Assignment for Sunday–this is long but contains important course content: please read all of it!
- 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 ____________.
- 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.
- 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?
- Readings for next Wednesday’s assignment:K-Hole “Youth Mode” and Jerry Salz, “Art at Arm’s Length” (#10-11).