Lost & Lost & And Maybe Found

So I’ve been wandering a little aimlessly with the direction of my Repurposing project. I’ve thought of narrowing down my topic a little too much, and lost my exigence. But luckily, once I heard feedback from Naomi, I felt a little more back on track again and regained my focus on my project.

There is so much reading I’d like to do. So far, I’ve read definitions of what it means to “be country” or what counts as “country music” in both a traditional dictionary sense, and what our culture has made of it. This has involved articles analyzing the country music genre and it’s progression over time, people’s personal opinions of country music in chat forums, and articles on various country music artists.

I’ve found quite a few…interesting things. For starters, some people have some real strong opinions about country. One person said, “If all country were instrumental I could tolerate it. Perhaps even enjoy some of it, if administered in small doses. But that god-awful, screechy, nasally, twangy, wailing often accompanied by poor grammar and a heavy “country” or southern accent is like nails on a chalkboard…” It went on and on and on. This person wasn’t the only one to find country music so ‘repulsive,’ although they had nicer ways to put it. Someone else who actually favored country said something that I found to be particularly interesting: “…I’ve been laughed at and ridiculed since first grade for listening to country music.” So far, I want my Repurposing project to be a narrative investigative journalist piece, so I think it will be really meaningful to weave in some of these quotes. Perhaps not specifically these two. Just some ideas…  

As for the articles I came across, I won’t go into detail about them in this blog post, but I noticed a few quotes that were particularly interesting.

What Is and Isn’t “Real” Country Music (http://www.cmt.com/news/1708291/what-is-and-isnt-real-country-music/)

“Well, we know country was pure somewhere back there.

Wasn’t it? Not really. Country music is replete with complaints about how bad it is now and how good it was then. The problem is that “now” keeps inching forward and turning into “then.””

The Problem With “Country for People Who Don’t Like Country” 

(http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/music_box/2015/06/kacey_musgraves_new_album_pageant_material_reviewed_the_follow_your_arrow.html)

“Country also comes pre-indicted as the soundtrack to the “toggle switch between ‘bland nothingness’ and ‘racist hatred’ ” that is whiteness, as Nell Irvin Painter argued last weekend in the New York Times. It’s a catch-22 that a lot of white Americans long to wriggle out of, whether through grave historical penance or blithe wishful thinking—and many of them consider it no help that those other white people insist on continuing to listen to that awful country music.”

“No wonder then that when a figure like Kacey Musgraves comes along, singing gay-positive, narrowness-negative country songs (let alone a figure like the promising young country singer Mickey Guyton, who is an even rarer sighting as a black woman), an unsustainable burden falls upon their shoulders.”

Investigative Journalism, Of Course

My repurposing project falls under the category of investigative journalism. What I love about this genre is that there are a lot of ways to approach it, and a multitude of ways to build ethos, pathos, and logos.

One of my favorite investigative journalists/authors, Malcolm Gladwell, wrote an article titled Big and Bad that I thought utilized some particularly effective rhetorical strategies. In his text, he explored the topic of the history of SUVs and automotive safety in America. He wove in historical facts and quotes from interviews with experts on the subject. Not only that, but he also visited an automobile-testing center and test-drove cars himself. By involving himself in the process of automotive-testing, he essentially wove himself into the narrative and was able to establish ethos very effectively.

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                           Malcolm Gladwell

Another piece of investigative journalism that I particularly admired was How I Rebuilt Tinder And Discovered The Shameful Secret Of Attraction, by Anne Helen Petersen. What she essentially did was recreated tinder by posting images of various people, asked people to swipe based on attraction, and then give their reasoning for why they swiped the way they did. I thought this was an incredibly creative way of approaching her topic on general attraction. She described her experimental setup clearly, stated the stats from the experiment, and then analyzed her results in a fascinating narrative.

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These examples pose really fascinating options for me to approach my own investigative piece. As people say, the sky’s the limit.

Honestly, I feel inspired. Calling writers everywhere: Find a creative method to construct your argument.

The Onion

I have always had trouble reading the news. Another death, another murder, terrible stupid things our government does…it is all very upsetting. The only way I can truly handle the news/current events is with a lot of satire.

One of my favorite ways in being informed about current events while getting my healthy dose of satire is John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight. For those of you not familiar with this, each week a video is posted of John Oliver discussing this week’s latest news topic. He educates the viewer on the serious topics, and backs up his argument with statistics and various sources, but also weaves in satire in order to lighten things up.

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A blog that follows John’s Oliver satirical style is The Onion–“America’s Finest News Source.” Although much (MUCH) less educational, it’s always a good laugh.

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The Onion is by no way a means to replace your usual news-reading. But it mimics America’s news sources and provides that satire that our news sources so desperately needs sometimes.  

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So if you are like me, consider checking out The Onion. It’s light; it’s funny. It makes fun of the stupid things in our society that are only tolerable when ridiculed (and apparently everything else too).

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Genre: News Satire/”Fake News”

Audience: People Fed Up with America

Writing & Me & Everything In-between

Before and after our What Counts as Writing? exercise in class, I have always thought of writing as involving physical words. The purpose of me writing is to communicate in a more concise, effective manner.

 

I am particularly fascinated by the passage in Ong that says, “A text stating what the whole world knows is false will state falsehood forever, so long as the text exists.” This passage reflects on the power of books and writing. So long as a text exists, it has the potential of influencing a reader to thinking anything the author could possibly want.

 

I also find Plato’s argument that writing weakens the mind to be fascinating. On some level I agree. Especially for public speaking situations. Writing gives the speaker the option to be lazy and read from notes or slides, inside of speaking directly to the audience. It is also less interactive. A text can not immediately respond to someone’s commentary; a person can. It is just as important to be able to effectively verbalize an idea as it is to write it down.

 

This makes me think about my goals for the Minor. I want to be a strong writer, but also an equally strong speaker. By analyzing texts and exploring various rhetorical strategies, I hope to be able to communicate my thoughts in a more fluid manner.
I think writing is absolutely essential to the 21st century. More people are literate now than ever before. Not only that, but in many fields such as medicine, documentation is essential. Every thought, action, event is documented for the sake of legal rights and accessibility.  Writing has (as mentioned in Ong) moved from being associated with magic, to ‘craft literacy,’ and now finally permeated every aspect of our daily lives.