For Sunday 5/17: Final Exam Reading / Essay Revision & Writing

0.¬† First and foremost, read Brittny’s Essay 2 and give her some feedback on it.

00.¬† Revised versions of Essay 1 and Essay 2 are due next week at finals.¬† If you haven’t received feedback yet on one or both of these essays, please e-mail ASAP the City Tech Writing Center at

to set up an online tutoring appointment.

007. In preparation for our final exam, please read the attached article that the exam essay will ask you to respond to.  It would be helpful to you to

a) understand (and underline!) the author(s)’s name(s), the article title, the thesis of the article, and 2-3 main points that support the thesis.

b) underline and try to understand any words you don’t understand but which seem interesting or important; you can look them up in a dictionary if after re-reading the passage you still can’t fully grasp their meaning.

No need to post anything to the blog for Sunday, but you can if you’d like.

That said, all unfinished blog work will expected to have been posted by next week (as this will be factored into your final grade).  Please check your grades and keep me posted as you complete unfinished posts.

Best to you all–I can’t believe we’re so close to the end!



For Sunday 5/10: MLA Citations, Feedback for Jayvon, etc.

Ok, so now that we’re reaching the end of the semester, it’s time to look at how to put the finishing touches on an academic essay‚ÄĒin this case, Essay 2.

Whenever you refer to another person’s ideas or words in an academic essay, you are expected to cite them, meaning you place a marker of some kind (depending on the formatting system you are using) which indicates whose ideas and/or words these are‚ÄĒand how the reader can locate those ideas or words (online, in a book, etc.).

There are two parts involved in this: 1. placing marks known as in-text citations in the sentences of your essay, and 2. writing source info at the end of your text in list, alphabetized by last name.  (In MLA format, this is known as your Works Cited page; other formats have other names for it.)

What I want you to do for Sunday is read this very basic, quick guide to formatting in-text citations and Works Cited pages in MLA format.  I then want to use this guide to help you form citations for your Essay 2.  Your in-text citations will go in your essay’s sentences where you refer to other writers.  Your Works Cited entries will go at the end.

I also want you to post your Works Cited entries (alphabetized by last name) to as a response to this blog post.

Lastly, I want you to post feedback for Jayvon Judge’s Essay 2.

For Wed 5/6: Re-Outlining Essay 2

Ok, so for Wednesday, I want to build off of what we did with Leonardo Mendez’ Essay Two draft over the weekend: I want you to work on (re-)outlining your Essay 2.¬† Why the “(re-)”?¬† ¬†I know some of you have not yet written drafts yet: for you, this may be your first outline; for those of you who have already written your Essay 2 drafts, this will be a re-outlining assignment, meaning that you will read your draft and write a list of your paragraphs in a new order.¬† Feel free to *add new paragraphs* to your outline (paragraphs you haven’t yet written).

For ideas as to how to go about re-outlining, please (re-)read my response to Leo’s paragraphs in his Essay 2 draft; it’s quite long and in-depth but I hope it gives you ideas for how I want you to approach thinking about (re-)paragraphing and (re-)organizing an essay.

Chat with those of you who are available on Zoom on Wednesday, 230p.

For Sunday 5/3 / Leonardo Mendez Essay 2 Feedback

Hi everyone–can’t believe it’s already coming to be May!

I want us to think a bit more carefully about¬†the paragraph.¬†¬†The paragraph is the basic building block of the essay.¬† For your paragraph to form a¬†solid brick in the house that is your essay, it needs to be intentionally put together‚ÄĒand focused on doing¬†1 thing: developing one point, discussing one idea, describing 1 event, etc.

To get us thinking about how to form strong paragraphs, I want us to read Leonardo’s Essay Two Draft for Sunday.¬† As you read it, I want you to do 2 things:

I) make a list of notes: 1 note about each paragraph in Leonardo’s essay–1 note containing 3 parts:( 1a) what the paragraph’s main idea/focus is and (1b) what the paragraph does for the essay and reader; what its role in the essay seems to be; and (1c), one suggestion for making each paragraph more focused.

Write your list here.

II) Rearrange your list of Leonardo’s paragraph so that it forms the outline of a differently ordered essay.¬† Basically, you are rearranging his paragraphs into a new order‚ÄĒbut not just any order! Be sure your order makes sense.¬† At the end of your new list of paragraphs,¬†write a note explaining why you put the paragraphs in the order you did.

That’s all.¬† I’ll look for your responses Sunday!¬† Email me with questions.



1. Mendez includes here his questions regarding Gaga’s “Angel Down”‚ÄĒpresumably questions he is curious to explore in the essay (but he doesn’t explicitly say this). ¬†The questions are not (yet) in prose form, but rather are in the form of a list (as is a preliminary note regarding the different topics the song is “about”.)
2. Mendez introduces background info about the song and its connection to the Trayvon Martin shooting as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.
3. Mendez introduces a quotation from the lyrics to “Angel Down” and explores the question of what this lyric might mean. ¬†He also responds to it with his own view on whether and how people have just been “standing around” before digressing into brief mentions of a couple other topics (that could form the basis of their own paragraphs):
    a) gun control and
¬† ¬† b)¬†the symbolic meaning of the term “angel” in this song.
4. Mendez discusses “Triptych: Texas Pool Party” by Namwali Serpell, paying particular attention to the section which represents mythically the perspective of the police officer, Eric Casebolt, who brutalized Tatyana Rhodes during a pool party altercation in McKinney, TX several years ago.
–(4b) He then makes a claim about the connection between police brutality and a new term, “system racism,” which could be discussed further.
–(4c) Mendez then immediately moves into a discussion of what I presume is an article about racist remarks on social media made by police officers in Philadelphia (he doesn’t–yet–introduce us to the author name and title of this article). After introducing a couple quotations of what police officers posted to social media, Mendez then begins making a connection to a quotation from Serpell’s text about police officer diversity training‚ÄĒa great connection, but one which could be explained further or in different terms. ¬†He also makes the claim that “irony” is involved here but doesn’t (yet) explain this.
5. Mendez includes here a list of a two quotes from Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me, which I assume he will contextualize and connect to his other material in his next draft.
6. This is Mendez’ Works Cited page. ¬†(Watch the formatting.)
My proposed re-ordering of the paragraphs:
2. I think the background info and context really works as an opening paragraph.
3/3b/1 (combine). I think Mendez could keep the first half of his (currently 3rd) paragraph where he quotes from the song and poses a question about it. ¬†He could then use his question regarding this line to transition into some of the other questions (from his paragraph that currently is first–with the questions).
3a. A discussion of how the song‚ÄĒand Martin’s killing‚ÄĒconnects to gun control and the different debates surrounding gun control could go next.
**New paragraph** describing the sounds of the song and how they might connect to the topics at play: police brutality, gun control, etc.
4a. Mendez could then add a transitional sentence explaining why he wants to discuss Serpell’s text about the Texas Pool Party incident and go into the first part of that paragraph.
4b. I think a separate paragraph could be formed out of Mendez’ interest in the connections between the psychology of the police officer in Serpell’s “Texas Pool Party” (i.e., how the police officer appears to think) and what he refers to as “systemic racism”‚ÄĒa term that he could also explain more about in this new paragraph.
4c. Mendez could then form another new paragraph where he discusses the article on racist comments on social media made by Philadelphia police officers. ¬†In his opening lines of this new paragraph, he could explain how this phenomenon is an example of “systemic racism” and its connection to police officer psychology.
5. **Mendez may not need to explore the connections to Ta Nehisi Coates’ text (although it could be interesting if he did). ¬†I’d suggest trying to move his discussion back toward Gaga’s song‚ÄĒI’d be more interested in hearing him write a bit more about that toward the end of his essay.
6. In the coming weeks, I will point you towards some online resources for formatting your Works Cited pages.  Stay posted!

For Wed 4/29

Read Reese Okyung Kwon’s “There Must Be More”‚ÄĒa somewhat ironic close reading (interpretation) of David Ruis’ Christian Rock song, “There Must Be More”.¬† In Kwon’s text she painstakingly unpacks the singer’s decision to use the word “because.”¬† In your response below, I want you to

a) tell me what you think the importance of this word “because” is (in the context of the song, or you can interpret this prompt more broadly)

b) tell me one word from the song you’re writing Essay 2 about that you could write a paragraph about.


For Wed 4/25

  1. Post Essay 2 Feedback for Jeicot Suarez.
  2. We are going to change gears for this one.¬† We are going to place Essay 2 on pause for this one and simply going to write for a bit‚ÄĒone paragraph, two, three…four pages; however long you want‚ÄĒabout our respective experiences of the Covid crisis so far.¬† Write about whatever you’ve seen, write about what you’ve felt, write about people you’ve known who’ve caught it, write about something odd you’ve heard about it, write about someone you love who you worry might get it, write about working within it (if you’re still working), write about trying to continue with your classes in spite of it,¬† write about trying to ignore it, write about literally whatever comes to mind about it.
    (What you write here might be the beginning of an Essay 3: an extra-credit essay documenting your experience of some aspect of this once-every-century-or-so experience of living through a pandemic.)GO!

For Wed 4/22

Closely Listening & Responding to One Line of Lyrics

  1. Read & post feedback for Tessaya Forde’s Essay 2.
  2. We are still practicing different strategies for closely listening to and describing music. ¬†For this brief assignment (due Wed), I want us to focus on how to pick apart and extract questions from one single line of lyric from your song. ¬†To that end, I want to direct your attention back at Jeremy Schmidt’s essay on “The Full Retard” by Jaime Meline (El-P). His entire essay, while rather brief, is focused on a close reading of the song’s “chorus” (or “hook” or “refrain” or whatever you want to call it). ¬†One line of lyric produces a whole line of questioning and response in Schmidt’s essay. ¬†Have another look at its opening two paragraphs:

“Like an oracle crowning herself queen, the hook from ‚ÄúThe Full Retard‚ÄĚ predicts its own reign: ‚ÄúSo you should pump this shit, like they do in the future.‚ÄĚ The song‚Äôs track is all clanging beats and zapping lasers, its lyrics Jaime Meline‚Äôs standard skyscrapers-and-sewers futurism, its overall effect a parade of sonic likenesses of the coming world‚Äôs broken infrastructure. The chorus, though‚ÄĒthe chorus is more about taste than about politics or apocalypse. Take another gander:¬†so you should pump this shit, like they do in the future.

This is a glimpse into the hypnotic heart of hype itself. What does it mean to pump, promote, or even love something right now, knowing that it‚ÄĒthe song or the idea or the meme‚ÄĒwill be ubiquitous in the future? Why would we want to prefigure the¬†they¬†of Meline‚Äôs rancid imagination, anyway? (To prepare?) More practically, shouldn‚Äôt our own pumping, or pooh-poohing, have some influence on the popularity of¬†this shit¬†among later humanoids?¬†”

Check out all of these questions that Schmidt generates in response to this one, seemingly mundane, lyric of Meline‚Äôs: ‚Äúyou should pump this shit, like they do in the future.‚Ä̬† This is what I want you to do with your Essay 2 song for Wed: select one line that you can ask a series of questions in response to, write out both the line and your questions and begin trying to respond to your questions if you can.¬† See where this takes you.

See you on Zoom on Wed‚ÄĒFYI, I need to push back our meeting time to 3:30p this week.¬† Hope this still works for as many people as possible.¬† Hang in there everyone, much love, M.

For Sunday 4/19

Close Reading Other Writing about Music 

OK, so because writing descriptively about a work of music is such a central part of Essay 2, I want us to begin looking very carefully at examples of good, detailed music writing–some of it pretentiously called “music criticism” ūüôā .¬† I’m hoping that this writing will give you inspiring ideas for different ways of writing about the track you’ve chosen for your Essay 2. ¬†(I am rewinding us a bit because I think we need more practice writing descriptively about sound–which is hard! We will get back to working on discussing articles about social issues and connecting them to your songs next week.)

So what I want you to do for Sunday is read texts # 13-15 in the Course Readings folder (you should know where this is, but ask me if you can’t find it). ¬†Then I want you to read each text carefully and provide me with two simple pieces of writing responding to it:
A) Very basic: just list the author’s full name, title, and publication info for each text
B) Choose one‚ÄĒand only one‚ÄĒsentence from each of the readings that strikes you as an interesting way of describing a sound in one of the songs being written of (or–in the case of Drake’s video, a visual). ¬†Copy these sentences into the first part of your response. ¬†Then write a paragraph that responds in some way to one, two, or all three of the sentences you’ve chosen. ¬†Simple and open, this one–be creative!
Thanks, as always,

Assignment for Wed 4/15

FYI, we will try to Zoom 2:30p-3ish next Wed for those interested in checking in and hanging via video and “real time.” ;). Anyway, onward…


  1. I’ve provided/posted my own feedback for everyone who turned in an Essay 1, which can be easily accessed by clicking “Essay 1 Feedback” to the right ( –> ) and clicking on the post with your name in it.¬† It is my hope that others will post their feedback as well given that this is a required part of the course, necessary to pass.
  2. I want you to send me a draft of your Essay 2. Work on this if you need to; e-mail me if you need help. If you haven’t yet sent me a draft of Essay 1, send that too!
  3. Writing Prompt: Making Connections Between Texts & Media.¬† One of the most important skills for college writing that I want us to practice in Essay 2 is identifying points of connection between different things we read, listen to, and watch‚ÄĒand writing about those connections.¬† To that end, I want you to look at readings 10, 12, and 13 (available here) and then do the following

A) Write out the basic info for each text: author name, title, and publication info (if available).

B) Make a list of anything these three texts have in common.  Take your time and be creative: think broadly and widely and obviously at first and then try to get more specific.  See if you can write out 4-5 points of connection in your list.

C) (Re-)watch the Drake music video referred to in reading #13.¬† In paragraph form, tell me about how you see the visuals of this video (the fashion, the backgrounds, the action, etc.) as connecting to the idea of “normcore” in reading #10.¬† Is this video “normcore”?¬† Why or why not?

For Wed 4/8

Hi guys–welcome back ūüôā

For Wednesday, we have some simple, but *bounteous* catch-up Essay 1 workshopping to do.  (Give yourself some TIME for this one.).

Please read and post feedback for the following writers’ Essay 1s:
Lisette Rojas
Redoanul Islam Sahat
Shanice Smith
Jeicot Suarez
Amani Wright

Remember, in the Essay 1 folder (in “Course Docs”), essays are named and organized by the writer’s LAST NAME first (e.g., Lisette’s essay is listed as “RojasL_E1”).

This assignment will be the last of our Essay 1 workshopping, as we change gears to focus specifically on strategies for developing your Essay 2 and workshopping the drafts of this later essay that many of you have begun to produce.

Of course, please do continue revising your Essay 1s using the feedback you receive on the blog.¬† You can give me your revised, “final” draft of Essay 1 at any time between now and the end of the semester.

See some of you on Zoom on Wednesday ūüėČ



Update / Assignment for Sunday 3/29

  1. Write a draft of Essay 2 for Sunday if you can.¬† This is the main thing to do!¬† To do this, you may want to re-read the Essay 2 assignment sheet (in “Course Docs” page); you will also want to read the article you found on the topic/question related to your song that you’ve been thinking about (and write a bit about this article); you may also want to re-listen to the song you’re discussing.
  2. Finish completing Essay 1 feedback for Jennessy and Shania.

That’s it!

PS. As we discussed in the Zoom meeting, we will try to continue our work through the “Pause” on online learning called for by CUNY the other day; that said, I will be flexible with the assignments due this coming Sunday and Wednesday.¬† In other words, it is optional for you to submit them this week, BUT in the long run these are not optional assignments and it will be expected that you complete them at some point in the next 1-2 weeks.¬† As always, please contact me if you’re worried that you’re falling behind, and we will work something out.

Lastly, when submitting late work, if you want my feedback on it, please e-mail me; otherwise, it is likely that I will not see it in time to write you feedback.

HW for Wed 3/25

Hi All,

So… I hope to see many of you on Zoom on Wed from 230-3p or so.¬† I hope we will have a chance to do some listening to and writing about music together, using some of Zoom’s “party” features that I learned about this weekend. ūüėČ

For Wednesday, I’m going light on you with the assignment because I want people to catch up on the work that’s been assigned so far–as well as on essay feedback for others in the class.¬† To that end, here’s what I’d like you to do:

  1. Re-read as much of the course website as you can (including blog assignments, essay assignments, other students’ essays, links to videos, links to library resources, quizzes, etc.).¬† Then, find at least one assignment you’ve completed and revise it‚ÄĒOR‚ÄĒfind one assignment you haven’t done yet and DO IT.¬† In your response to this blog post, under #1, simply write the title of the assignment you did or revised.

2. Find a text that connects to your Essay 2 song in some way and which you think you WANT TO READ.¬† Next to #2, below, write the text’s title, author name, and publication/website (e.g., NYTimes,, etc.).

3. Provide Essay 1 feedback for Jennessy Jiminian and Shania Newsam (essays available in “Course Docs -> Student Essay 1s”, titled by student last name).

That’s it. As always send me your questions… I’ll do my best with them!


HW for Sun 3/22 (due 5p)

Ok, everyone–thanks for hanging in there.¬† Here’s what I’m looking for you to do for Sunday.¬† As always, e-mail me with any questions:

  1. Take Quiz 2.  Note that it will automatically close Sunday at 5p.
  2. Re-read K-Hole’s “Youth Mode” and Jerry Salz’ “Art at Arm’s Length.”¬† Pick one of these texts to write a bit about (and post below).¬† When writing about either K-Hole’s or Salz’ work, I want you to do whatever you like in addition to doing two things:

    A) Introduce the text and a quote from it using the following format:
    In “_Title of Text_,” _Author Name_ observes that “___quote___” (AuthorLastName_p. #).

    B) Identify and discuss one key term that the author tries to define and explain to me the ideas the author uses to try to define this key term.  Also discuss any questions you have about the way the author has tried to define this term.

  3. Write and post Essay 1 feedback for Joseph Azor and Denis Hasancevic.¬† Both are available in the Essay 1 Drafts folder (linked in the “Course Docs” page).
  4. Post below any questions about this week or last week’s reading or writing assignments that you want me to address during the Zoom session I will be holding with students on Wed at 2:30p.


HW for Sun 3/15 (REVISED: Wed 3/18)

Assignment for Sunday–this is long but contains important course content: please read all of it!

  1. Connecting the dots; linking items in a list. ¬†You’ve probably noticed that we are spending a good deal of time working on our ability to describe carefully what we see and what we hear in time-based media (music and/or video). ¬†My aims in doing this are two-fold (at least):

–to help you improve your ability to write cinematically so that you’re able to install images and sounds in the imagination of your reader (this will help you write a compelling narrative for Essay 1)

–to help you write more carefully about “texts” that other people have made, including songs, videos, and writings–the latter of which can be even harder to write about than the former (this will help you write creatively and critically about media and your research in Essay 2)

What I want you do now is look at your list of visuals or words that you took notes on while watching or listening to your media choice from last week.  I want you to connect these terms in a paragraph or two, using complete sentences.  There are numerous ways of connecting details of this kind, but for now I want you to write sentences that show us how these visual or sonic details are connected IN TIME.  What comes first? What comes next?  What comes before?  What comes after? What comes at the end?  Below are some linking words and phrases you might find helpful in forming your sentences:

–“____title____,” a song/video by ___author name___, starts off with_____

–A moment later, the sounds/visuals change to ________

–In the middle of “____title_____,” we notice that _________

–This part of the song/video reminds the viewer of an earlier moment in which _________explain similarity between two parts____.

–We begin to sense that “____title_____” is ending when _________

–__AuthorLastName___ ends the song/video with ____________.

  1. Reading for Thesis Statements & Definitions. We are transitioning toward Essay 2, which will introduce you to several fundamental facets of academic paper writing (in a fun way, hopefully): thesis statements, definition, question-asking, research, and logic/idea-connecting.  WIth that, return to the readings on internet addiction I suggested for this past week (#7-9a) and choose 1 of the following prompts to write about

    A. Thesis Statements
    . ¬†A thesis statement is a debate-able claim made by a writer that his or her whole essay revolves around (if it is a thesis-based essay, that is). ¬†“The wooden chair is brown” is not a great thesis (at least if the chair appears to most people to be brown) because it is factual rather than debate-able. ¬†“The wooden chair is uncomfortable” works a bit better as a thesis because it is debate-able; however, it is subjective–comfort is in the eye of the beholder–and doesn’t give specific reasons that would make clear to the reader why the wooden chair is uncomfortable. ¬†“I’d propose that many schools may well have stopped using wooden chairs in classrooms because of the associated costs, the effect on the environment, and student complaints of discomfort”; now here is the best thesis so far (although it’s probably far from perfect): it offers a debate-able theory as to why schools have stopped using wooden chairs (debate-able because someone could disagree with this theory),¬†and it gives specific reasonswhich support the author’s thesis.

That said, not all thesis statements are clearly stated at the beginning of an essay–in fact, many aren’t stated clearly anywhere in a writer’s essay. ¬†So instead of looking for a sentence that sums up a writer’s thesis, we have to read their whole essay and then think about the different points they make, add up those points, and decide for ourselves what the main point or thesis is. ¬†With that, I want you to re-read Lauren Duca’s “The Viral Virus” and write a paragraph in which you tell me about 3 points she makes in her essay and what you think the thesis (her biggest or most general/overall “point”) is.

B. Definition of Terms. ¬†Another very important thing to keep in mind when doing college-level reading and writing is how certain terms are defined–by writers who you are reading and by you yourself when you are writing. ¬†In academic writing, you will often notice definitions of key terms and ideas that are longer than dictionary definitions–way longer. ¬†In fact, entire essays and books have been written by academics trying to better define certain ideas. ¬†For an example of this, you could do a quick search for articles and books on the idea of “trauma”; you will find many different ways that people (especially since Freud) have attempted to define and understand this concept. ¬†OK, this is why I had you read these other texts on internet addiction–they revolve around how this term is defined.

First, re-read Block’s DSM article on internet addiction, then re-read Lane’s “Addicted to Addiction” and respond with your observations on the following:

–how does Block define internet addiction? List at least three points he makes in trying to define what he means by this term.

–what do YOU think of Block’s definition of IA? ¬†List any thoughts or questions you have about any part of his definition.

–what does Lane, in his article “Addicted to Addiction” think about Block’s definition of “internet addiction”? ¬†Give us a quick sense of any problems Lane notices with Block’s ideas.

  1. Developing Questions for Essay 2. In preparing to do a bit of research, it can be helpful to develop a list of questions you might consider trying to answer. ¬†What I want you to do here is write a series of questions about 1-2 of the social issues you identified in a song you’ve selected to work on. ¬†The paragraph can only be questions, but there are different kinds of questions I want you to use. ¬†For instance, I want you to ask at least one “why” question that asks for reasons why something is the way it is. ¬†I want you to ask at least one question about ¬†the connections between two ideas related to the issue you are exploring. ¬†I also want you to ask one “how” question that points towards the way the artist has put together the song.

In Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam,” what are the connections between the sampled recordings and the lyrics? ¬†What is the connection between the history of racism alluded to in the song and the faith indicated by the lyric “this is a God’s dream”? ¬†Is Kanye religious? ¬†Are his listener’s religious? ¬†Why and how is he connecting racism and religion? ¬†How and where does Kanye use moments of silence in this track?

  1. Readings for next Wednesday’s assignment:K-Hole “Youth Mode” and Jerry Salz, “Art at Arm’s Length” (#10-11).

HW for Week 6 (writing prompts on media, readings on internet addiction…)

REMEMBER: Next week we meet at the library, so don’t go to our usual classroom; meet in front of the library on the fourth floor.
1. Pick a song whose lyrics speak to you in some way‚ÄĒthis can be the same as the one you may have already written about or a different one. ¬†Listen to the song. ¬†As you do, make a list of all the different broader “social” or psychic issues that the lyrics and/or sounds evoke (e.g., incarceration, education in America, drug addiction, love, cheating, etc.). Post your list here.
2. What Was Seen & What Was Said. ¬†Find a video you like (could be one you already wrote about–or not) and watch it at least twice. ¬†The first time you watch, make a list of all the visuals you notice.¬†¬†The second time you watch, transcribe all of the words exactly as they are spoken for 1-2 important or interesting minutes¬†(see Serpell’s “What Was Said” for a sense of what this might look like). ¬†When done, re-watch/re-listen and double-check your work. ¬†Post both parts here.
3. Read through texts #7-9a in the Readings folder, all about different ways of thinking about what internet addiction *might* be.
See you at the library.

HW for Week 5 (3/4)

–Write and post responses to the in-class writing prompts from today (below).¬† Due Sunday 5p.
–Post revisions of Blog Response 2 and Blog Response 3 by Sunday 5p. ¬†Email me if you are behind or have an “F” for Blog Response 1 (for Week 2). ¬†If you haven’t written a blog post yet, I want you to write two drafts of each post. ¬†For your first draft, simply write a response to the prompt. ¬†For your second draft, I want you to read through the feedback given to other writers in the class and then apply that feedback to your own first draft, revising it accordingly.
–Read: Namwali Serpell’s “Triptych: Texas Pool Party.”
I) Describing the “appearance” of a media object.¬† Cue up your current favorite song, video, meme, etc. and re-watch/re-listen to it.¬† Another option, following Tortorici (5-6), re-read posts you made on a social media platform awhile ago.¬† Now think: if you were unable to play or show your chosen piece of media to a stranger, what words would you use to get them to experience it in their imagination?¬† Jot down some of those words.¬† Things to consider mentioning:
–the sensory/affective details of the media object: what does it look, sound, feel like? How is it designed?¬† How do you interact with it? What does it make you feel/think?
–analogies, similes, etc that compare the details of this media to other things that your stranger might be familiar with: e.g., the bass drop on the Kanye track sounds like thunder, the images in my IG home page look like bathroom tiles…¬†¬†
   Try to come up with 2-3 sensory details and 2-3 comparisons.  You might start off by making lists, but try eventually to put these descriptions and comparisons into sentences.
III. Showing a transformation in your experience of a media object. 
Below is the format for a quick exercise for getting yourself to think of how to show the way your perspective on a piece of media changed over time (and as you experienced that media object multiple times).  It is quick, but the ideas generated can be used and developed in a longer essay (this material could be helpful for either Essay 1 or Essay 2, which will deal with your experience of a piece of music).  
¬†¬†OK, write your way through the below form (e.g., The first time….¬† The last time…) several times, each time including different details or impressions you had of the media object you’ve chosen.
The first time I heard/read/saw/experienced ____[media object title], I noticed….
The last time I heard/read/saw/experienced ____[media object title], I noticed….¬†

HW for Week 4 (2/26)

A–Read Dayna Tortorici’s “My Instagram.” ¬†This essay is LONG. ¬†If you have time to read all of it great; if not, I’d like you to focus on reading the following sections: Pivot to Image, Inception, Dysmorphia, Mimetic Desire, Inside and Outside.
B–Writing Response (due Sunday 5p): 2 parts
1.) Identify and write about a connection between something in Tortorici’s text and what you wrote about today in class. ¬†Recall that our prompt dealt with the Unit 1 theme‚ÄĒthe idea that appearances can be deceiving‚ÄĒand can be viewed in the Course Notes doc). ¬†In your response, include one quotation from Tortorici’s text and an explanation of why you chose this quotation.
2.) Tortorici’s essay is one that describes many facets of her relationship to a piece of media: Instagram. ¬†Next class, I would like for each of us to do a bit of writing about a piece of media of our own choosing‚ÄĒan image, video, song, video game, app, etc. ¬†To prepare, please include a piece of media (or a link to it) at the bottom of your post as well as 1-2 sentences explaining what it is and why you chose it.

HW for Next Week (2/19)

–Complete Quiz 1 (link above) by Friday at 5p if you haven’t yet. ¬†I will be closing the Quiz at that time on Friday.
By Sunday: Reply to my response to your post about Chu’s “The Pink” with a revised version of your original post.
–Post 1 paragraph of specific¬†feedback for each person whose essay was read in class today. ¬†Post each paragraph of feedback as a response to the post I’ve made with the writer’s name (under Essay 1 feedback).
–Read: Mirene Arsanios’ “April-May-June” (in “Readings” folder).
–Write and post below (as a reply to this post) your response to Arsanios’ text. ¬†You can write about any aspect of the essay that interests you and/or consider responding to (any of) these questions: What does Arsanios’ text show us about the differences between text-based and spoken communication? ¬†What makes this text a “narrative”? ¬†How is it different from a “thesis”-based/argumentative essay?
In addition, as we did this past week, I want you to quote one sentence from Arsanios’ text and analyze the language in it carefully: how does the word choice, word order, length, etc. produce certain effects on you as a reader? ¬†Explain.
–Remember, there is no class next week (2/12), so we will meet next on Wed 2/19. ¬†Between now and then, I will be responding to your blog work and available via e-mail (

HW for Week 2

–Complete Quiz 1 (online)
–Reading assignment: Andrea Long Chu, “The Pink.”
–Writing assignment (due Sun 5pm): I’d like you to respond to Chu’s essay in two different ways. ¬†First, I want you to respond *generally*: tell me what you think this essay is about on the whole, what ¬†you like about it, what you don’t like about it, what you find interesting, weird, boring, etc.
Then, I want you to choose and copy into a quotation one sentence¬†that stands out to you from somewhere in Chu’s essay. ¬†Tell us what stands out to you in this sentence, being as specific as you can. ¬†Try not just to speak about the content/ideas in the sentence; try also to speak about the way that it’s been put together (the sound and order of the words, the kind of words used, etc.) ¬†Try to respond to the question: What, specifically, do you think makes this good/bad prose (writing) and why?
Post your response to these two sets of questions below (as a “comment” on this thread). ¬†I suggest you also save your work elsewhere as you write because OL doesn’t have an “auto-save” feature (like Google Docs, for instance). ¬†You may also use parts of your responses to prompts like this in your essays, so it’s good to have it saved somewhere in document format.
–Write and email me a draft of your Essay 1 by Tuesday at 5p. ¬†Fine if this isn’t yet complete, but try to get at least 2 pages written. ¬†(You can write about a couple of unrelated things if you’re still deciding what to write about.)