Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Taking English 1020 gave me the knowledge of the various and different areas of writing which I did not know before. And it also gave me the chance to critically think of issues from different perspectives.
My writing has changed significantly since the first day of class. I started out as a highly conservative person with strong and entrenched views about society, politics and culture. I was more inclined to write about the injustices of society and the resulting difficulties visited upon people. I would most likely write about a serious issue with a conservative view than I would write about a prank, like in my fifteenth post.
One of the challenges I enjoyed in this exercise as a writer was that, the class challlenged me to get outside of my specific shell of writing serious issues and to writing about things that are fun. In doing so, for instance, in some of the free writes, I was able to truly realize that “all play and no work make science a boring subject”. Perhaps the challenge lay in the fact that I still had to be efficient in depicting fun things as I do in serious issues like Darfur.
In spite of the fact that I considered this a challenge, it has opened up an avenue for me to write more by veering off traditional issues like correcting the perception of people about Africa or educating people on unversal solidarity embeded in the tenets Islam. I would like to write more on issues that center around society in a much less serious tone. I am inclined to believe that this would prove how good of a writer I could be. My thought on this is that if I can write about different categories of writing effieciently, then I may have truly mastered the art of writing. This does not imply that I would like to alter my style but it will help spread my horizon in writing.
My experiences with writing in general was enhacnce especially with the development of ideas. Short notebook writing in the class helped me brainstorm ideas I did not know could be developed in few second and actually write or expand on them. I came to the understanding that the central theme in writing rests is being able to develop the ideas you want to write on and deftly deliberate on them. I used this method very easily in my posting about Africa titled “The Other Africa you do not know” which centred on the mainstream media's perception of what Africa looks like. I was able to elucidate the ideas that Africa goes beyond being a huge jungle where children run around in the nude and women bare-chested.
As a writer, I have hardly had the chance for other people to look at my work and critically analyse it(I mean my work) for improvements through suggestions. The peer review method used in English 1020 gave me the first opportunity to look at the work of others and offer meaningful suggestions on how they can improve upon what they write. It provided a contructive platform on which I critically analyse other works which I did not do before.
One of the things I have come to accept as a writer is that, a third eye on your work is always good. It gives you the chance to make corrections and improve the key concepts necessary to make a particular piece of writing good. For example in my reflective essay I wrote on a visit to London in the April of 2007. My description of the airport at first was not very vivid and it took a peer review for me to add a few more points to bring the entire decription of the airport together.
This was in fact a vast improvement on what I had written before in another essay on observation. In my observation essay I interviewed a pyschologist at a shelter in which I enquired on the activities of a shelter for abused women. My desription of the atmosphere and surrounding in which the interview was conducted was clear but I would have added different things to it.
As a writer I began with much less skill and knowledge of the different categories of writing but at the end of this class I have vastly improved both my critical reading and writing skill. A comparison of my first and last blogs attest to this fact.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Affirmative Action is not a healthy policy for educational delivery system where competition is key to academic excellence.
In this cartoon by Jim Huber two students of two different racial orientations are depicted walking down the street from a SAT college qualification test. One of the students is black and the other white. The white student is lamenting on how difficult the test was but the black student is saying that he was assured that he will make it or qualify because he made sure he indicated his ethnicity.
This cartoon a narrative indicated by the SAT building in the background and the fact that the students took the test. The conversation between the two boys was that the test was difficult but the black boy was saying that he does not have any fears he is confident that he aced it because he check out his ethnicity.
Logos is used in the concepts being represented by making an illogical reasoning to why a black student should be admitted without being necesary qualified. The effects of affirmative action on admissions and college life are brought to bear by the silence following the comment of the black person. Effectively the response is left with the audience.In this image if a black person spoke to a white person after an interview that he does not worry about what he did because he mentioned his ethnicity is a cause for unease. The unease emanates from the reasons why this black person would be qualified regardless of his or her credentials and the question as to whether blacks are inherently less qualified and therefore require preferential treatment.
Out of this illogical nature of the cartoon comes out the argument of this image in which Jim Huber is saying that affirmative action is not all that affirmative. If anything is negative and that a black person should not be admitted to a university just because of his skin color. He puts across the argument that it does not make any sense to give preferential treatment based on color and the he is expressing his dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court decision in 2oo5 on University of Michigan and affirmative action. He does this by placing side by side his argument against affirmative action in the image with the Court ruling in the corner of the text.
There are clear cut definitions used in this cartoon in that the audience can tell that the building in the background in the SAT building for college test preparation. The two boys walking down what looks like a street are prospective college students.There is no clear image that suggest that they are college bound students but the only implicit indication is that, they took the SAT test which is normally taken by college bound students.
Pathos is used in this image by means of humor as a means of rhetoric to put across a message that is not necessarily funny. It achieves a very effective humor by the fact that the statement made by the black student is a response to what the white student was saying or complaining about. The other part of this is that it leaves much to be desired because it does not indicate one kind response this elicited out of the white student.
The cultural context of this cartoon is even more interesting because it is directed to a particular audience in this case the United States regarding college admissions and how the Supreme Court affected the decision of affirmative action through its ruling. In a racially diverse and sensitive nation like the United States the issues regarding race have always been at the forefront of social and cultural life. Everybody will relate to this cartoon and ask serious social and political questions which hitherto did not bother asking.
One of the most important features of higher education is to promote healthy learning among students and teacher alike. It is therefore not surprising to see that certain colleges have very rigid criteria for selecting students for admission. It is in the interest of academic advancement through free and rigorous intellectual exercise that this aim of excellence can be attained. What this means is that the best brains have to be attracted regardless of the color of the head that contains the brain. (Maccia 30).
In the interest of the common good and fairness no person should be granted what he or she does not deserve whether white or black or brown person(Maccia 20). By the same token no one should be denied something they truly deserver because they have to give up their seats to meet some quota filled in by people who did not work hard to attain.
The argument of Affirmative Action rests with the fact that there will continue to be debate like on the Supreme Court in which issues keep being revisited but in the meantime the decision in University of Michigan is upheld. Macia and Huber both agree on one single concept that the debate goes on. While Macia agrees on each situation to be considered seperately in terms of affirmative action, Huber makes a sharp case against Affirmative Action.
The importance of this research lay in the fact that the social and political conversations associated with Affirmative Action can not be overlooked but needs to be looked at in more open debates.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
The world was built on seriousness and we strive everyday as individuals families and communites to keep this seriousness but all work and no play makes jack a dull boy while all play and no work makes jack a lazy boy.
I thought I would post this video above to get some laughs out of everyone that sees it. The funny part of this video is the surprise element associated with it. Using a public facility like this is usually only a matter of necessity. When nature calls there is nothing you can do about it. It is amazing how humans do not have control over a lot of things. Some of these things include the necessity to eat, sleep or in this case use the toilet.
The last place you want to see any surprise is the public facility which is supposed to provide you relief. The shock in the face of the visitors is what makes this video funny coupled with the fact that whatever they went in there to do vanished into thin air as they took to their heels.
Imagine going into a bathroom to relive yourself and all of a sudden a head comes out of the toilet. No doubt the first thing that comes your mind is to make sure you are not in that particular place anymore. If you went there to do whatever, it is gone in seconds.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
VICTIMS OF CIRMCUMSTANCES
This picture was taken by Kevin Carter in Sudan. It depicts a famine stricken boy who is trying to get to a United Nations Food Camp, a kilometer away while a vulture looks on, waiting for the boy to die so he can feed on him.
No one knows what happened in this episode but the journalist commited suicide from depression after taking this photograph. This was after he won a Putitzer Prize for it.
I initially decided to post my freewrite on naming ceremony in an African culture specifically Ghana. I however changed my mind at the last minute because I thought I would be making better use of space if I said something about the situations that lead to the circumstances this boy finds himself in.
What kind of world do other people throw food away on a daily basis while others do not even get to wish to have the foods being thrown away. It seems like the world is preoccupied with the spread of ideology and the pursuit of material goals at the expense of what is truly important.
Anyone who takes a good look at this image would agree with me that this boy does not have any the chances many of us have today. This happened in Sudan a place torn by war and famine. Anyone who has the opportunity to make the world a better place should not waste anytime doing so. We should all be ashamed that this happened right under our noses. What a shame!
The aim is not just to paint the true picutre of what went on in this picture but to urge all to take steps in anyway we can to ensure that this is not repeated anywhere else today or in the future. Take any chance you get at petitioning governments, individuals and corporations to fulfill their responsiblilities to the world including this situation. You would have left the world a better place. Sometimes it could mean adding a voice to a campaign, signing an email or endorsing a cause. Take a minute or five of your time and make a difference.
It is quick and easy for us to blame the "world" for the destruction and misery visited upon the citizens of earth but will do nothing to change. You do not have to be a religious person to think that this image is disgusting, provocative and absolutely unnecessary. Why should this happen in a so called advanced earth? The earth of technology and abundance.
I do not wish to lay blame on everyone else but on everyone including myself for this appalling picture but I firstly hold the leaders of the country of Sudan responsible for the carnage and untold suffering that is going on in their country. There are some very bad people in this world including some of the people of Sudan who would do everything including creating the circumstances of the image above, in order to rise to power, cling to power, spread their little religious beliefs or ideological views. These people who are in Sudan and many parts of the world including other parts of Africa, Europe, Asia and elsewhere are number one on my list for what is happening to our world today. There is absolutely no excuse for our world to be the way it is today.
The leadership of the world rests in the hands of a few countries in the world. Leadership means being able to take responsibility for the things that affect the people you lead and find viable and sustainable solutions to problems. Leadership does not mean misplacing priorities and spending resources, energy and effort at the wrong places at wrong times. Some world leaders are doing great things to alleviate suffering and ameliorate the deplorable conditions under which some people live. As much as this is laudable it should be pointed out that it is just not enough right now. More needs to be done.
There are far more resources being wasted on lavish and unnecessary material possessions , that are more than adequate to improve upon the conditions of the world. The wanton display of wealth in overly ostentatious and unnecasary wants have contributed to the waste of valuable resources that deny people what they need to survive.
The problem of the world is that, there are large segments of the world's leadership that still have their powers unchecked and easily use it to satisfy unnecessary whimps and caprices at the expense of unfortunate people like the boy above.They are happy to be reffered to as the powers of the world but they shaemelessly run away for the backdoor when it comes to real responsibility.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Sunday, April 8, 2007
This advertisement shows a smile on the face of a baby or what looks like a toddler. The image appeals directly to the emotions and sentiments of those who have concerns over capitalism and corporate responsibility to society.
The fourth mode of rhetoric which is humor is what is used in this appeal. The child is question looks kind of obese stemming from his eating of fast food which in this case is Mcdonalds.
To some extent the use of pathos is also evident by the fact that obesity is a serious societal problem, more serious because this is childhood obesity. The sense of communal responsibility on the part of corporate companies and giants has always been a subject of debate among people in society.
What is often seen is the fact that these companies make money at the expense of the health of its customers or consumers. The problem is that these consumers which is this case is almost every child are the very bedrock of the future of society.
In a population where more than half is obese and conscious effort being made to solve this problem any attempt at continuing the trend makes it a source of worry for anybody who has the future of this country at heart.
On a very serious not therefore this image creates a social and cultural commentary for people of all walks of life to reflect on. This brings to mind all the issues that are usually elusive and yet form part and parcel of our daily lives. While parents are busy and spending time with their children in much different ways than before fast food companies are also busy placing ads on television to attract both parents and children.
The responsibility does not just lie with the fast food companies who try to attract customers to their businesses but it is really with the parents who should plan better meals for their children and find alternatives to fast food. This brings to focus the different lawsuits that fast foods have received from clients and continue to receive over how their fast food made customers fat, fat to the extent that they think they deserve some kind of compensation for their situations.
Without dispute these corporations have an equal responsibility to advise the customer of the alternatives available to them in terms of what else they can do to make their children more active and burn some of these calories they pile over time.
This in fact does not refer to just one fast food joint but all the others who are well aware of the obese effects of their food can have on their clients especially the "little ones".