Final Draft of Multimodal Project

Here it is!  (Hopefully full screen will work this time.)

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Final Project

I’m currently having difficulty doing my computer to do anything useful aka put together the video I’m making in an acceptable manner, so I’m going to post what I’m doing my project on now and hopefully I’ll have this worked out by some time tonight. Feel free to leave suggestions now or wait until my rough draft is actually up.

My project is on how social media influences and, in some cases, instigates social and political movements. I’m using tweets, news websites, blogs, photos from the actual events, etc to illustrate this.
Some of the movements: Arab Spring, Slutwalk, Occupy Wallstreet. There are others, but these are the ones I’ve mostly fully researched.
If anyone has suggestions for other movements or media that I should be using, let me know. Also, song suggestions are welcome, since I’m currently having trouble finding one I like.

Edit: He’s what I’ve got done. It’s in no way complete, but I wanted you guys to have something to look at.
http://static.animoto.com/swf/w.swf?w=swf/vp1&e=1334866378&f=a0GRUu9ol9rBffzxAiG1Lg&d=119&m=a&r=360p&volume=100&start_res=360p&i=m&options=

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News That Excites Me

So, this is sort of related to global communication, in that this is something that’s going to thrill people world wide. JK Rowling, the author of our beloved Harry Potter books, is once again writing. She announced this morning that she’s got a book deal with Little, Brown for a book for adults. At this time there isn’t a release date and no one (except, I assume, Rowling and the publisher) know what the book is actually about.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/feb/23/jk-rowling-new-novel-adults
(do yourselves a favor and don’t read the comments, they’re written mostly by imbeciles)

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DALN Analysis: ESL

I chose to focus my DALN research on people who learned English later in life, as a second or third language. I’ve always been really interested in the level of dedication these students must have to learn another language, especially one as ridiculous as English tends to be. In my four years at Winthrop, I have had three semesters of  Spanish, but I’m still as far away from fluent as a person can possibly be. One of my roommates this year is a Chinese exchange student and her grasp of English is astounding. I found five literacy narratives that pertained to the aquisition of English as a secondary language. These students come from different countries and live in different places, but all of their stories had one thing in common; the became sufficiently fluent in English – no small feat.

I picked the narratives at random, based mostly on the title. Surprisingly,  I got a diverse group. One girl was from the Philippines; she moved here when she was eight. The next one was a college student from India, who chose to participate in an exchange program. A boy from Spain moved to the U.S. when he was 4, so he’s been studying the English language for fifteen years, according to his narrative. A high school girl in China started studying English in middle school. A guy in college in China began taking classes in English in his freshman year of high school.

 

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The Language of War

Before reading this chapter, I had never thought about how language was affected by war. In fact, it never even crossed my mind that this was something that happened. When I actually thought about it, and the more I read the chapter, it made sense. Wartime has a very unique set of experiences not likely to be experienced anywhere else, so why wouldn’t language and culture be effected by it? I can imagine that not only are the soldiers that fight in the war zone, but also the people who live in the immediate area as well. The blog Baghdad Burning, which we were introduced to just a few weeks ago, is an excellent example of how culture is effected by war. All of a sudden this woman’s life depended on knowing if the gunshots fired were friendly or not and how far away they were. It blows my mind that I never thought of the way this would change a person’s language and culture.

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Response to Alex B’s “I Speak American”

I totally agree with this post. I know last class we were talking about how interesting it is that we can feel such unity as a country when we speak such different types of English. Dialects and accents would seem like they’d be more divisive than unifying, but the major thing in America seems to be that we all speak a common language, whether or not we speak it the same way. I always wonder how much other countries pick up on our different dialects. I think the answer is about as much as we pick up on theirs; so, very little. One of my favorite demonstrations of this is when other people try to speak with what they consider an “American” accent.  An incredibly entertaining example of this:

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Thinking About Dialects

As I was doing this week’s readings, I got to thinking about regional dialects, specifically those in America. If you live in the south, as our entire class does, then you’re bound to think about dialects and accents at some point, since our very own is so distinctive. The fact that one country can have mostly one common language that still manages to have so many different ways of being spoken is amazing to me.  The way our language is spoken is just as important as the language we speak when it comes to defining ourselves and the culture we exist in. This is most notable when moving from one region to another. I have a friend that moved to South Carolina from Colorado when we were in middle school. To her, our way of speaking was so different that at times it made her feel like an outsider, not because she didn’t understand us but because she didn’t fit in, a big thing in middle school. Similarly, when we met her, my friends and I were intrigued by her seeming lack of accent. The way we say words can say a lot about us, I suppose, and that’s something I find really fascinating.

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Google Doesn’t Care About Your Privacy

The internet is losing its mind, guys. Last week Google announced that starting March 1st they’ll start linking user information across email, video, social networking and other services including search and Youtube. They’re disposing of some of the legal complications that have previously made this move impossible. Supposedly, this is to streamline use of all of Google’s services, but really what this means is a complete and utter lack of privacy. They’re going to track our searches. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like the ideal consumer set up to me. An example of how this would work: you google cats (because that’s what the internet if for, right?), later ads for catfood and the ASPCA show up in the sidebar of your Gmail, you go to Google + and there are suggestions for people who also like cats, then you go to Youtube and there are video suggestions about cats. This sounds harmless enough at first, until you realize that Google is watching and saving your every move. Google has just become the world’s best internet stalker and they’re personally following you from webpage to webpage. Use Google Chrome? They will know what you do for every minute of everyday. And they will give that information to advertisers. In other words, your life just became a lot less yours and a lot more everyone else’s.

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Censorship in the Yearbook

After reading the blog entry last week about the parents of the elementary school student who were all up in arms about the missing portion of their message, I was both annoyed and amused.  I was annoyed because they made a huge deal about including something in the yearbook message that wasn’t even relevant to their daughter’s education. I’m actually incredibly surprised that they didn’t bring up their “first amendment rights”, as this is usually the first thing to come out of someone’s mouth, nevermind that free speech is not absolute; there are restrictions based on things such as time, place, and manner. If the school felt that it was inappropriate, then it probably was and it’s fully within their right not to publish it. I was amused because they got so angry over (what should have been) the least important portion of that message – the love and pride for their child still made it in there, surviving “those liberals” didn’t. I also find it incredibly funny that they tried their very best to use an antiquated, seldom used definition to make the case more in their favor. The moral of this story is probably something like, yes you have the right to say what you want (within reasonable limits) but not everyone has to publish it.

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Origin of a Word

Warning: people who are easily offended by words may want to scroll past this post. Otherwise, read on!

Being a Women’s Studies minor and thoroughly entrenched in feminism, I am often torn by the use of some words. I think this is pretty common among people with similar interests. There is the camp that believes that using certain words is derogatory; that these words should never be uttered because they are so degrading. Others believe that by using these words they are taking them back and removing the degradation from them. Some such words that have been “taken back” that are “derogatory” are: bitch, slut, and whore. Women that I am acquainted with will occasionally describe themselves as bitches when referring to the strength of their personality or a certain action where they came off as abrasive. The word slut was most notably used by women during the Slutwalk in 2011; this was an event that took place all over the country after a police officer blamed a rape victim for dressing “like a slut”. Taking back words is not something new, but the word I’ve chosen to do my origin post on is… newly reclaimed.

The word cunt has been around for hundreds of years. In fact, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s first documented usage was in 1325. Like another derogatory word referring to this part of the body (I am of course referring to the word pussy), the original usage was a description of biology and not considered an insult. A Middle English word, cunt went hundreds of years without having any negative connotations attached to it, though certain dictionaries considered the word to be “obscene” even before it became an insult, due primarily to the fact that it referred to the vagina and was therefore a taboo subject. According to the OED.com, the first usage of this word as an insult was in 1929, in Frederic Manning’s book The Middle Parts of Fortune  (Thanks, Fred, we really appreciate that)

The official definitions for cunt are: 1) The female external genital organs, 2) Applied to a person, esp. a woman, as a term of vulgar abuse. These definitions both came from the OED. From dictionary.com: 1) slang:vulgar the vulva or vagina, 2) disparaging and offensive a. a woman b. a contemptible person. Just for kicks, and also in the spirit of inclusivity (and also curiosity) I went to Urban Dictionary, to see what the contributors had to say about this word. The top two definitions are as follows: 1. Derogatory term for a woman. Considered by many to be the most offensive word in the English language, 2. A synonym for a woman’s genitalia, vagina, pussy, etc. If you were to keep scrolling down the page, you’d eventually get to an entry that defines cunt as the “receiver of the penis”. I find this both more interesting and more offensive than either the biological description or the insult. After all, what this person is saying is that they see the vagina as only a receptacle for (what I can only assume is his) penis, thereby turning a fully autonomous  human being into nothing more than a sexual object. It does seem, however, for the most part there are two accepted definitions of cunt; cunt as the vagina and cunt as an insult.

Wikipedia goes beyond simple definitions to bring up issues such as the division in the feminist movement on the stance of the word cunt. According to Wikipedia, radical feminists in the 70s sought to ban words like cunt and bitch. One such feminist was Catharine MacKinnon who said that cunt was degrading specifically because it dehumanized women, reducing them to a single body part. On the other side of the movement is women like Eve Ensler, author of the Vagina Monologues,  who believe that taking back the word puts the power in the hands of the women. Below is a sketch from the Vagina Monologues entitled “Reclaiming Cunt”.

 

Today, the word cunt is being used with increasing frequency, to the alarm and discomfort of many people, some of whom I am acquainted with. Personally speaking, I am not offended by the word and it’s many usages. Take away all connotations and definitions and I think it’s actually a quite nice word; there’s something about the way the word cunt sounds that really appeals to me, though I’ve always been partial to the hard “k” sound and most of my favorite words have this sound in them.

Just to wrap up this post, I thought I’d share a book that also is about reclaiming this word. Inga Muscio wrote a book entitled Cunt: A Declaration of Independence is all about the history and development of this word. It’s actually incredibly interesting, so if you’ve got any interest in learning more about it’s path from honor to infamy, this is worth a read, though good luck finding it because most libraries don’t even carry it.

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