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Faith’s NYT Collages

 

By Faith H., 2:40 section.

Friday, Week 10

A good one to end with?

A misleading headline, maybe: Frank Bruni — Aristotle’s Wrongful Death”

Commencement addresses

Followup to 5/29 class:

Concluding thoughts

“One purpose of a liberal arts education is to make your head a more interesting place to live inside of for the rest of your life.” —Mary Patterson McPherson, President, Bryn Mawr College

“I thought that the future was a placelike Paris or the Arctic Circle. The supposition proved to be mistaken. The future turns out to be something that you make instead of find. It isn’t waiting for your arrival, either with an arrest warrant or a band; it doesn’t care how you come dressed or demand to see a ticket of admission. It’s no further away than the next sentence, the next best guess, the next sketch for the painting of a life’s portrait that may or may not become a masterpiece. The future is an empty canvas or a blank sheet of paper, and if you have the courage of your own thought and your own observation, you can make of it what you will.” —Lewis Lapham 

“It ain’t where ya from, it’s where ya at!” —KRS-ONE, Ruminations

“Everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt, and control them …”

“What I want is to possess my readers while they are reading my book—if I can, to possess them in ways that other writers don’t. Then let them return, just as they were, to a world where everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt, and control them. The best readers come to fiction to be free of all that noise …”

Philip Roth, The Art of Fiction

Brainstormed portfolio essay course key terms

Click on images for a larger (1200px) version:

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“Consider what’s become known as “confirmation bias …”

Consider what’s become known as “confirmation bias,” the tendency people have to embrace information that supports their beliefs and reject information that contradicts them. Of the many forms of faulty thinking that have been identified, confirmation bias is among the best catalogued; it’s the subject of entire textbooks’ worth of experiments. One of the most famous of these was conducted, again, at Stanford. For this experiment, researchers rounded up a group of students who had opposing opinions about capital punishment. Half the students were in favor of it and thought that it deterred crime; the other half were against it and thought that it had no effect on crime.”

“The students were asked to respond to two studies. One provided data in support of the deterrence argument, and the other provided data that called it into question. Both studies—you guessed it—were made up, and had been designed to present what were, objectively speaking, equally compelling statistics. The students who had originally supported capital punishment rated the pro-deterrence data highly credible and the anti-deterrence data unconvincing; the students who’d originally opposed capital punishment did the reverse. At the end of the experiment, the students were asked once again about their views. Those who’d started out pro-capital punishment were now even more in favor of it; those who’d opposed it were even more hostile.”

“If reason is designed to generate sound judgments, then it’s hard to conceive of a more serious design flaw than confirmation bias.”

— Kolbert, Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds: New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason

Please don’t …

Sylvia Plath’s things …

About a month ago I noticed this article in the Sunday Style section about some of Sylvia Plath’s personal belongings up for sale — Who Bought Sylvia Plath’s Stuff?” At the time, I felt compelled to get a screen shot and I saved the article in PDF. I didn’t know at the time that she would be coming up in our class — she rarely does in WRD First Year Writing courses, because we don’t really spend time with fiction and poetry. But she did come up, about a month later — serendipity! — and we had a good discussion of her work, which many of you read in high school.

So I thought I’d share this interesting article. (PDF here.)

WSJ algorithms

Kristof for Tuesday

Kristof, “Framed for Murder?”interactive vs. print version

Three last-minutes changes, right before deadline

Lela Moore/NYT: “All eyes were on the Met Gala red carpet 40 blocks uptown — when the #MeToo news from Albany turned our front page, and our home screens, upside down.”

David Foster Wallace: meaning from experience

“This is Water” audio (22:00 minutes)
“This is Water” transcript (10 pp.)
How David Foster Wallace annotated

Three gatekeepers

Arguing for a Purpose

Arguing to convince: claim + support

More often than not, out-and-out defeat of another is not only unrealistic but also undesirable. Rather, the goal is to convince other persons that they should change their minds about an issue. A writer must provide reasons so compelling that the audience willingly agrees with the writer’s conclusion. Such is the goal of advocates of assisted suicide: they well know that they cannot realistically hope to defeat or conquer those who oppose such acts. Rather, they understand that they must provide reasons compelling enough to change people’s minds.

Arguing to understand: stasis & truth seeking

Often, a writer must enter into conversation with others and collaborate in seeking the best possible understanding of a problem, exploring all possible approaches and choosing the best alternative. The Rogerian and invitational forms of argument both call for understanding as a major goal of arguing. Argument to understand does not seek to conquer or control others or even to convince them. Your purpose in many situations—from trying to decide which job to pursue to exploring with your family the best way to care for an elderly relative—will be to share information and perspectives in order to make informed political, professional, and personal choices.

Arguing to change yourself: Exploratory Essay 

Sometimes you will find yourself arguing primarily with yourself, and those arguments often take the form of intense meditations on a theme, or even of prayer. In such cases, you may be hoping to transform something in yourself or to reach peace of mind on a troubling subject. If you know a familiar mantra or prayer, for example, think of what it “argues” for and how it uses quiet meditation to help achieve that goal.

leaf

“But, as we’ve already suggested [invitational rhetoric], arguing isn’t always about winning or even about changing others’ views. In addition to invitational argument, another school of argument-called Rogerian argument, after the psychotherapist Carl Rogers-is based on finding common ground and establishing trust among those who disagree about issues, and on approaching audiences in nonthreatening ways. Writers who follow Rogerian approaches seek to understand the perspectives of those with whom they disagree, looking for “both/and” or “win/win” solutions (rather than “either/or” or “win/lose” ones) whenever possible. Much successful argument today follows such principles, consciously or not.” 

— From Andrea Lunsford, Everyone’s an Author 

Context for Brooks: “An Opportunity Coalition”

“Is there a way to improve family patterns so disadvantaged young children grow up in more ordered environments? Is there a way to improve Head Start and intelligently expand early childhood education? Is there a way to structure neighborhoods so that teenagers are more likely to thrive? Is there a way to get young men wage subsidies so they are worth marrying? Is there a way to train or provide jobs for unemployed middle-aged workers?”

“The Opportunity Coalition” 1/30/2014

  • Stasis?
  • Common ground?
  • Shared values?
  • Persuasion in the service of …?
  • “What’s possible”?

The American Renaissance Is Already Happening” 5/15/2018

“Back in the 19th century, during their heyday, Whigs promoted infrastructure projects, public education, public-private investments and character-building programs to create dynamic, capitalist communities in which poor boys and girls could rise and succeed.”

When citing the OED

Note that you can click on “Cite” and it’ll deliver a fully formed citation in MLA, APA, or Chicago style:

OED @ DePaul

Douthat on Kanye

Delusions of Kanye”

Studies on teen anxiety: social media, school, constant measuring …

“When it comes to treating anxiety in children and teens, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are the bane of therapists’ work.”

“With (social media), it’s all about the self-image — who’s ‘liking’ them, who’s watching them, who clicked on their picture,” said Marco Grados, associate professor of psychiatry and clinical director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital. “Everything can turn into something negative … [K]ids are exposed to that day after day, and it’s not good for them.”

[…]

“The data on anxiety among 18- and 19-year-olds is even starker. Since 1985, the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA has been asking incoming college freshmen if they “felt overwhelmed” by all they had to do. The first year, 18 percent replied yes. By 2000, that climbed to 28 percent. By 2016, to nearly 41 percent.”

“The same pattern is clear when comparing modern-day teens to those of their grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ era. One of the oldest surveys in assessing personality traits and psychopathology is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, which dates to the Great Depression and remains in use today. When Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, looked at the MMPI responses from more than 77,500 high school and college students over the decades, she found that five times as many students in 2007 “surpassed thresholds” in more than one mental health category than they did in 1938. Anxiety and depression were six times more common.”

WAPO: Why kids and teens may face far more anxiety these days

I don’t want to force a correlation here if it does not exist, but is there a potential connection?:

Recommended reading

“A recent article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Diana C. Mutz comes down on the side of culture. Dr. Mutz studied the responses of voters who were interviewed in October 2012 and October 2016, focusing on those who switched their support from Barack Obama to Mr. Trump.  She argues that these white voters turned to Mr. Trump not because their economic situation had deteriorated but because they were increasingly anxious about whether they could hold on to their dominant social position.”

“Other scholars have made similar claims. A report based on a 2016 national survey concluded that the white-working-class tilt toward Mr. Trump occurred because of fears of “cultural displacement” rather than economic hardship.”

You Can’t Separate Money From Culture”

“Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds”

“Why Won’t They Listen?”

Digital & Paper Planners

Via Pinterest

Programs and interfaces

2:40 section, here’s a preliminary list from Thursday of the programs and interfaces that you were required to use upon your arrival at DePaul:

  • CampusConnect
  • D2L
  • Digication
  • MyLabsPlus (Pearson)
  • LaunchPad (Macmillan/Bedford)
  • ProTools (Avid)
  • Google Docs/Drive
  • Library databases: WorldCat, Academic Search Complete, more …
  • Cengage LMS
  • Box.com
  • Adobe, various
  • Backstage TTS software
  • Instructor web sites
  • Ventra

Did I miss any? Email me, pretty please.

Your B.S. Meter

“… and so we might say that the most important thing one can acquire in college is a well-functioning bullshit meter. It’s a technology that will never become obsolete.

“Putting it this way may sound flippant, but a serious point is at stake: education for democracy not only requires extending educational opportunity but also implies something about what kind of education democratic citizens need.”

— Delbanco, “What is College For?”

“Consequently, the bullshitter is faking things, but that does not necessarily mean he gets them wrong. He simply doesn’t care. In contrast, the liar must know the truth of the matter under discussion in order to better conceal it from the listener or the reader being deceived with a lie, while the bullshitter’s sole concern is personal advancement and advantage to his or her agenda. Bullshit thus is a greater enemy of the truth than are lies.” (61)

— Frankfurt, On Bullshit

 

Philosophy pays off

“… the power of critical thinking: asking questions, recognizing that there are no provable certainties and analyzing the probabilities. And that, coupled with my coffeehouse lessons, was the best preparation one could have — not just for a career but also for life.”

Rubin: Philosophy Prepared Me for a Career in Finance and Government”

From contextual analysis feedback notes: draft #2

Be sure to add a title that telegraphs the topic & purpose of your essay:

  • What is an Immigrant? A Contextual Analysis
  • What can Contextual Research tell us about Race Relations in Chicago?
  • Who Should Decide What Constitutes “Too Much” Anxiety Medication for Adolescents? A Contextual Analysis

Those are literal, conventional, straightforward examples; feel free to be more creative with yours, as long as it telegraphs to readers what is it they are about to read. See 4h in your SMH.

Make clear early in your essay what the essay is about — your issue and what kind of research you are doing: “the contextual analysis method can help us understand what is really at stake in the immigration debate … the purpose of college … anxiety medication” …. however you are framing the issue — let your readers know there is something really at stake here, and you are going to tell us what it is! Don’t make readers wait, and don’t make them figure it out on their own — remember, try moving a little from writer-based prose to reader-based prose. Readers need guidance sometimes. Help them!

If you aren’t using the words “rhetoric” and “values” and maybe even “ideology” a lot in your essay, you’re probably not doing a Contextual Analysis. Try a CTRL-F search in your essay to confirm that you’ve used those terms. The more you use them the better, is my advice; don’t be shy about exploiting the key terms that are the foundation of your projects. If you’re worried about being “too explicit” about your analytic method — you may have noticed in some of your own research that many researchers discuss their methods in some detail.

If you’re planning a visit to the Writing Center, remember to tell your peer tutor that you don’t need a thesis or an argument in this essay — it’s pure analysis (comparison/contrast; synthesis; rhetoric, values, ideology); otherwise, because they are trained to look for a thesis, they might waste some of their time and your time.

In other news, a rhetorically compelling 10:00 video: “Colin Kaepernick: ‘Love Is at the Root of Our Resistance’”

Or, if you need it, those monkeys in Japan.

Thanks for reading!

Critical Thinking

Some initial differences in print vs. digital writing & editing

  • We don’t indent initial sentences in paragraphs — that’s a print & academic convention 
  • We do add white space between paragraphs
  • Line/sentence lengths should average 8-12 words per line for readability — longer than that, and the reader gets visual/cognitive fatigue and overload, rendering your hard work unreadable
  • We often use serif fonts — such as Georgia — in body text for readability
  • We provide well designed and managed hyperlinks, since that is what the internet & WWW were designed for, and every link is a promise
  • Good links have a few characteristics: a color contrast from surrounding body text of at least 3:1 — the convention is blue — underlined, and the writer has made a conscious decision to open in a new tab, or to open in the same tab.
  • Don’t justify text; keep it aligned left, or what some people call “left justified”
  • For the purposes of this typographic treatment, add images that help to break up the text and help to illustrate a point in your narrative — i.e., not just a decorative image. Your own images are usually going to be more compelling than stock photos.

 

Paragraph development & transitions

[P] Every wolf in Yellowstone therefore is more than just a wolf. Imbued with profound symbolic meaning, each wolf embodies the divergent goals of competing social movements involved in the reintroduction debate. Framed by environmentalists and their wise use opponents as another line in the sand in their ongoing battle for the heart and soul of the West, wolf reintroduction is a high-stakes political conflict. [I] Wolf recovery is often portrayed by environmentalists as being symptomatic of a culture in transition–an inevitable change (Askins, 1995). It is an image that plays especially well with the media: “[T]he wolf issue pits the New West against the Old West” (Johnson, 1994, p. 12), a milestone in the “transformation of power” from the Old West (Brandon, 1995, p.8). [E] Wolf restoration clearly represents change, but sound bites that reduce the social struggle over wolves to an “inevitable” transition from the old to the new are inadequate. They do not explain the underlying social issues driving the transformation. They do not capture the essence of social negotiation, the give-and-take of political exchange between social movements struggling to define the western landscape. Nor do they acknowledge that these social issues will remain after the wolf controversy has exited the center stage of public policy discourse.

Wilson, Matthew. “The Wolf in Yellowstone: Science, Symbol, or Politics? Deconstructing the Conflict between Environmentalism and Wise Use.” Society & Natural Resources. 10(1997): 453-468.

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Where’s the best place to keep, to post, to recall these 4/26 notes?

Methods

  • Reading
  • Summary: show don’t tell
  • Rhetorical Analysis: SMH
  • Writing with precision: words matter
  • Values/Ideology
  • Putting writers into conversation: comparison & contrast — synthesis
  • What happens?
  • What do you notice?
  • “Every wolf in Yellowstone therefore …”

Contexts and skills

  • Method, perspective, authority: writing with confidence
  • Revising, editing, proofreading: SMH
  • Time management; what’s going on week 5 through finals? What’s your plan? Do you have a plan? Start here.
  • Identifying and using resources: office hours, writing center, SMH, each other

What should we add?

  • Moving from writer-based prose to reader-based prose
  • Where else can you remember to use this contextual analysis method? Can you transfer it from our course to other projects in other courses?
  • Test my claim from the first day of class: writing isn’t hard — thinking is hard. David Brooks (!) suggests that when you sit down to start writing, you should already be 80% done: “

“I tell college students that by the time they sit down at the keyboard to write their essays, they should be at least 80 percent done. That’s because “writing” is mostly gathering and structuring ideas.”

“For what it’s worth, I structure geographically …”

 

FYI.

 

You might be in the wrong line

“queer devotions and frustrations …”

“It’s true that a student’s writing style isn’t everything and that much of what we call good writing cannot be taught. (Bad writing apparently has been.) One can be devoted to something — a band from the ’90s, surfing, YHWH— without being able to put that devotion into words. But my experience with students has me worried that years of “texts being read” and “tests being taken” have created the sense in them that whatever they’re devoted to doesn’t matter much to the rest of us — so long as they know the answers to our questions, so long as they pass the test. Writing so passively and with what they’ve been taught is appropriate and “objective” distance from topics they often seem disinterested in, these young people signal to me that they’re still waiting for something important or real to happen to them.”

[…]

“But what about those queer devotions and frustrations, experiences and ideas that have stirred an individual heart into peculiarity?”

Korb, The Soul-Crushing Student Essay”

Obit: Life on Deadline

Obitdoc

Delete Facebook?

The above image is the print version — much different, visually, than the online digital version: “Facebook Is Creepy. And Valuable.”

“Every wolf in Yellowstone, therefore …”

It’s also a good case study in the integration of sources and quotes:

Every wolf in Yellowstone therefore, is more than just a wolf. Imbued with profound symbolic meaning, each wolf embodies the divergent goals of competing social movements involved in the reintroduction debate. Framed by environmentalists and their wise use opponents as another line in the sand in their ongoing battle for the heart and soul of the West, wolf reintroduction is a high-stakes political conflict. Wolf recovery is often portrayed by environmentalists as being symptomatic of a culture in transition–an inevitable change (Askins, 1995). It is an image that plays especially well with the media: “[T]he wolf issue pits the New West against the Old West” (Johnson, 1994, p. 12), a milestone in the “transformation of power” from the Old West (Brandon, 1995, p.8). Wolf restoration clearly represents change, but sound bites that reduce the social struggle over wolves to an “inevitable” transition from the old to the new are inadequate. They do not explain the underlying social issues driving the transformation. They do not capture the essence of social negotiation, the give-and-take of political exchange between social movements struggling to define the western landscape. Nor do they acknowledge that these social issues will remain after the wolf controversy has exited the center stage of public policy discourse.

Wilson, Matthew. “The Wolf in Yellowstone: Science, Symbol, or Politics? Deconstructing the Conflict between Environmentalism and Wise Use.” Society & Natural Resources. 10(1997): 453-468.

Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think

From George Lakoff, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think (U of Chicago Press)

Here are some words and phrases used over and over in conservative discourse: character, virtue, discipline, tough it out, get tough, tough love, strong, self-reliance, individual responsibility, backbone, standards, authority, heritage, competition, earn, hard work, enterprise, property rights, reward, freedom, intrusion, interference, meddling, punishment, human nature, traditional, common sense, dependency, self-indulgent, elite, quotas, breakdown, corrupt, decay, rot, degenerate, deviant, lifestyle.

The same, of course, is true of the liberal worldview. Liberals, in their speeches and writings, choose different topics, different words, and different modes of inference than conservatives. Liberals talk about: social forces, social responsibility, free expression, human rights, equal rights, concern, care, help, health, safety, nutrition, basic human dignity, oppression, diversity, deprivation, alienation, big corporations, corporate welfare, ecology, ecosystem, biodiversity, pollution, and so on. Conservatives tend not to dwell on these topics, or to use these words as part of their normal political discourse. A description of the liberal and conservative worldviews should explain why.

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MLK resources

 

Page One, the film: background and context

Page One film home page

Page One streaming, via Amazon Prime

Pentagon Papers: highly classified and top-secret papers collected and distributed by Daniel Ellsberg to expose the government’s misleading American citizens about the Vietnam War (1971); resulting Supreme Court case, New York Times Co. v. United States

Wikileaks: publishes anonymously sourced and classified materials — the Pentagon Papers of the 21st-century, so to speak, except that it’s on the internet and relentless. The Pentagon Papers happened only once, whereas Wikileaks happens every day.

David Carr, NYT Media Writer

Brian Stelter, Media Writer now works at CNN

Tim Arango, NYT Reporter: now a Los Angeles correspondent for the Times after seven years in Iraq

Welcome to WRD 104: Composition & Rhetoric II

Spring Quarter, 2018

Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people.

Eleanor Roosevelt

In WRD 104 we focus on the kinds of academic and public writing that uses materials drawn from research to shape defensible arguments and plausible conclusions. As the second part of the two-course sequence in First Year Writing, WRD 104 continues to explore relationships between writers, readers, and texts in a variety of technological formats and across disciplines:

  • How does specific text content gain acceptance and prominence?
  • What counts as “true” within the discipline, and who makes that determination? Why?
  • How do particular text genres gain acceptance and prominence?
  • What are considered “legitimate” modes of inquiry within the discipline?
  • How do the content, genres, and modes of inquiry within a discipline affect the social relations of participants in the disciplinary community?

You’ll be happy to note, I hope, that we build on your previous knowledge and experiences; that is, we don’t assume that you show up here a blank slate. We assume that you have encountered interesting people, have engaging ideas, and have something to say. A good writing course should prepare you to take those productive ideas into other courses and out into the world, where they belong, and where you can defend them and advocate for them.

If you have a project from another course that you would like to continue, or a community project that would benefit from rigorous research, or a professional aspiration that needs research-based support, this is the course for you.

Writing Center 

It’s no secret around here that students who take early and regular advantage of DePaul’s Center for Writing-based Learning not only do better in their classes, but also benefit from the interactions with the tutors and staff in the Center.

Habits of Mind that Lead to Success in Writing, in College & in Life

Habits of mind refers to ways of approaching learning that are both intellectual and practical and that will support your success in a variety of fields and disciplines. The framework identifies eight habits of mind essential for success in college writing

  • Curiosity: the desire to know more about the world. In our class, that might mean challenging yourself and stretching yourself intellectually to think beyond the obvious and inquire into issues and contexts to which you might be blind .
  • Openness: the willingness to consider new ways of being and thinking in the world, rather than merely clinging to what you already believe to be true or not true; in our class, that includes critical thinking
  • Engagement: a sense of investment and involvement in learning; in our class, that includes focused reading of the New York Times and your contributions to the intellectual life of our class
  • Creativity: the ability to use novel approaches for generating, investigating, and representing ideas; in our class, that includes brainstorming, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
  • Persistence: the ability to sustain interest in and attention to short- and long-term projects; developing mental discipline and rising up to challenges, rather than backing away from them.
  • Responsibility: the ability to take ownership of one’s actions and understand the consequences of those actions for oneself and others; in our class, that includes practicing good time management, and identifying and using resources available to you — office hours, the Writing Center, each other.
  • Flexibility: the ability to adapt to situations, expectations, or demands.
  • Metacognition: the ability to reflect on one’s own thinking as well as on the individual and cultural processes used to structure knowledge: thinking about thinking and writing about writing.

bird-wire

Self-regulated learning

At one time or another, we have all observed self-regulated learners. They approach educational tasks with confidence, diligence, and resourcefulness. Perhaps most importantly, self-regulated learners are aware when they know a fact or possess a skill and when they do not. Unlike their passive classmates, self-regulated students proactively seek out information when needed and take the necessary steps to master it. When they encounter obstacles such as poor study conditions, confusing teachers, or abstruse textbooks, they find a way to succeed. Self-regulated learners view acquisition as a systematic and controllable process, and they accept greater responsibility for their achievement outcomes. (Zimmerman, 1990.)

The Wikipedia entry on self-regulated learning makes a connection to metacognition.