Liz Benton

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Final Post

Throughout this course I do not feel as if my writing as a whole has grown or changed much at all, other than the fact that I had to learn to integrate websites and multimedia elements into my writing to post it online. I felt that this was a detraction from actual writing skills and abilities and that this was the only aspect of this course that I really struggled with in terms of writing. It was a big challenge for me to just incorporate a hyperlink or picture for additional support and clarification of an idea as opposed to explaining what was going on. This was a concept that I struggled with throughout the duration of this course because it dose not encourage critical analysis or much in depth thinking. Also, I had to learn to write for a totally different audience- both of the English 1020 classes and anyone else who chose to view my blog online, not just the teacher. Additionally, I felt as if the fact that the course was geared more towards online posting rather than turning in hard copies of papers that this detracted from my grade because my layout was not always perfect. I feel that this also detracted from my writing as a whole because there was too much focus on the media aspects and not enough emphasis on just old fashioned writing.

Here are some examples of my struggling to incorporate hyperlinks into my writing for my blog posts; there is little improvement throughout the semester because the idea of it still seemed obscure to me. This is the most obvious in my essays that I have written for this class. When incorporating hyperlinks I chose simple, non-creative places to put them so it seemed as if they made more sense. My first essay that I wrote, the observational essay, was about horse breeding and the sales pitch that is made, I researched some of the places in Colorado that offered such services. “In Colorado, there are three prominent breeding facilities that offer breeding to exceptional stallions; Plum Creek Hollow in Larkspur, Colorado, Crooked Willow Farms in Larkspur, Colorado, and Middle Fork Ranch in Lyons, Colorado.” (Observational Essay) As you can see, I placed the hyperlinks in obvious places so they made sense. For my second essay, the reflective essay, I wrote about my boyfriend being in the National Guard and how that impacted our relationship. “When Tad and I first began dating I knew that he was in the National Guard and that he would ship out to BCT (Basic Combat Training) after we graduated from high school.” (Reflective Essay) Again, I incorporated the hyperlink in an obvious location.

The only essay that I wrote where I felt I incorporated hyperlinks for further clarification, not just to put them in my essay to fufill the criteria for it, was the last essay we had to write, the rhetorical analysis essay. I analized a political cartoon that compared President Bush to the Grim Reaper. “Recently President George W. Bush called for a troop surge in Iraq, wanting at least 20,000 additional troops to be deployed and those who are already there to spend an additional three months there; with the U.S. death toll as high as it is, Bush’s plan for a surge is being faced with a tremendous amount of scrutiny.” (Rhetorical Analysis Essay) Instead of just placing the hyperlink in an obvious place, I strategically placed it where someone could click on it and read an article about the troop surge and why President Bush is calling for one. Also, further on in my essay once I got more in depth with my analysis of the politcal cartoon, I incorporated another hyperlink that was used purely for additional support and clarification of the point I was trying to convey. “Additionally, a lot of people currently blame and associate President Bush for and with the death toll in Iraq and do not support his plans for a troop surge.” (Rhetorical Analysis Essay) This sentence with the hyperlink ties in the other term that I hyperlinked at the beginning of the essay and provides a link for people to go and learn about the current death toll in Iraq and how it related to President Bush being portrayed as the new Grim Reaper in our society.

Overall, I do not feel that I grew much as a writer throughout this course. However, I did slightly learn how to incorporate hyperlinks and write for an online audience, but how often am I going to need to do that throughout college?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Rhetorical Analysis- President Bush the new Grim Reaper??

With everything that is currently going on in our society, particularly concerning politics, there are many things that are under extreme scrutiny at this point in time. Currently, the Iraq War is one of the most controversial issues that is under attack from every angle. Recently President George W. Bush called for a troop surge in Iraq, wanting at least 20,000 additional troops to be deployed and those who are already there to spend an additional three months there; with the U.S. death toll as high as it is, Bush’s plan for a surge is being faced with a tremendous amount of scrutiny. This political cartoon created by Gary Markstein utilizes symmetry, juxtaposition, analogy, cultural resonance, pathos, and ethos in an effort to convey a position and feeling about the war in Iraq.

The fact that this political cartoon addresses current and prominent events in our society makes it easier for the reader to understand what the main focus of it is and why this political cartoon in particular is full of cultural resonance. Without the knowledge of the Iraq war, or what the proposed Iraq Surge Plan is, this political cartoon would have little to no meaning to whoever read it. Additionally, the Grim Reaper is a commonly known symbol and representation of death in our society which adds to the political cartoon’s cultural resonance and is a key element to understanding the full meaning of it. Also, the text in this political cartoon, “Sir, there’s someone outside who’s a big supporter of your Iraq Surge Plan” allows the reader to know the time period in which this event is taking place and makes it easier for other connections to be made. Additionally, the text serves to add an explanation of the visuals by adding a little bit more background information to it.

The frame on the left has President Bush himself sitting at his desk in what is more than likely the White House with a man talking to him, who one could go so far as to assume is one of his many advisors, telling him that he has a visitor who is a supporter of Bush’s Iraq surge plan. To the left is the frame with the Grim Reaper sitting on a chair waiting to go in and see President Bush.

The juxtaposition of the two frames in this political cartoon creates an analogous symmetry between them. The symmetry is created through the positioning and size of President Bush sitting as his desk and the Grim Reaper sitting in the hall waiting to talk to him about his proposed Iraq Surge Plan, which in turn provides for the analogy of the two. By doing this, the analogy suggests that President Bush and the Grim Reaper share the same sentiment when it comes to the Iraq Surge Plan, which is also supported by the text in the frame on the left with President Bush. Additionally, a lot of people currently blame and associate President Bush for and with the death toll in Iraq and do not support his plans for a troop surge. However, this is not just a recent issue that has come up. “In the fall of 2004, with no end in sight to the war in Iraq and the number of killed and wounded American soldiers climbing toward 10,000 (1,000 dead and over 8,000 injured), the basic questions of war and peace became major topics of debate in the presidential campaign.” (Magstadt 289) This just supports the analogy between President Bush and the Grim Reaper that is presented in this political cartoon.
Furthermore, the colors utilized throughout the entire political cartoon are not those of a bright palate. They are duller and monotone, which contributes to the more negative feelings associated with this political cartoon. Also, the coloration is fairly symmetrical between the two frames of the political cartoon. The chair that President Bush is sitting in and the Grim Reaper’s robe are the same color and even account for the desk. And the person who, in the left frame, is telling President Bush that there is someone outside to see him is portrayed as a shadow in the right frame next to the Grim Reaper. In addition to those symmetries, the windows on the left and the wall on the right are of similar coloring too. This furthers the analogy between President Bush and the Grim Reaper because it highlights similarities between the two.

In addition to cultural resonance and analogous symmetry, this political cartoon also utilized ethos and pathos. Ethos is used because President Bush and the Grim Reaper are two figures that people can easily recognize which in turn relates the political cartoon to current events. However, it would be challenging to put two-and-two together if you were unaware of current events, or if somehow you were unaware of what our president looked like, or what the Grim Reaper symbolizes. Pathos is used because of the emotional response that is evoked when looking at this political cartoon, a response that is potentially full of anger, sorrow, confusion, blame, or numerous other emotions that accompany both death and the war in Iraq. Also, the war in Iraq has been the cause of thousands upon thousands of deaths of both Americans and Iraqis which is why it would be logical for the Grim Reaper, the symbol of death, to be labeled as “a big supporter of [the] Iraq Surge Plan”. Without the Grim Reaper and the implications that its image contributes to this political cartoon, most of the meaning would be lost.

This political cartoon is a prime example of how our society as a whole feels about President Bush’s decision to send even more troops into Iraq, especially when the death toll is already so high and the support for the war is not as strong as it was at one point in time. The Grim Reaper is used as visual support for the deaths that are constantly occurring as a result of Bush’s decisions and is labeled as “a big supporter” of the war. All in all, this is a very powerful political cartoon that catches the reader’s attention and is fairly simple to understand.

Works Cited

Magstadt, Thomas M.. Understanding Politics- Ideas, Institutions, & Issues. Belmont: Stratford Publishing Services, Inc., 2006.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Post 17- Freewrite #3!

I spent my day horse shopping, which I know does not sound that exciting to most people, and sometimes it does not even sound exciting to me. Horse shopping is kind of like buying a new car- you go into with an idea of what you want; the size, color, price, brand, etc. and you almost never go with the first car you drive until you have gone and driven other cars to make sure that it is the best car you can get for your money. Well, horse shopping is exactly like that. You go into with how much money you are willing to spend, how much training you want the horse to have, how big you want the horse to be, what color the horse is, what breed it is, etc, etc.

Today was the beginning of a LONG process for me, but the first horse I rode, Blue, is the one I like the most so far, but so far I have only tried out two horses. I get to spend my week riding as many other horses as possible, then I get to go back and see if this horse still stands out to me. I went into this process with a very specific mold in my mind of what I want in my new horse and Blue had every quality but one… He is a grey which means more maintenance because he is a lighter color. But, in all honesty, just like car shopping, color should be the least of your worries if it performs exactly how you want it to.

I guess I will see what this week brings with other horses and hope that I find one that I fall in love with so I can get ready for the show season and go out and show.

Post 16- Freewrite #2!

I am hoping to transfer to the University of Denver next year and am currently waiting to find out whether or not I have been accepted. I was supposed to find out by Friday, April 20th, but apparently not. According to the registrar at the University of Denver, my transcripts from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center for my fall 2006 grades were never sent. Delightful, is it not? I am not going to lie, I am more than just a little irritated that I get to wait even longer to find out whether or not I have been accepted. It has already been a month, which according to the transfer coordinator at the University of Denver, is almost twice what the normal decision making period is… So, with that logic, I should have found out already.

The reason I want to go to the University of Denver is because I am a Political Science major, focusing on the pre-law aspects of it. I want to continue on to law school after all of my undergraduate work is complete, and the University of Denver has my top pick as far as law schools are concerned in my mind. However, that is not the only thing that attracts me to the University of Denver for my undergraduate work. The University of Denver is located in one of my favorite parts of Denver- you are close enough to downtown that it only takes five to ten minutes to get there, yet far enough away that all of the hustle and bustle of being in the city is gone. The campus is amazing, it is absolutely gorgeous and perfectly situated within the neighborhoods of the area.

So, I guess I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that I find out whether or not I have been accepted quickly so I can plan for next year.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Post 15- Freewrite!

Recently I was informed that due to the injury my horse Luna suffered in February, 2004 that she will not be able to be used in the manor in which I intended at the time of her purchase… So, now I get to do the whole horse shopping thing all over again, only this time I get to go all out! For those of you who did not already know this about me, I horseback ride VERY competitively. I show in the jumper division through the Colorado Hunter Jumper Association that holds shows almost every weekend throughout the summer.

My goal for this show season is to compete through level 4/5 jumpers which is 3’9”-4’ fences, so to do this, I need to buy a well trained horse. The show season begins in May, so at this point in time I have all of two weeks to find a new horse and start showing, which is not an easy task. My horse Luna that I have right now is a nice imported German Warmblood that was bred to jump, so I am looking for something of the same caliber, only a little bit bigger and a lot more experienced. However, the only drawback is that Colorado is not the best state to buy a horse of this nature. So, for the first two weeks of my summer I am going to be traveling to California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Wyoming to look for horses, sounds crazy, I know.

I am hoping that by the middle of May I will have a horse that I can show at the level I want and do well with because it has been awhile since I have actually shown.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Post 14


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Post 13

This advertisement, which is meant to be a spoof of a Calvin Klein underwear advertisement with a nice, buff guy with a perfect body, is the reality of life, as the advertisement says. In turn, this advertisement utilizes a few rhetorical strategies. Across the chest of the not so appealing man, the advertisement says “REALITY for men” utilizing narration, analogy, comparison and contrast, and classification. The narration aspect is the words “REALITY for men” across the mans chest because it, instead of selling the product, tells a story of what most men look like in real life. The analogy is the “selling point” that not all men look like they do in all of the Calvin Klein advertisements. There is a comparison between this advertisement, with the not so attractive man who is overweight with a hairy chest, to the usual Calvin Klein models who are attractive- or at least their bodies are and they are in good shape with no hair on their chest, this is also the element of contrasting the two. Additionally, the classification used in this advertisement is the fact that it places men in what is a more normal category for them than the usual Calvin Klein advertisement that does nothing of that sort, it instead holds men to a much higher standard of appearance which just is not the case.
Additionally, this advertisement appeals to emotions, ethos, in the sense that it is comical more than anything. How often do you see a male who is not in tip top shape in an underwear advertisement, whether it is serious or not? However, as I have previously mentioned, it does a good job of placing less emphasis on the fact that most male models are fairly attractive. So, in that sense, this advertisement is a good thing because it brings people back to reality and the fact that not everyone has the perfect body.