I must admit upon learning more about what I was going to have to do for this class I was a bit hesitant. Like a lot of people, I generally tend not to enjoy having my writing about in such a transparent environment. Despite this one bit of hesitancy, I realized the class was far broader than that, particularly with the various topics that were brought up in the blog. Upon starting this course and realizing the frequency and openness of the writing, coupled with small groups, I set some goals for myself that included punctuality, openness regarding my views/opinion, respect towards my group and others, and expanding my writing and thinking skills.
I express some of my reservation regarding group work in this Blog post from Week 1:
“In terms of group work, the last time I was involved in a compilation assignment was for a technical writing course. We were tasked with writing a manual of sorts. It is clear that every individual has unique perspectives, styles, and methods. With this knowledge, primarily based on past experience with group projects, I decided to take a ‘laid back’ approach. Despite this, it is difficult to not take some form of offense when your personal work is edited and critiqued by peers, though it is often necessary. In terms of Wikipedia, as with any group dealings, some will perceive biases others don’t and in the end it is vital to keep the common goal in mind.”
In terms of a role which I improved in was as a group member. I have generally shied away from group work in classes, or at least not enjoyed it in the past. Thankfully the way this course was set up I was able to develop a kind of rapport with my group-mates which helped me to gain a new understanding in things like helping by review or simple encouragement. In addition, I gained skills as a student through the weekly blog writing due to the fact that it provided all sorts of room for various topics and content.
Some interesting topics we/I covered in the blog come to mind:
“One group of people that I feel are represented in a one-dimensional way are football fans. In general, popular culture tends to portray football fans as beer-drinking, overweight, unintellectual loudmouths who love nothing more than the ‘gladiator’ aspect of the game. This representation is so commonly prevalent that when I announced to my poetry class I was planning on writing a poem about football I was met with decisive criticism. Of course, the poem was not actually about the game of football, but of the communal, familiar, and church like aspect surrounding it. Without question there are a large number of people who go to or watch football games and are largely unaware of what it is exactly they are cheering about. Understandably so due to the intensely complex nature of the sport. The reason I choose this to write about is largely because of my upbringing. In veiled terms, some of the smartest men I have ever met in my life have been involved in the game and the business of football. While others went to church on Sunday, I would go to Foxboro. It baffles me how many time people must learn that generalizations are generally a poor viewpoint. We must all beware of judging before knowing.”
“…One specific gender stereotype specific to these ads I found troubling was the Pepsi Max commercial. In this ad, the woman is depicted as the controlling wife/girlfriend trying to make sure her boyfriend/husband stays healthy. The man is seem trying to get or eat ‘unhealthy’ food and is swiftly corrected, largely by physical and abusive means. The man is kicked for trying to order french fries, has his head shoved down into the cake he’s staring at, has soap put in his mouth while hiding in the bathtub, and finally has a can of Pepsi thrown at his for looking at and smiling at another girl, who ends up getting hit. In all instances there is abuse occurring. An ad would never air if the roles in this ad were to be replaced, nor should it. The problem though comes down to the continued enforcement of the idea that it is OK to hit a man but not a woman. As a young child I was taught by my father to never hit my sister or any other girl, so I never did. This message was never conveyed in the same way regarding my brother or other boys. Naturally, my brother and me would fight occasionally, our older sister would hit us occasionally, and my brother and I never hit her or any other girls. I have no intention to downplay the seriousness of violence against women at all, it is impermissible, the point is that violence and abuse of any degree and regardless of sex and gender should too be impermissible. As Ringo would say, “Peace and love, peace and love”.”
This class helped me to develop skills that can be carried over into future coursework as well as life. One would be the ability to think critically about a topic or even how I view an advertisement. Another would be the advancement of my Internet communication skills, which are clearly very necessary in today’s world. The analysis of ads is one skill that also comes to mind. In week we analyzed an ad for e-cigs which provided me the ability to dissect its message piece by piece:
This advertisement is bold, clean, themed for the product, ‘in your face’, presumptive, and presents an air of class/sophistication. In it features a white male with an attempt at a distinguished and inviting expression. It presents the subject, Stephen Dorff, at eye level, like a friend. In addition, the lighting of the ad displays Stephen’s face and teeth prominently, as well as his hand which is holding the e-cig in question. The photo was done with a prominence an emphasis on the color blue, a play on the name of the product, with bold and highlighted elements in various shades. Last, the font of the advertisements appears clean and modern. The brand name is highlighted in blue to further illustrate the brand, while various words like ‘Rise’ are highlighted with the theme of “rising from the ashes”.
The ad, which is for Blu e-cigs clearly emphasizes the retaking of your freedom by allowing you to not be a slave to cigarettes. This emphasis on freedom is emblematic of archetypes that many American males value. It is not only playing on the actual nicotine/cigarette addiction, but also the larger theme of the value of freedom in the United States. It would seem apparent that the primary target for this ad would be male (and smokers) in large part due to the text that accompanies the photo. By saying, “C’mon guys”, it is set in a tone of one guy talking to another. The emphasis on the color blue, while logical, is a bit overkill, with essentially every element of the advertisement in some form of blue. Although ads are largely annoying, it is easy to see the thought and attention to theme and style that was implemented. While still an ad, I can clearly see how this campaign may successful, particularly when it is aimed at a market where many have tried and are willing to try various forms of ‘healthy’ alternatives.”
Shout out to all the classmates that helped make this class what it was.