Tracking my first author, Anna Jury, left me at somewhat of a dead end. She hadn’t written for many media outlets and the ones that she had written for previously, ended up being tabloids. None of which really stood out to me as good writing. Instead I followed a writer who we had previously read work from; Jia Tolentino. I continually saw her work online and in the New Yorker (I’m in a magazines class so I read the New Yorker in class a lot). Therefore I decided to follow her to a new venue. This lead me to The Hairpin, an outlet she had written in before. The first few articles that I read weren’t my favorite. The style of writing was overly enthusiastic (it included a substantial amount of bolded and italicized words, quips and jokes made in parentheses, and an excessive amount of exclamation points and question marks). However, not all of the articles I read were bad. The outlet is targeted towards women, and while they didn’t identify as a feminist organization, a lot of the articles were sarcastic and hit at things a feminist website might. One article I enjoyed was called “You’re Asking For It: A Short, Situational Guide”, a snappy, sarcastic list of normal things that women do, that are taken as them “asking for it”. It was written by Amanda Mancino, who I then decided I’m going to track from The Hairpin.
While looking for an example of either writing that was authoritative, but untrustworthy, or trustworthy, but not authoritative, I turned to Fox News on a whim. After reading quite a few articles (and being slightly irritated by most) I found one that I thought was trustworthy, but not authoritative. “Trust is a great champion of religious liberty – a welcome change from Obama”, was written by Tony Perkins. The article, which discussed both how Trump is doing more to defend Christianity as well as Perkin’s opinion on issues involving Christianity in the Middle East, appeared to be trustworthy. The author was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the article comes from Fox News. His quotes and many of the facts he was using to set up his argument were also factual (I looked them up). Yet, the method in which he presented the facts and how he used them to back up his opinions made him extremely unauthoritative. His complete lack of regard for the religious freedom of any religion other than his own made his opinions and arguments obsolete for me. While he may have a lot of knowledge about his own experiences, it was hard to listen to him critique others when he hasn’t considered their perspective, and doesn’t care to. Even though I believed his facts, I didn’t believe him as an author at all.
An example of a piece of writing that is authoritative, but untrustworthy is an article in CNN by Peggy Drexler, “What young Obama’s letters revel”. It is an authoritative piece, Drexler is a two time author and her writing is being published in CNN, a well-known and relatively trusted news outlet. However, her actual writing appears untrustworthy. While she is drawing many conclusions from recently released letters written by a young Obama, she doesn’t provide any content of the letters other than direct quote. It was hard to believe the inferences she was making and the opinions she had when there was nothing to back up her claims other than the assumption that she had read the letters and that her conclusions were the only conclusions. In addition, many of her conclusions were extremely overarching and broad, some could have been made without the context of Obama’s letters. She transitions more from discussing Obama’s actual letters to discussing the importance of letter writing in general and how it feels to be an adolescent. This is also not what I was expecting to read based on the headline of the article, which leads me to further classify her as untrustworthy.
I initially chose to read British Country Living as the periodical from Literati, and from there I picked Anna Jury as a writer who I was interested in tracking. I found that she has written only for British Country Living and The Sunday Mirror, so I went to The Sunday Mirror website in order to read it. Their catch phrase or advertising slogan is “The Intelligent Tabloid” and it lived up to it. The Mirror is definitely laid out and written like a tabloid, although I’m not sure if “intelligent” is fitting or not. After reading through articles for a while, I decided I really didn’t enjoy it. A lot of the articles were very short and suffered from a classic type of news reporting that doesn’t look at the bigger picture. The most obvious thing that I noticed, and didn’t like, however, was that many of the articles focused on things that are very graphic and included very graphic pictures. I think of myself as someone who reads a lot of news, but I hadn’t yet come across news articles that contained such graphic texts and images (with no warnings about the upcoming content). I thought that maybe this is the type of thing that separates the more censored US news from the less regulated UK news. Either way, I think I would take the less graphic US news over it; I personally didn’t enjoy reading The Sunday Mirror at all and I don’t think that it is a medium that I will ever return to.
While looking through articles written by Jia Tolentino, I was most intrigued about one titled, “Louise Linton Isn’t Mad. You’re Mad”, published in The New Yorker. I immediately recognized the picture from an article I had read previously about Linton flaunting her designer clothes and accessories while on a tax-payer funded day trip with her husband, the Treasury Secretary. I believe that this article is broadly written for people interested in politics. However, it goes beyond that by not being focused on the political aspect of the trip that Linton and her husband went on, but rather targets the materialistic and fashion orientated angle that the picture takes. Therefore the audience is somewhat expanded to those who are interested in fashion and how it is portrayed/sponsored through social media. It also targets anyone who buys into the near constant criticism of President Trump, as the wife of his Treasury Secretary and her actions directly affects how the public views him. I think that this article was written for me as an audience, specifically because of the fact that I had read an article similar to this already. I enjoyed Tolentino’s article on this occurrence and thought that she did a good job of not just reiterating what happened, including the post itself and the ensuing comments, but she delved deeper into how this compares to other governmental figures like Ivanka Trump and how she too (in Tolentino’s opinion, wrongly) uses the power of presidential symbols to promote her own brand. She also did an amazing job of not just commenting on Linton’s use of Instagram hashtags in inappropriate forms, but also gave a cringeworthy summary of how this wasn’t the first time Linton’s ignorance and privilege have clouded something she has tried to do, citing her book, “In Congo’s Shadow: One Girl’s Perilous Journey to the Heart of Africa.” If an audience member was unsure that Linton’s Instagram post was really as tasteless as many were making it seem, Tolentino does an amazing job of leaving little room for doubt.
While looking at articles and poems written by Mairead Small Staid, I picked one aptly titled “Girl in a Country Song” in The Point Magazine. I recognized the song title from the same one I had listened to over and over again this summer, and was therefore very interested in hearing what she had to say about it. Ideally, this article is written for people who listen to country music. Without any background with country music, readers might not understand many of the references made throughout the article. More specifically, I think this article is written for female fans of country music, although not exclusively. While it may not be written for male country music fans, it’s not something they wouldn’t understand, although they may not agree with it. I believe that this article was written for me as an audience. As a female country music fan who is increasingly frustrated with the lyrics of songs by artists such as Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, hearing “Girl in a Country Song” this summer was a refreshing and catchy break from the norm. I also appreciated that Small Staid’s article wasn’t a consistent praise of the song by Maddie & Tae. While it was one of the first of its kind, Small Staid acknowledges that “Girl in a Country Song” wasn’t going to do much to change the country music industry. She also criticizes some of the lyrics, specifically when Maddie & Tae say they aren’t cliché, and then go on to sing a very cliché line. Overall, Small Staid does a great job of both recognizing the importance of “Girl in a Country Song” as well as critiquing it where it needs critiquing, mainly with an expectation that the next song like this one will do more to shake up the country music world.
My name is Kirsty McInnes and I am a junior studying Communications. I have lived in Plymouth, MI for most of my life, but I’m originally from the United Kingdom! This summer I worked as a floral assistant and got to help create awesome floral arrangements and bouquets for weddings; it was one of the most fun (and stressful) things I’ve ever done. I’m also currently the President of Consider Magazine, a point/counterpoint magazine on campus and most, if not all, of my free time is dedicated to that.
I decided to minor in writing for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I received a ton of really great recommendations for the program. Ellie Flom, a junior in the program, bombarded me with stories of the amazing time she had in her Gateway course and I also received positive feedback from an alum whom I did an informational interview with, Miriam Akervall. Secondly, I’ve always been a very avid reader and my love of words has transitioned from just reading them to also writing them and shaping them into pieces that I’m proud of. I’m extremely excited to be starting the Gateway course and can’t wait to see where this experience will take me as a writer!