- Jay and Ellie on Sam
- Ashley on Ellie
- Amanda on Nicole
- Mackenzie on Allison
- Nicole on Sam
- Molly on Ashley
Responses to the Course
On the Page
On the Screen
In the beginning of the semester, a lot of our writing stemmed from the books we had to read (Boyd, Swanson, etc.). But as we moved on throughout the rest of the course, our writings started to evolve more and focus on more than just answering questions about readings.
One of the pieces I really liked from this course was James’ Concept in 60 video. The reason I found his video so amusing is because he used a concept that went in the opposite direction of what a lot of the rest class did (how to properly watch a movie at home), which I think is sometimes needed in class because people like to really touch upon more serious subjects, which isn’t a bad thing at all, but a little comedy sometimes helps everyone, even if though don’t admit it. I’d say my favorite part of the piece is the credits scene because he used a whole Star Wars theme throughout the video and in the end credits, he did a Star Wars type credits crawl which I thought was entertaining. Overall, I chose James’ concept in 60 because it was very engaging and was a good change of pace for the class because of it’s comedic approach.
A piece that I thought went beyond writing was Sam’s remediation poem “The Hudson River Blues”. I chose this piece because one, it was a remediation of an assignment done in a prior class, so I thought that was passing beyond some borders that not many people crossed. Secondly, I think that the fact that he didn’t use any writing in the remediation of the piece shows how much he went beyond writing. The edition of the background music to go along with the image of an of the actual Hudson River really helps brings out a more understanding and entertaining meaning to the poem and my favorite part of the post is how the image is moving from the sea up to the clouds. I thought it was pretty cool how as the poem was read in the background, the moving image almost matched up with the words, and if the poem were to simply be written then we wouldn’t get this effect as readers/viewers. All in all, there were so many pieces that I could’ve chosen from for both my favorite and one that reaches out beyond writing, but the two I chose really just stood out to me and grabbed my attention the most.
When thinking back on the work of my classmates throughout the semester, Brittany’s piece titled “Is Google God or Satan” stands out to me for its quality of prose. I love the way she started off with the quote, “Without its search engine, and the other engines that have been built on its model, the Internet would have long ago become a Tower of Digital Babel” (156). She describes the uses of Google in our lives in such an efficient and relatable manner. I think it was a really unique idea to pose a question in the middle of it, asking if Google and all that it has to offer is a problem or if it is good to have. This allows the reader to take a quick break to think about the question and how it pertains to him or herself. I also thought it was a great idea to list many different components of what Google can do in brief sentences. This is followed by Carr’s thoughts on the matter, which Brittany then connects to her own feelings about Google. I think overall this piece does a great job of giving multiple perspectives on Google and connects them together in a unique way.
I really admire Molly’s concept in 60 video about UDance. This is a great example of a piece where the writer has moved far beyond just writing and has really taken advantage of all that she can do on screen. I think it was clever to start off the video by proposing the question, “Why do UDance?” and then flashing this question on screen again on the brightly colored chalk board where students had the opportunity to provide their reasons for participating. This is a great introduction for not only her video, but also for UDance for those that are not as familiar with it. Showing the clips of students dancing, donating their hair and posing for pictures with their Be Positive heroes makes the viewer feel as if they are experiencing the thrill of UDance themselves. I also found it really helpful while watching it that Molly added a voiceover where she explained all of these aspects of the event since there are so many people who are not very familiar with UDance. The video conveyed a lot of meaning and shows how special this event is to Molly. I think she did a great job editing the video and making it look professional, but also sharing a personal passion she has with the entire class and showing a little bit more of who she is other than just as a writer.
One thing I have really enjoyed throughout this semester was reading everyone’s posts to the site. While all given the same prompt to write about, somehow everyone managed to write about something different so there were about 20 different perspectives and opinions to read about each week.
One write that I really admire for his prose and quality of writing is Will. His posts are always composed of really well-crafted sentences that seem to come to him with ease.
One example is from his most recent post where he remediated his concept in 60 video. While the whole story he wrote provides great imagery in the mind of the reader, some sentences in particular that stand out in their descriptiveness are:
“He was the head cashier of a Pep Boys auto shop, the dinky little shack down the street for him. It was there that he felt at home. The walls were lined with greasy tools and old tires, the floor battered with stains from years of mechanical work.”
“Will knew he had one shot to make it back to his younger self on that fateful night years ago. He pressed the red button, then the blue, then the green, then the red again, and finally the yellow. The machine turned on, humming like the sound of an engine. Will stepped inside. He waved goodbye to Dr.Bernstein. He might not see him again.”
I think Sam’s “How to Make a Grand Entrance” successfully demonstrated how you can move beyond writing. Reading this as a step-by-step guide (something like WikiHow) would be very confusing and hard to understand. During each entrance that he shows- his friend’s and his own- hearing his voice was really effective. Sure, one can try to describe the intonation of someone’s voice but that is very hard to successfully get across strictly on page. Hearing how his voice changes between his first generic entrance and his second attempt and seeing his facial expressions is something that provides great aid to the viewer that cannot be done on page.
One of my favorite written pieces for this class comes from Isabella. Titled “Everyday Curators”, this piece discusses the second half of Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows.” Isabella’s takeaway from the second half of the book that she discusses is that with internet, we as people have the power to designate what becomes relevant news and what does not. Moreover, the idea is that with social media in particular, we can share, post, and hashtag in a way that creates a story or brings attention to a particular topic. I feel that Isabella describes this brilliantly in her piece. My favorite line from this post is “Our phones are grenades—with them we have the power to blow something up. Not in the literal sense but in the sense that creates a ripple effect within a medium that reaches anyone worldwide.” This is such a powerful statement because not only does it utilize a metaphor, but it signifies our power as users of the internet. The idea of “blowing up” a story can have both positive connotations, as well as negative as we saw with Ronson’s book. Isabella does a great job at pointing this out and bringing to light the idea that we are empowered by our technology—we curate our information and pick what we think is important and skip over what we think is not.
One of my favorite posts from someone who moves beyond writing was James’ Concept in 60 video, where he explains how to properly watch a movie. James really utilized the subtlety of comedy in this video. While never explicitly saying anything super funny, something he does quite well is show the viewer how one should watch a movie in a comedic manner. The actions in the video that go with the instructions for how to properly watch a movie is what makes it funny. The one scene in particular that stands out to me begins at 0:42. In this scene, James has described how one should get into the right mindset to watch their movie. Because James is demonstrating by watching Star Wars, he is decked out in Star Wars gear. However, this scene in particular made me laugh because of the manner in which James lights up the toy light saber. He has a straight face while doing this, and it is this subtle facial expression, or lack thereof, that video allows us to see. In writing, we would have to describe this and it might not be as funny.
Fastwrite: Identify a piece you’d like to talk about. In particular, note what new meanings the writer was able to generate in moving from one medium or mode or platform to another.
Fastwrite: Comment on the uses of Twitter in this class. (I am not proud or invested.) Then, also comment on the uses of Twitter in your life beyond this class. Is Twitter dying, or not?