lobster is caught to make this the largest lobster festival. He then explains some background on lobster, what kind of species are they, what place they are in the food chain, and explaining the anatomy so readers can really understand what the lobster is. He then goes on to describe the setup of the event in great detail, he doesn’t just say there’s a big table and people eat around it, he goes into great detail about the little things like the “long plastic forks”. Doing an essay in great detail with describing words really paints a picture for anyone not actually there to visualize and best understand things, and that keeps it more interesting to follow along to. Next Wallace goes into detail about the history of the lobster and how it use to be a food that only the low class would eat, and today it is not for the poor and is actually quite expensive. This is another captivating part of the essay because he isn’t just talking about the actual event, but giving us background on what lobster was like back in the day. Wallace also describes how the lobster is caught so it can be sold and eaten. The best season for lobster is summer because they’re easiest and freshest then, and these facts keep the reader reading because while you are learning about an event you are also learning about each of the factors of a lobster which is actual more interesting than one would think. Because this stuff isn’t really common knowledge, or at least I didn’t know any of this stuff because I have never even eaten lobster before, so it’s interesting to learn about something that otherwise I would no nothing about if this article solely talked about what happens at the event. Another interesting topic he discusses is the people that come to the event to protest it, because usually if you are talking about an event you are saying all the good things so you don’t scare anyone away. But I think it’s interesting that he talks about the people that hand out pamphlets about why killing all this lobster is bad and cruel. This part of the article made me a bit upset because they really are killing a whole lot of lobster just for this one event, and does it all really get used and eaten.  Maybe I’m just a “lobster hippie” but that information about PETA trying to step in and get celebrities to speak out on how bad it is made me not really want to attend this event, but it did make me want to continue reading the essay to see what happens next. Overall the article was intriguing and had different parts broken up that to me made it interesting and easy to follow.  

Cunningham & Argument

I would describe the style of argument as very conversational more than the usual structural argumentative/persuasive essays that I was taught to write in school. While I was taught in school to write a thesis with three main argument points and argue each different topic in each paragraph. This argument is starts of like a story and continues to a conversational argument with the help of others perspectives and narratives. Cunningham’s takes a position that is not so one sided, he explores both views. His writing more like poetry than an essay filled with big words, and hard to follow sentences. This is different that a crossfire style argument because he is not arguing to be dominate he is arguing to show different sides. He doesn’t push anything down anyone’s throat saying his point is better and the only point that can be right. He leave the decision up to the reader to decide what they think.

“everything about something”

In the article by Jay Rosen, he talks about getting started in journalism. How does one get started in journalism? or in anything for that matter. For our group project we have to write, podcast, and video. Most of us in the group have never done these things, and if someone has done something like this it is only one or two categories but not all three. The advice that that Rosen keeps bring up throughout the article is to start a niche site, and I did not even know what that was. After some googling I learned that a niche site is focused on a very specific term or target. This kind of reminded me of our last project of writing more on a wikipedia stub. The topics each person in the class wrote about were very small or specific topics like a particular book author, or a poodle skirt in fashion. Rasen also reminds us throughout the article that it is good to know “everything about something”. This reminded me of a quote by Thomas Huxley, “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” The saying applies to the group work because we are learning and exploring new things. I have never done a podcast or interview before and posted it online, and other people in my group have never done video and editing. Now because of this project everyone is leaning a little something about everything we have to do to complete the project. Just doing an interview is not enough because some of us in the group have already conducted interviews before, but by adding different elements to the project we are learning multiple skills. I think the saying also applies to the group members individually, because we each know something, and by putting us together in the calculated way we were are knowledge can be combined so we can learn from each other.

Interview Masterclass

I was actually really excited to listen to this podcast because when my dad used to drive me back from school we would always listen to Terry Gross, and I would always try to copy her voice saying “I’m Terry Gross, and this is fresh air”. I always knew she was a great interviewer but I really did not know anything about her, so I was intrigued by this podcast being flipped to her being interviewed. One of the best question that Marc asked in my opinion was “what moved you to radio”. I am always interested in how people got to where they are now, so this was a really interesting question to me. This question also formed a good conversation about what she was doing before radio, and how she used to be a teacher and got fired only after 6 months. I think in this part of the interview she really opened up and got comfortable with just talking about herself. The best question Terry asked Marc was “a lot of your friends are comics so i’m assuming when comics get together that they don’t share intimate thoughts, … when you’re interviewing people and doing the podcasts do you go places you don’t want to go with your friends”. I thought this question was really thorough and had a good depth to it. It was also a bit of a tricky question as Marc got jumbled in his thoughts and words. But this question also lead to good and natural conversation. Overall this podcast made me think what would it be like to do an interview, and made me intresting in to what kind of questions I would ask.

Are plastic surgeons nip/tucking Wikipedia articles?

In the article “Are plastic surgeons nip/tucking ads into high-profile Wikipedia articles?” by Audra Schroeder, she discusses a plastic surgeon editing plastic surgery pages on wikipedia. Otto Placik is plastic surgeon known for his great “mommy makeovers” aka his labiaplasty, and pretty much all of his reviews online are amazing. Placik would first do subtle changes to plastic surgery article by adding his own before and after surgery photos and linking them to his website. People eventually started noticing that he seemed to be spamming all these plastic surgery pages, but they would just change it and let it go. However, when Placik got caught editing the labiaplasty entry that’s when other wikipedians were ready to investigate. The changes he made to the labiaplasty entry set a tone that made it seem like women who have an externally visible labia minora needs this surgery, and this left people wondering if he was intentionally trying to promote this unnecessary plastic surgery procedure.

With wikipedia being so open like this with anyone being able to make changes it does make others a bit uneasy, because there are probably a lot more people like Placik trying to promote themselves or their beliefs. To help being duped by bad editors we should make it a common habit to see if these sources are cited, and then see where these cited sources come from. Doing some extra looking on the sources down below to see if they seem like a legitimate source can help you decide if you can really trust this article. Also by just going on a different source than wikipedia to see if the information matches is another good way to not get fooled, so that you don’t have write something on a school paper that is not necessarily true.

Besides everyday people just checking for mistakes I think that wikipedia should hire more staff to check up on pages, and make sure everything looks in order. I know that the founder of wikipedia is content with their 6 people, but they could turn it into a much bigger company easily. For now though people looking at wikipedia pages just need to double check what articles are saying, and report something if it seems suspicious.   

Know it All

Wikipedia articles can be written by highschool students or professor at Yale, but both of these people can have an expertise in something. Knowledge on wikipedia is different than encyclopedia knowledge sometimes in a bad way and sometimes in a good way. In the New Yorker article it states that Wales’s first encyclopedia was his parents that had been sold to them by a door to door salesman. So this encyclopedia from 1969 is a bit outdated, and even with the stickers to update entries not everyone had access to them. The definitions in these  encyclopedias are written by specific qualified people in the profession, so it gives people confidence that the book is accurate. Wikipedia on the other hand can be edited and updated by anyone with an account, and this is scary to people because they question if these writings are legitimate. However, wikipedia has people that go to great lengths so make sure all grammar, links, and information is correct. If there is vandalism on a certain page a lot they can lock it so no one can change it, and they can completely kick off users that are vandalizing. Wikipedia represent a different relationship to knowledge because anyone can edit it, because everyone is knowledgeable in some way. It gives people that comfort that they can contribute to something and it not be such a scary process, because if their wrong it will get corrected. This different relationship with knowledge will be important to me and my peers because it gives us confidence that we are knowledgeable on a topic and can contribute to help others learn about something too.  It gives us the chance for us to get our thoughts and ideas into the world which is important because we all have a voice and we should be able to use it.

Mystery Show

The mystery show podcast tells a story of a mysterious belt buckle found in the 1980s. The belt buckle is very unique and like no other belt buckle. On the buckle it has a chef’s hat, a frying pan, a corkscrew and a toaster with mini toast that coan actually pop in and out. It also has two names engraved on it “Hans Jordi” and “Bob Six”. Carson, the man who currently has the belt buckle is now in search of the original owner because he feels guilty that this is probably something special to its original owner. He enlists the help from a friend named Starlee Kine, and Sarlee is an investigator.

Sarlee first finds an newspaper’s article with a picture of Hans Jordi at an art class. She then calls up the teacher of the art class, Donna, and she tells Sarlee what she remembers of him. This leads Sarlee to her next research find, and this take her to the internet where she finds a food blog, and it states a descriptions of Hans Jordi, mentioning that he is very tall and has a long stride in his walk. The next research takes place on where someone has posted “Looking For Hans Jordi”, and in the comments a man named Bob Bland said he knew him. That leads her to go to a chef conference where she connects with some more chef, and people who know Hans Jordi. Ultimately, she gets to meet Hans through another chef, and return the belt buckle which meant so much to him. Starlee used newspaper articles, online research, and people’s personal recollections to research her case, and find who she was looking for.