Harder Than I Thought (Blog 5)

To be totally honest, I think I had way too much confidence in my abilities to successfully emulate the Elite Daily tone and structure in my repurposing project. I figured this couldn’t be that hard. If I was writing in a blogging fashion geared towards people of my generation, I should be able to do it right? I mean, in reality, it’s just like talking to some of my friends. While this is the tone of the publication, and it is kind of like that, I found myself struggling a lot more than I had anticipated to project this voice in the best way possible. In terms of the “go-to” sentence structuring of Elite Daily, I lucked out in that I quickly realized their go-to sentence structure was super similar to mine. They get down a lot of their thoughts and either sum them up or interject them with some witty comparison. (Kind of like this, get it?) This made the structuring my piece a lot easier, because I quickly realized that the way they structured their sentences was super similar to how I structured my own thoughts, so I didn’t really have to alter that part of it. I noticed a lot more curse words entered my writing vocabulary.

While I’m a little embarrassed (honestly, not that embarrassed) <—look at that structuring! to admit that I don’t have the cleanest mouth, curse words were never a part of my writing vocabulary. Elite Daily, however, wholly embraces the art of swearing in their writing. This took some getting used to, but I noticed it definitely adds greater authenticity to the writing, further defining it as more conversational rather than academic or preachy, two things Elite Daily is not. Because I’m doing two different pieces for two different sections of the publication, I’ve found that I have a much easier time writing tongue-in-cheek about my own life experiences rather than in a more serious, reflective manner. That being said, the piece pertaining to using humor as a coping mechanism for the “Life” section, was much more difficult for me than the more light-hearted “Dating” section article about the 5 types of funny guys. Because I don’t generally take life too seriously, and this writing is very conversational, it was harder for me to change my normal thought process to be more serious. Not only did I have to alter my thinking, I then had to convey that new thought process in a reflective, serious writing tone for the “Life” section piece.

Blog 4: This Isn’t Your Average Mirlyn Catalog Quest

I think it’s safe to say that for most college students, research isn’t the most intriguing thing. Speaking for myself, any way, I 100 percent stand by this claim. When I think of research for my past courses at Michigan, I’m haunted by images of me staring at my laptop screen scrolling through the Mirlyn catalog for what seems like 18+ hours, only to find one or two “scholarly” articles that maybe have a sentence pertaining to my argument or topic at hand-which I usually deem “good enough” (oops.) I’m now wondering aloud if this sounds familiar for anyone else, or if I just need a serious crash course in effective researching? Definitely both, but more than likely, more the latter. REGARDLESS of my own struggles of traditional research, I was pleased to discover that starting the research for my repurposing project was a lot more interesting and I found much greater success than I have in my past research quests.

Drawing from what I plan to do with my repurposing project, one of the sections of my Elite Daily modeled piece (“Life”) generally requires more academic background than other sections of Elite Daily (which require pretty much-none.) I’m focusing this piece on the benefits and drawbacks of using humor to cope, so my initial research started by simply googling “humor and coping” in google scholar and the general search engine. I found several different articles ranging from Psychology Today to articles written in the PyscINFO database at the University of Michigan. Most of these articles talked about the benefits of using humor, but where they led me is what made me rethink the original layout of this piece. I was led to various popular publications such as TIME, Forbes and People, all of which talked about various entertainment figures and how their use of comedy/ humor in their live’s have come with drawbacks.

Based off the wealth of both academic and popular culture background I was able to extract on the subject, I’ve decided to model this piece as a numbered PRO and CON list of using humor as a coping mechanism. Based on academic research, experience of respected entertainment figures and my own dependency on humor as it has both helped and hindered me,  I feel like I have a lot to draw from in the creation and legitimizing of my piece. That being said, I may consider breaking the piece up into two different parts (1 piece= the pros and 1 piece= the cons) of using humor to cope. There’s a lot I’ve found on the topic, and I feel like I have a lot to say. It might be more effective and cohesive with the Elite Daily style to break it up, so it doesn’t appear so obtuse and long-winded.

Looking at my other piece, The Five Types of Funny-Guys You’ll Date in Your Lifetime I’m excited to use my own experience as well as the experience of others to create something that is hopefully super relatable for most women. I wonder if I’ll be able to get enough input/ dating stories from other women to make sure it’s as relatable as it can be, but I’m excited to see where my conversations on the topic go with my friends, peers and family.

Courtesy of quotesgram.com
Courtesy of quotesgram.com

Repurposing Humor

When deciding what paper to use for my repurposing project, I struggled a bit. Naturally, my first thought was to repurpose one of my papers from the 5 Communications courses I’ve taken since coming to Michigan. However, most of those papers were solely made up of my analyzation of different pieces of media, and none of them were interesting enough for me to pursue for an entire semester. I finally decided to repurpose a paper from one of my favorite courses I’ve taken at Michigan, it was my freshman year seminar entitled, “Language and Humor.” The paper I chose to repurpose focused around the comedy in being overweight, but for the purpose of my project I’ve decided to examine humor more broadly. While my original piece focused on factors (weight) and how that influenced the effect of humor, my repurposing project will focus on how humor influences different parts of my generation’s life.

In examining different genres discussing my topic, I focus on two very different publications. The first being a respected magazine, TIME and the second being what I plan on modeling my repurposing project after, the millennial-focused, blogging-style, digital publication: Elite Daily. Both of these drastically different genres have pieces that discuss my topic of interest in very different ways. Looking first to the TIME magazine article entitled, “Why the Funniest People Are Sometimes the Saddest” the article profiles the struggles of Robin Williams, and it discusses the darkness he dealt with, and how that darkness made him a great comedian. This article was published right after his death, and it’s exigence is pretty clear in that it was the perfect way to explain to the public why it would seem that someone so “happy” could do something so dark and depressing. The article itself isn’t confusing or condescending. It doesn’t use fancy psychological terms, or address things most people wouldn’t understand. It’s very digestible, and seems like it genuinely wants to try to address how comedy comes from darkness, thus providing some explanation for Williams’s actions. That being said, the audience is far-reaching and pretty general, it could be anyone from the age of 12-70+ who wants to understand more about the psychology of comedians or who was perhaps a fan of Williams.

Courtesy of giphy.com

Looking at a drastically different genre, Elite Daily published an article entitled, “9 Reasons Why You Should Date a Girl Who Makes You Laugh.” The article provides a listicle of 9 reasons, based off of the experience and opinion of the author, of which he describes why men should date girls who make them laugh. This type of genre is much different from the TIME profile in that it includes the author’s experience, so the author’s voice is entirely present. The exigence for this article is based off of the idea that this publication was created as they refer to themselves, “the voice for generation Y.” It provides a spot for millenials to better understand themselves. In order to understand aspects of dating life, this article gives the targeted audience a perfect way to relate and further understand their wants and needs in relationships.

After looking at these two drastically different publications, I’ve realized that I can go a couple of routes with my repurposing project. That being said, I’ve chosen to go with Elite Daily, but the way I’ve chosen to do it encompasses more than just listicles based off of my personal experience. I’ve decided to compose articles based off of the site, but for two different sections, “Life” and “Dating.” In the “Life” section, many of the articles address issues that require research and background, while in the “Dating” section, it’s mostly personal experience and experience of others in the author’s life. Because I’ve decided to write pieces dealing with humor for both sections, I feel I’ll be able to paint a more comprehensive view of the Elite Daily publication, as well as examine humor from both the psychological perspective and the more personal perspective.

 

Good Blogging

Durer 1508 vs Drake 2014
Courtesy of http://b4-16.tumblr.com

Personally, I don’t religiously follow any blogs, but I definitely appreciate them, and I had fun looking for one that I thought was worthy enough for our class to follow. The blog I decided to choose for our class to take a closer look at is called, beforesixteenThe blog highlights weird similarities between hip hop artists and art created before the 16th century- because who wouldn’t automatically associate Kanye West with Henry VIII? I think the reason this blog is so good is because it’s so shocking. The juxtaposition of two things one would normally think are opposites, hip hop and old art, are shown to be shockingly similar in the pictures chosen on the blog. Because it’s so shocking, it’s not only surprising, but it’s also really funny. When things that aren’t often associated are put in conversation with each other, it’s usually comical. This is evident in all forms of humor throughout film and television, with examples like a grandma who break dances or a dog that walks on its hind legs like a human.

The audience of this blog is definitely targeted towards a younger demographic, but one that is mature enough to understand both where the old art is coming from and who the modern hip hop artists are. That being said, the blog is probably most relevant for young adults educated enough to understand the art of the 16th century, even if they’re not all that familiar with it, but also young enough to be up-to-date on Drake’s latest album artwork. If I had to define the genre of the blog, it would fall under visual art. There aren’t really any words in the posts, but the pictures completely speak for themselves. The only thing needed to explain the similarities between the 16th century art and the hip hop artists’ cover work is the juxtaposition of the two photos. If there was text, it might even take away from the simplicity of the images that are already speaking volumes.

Writing Becomes Fun Again

After reading the excerpts from Ong and Brandt and looking at the gallery compiled by our class of what constitutes as writing, I’ve come to a rather abstract conclusion. I still firmly believe that writing is not defined by written text alone, and to me, it’s a language that comes in various forms. Although after our discussion in class I found that some may disagree, I believe that any sort of compilation of work can, and does, constitute as a form of writing. Looking at the media gallery constructed by our class, the things individuals classified as writing ranged from something as controversial as a photo with no text to a seemingly middle ground of text/image compilations to examples as concrete as a purely written note.

Noting that most of our class comes from various backgrounds of every major and previous academic experience, it didn’t shock me that there was some disagreement amongst the group in terms of what counts as writing. I didn’t expect a Pre-Med major to perceive a painting as writing. Based off of my own preconceived notions and judgements, I unfairly assumed that because of the concrete, science-minded academic culture they’ve been entrenched in for the past two years, individuals of this breed wouldn’t be able to conceive the idea that something as obscure as a painting could count as writing. However it shocked me that others of more liberally academic backgrounds felt the same way. Many didn’t think a painting constituted as writing at all, and in fact, it seemed that most of our class agreed there had to be some text involved for something to count as writing. Is it because of the rigidity of our previous academic experience that most of us feel this way? As a Communications major I’ve spent the past two years of my college experience writing to analyze, argue and synthesize, as most of us have. I, as well as others, am fully aware that all of these things constitute as writing, but maybe the fact that I’ve spent so long doing all of these things is why I’m now yearning for a more open-ended of idea of what does count as writing. I think, even if it’s not (although I don’t really believe there is a correct answer), I want what constitutes as writing to be more open-ended than what I’ve been used to my entire college experience because for me, that’s why I love to write.

As noted in the Brandt reading, “Several people that I interviewed made analogies to the arts in describing their workplace writing, highlighting inventiveness and perspective taking often associated with painting, sculpting, filmmaking, fiction writing” (Brandt, 155). As noted in the reading, even in the professional world, writing can be as equally expressive as a painting. So, in my opinion, it’s a simple connection that not only can writing be like a painting, but it doesn’t feel far-fetched to say that painting is writing. Looking at what I enjoy as a writer, the array of examples in our media gallery and pulling from the reading, my goals for the minor in writing have become pretty clear to me. I want writing to be fun again. I would love to express myself, entertain others and weave in various media forms to convey messages. I think that throughout this course and the minor as a whole, I’ll have the opportunity fulfill these wants. Hopefully the minor will allow me to grow as an expresser and as a learner, so that all of the work I produce is something I feel is creative, but not too abstract. I feel like the minor will allow me to grow my creativity projected in my writing, hopefully making what I produce more powerful because of it. I want writing to be open-ended because I want writing to be fun again.