I don’t know how much more I can say about the videos and articles I chose, other than that they didn’t say anything I disagreed with. Besides Angélica Dass’s presentation, I read Ersula Ore’s article, “They Call Me Dr. Ore,” and the article and video by Sarah J. Arroyo and Bahareh Alaei, titled “One More Video Theory: Some Assemblage Required.”
Now I say there wasn’t anything I disagreed with, but there were definitely elements that made me uncomfortable, probably by design. Both Dass and Ore talked about personal experiences with discrimination growing up, and in their adult lives. Me, I’ve never felt that I’ve been discriminated against in my life. I don’t know why that is; maybe the military communities where we lived just tended towards tolerance; maybe being a lone group of Americans in a foreign country encouraged sticking together; maybe I’m just sheltered. The uncomfortable thing is that these and other accounts make me think more and more that, with the racial climate being what it is today…my luck is bound to run out.
While I’m writing this another idea occurs to me, based on the Arroyo/Alaei article. Maybe I have been discriminated against, but I’ve simply taken it out of the context of conflict where discrimination usually resides, and treated it as absurd. Laughed at it. That’s a long maybe, though; I feel like I’d know if someone was really applying racial prejudices toward me.
But now that I’ve thought about it, I appreciate this string of rhetorical pieces. Even though Ore and Dass left with me with a sense of nervous anticipation, “Some Assemblage Required” takes an interesting approach for dispelling that, not by equipping the viewer with statistics or facts that they might use to fight prejudice directly, but by suggesting the alternative of treating ideologies of hate with levity and dismissal. I guess only time will tell which experience proves to be more applicable.
Who is the audience?
Moviegoers, science fiction fans, ’70’s America
What is the exigence?
Enticing audiences to come see the movie and learn about the characters portrayed.
What are the constraints?
It can’t reveal any important details. It can’t tell us who the characters are, and it can’t betray the conclusion.
It is…distinctly possible that it was a mistake to read these articles right after sitting through the travesty (nudge nudge, wink wink) that was the opening presidential debate. At any rate, the first thing I thought as I read both introductions is that rhetoricians (or critics; to be honest I can’t tell which Bitzer and Vatz are supposed to be) overthink this stuff way. Too. Much.
Now if I’m being honest, I know that’s not really fair. The nature of rhetorical discussion and analysis means that it grows by thinking about it, and talking about it. The essays basically testify to that; Bitzer has one notion of how rhetoric develops, and in response to that, Vatz proposes another. But that doesn’t mean that it’s all new or exciting stuff.
Bitzer points out that “no major theorist has treated rhetorical situation thoroughly as
a distinct subject in rhetorical theory; many ignore it,” at which I thought, “well yeah, because the rhetorical situation is implied; everyone already knows it’s there.” No, I suppose that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be a theory on rhetorical situation(there’s one for everything else, so why not?). But also, no, Bitzer, you have not demonstrated that the question is not an idle one, just that you’re the first person to put time into it.
I thought I was going to side with Vatz, until I realized that he was going to turn it into his own rhetorical theory. Still, it holds some interest because it’s a showcase of a “genesis” of rhetorical theory: someone has a question—whether it’s genuinely contributory, or just desperate is open to debate—and probes the issue, forming their own answer, and someone else probes—again, actually offering something, or just desperate to contribute? Who knows—that and finds a different answer. In the end I do sit firmly on Vatz’s side, in the sense that I think situations are rhetorical, though I felt that was obvious from the opening lines of Bitzer’s paper.
To be honest, a lot of this material went over my head. I’m always pretty quickly unseated by terms like “dialectical” and “critical object.” Given the context, even “theory” comes across as vague. But part way through, an anchor of understanding appeared, which was the notion that the function of criticism is to analyze and to determine how the subject works. From that I gathered that the overall gist of what Jasinski is concerned with is the method or methods of criticism and whether there is value in standardizing methods of criticism, or some commentary on the discussion surrounding the theory and methods of criticism; like I said, I’m not exactly clear what the implication is.
The Michael Osborn paper is more direct and understandable, perhaps because it deals with a single aspect under the umbrella which Jasinski was trying to cover. He talks about one specific method: critical analysis focused on metaphors, particularly archetypal ones. His paper is essentially laying out this form of analysis in what might be termed a method for applying it. His focus is on the specific metaphor of light and dark, and how it’s use in speeches and writing influences the audience, not only because of whatever intrinsic relevance the metaphor has to the writing, but also because of natural human expectations and associations related to such elemental concepts as light and dark.
It reminds of some of the principles that we’ve discussed in the course so far. In our children’s books, for example, I can definitely see how one could apply Osborn’s thread of thought and analyze the collection based on light-dark metaphors. Off the op of my head, the allusions and impressions he attributes to it are definitely present in most, if not all of the works done by our class. I suppose in the end, the reading has raised the questions of how to determine the best critical lens (like light-dark) through which to analyze a given subject, and why I should care about method.
Still down a text book, but ready to get started, focusing for now on Before & After. My first impression was that it’s pretty awesome how McWade establishes visually the breadth of what elements will effect a design (hint: literally everything). I mean, it wasn’t a surprise; you’d expect that to be the answer if someone asked “Which of my choices affect my design?”, but the visual representation of how each choice, in color, in distance, in size and position, is powerful (meaning good design, I suppose). It’ll definitely make me reconsider every choice in developing future designs. I’m particularly interested by the distinction between a “physical” focal point, and a “phantom” focal point.
What stuck out the most was that this was method for creating a design from an existing picture. What was previously a pretty basic image with a passing suggestion of meaning was dramatically enhanced and turned into a targeted message.
With relation to that change and use of the base image, it really stuck out to me the way that meaningful colors and fonts were derived from the picture, such that when they were all combined, it seemed like they were made for each other; surely the picture was always intended for that article, right?
It’s interesting to consider that a design should begin before there’s anything on the page. It begins with knowing a) the purpose of the design and b) the audience. Will they be more likely to view the design on a portrait or landscape oriented medium? Do we want them to look at specific things, or taking in a number of things at once?
I can’t say I particularly understood the technique for choosing top and bottom margins. The process made enough sense, but I didn’t see the reason behind it. The color wheel and selection process, on the other hand, was fairly familiar but still a helpful review.