Neal Postman, “Media as Epistemology”
“Truth does not, and never has, come unadorned, It must appear in its proper clothing or it is not acknowledged, which is a way of saying that the “truth” is a kind of cultural prejudice.” -page 22-23
Literally: This passage is discussing a very important point that Postman makes throughout the essay. The passage is describing the way our society and culture sees an accepts truth. The passage is saying that we value truth as something that can only be delivered in one way, if it is not delivered in that specific form then it is not correct and is immediately forced to be believed as a lie. Giving this particular aesthetic to the “truth only proves that our view of the word is a form of cultural prejudice because our idea of truth is a preconceived idea. We don’t know where the idea came from, we just know that it is what we have been taught and so we follow it without question, without reason. Therefore, the truth is a preconceived idea that we have not learned for ourselves because we believe what we have been taught is completely true.
Intellectually: This passage makes me think of many different things. The passage makes think about where the idea of truth originated, it makes me think about how just one five lettered word could mean so many different things, not only to different individuals but also different cultures. This passage makes me think of some other points that Postman makes throughout the essay such as; how different cultures express the truth, how different cultures use proverbs and sayings in order to settle serious disputes, and the ironically funny examples that postman uses when comparing the way our culture handles different scenarios involving the truth.
Emotionally: This passage makes me feel many different ways, it makes me feel confused about what truth really is, it makes me feel like I have been lied to about how much power my words may have when they are written and when they are actually said aloud. It also makes me curious about the things I have been taught and where this preconceived idea of truth actually originated from.
Relationally: This passage fits into the overall essay because I feel like it is a main point that is present throughout the entire essay. Throughout the essay, Postman is describing and discussing how different things influence the way that the truth is communicated. Postman’s main point is that the way the truth is communicated can change what the truth actually is, which is a confusing but true point. For example, in our society we are informed and updated on different things that are happening around the city r the world through the media, through television. We cannot know for sure that these things are actually true because we are not at the exact place where those things are happening. Therefore, we rely on what is being said on the television and we assume that it si all true because we really have no choice. The meaning of the truth is constantly altered and changed as society changes and people just accept and adapt to the constantly changing definitions of truth without any reason or question.
Lewis Mumford, “Automation of Man”
“Not only do they look forward-as all reasonable men should-to the transference of much burdensome, servile labor to the machine, but they are equally eager to turn as many other human functions as possible over to, machines, fascinated, indeed abjectly hypnotized, by their superior accuracy, their fantastic rapidity, their staggering productivity. In other words, many of us have now come to regard automation as the climax stage of human culture.”-page 264
Literally: This particular passage is discussing the mindset of men who look forward to the advancement in mechanical technology. The passage is discussing how they look forward and are fascinated by all of the things that machines can do for them because it would make their job seem much easier. Men would most likely not have to work because of all of the things and characteristics that machines have, they are blinded by the fascinating things machines can do which is why they cannot see how negatively the advancement of mechanical technology would be.
Intellectually: This passage makes me think of many different things. The first thing I think of is the power that technological machines have even before being introduced into our society. It makes me think about how our minds are controlled by the fantasy of technology making our lives easier; taking on the role of being more efficient in the areas where we fail to perform our bests. People see the power of technology and automation as a positive thing only because they are blinded by all of the things they can do to make our jobs less stressful. People are accepting technology as if it is a part of our society and culture.
Emotionally: This particular passage makes me feel two different kinds of emotions, it makes me fearful and it makes me feel a little naïve. Both emotions go hand in hand because the passage makes me feel like since I am a part of this society where technology and automation is accepted so easily, without questions of any kind I cannot do anything about it because I am just one person which is why I feel a little fearful about technology but, I also feel naïve because I use technology, I accept technology into my life just as easily as anyone else being blinded by all of the things it can do for me. This passage makes feel like I need to realize that although I may think that I am not hypnotized by the dazzling features of technology, in reality I actually am hypnotized in the same exact way as everyone else.
Relationally: This passage fits into the overall essay because I feel like it is a point that Mumford is trying to make throughout the essay. I feel like he is trying to inform the reader through discussing the purpose of automation, how automation is deceiving us, how we are allowing it to become a part of who we are as people and as a society. Mumford is trying to communicate to the reader that although technology has its benefits, it also has hidden deficits that we may not see because we are so focused on allowing automation and technology to make everything easier and many people are not aware of the way we surrendering ourselves automation.
Donald Murray, “Internal Revision”
“We should realize that there may be fewer discoveries in form and voice as a writer repeats a subject or continues work in a genre which he or she has explored earlier and become proficient with. This lack of discovery-this excessive professionalism or slickness, the absence of discovery-is the greatest fear of mature, successful writers. They know too much too early in the writing process.” -page 84
Literally: This particular passage is discussing a realization that the author wants his readers to understand and be aware of, which is that after a writer continues to work in the same field with the same concepts, they become very elite in their particular field; they know everything they need to know and everything they did not know when they first entered that particular field. After repeatedly working in a specific subject or genre of writing, a writer acquires all of the skills they need in order to excel in their subject or genre. Focusing on perfecting these skills will cause writers to leave little to no room for discovering new things about themselves and who they are as a writer. The main point of this passage is that if a writer only focuses on becoming skillful in a certain subject or genre of writing it will cause a writer to burn out and have nothing to learn. Discovering new things, gaining new knowledge, and adapting to different kinds of subjects and genres of writing allows you to learn and broaden your writing personality, which is the most important thing.
Intellectually: This passage makes me think about many things involving who I am as a writer and what the concept of the entire essay is. On one hand, this passage makes me weigh the benefits and deficits of the writing process. Although the benefits are not specifically stated in this specific passage, it makes me think of the many benefits the writing process has such as the example that the author discusses throughout the essay, the process of discovery. The author puts emphasis on how the writing process does not just generate ideas, it also brings a significant amount of discovery to the writer and the piece they working on. I have never personally thought of the writing process as a journey of discovery until I read this essay, which holds a very interesting concept. With this passage, I realized that the writing process has many benefits but the amount of benefits could never sum up to the value of its one deficit, which is the lack of discovery, the lack of motivation after knowing too much too early. This passage makes me consider who I am as a writer; it allows me to reflect and to remember that not knowing absolutely everything is completely okay.
Emotionally: This particular passage makes me feel several different ways about myself as a writer. The most prominent emotion is fear. While the passage does make me feel some reassurance about not knowing everything it also makes me fear that I will or do know everything. I am afraid of knowing everything because writing is something that I am very passionate about and sometimes I feel like I am too passionate about it, which leads me to fear that I will burn out and have nothing left to learn from my writing in order to better myself and broaden my experiences as a writer. Therefore, this is passage makes me feel reassured but also fearsome of my future with writing and gaining knowledge about my writing and the writing process; it makes me feel like I need to be aware of my intentions for writing.
Relationally: This passage fits into the overall essay because it really sums up the importance of discovery that the author emphasizes through out the entire essay. The author starts the essay with the concept of rewriting and then moves into breaking down the writing process. The way he describes the writing process is very interesting because as he describes the process, he is also initiating the process while writing the essay. He discusses on page 78 that as he wrote this particular essay, he was surprised by certain ideas, concepts, and words that ended up on his paper. This surprise allowed him to discover the process of revision, it allowed him to understand this process, and understand that the writing process is never straightforward and is full of discoveries, surprises, mistakes, and a significant amount of revision. This passage sums up the writing process’ beauty because it displays just how important understanding the writing process and its discoveries is because if the author had known absolutely everything, he wouldn’t be writing about how many times he used trial and error in his writing or how the other famous authors who agreed with is his writing process theory, he really wouldn’t be writing the essay at all.