Saturday, December 8, 2007

Revealing the Ugly Cartoonish Truth: The Simpsons

300 Word Response:
I liked this essay, Revealing the Ugly Cartoonish Truth: The Simpsons, written by Simon Benlow, for many reasons. This essay is a good essay because it was short and simple and it got the point across to the audience in about two pages. Also, it relates to me in many ways because I have watched The Simpsons since as long as I can remember and I have been entertained by it for the longest time. It also depicts a family and it satirizes everything mainstream America cherishes according to Simon. He presents a nice description of “Homer’s Odyssey”—one of the first season’s episodes. For example, Simon Benlow points out how they depict a bad, tardy, pot-smoking bus driver named Otto. He tells how everything was wrongly depicted like Otto, and the hosts of prisoners, the tire yard, and the power plant situation. Obviously, none of this would happen in real life because someone would revolt and command for change. That makes me think of other things like how the lunch lady at the Springfield school started serving up the students for lunches until they almost ran out of students—it was funny, but unrealistic. I guess they never really tried to make it too much like reality. This isn’t what Simon thinks though because he says, “The Simpsons is far more real than any “real-life” sitcom hopes to be (or wants to be). In the relentless pursuit to overturn our romantic notions of ourselves and our lovely creations, it is probably more real than the audience it attracts (and certainly more real than those whom it doesn’t).” I don’t really believe it is the most realistic because it seems to go over the edge too far as to be mocking America than praising it like live sit-coms might. So, this was a good essay and I kind of agreed with it but I don’t believe The Simpsons are realistic very much.

Writing Strategies:
In your own words, what is Benlow’s main idea?
Benlow’s main idea is that The Simpsons is more than just to please our most basic pleasures and that it is a more elaborate show that depicts a community that has lots of problems and it has much more important reasoning behind it than just to make us laugh.

Exploring Ideas:
Watch several episodes of The Simpsons, finding support for Benlow’s argument.
I watched many episodes of The Simpsons and I found much support for Benlow’s argument. For example, I noticed when a bio-chemical goes from the plant into town, which forever gets lost. Also, they show a murder that happened which the baby committed… because burns was trying to steal candy from the baby. There’s a lot of support for Benlow’s argument in various Simpsons episodes.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Entitlement Education

~300 word response~

Entitlement Education caught my attention because it responded to a book about consumerism in education. Bruno added to the book that the problem is actually entitlement education—expecting to get good grades for little effort. He implied that schools were not teaching the correct way that would enable the student to succeed in his or her future job. For instance, he said that the students are not getting enough intelligence, “This argument claims that a person’s intelligence contributes to his quality of life. Here we must remember that ‘intelligence’ is not just ‘knowledge.’ Instead, it is being able to use knowledge, to make connections and figure things out, to see causes and solve problems.” In other words, being able to use knowledge is intelligence.

Bruno also adds that students are being cheated out of ordinary cultural knowledge. This leads the students to miss out on intellectual conversations. It was also appropriate that he said, “The students who are allowed to slide by, who are content to slide by, who perhaps don’t even realize that they are sliding by because sliding by is all they know—those students find themselves arriving at college less prepared and less motivated than the ‘better students.’ And what happens next? Sadly, the gap between these two groups grows even wider.” This quote says that once the students go to college—smart or not smart—they panic and the gap between the smarter students and not smart students increases dramatically just because colleges require you to think—to use the information that you acquired in high school.

This all relates to me because I have just started college. I have been getting poor grades my first quarter because I am just now learning to use the knowledge I gained from high school—I’m starting to become more intelligent. I was getting strait A’s when I was in high school because I was sure good at being knowledgeable, but now I have to start being intelligent.

Writing Strategies:
2.) Bruno defines "intelligence" in his essay. How is this definition important? Might he have deleted this definition without damaging his essay?

The definition of "intelligence", in this essay, is very important because it distinguished between knowledge and intelligence. The definition, “…being able to use knowledge, to make connections and figure things out, to see causes and solve problems.”, gives a better understanding of why knowledge isn’t all that a student needs—it’s the intelligence that they must acquire. So, it would have been very damaging if Bruno left this definition out because it is vital to making the reader understand his point.

Exploring Ideas:
4.) How might you respond to Bruno's essay with an essay of your own? Write down your main claim in one clear and concise sentence, and then jot down your ideas for support.

Schools are already teaching to make the majority of students intelligent but they are not fulfilling the students’ greatest potential. There are already labs and trips which teach the students to gain the intelligence they need. If we were to increase the standards, then many unmotivated students would give up. So, they must separate the smart students from the not so smart students. Then, schools would be able to challenge the smart and not smart students at the students’ levels. We still don’t want to over teach the students because they still need to develop some social skills in school.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Floppy Disk Fallacies

~300 word response~
Floppy Disk Fallacies is a true argument in many ways. The first time I read it, I was convinced that computers are bad to have for younger students because they could affect their social & emotional values and their creativity. That was very strange for me because I believe technology is everywhere and that we can depend on it unless a world wide computer virus strikes. Now that I have thought about it for many days after reading this essay, I have come to my senses. I again think that technology shouldn’t be avoided, but other forms of education like reading, writing, math and other basic skills should be very stressed upon in school.

This essay relates to me because it was written about a year after I was born. It is a little off though because they didn’t have PowerPoint presentations back when I was in elementary school. They just taught us accordingly to what they did long ago. The school Elizabeth’s daughter was in probably should have gotten a better teacher if they were teaching with just PowerPoints!!

Anyways, the intro was good in this argument because it got strait to the point and she gave a good personal example of why there shouldn’t be so much technology in school. In the body paragraphs she explained how too much technology could effect an education negatively, and she even threw in how it is good in some cases. For instance, “Like all other electronic viewing systems (television and video games), computers leave little or no room for imagination. Of course, the virtual reality computers create is often full of fantastic images.” This would be an example of how students would not develop their creative thinking. I would have included how the students might not learn the difference from reality and the fantasy worlds. They may not learn cause and effect as adequately which may cause them to get in trouble when they are older. The ending of the essay pretty much summed up everything and it even had a call to action for the audience.

Writing Strategies
1.) why is or isn't Bohnhorst's introduction effective? (what particular sentences or phrases invite you into her thinking? Which do not?)

Bohnhorst's introduction is effective but it could be more interesting. Elizabeth simply gives a personal story in her life where her child tells her that she watched another boring PowerPoint at school. For example, in the first paragraph,"'Another boring PowerPoint,' responds Jennifer when I ask about her day at school. I might not find these words so discouraging coming from a company executive after a long meeting or even a college student leaving an informative lecture. But these words of an eleven-year-old elementary school student leave me feeling slightly uneasy." This pretty much introduces the theme and it somewhat catches the readers attention. It could had been a more detailed interest catcher.

Exploring Ideas
1.) Consider the claims

"Computers can undoubtedly contribute wonders to the field of education."--this quote from the essay seems to contradict Elizabeth's point in the essay--that technology should be something that students depend upon. Or, it says that computers do contribute wonders but we shouldn't depend upon them. Computers have done so much for the world to advance to what we know it as today.
"In fact, computer education is a must if children intend to thrive in modern society."--I feel that you do not necessarily need computer education because you could be a mechanic or you could work at a store. You dont have to have a computer education but it is a good idea to have one so you can get a good job in modern society. So, you don't have to have a computer education to thrive in modern society. You may soon or later though.
I could write a book on these two claims if I had the time.

Friday, October 5, 2007

In Search of… Something - 300 Word response

In Search of… Something is mainly about how consumerism is invading education and what people think of education in America. I thought it was an interesting because he gave a further understanding of what education is really for. For example, in the sixth and seventh paragraph he tells a story of his life and he tells the outcome, “I wanted an education to get something, not to discover something.” I also liked how he showed how the sales man with an expensive suite is more likely to attract the audience’s attention than a bum on the street doing the same commercial. Actually the audience would listen if they put the bum in fancy attire according to paragraph one, “Put that bum in a Mercedes-Benz and a double-breasted suit and society is all ears.”

He gives the information needed to inform the audience of the situation and he gives many examples that everyone can relate to. Like he makes a simile by saying, “Education is sold like a prescription drug. The symptom is: unhappiness in current lifestyle. The cure: high doses of a college education. The concept of obtaining a degree is the new and improved security blanket.” That relates to most everyone because almost everyone has bought a prescription drug, like antibiotics. He then goes off telling his story about how he learned what is really important in getting an education, which I liked. He uses a story that is very understandable and most audiences can comprehend. He also uses the comparison, “Education is not a genie that grants all wishes, dreams, and desires.” This helps re-catch the reader’s attention so they pay attention to the context of the next paragraph; which is very useful in a paper that needs to have the audience’s full attention. I picked this essay because it relates to my theme and it is very comprehendible to most audiences. Last of all, its missing a call to action.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

In Praise of the Humble Comma

Writing Strategies:
Lyer invites the reader to his text in many ways. He adds a question in the intro which causes the reader to focus more on what he is saying. In addition, he uses punctuation, which makes the reader pause frequently; causing him or her to absorb the information in the correct manner. While talking about punctuation, extensively regarding commas, he uses his own punctuation to help the reader develop more of an idea of how punctuation is so important. He also relates punctuation to common objects and feelings in everyday situations.

Exploring Ideas:
Lyer is attempting to show how it’s achievable to broaden or alter one’s outlook on a specific matter by relating punctuation to everyday situations. For example: In the first paragraph, "The gods, they say, give breath, and they take it away. But the same could be said--could it not?--of the humble comma." In his writing he shows that the comma, and other punctuation, is what gives the voice to writing. Before I read In Praise of the Humble Comma, I thought of punctuation of something that just had to be in writing. After, I realized that it is the most important part of writing.

Monday, September 24, 2007


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