Ok, so now what does “global communication” mean?

Global communication, as a concept, is the practice of exchanging ideas, pertaining to any number of circumstances, forums, cultures, institutions, etc. Global communication, as a term, includes the modes in which citizens of the world are able to initiate, clarify, promote, and safeguard these ideas that are exchanged.

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Balancing Act

Once again, Seth Lerer leaves me wanting more.

Despite my fascination with practically everything Lerer touches on, I was able to isolate one topic that intrigued me the most; that the study of language not only represents culture and history, but that it reveals so much about our individual selves. Lerer states that “the study of the word reveal[s] not just a history of culture but a history of self” (3). He adds, “how, through individual imagination, [people] transformed […] resources into something uniquely personal” (3). And, although this next set of quotes contributes to his book’s overall purpose, I found that Lerer’s underlying message reflected my own personal reasons for falling in love with studying English: “to understand language […] it is necessary to understand history” and that “language is a form of social behavior central to our past and present lives” (4).

Of course, the study of English also has several focus topics that Lerer discusses, including spelling, pronunciation, and grammar, all of which contribute to the history behind language. One example of this is that English spelling is historical, but it is also etymological, meaning that spelling preserves early word forms. It does this despite the fact that the word may “no longer correspond to current speech” (5). In spelling, we have collected “souvenirs” from each generation’s travel through time.

The  desire to strengthen the connection that we have to ourselves on a deeper and more personal level can certainly be fulfilled by studying language. As Lerer states, when we wonder why people don’t speak English “properly”, what we are really asking is, “why doesn’t anybody understand me” (258)? I suppose I never really thought about how this human tendency, to feel misunderstood, may have more relevance to language than to the more obvious, psychology, philosophy, etc.. It is because of Lerer’s statements that I have a more concrete reason to explain my passion for English. Every day, I put a concerted effort towards the discovery and maintenance of balance; arguably, balance in life is balance in self.

Lerer’s primary goal is writing this book is “to illuminate: to bring light into language and to life” (3). I know that when I am feeling a particular way, I crave particular songs, quotes, books, or essays that will hopefully be able to give me some clarity on said particular issue. I believe that what Lerer is saying is that to bring light into language, is to bring a greater understanding for how and why certain elements (within that language) mean certain things to certain people at certain times. To bring light into life is to bring clarity into our existence, and though the answers we seek are often difficult to find, an illuminated path can only work in our favor.

Me, Myself, and I

How I write “I”:

Officially or Unofficially: Limit the number of times in which “I” is used. I never want to sound like I am the center of my own universe. I use it for emphasis, especially when making an opinionated statement. Writers must take ownership of their opinions, especially when they are, more or less, considered controversial.

 

Officially:

-Wordpress blog

-Course/professor reviews at end of semester

-Resume cover letter

 

Unofficially:

-Facebook status updates/profile info

-Notes to Mordy; greeting cards

 

Both? (Depending on the situation?)

-Emails

-Texts

 

 

What would Barbara Walters do?

Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Andy Rooney, and Katie Couric are some of the world’s most recognizable news anchors. These anchors, along with others like Barbara Walters and Tom Brokaw, have proven themselves to be the dedicated sounding boards for society, domestically and internationally. They have spent years upon years studying the news industry, and for the most part, have seemed to always have at least one primary goal in mind: to deliver the world’s most important reports.

I couldn’t help but wonder what Rather, Rooney, and Couric might think about social media becoming the next global news anchor. It seems as if Facebook, Twitter, and bloggers alike, are vying for the coveted position of lead reporter; and even though most (active) anchors and journalists utilize social networking forums for personal and business purposes, my cynical inclination leads me to believe that maybe – just maybe – they are somewhat bit bitter towards the idiot-proof modes that society currently favors in order to obtain the news.

Overall, I think that social media has created a contemporary avenue for citizens of the world to access the news. Furthermore, it would be wonderful to see this effect take hold of those who didn’t have interest in current events, prior to this “movement” of Twitter feeds and Anderson Cooper’s RidicuList. In my opinion, it is the younger generations who are least concerned with the happenings of the world outside of a 20-mile radius, so in this respect, I would hope that social networking continues to spark a bit of passion for cultural awareness.

Of course, I also hope that the social networking sites who claim to provide up-to-date and accurate reports, actually provide up-to-date and accurate reports. It would be a shame to see such a potentially viable facilitator for global awareness to become muddied and obscured while in transit across the ever-expanding Internet. 

(And I’ll go out on a limb to say that even the most notable, decorated, and acclaimed news anchor might agree.)

 

Just for fun, I present to you, the RidicuList link:

 http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/category/the-ridiculist/

Your opinion’s new dress code.

Dean Kruckeberg and Marina Vujnovic (herein after referred to as “K&V”) contributed a very thought-provoking chapter to our global communications textbook. Chapter 12, entitled Global Advertising and Public Relations, highlights some important focus topics, but, for me, the most prominent issue raised is that of global conformity, as a consequence of advertising and/or public relations.

I am not sure how this first point directly relates to my overall opinion, but I’d like to mention it anyway. K&V state that the US laypeople’s association of advertising and public relations is “corporate in purpose” (among other things). K&V determines this assumption to a “simplification” and one of at least three “gross inaccuracies” (272-73).

A few pages later, the authors state, “compelling evidence suggests that advertising has been strongly-if not overwhelmingly-corporate in purpose”. K&V site R.L. Heath, who states, “from its birth, public relations has been seen as a tool used largely by corporate managements to get their way” (277).

I’m sure you see where I am going with this, but just to state the obvious, I believe that this is somewhat of a contradiction. While K&V did dot their “i’s”, stating that the fallacies were to be addressed under the sole assumption of itself; and cross their “t’s”, noting that primary referral made was to “laypeople of the US” (272), the authors still, on the broader scale, documented a contradicting statement. Whether referring to corporate civilian or common citizen, stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, and I feel that to some degree, K&V are unable to ascertain the true level of control or influence the corporate world has over public opinion. Yet, to some degree, it seems as if the authors (perhaps, inadvertently) relate to the “laypeople’s” anxiety behind having their individual opinions determined by governmental, wealthy, or private sector parties, regardless of the actual individual’s opinion.

Which leads me to my primary point of interest regarding Chapter 12…

I’ve decided to call it “global conformity”. K&V incorporate terms like “relationship marketing” (278) and “societal corporatism” (278) into their argument; they describe public relations as bringing an “essential element of collectivism into the commonly individualistic world view” (Grunig, 278); and it is recommended that international strategy be “sensitive to the nuances of regional markets throughout the world” (276). Pertaining to feathers ruffled by Benetton’s death-row ad campaign, K&V attest that the “US media’s hostile coverage […] exposed the instability of hegemonic ideologies in mass-mediated public discourse” (276).

I think that K&V’s underlying point, one that is not made often enough, is that the corporate compulsion to create one, global, consenting opinion bodes impossible. Those in charge (of any organization including, but not limited to, government, non-profit organizations, clubs, etc.) continue to waste time and finances in the hopes that such an uttainable goal may be achieve. The marketing “officials” seem rather convicted that there IS a way to force a square peg into a round hole. Grunig is right: there is a “commonly individualistic world view”, especially in the US, because humans are, by design, individuals. Nobody wants to be lumped into a category, and while some choose to be more complacent with such practices, most would probably argue against being labeled by a handful of powers that be.

Batteries not included

We all know that books with pictures tend to qualify as “easy-readers”. I remember when my mother, an English-teacher, forbade me from reading anything that had an excess of pictures,  less than 300 pages, or font larger than a pencil’s eraser. At the time, I was sure that this was just another element of my mother’s plot to limit my childhood enjoyment. Even though she claimed that “real books” were the only way to allow my own ideas to form, I was convinced that she just didn’t believe in the fundamentals of being a kid.

Ironically, now, 26 years later, I am able to recognize that my mother was enforcing the fundamentals of being a kid, which of course I knew nothing about at the time. She was not holding me back from enjoying my childhood, but was equipping me with abilities to think outside of the box. Reading seemed to be anything but fun, but now I realize that fun doesn’t always have to be easy. Pretty pictures, magnified words, and paper-thin paperbacks make reading (and comprehending) easy, but certainly not memorable. Now, as an adult, I love what I used to despise because of my mom’s strict reading policies. In a general sense, my mom isn’t opposed to television or picture books, but she is opposed to anything that could hinder the ability to exercise the best part of childhood: imagination.

Chapter 6 emphasizes that the mass market press expanded as a reaction to the drastic increase in advertising revenue (107). Consequently, “readership increased because of the rising literacy and economic levels (107). This statement prompted me to wonder if readership has decreased in our modern-day society; economic levels certainly have, and I’ll go out on a limb and say that literacy levels have, as well.

Target News, a composite of Reuters, offers pre-selected topics, videos, and News Graphics, which “provides informative graphic elements that explain concepts behind the news” (114). I thought back to the countless number of times in which my mom explained how television is an intellectual cop-out; television and easy-readers told you how you should perceive the appearance, vocal qualities, and habits of the characters depicted. Real books force you to utilize your own mind in conjunction with the text to formulate your own perception. With that in mind, does the news really need to be explained with pictures? Are adults actually incapable of firing off the necessary synapses to connect the dots of a reported story?

I realize that the Internet will vastly improve global communication flow, for it already has. Furthermore, more people will be able to access ideas, news, and resources to facilitate a higher cultural awareness, worldwide. Admittedly, I don’t know what I would do without Winthrop’s Dacus Library online database, the New York Times online, or even Google, for that matter. However, my ability to formulate ideas, my methods for approaching research, and my techniques for writing academic papers, truly, have nothing to do with the Internet or all of the ways in which I use it. 

Perhaps I got lost in yet another, pro-literacy tangent, but I do believe this chapter raises several important issues. The notion of the Internet serving to handicap future generations of learners, while unpopular, is certainly plausible. Amidst the hype of globalizing internet access, and efforts towards creating a democratic flow of information to all countries, I can only hope that credibility and hard work, are recognized as valuable skills for one to embody.

Sometimes Two is Better Than One

English Department Rubric vs. Individual Course/Assignment Rubric → 2 Rubrics

At this point, you might be thinking to yourself, “Great. MORE things for me to take into consideration while documenting my  next draft”. I know all too well how English majors become programmed to diligently and correctly dot their “i’s” and cross their “t’s”, always taking care to properly cite how, where, and when they did so. While one instructor may regard a paper or project as perfect (or at least worthy of an “A”), another instructor may find that very same assignment to be less than extraordinary. Furthermore, sometimes it seems as if MLA is subjective, and the rules for this citation format seem to change every other week. I can attest to many frustrating moments where my use of any and all “official” MLA documentation guides only resulted in my receiving of a graded paper, littered with red lines and comments pertaining to my inadequate citation page. Therefore, I believe that the English department at Winthrop should develop a revised, general rubric, and instructors should develop their own, individualized rubric for each course or assignment.

Okay, so how is this extra set of “rules” supposed to make my academic life easier?

Before I answer this question, I would like to say that I believe students should be provided with MLA citation examples from each instructor/for each course, in conjunction with assignment prompts for reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph. That being said, here are 3 reasons/explanations regarding how having 2 rubrics can benefit students and instructors alike:

1) The English department’s rubric…

-should be objective

-should support the expectations of the instructor

-may help to track usage trends for varying project mediums

2) Individual course/assignment rubric…

-should clearly indicate professor’s definitions for descriptive words like “exceptional” (Letter grade “A”, Winthrop University’s English department rubric). (i.e., certain words are subjective and have varying interpretations; therefore,  descriptive words should be clarified.)

-should indicate priority of expectations (regarding the use of mediums) for course/assignments

3) 2 rubrics can “protect” students and instructors by…

– guaranteeing correct MLA citation

-recognizing the diligent student who turns assignments in early/on time; likewise, the careless student absorbs consequences for failing to abide by course/assignment deadline

-giving students a chance to accurately tap into each instructor’s likes and dislikes, regarding style, content, format, and medium preferences; thus, potentially giving students a “leg up” in accurately processing the course/assignment requirements.

Here is a PDF link to my suggested revision of the English department rubric: newrubric

Picture This:

Props to Lerer.

He still has my full attention. This week’s reading on war and language in Listening to Private Ryan made me realize that there is yet another, “sub-layer” to American dialectal culture. I found myself going into this chapter with a degree of hesitation, for I had never thought about war’s impact on language…or vice versa.

Lerer states, “In reading […] words make us see, and this, it seems to me […] is what the legacy of war is to the English language” (252). This statement is reflective of my most substantial realization regarding war and language. Earlier Lerer said that it is the journalist’s job to “picture things through words” (251), and I could not agree more. Furthermore, if journalism ever had a place in American history, it was certainly during war. To me, it is unfortunate that America’s conflicts with other territories had to be handled so violently, but there is no doubt that the results and experiences were most richly portrayed through words. (And just to mention for argument’s sake, art.)

I also feel that Lerer raised an interesting and important point, and that is that the “journalist of war is an observer, but he is also a great reader” and that “life becomes a series of recognizable documents” (250). I believe that reading in modern society is completely under-rated  (whether by hardcover or kindle), and I believe that the biggest loss for those who do not read is the experiences that come with the moments beyond the page: where you were when you read your first Nancy Drew, how you came to openly worship David Sedaris, or when you realized that Shakespeare could help mend a broken heart. Language gives us something to relate to, just like American dialects give us something to feel patriotic about.

Cultural UNawareness.

http://amazonwatch.org/take-action/stop-the-belo-monte-monster-dam

Please click on this link and sign the petition if you believe in human rights.

“While newspapers and television talk about the lives of celebrities, the chief of the Kayapo tribe received the worst news of his life: Dilma, “The new president of Brazil, has given approval to build a huge hydroelectric plant (the third largest in the world). It is the death sentence for all the people near the river because the dam will flood 400,000 hectares of forest. More than 40,000 Indians will have to find another place to live. The natural habitat destruction, deforestation and the disappearance of many species is a fact.”
What moves me in my very bowels , making me ashamed of being part of Western culture, is the reaction of the chief of the Kayapo community when he learned of the decision—his gesture of dignity and helplessness before the advance of capitalist progress, modern predatory civilization that does not respect the differences . . .”

By: Kevin (*Note: “Kevin” is the author of the above paragraph. This was a shared link on Facebook, but I wanted to cite my source to the best of my ability.)

 

I speak American

As I made my way through this week’s reading assignment, I became increasingly intrigued. So many quotables, so many insightful reading moments, and so many reasons to be proud of my American heritage, inundated my thought process. On the one hand, I realized that last week,  perhaps, I was a bit harsh on the dear old U-S of A. On the other hand, readings like this week’s are what provokes me to vocalize the not-so-favorable American tendencies (like the fact that I think many Americans reek of entitlement, especially when traveling abroad) because the crummy characteristics and bad habits should never down out the positive aspects of American history.

If one category of American history should qualify as the best part, than to me, it is the history of American dialects. Here are a few quotables, describing America’s dialectology, that I was particularily fond of:

“It is the place of the proverbial, the wisdom of the folk, the unadulterated voice of felt experience” (194).

“The essence of nation was to be found in its folk wisdom: as if tellers of tall tales or homespun Homers could be counted on to give us the truth of experience” (194).

“The natural, careless, unconscious, colloquial speech” (195).

It was this suggestion of American dialect embodying, and fully representing, the American ideal that captured me, causing me to think twice about thinking less of Americans. As the author continues, providing the list of Literary Representations of American Dialects (197-200), I could not help but be proud of how much American dialect stands for. It fascinates me to realize that just by reading an excerpt from a particular publication, we are able to identify different dialects, and their assigned regions of our nation, in a matter of sentences. Why do we know, even if we have never lived or visited there, that “Well, suh” (199) is obviously the start of something Southern? Why do we, as Americans, implicitly understand that the “dialect spoken by all those firemen on TV after September 11 was pure, unmodified New York speech from the nineteen-fifties” (194)?

I believe the answer lies in the love we as Americans have for the roots of what history says we based the establishment of this country on: the freedom to be unconscious; the guarantee of truthful experience; the ability to feel someone else’s journey. We want to connect with the fireman from New York, because we want to connect to the American in him/her that all Americans can identify with. There is a sense of unity in our country, and I do not feel that independence is all Americans want. It just seems that sometimes we forget about how our differences as Americans tend to bring us together for the greater good, uniting us in the rich traditions of the American way.