To start, this post is acting as make-up for a quiz that I missed due to the American Forensics Association national tournament, held in Peoria, IL from 3/28 to 4/4
After the events of November 8th, 2016, many millennial voters were saddened and scared for their futures; myself included. Whether it be you disagreed with some of President Elect Donald Trumps' policies or were even scared for your own existence, this election will go down in history as one of the most talked about election processes. And whether you agree with Trump's ideals or you do not this election left many young voters felling as if their voice will never be heard. That is not the case.
After getting my foot in the door with local legislation I have come to realize that not only does my vote as a citizen on the national level mean something, but also on a local level. Don't get me wrong, voting for the POTUS is important and is a life-changing experience, however, only voting for the President can be detrimental. Rhetorically, we often tell ourselves that our voice will not be heard or that our vote won't make a change, and as a result, we believe it. But, we can make a difference and have our voices heard. The soltuion is, vote and get involved right here in Lincoln.
A big topic of discussion in the current political sphere is that of the Affordable Health Care Act and the funding of Planned Parenthoo, and whether you support them or not, many may not know that potential financial cuts to these programs is happening right now, right here in Nebraska. Recentely, LB 127 was proposed by the Governor. The language in this bill is attemping to change funding for Title X funded programs (i.e Planned Parenthood, Federally Qualified Health Centers, etc.). This is detrimental because it would cut programs to people living in Grand Island, Kearney, Crete, North Platte, Omaha, and even right here in Lincoln (nearly 14,500 patients). It is critical that we look into local legislation becuase these are the things that are effecting people all around us. We cannot get stuck in our own bubble and just believe that everything will be alright, becuase there is a chance that it won't. We have to rhetorically analyze how we can have our voice be heard, and what we can do to make that so.
With all that we have talked about in class, with things like Anonymous and civil disobidience, many feel helpless and that the only way to make your argument is through extreme means, and in some cases that may be true. However, when it comes to the things that we can change it is critial that we look at how to. We can make a change as young people, and we can have our voices heard. We just have to look around and see how.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Corporations across America try their best to use market strategies that use what is currently considered popular and relatable to the most people at that point in time, and now-a-days this includes the use of memes in their advertisements. Companies use memes in humorous ways that try to appeal to a wide audience who can identify the meme and appreciate the humor behind the advertisement. Companies often take these memes and alter them to fit into their advertisements, which can often involve using a popular meme in a way that alters the way the original meme looks and may even changes its meaning all together. For example, the popular “doge” meme, which are images of a shiba inu doing various things, often include silly sayings such as “such cool” and “much wow” included with the images. This has been adopted by Seamless, a food delivery company who made the advertisement: “Such Takeout, No Calz, Very Amaze.” The Seamless Company turned a meme about a dog into an advertisement about food which completely erases any trace of the original meme, but because the original meme is so popular and well known people will still know the reference and many will enjoy the advertisement. For the people who don’t know the meme, they may think it’s just a weird advertisement. This may not be an effective form of advertising toward that type of audience, but their use of the meme didn’t distort their product, so they are still advertising nonetheless. Besides Seamless using the “doge” meme, other advertisements that use memes include Wonderful Pistachio’s use of the “honey badger don’t care” and “keyboard cat” memes, Clear Channel's use of the “success kid” meme, Hipchat's use of the “Y U NO” meme, and World of Warcraft’s use of the “Chuck Norris” meme. All of these advertisements took a meme and changed its meaning to conform to their product.
The use of meme advertisements has gained popularity on social media, and has in some cases granted a company more recognition and business. The restaurant “Denny’s” has become very popular on social media for its use of internet memes on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Denny’s makes humorous posts with memes which have gained a lot of popularity, gaining thousands of likes, retweets, and reblogs every day. The popularity has gotten so great that some even consider the posts made by Danny's to be memes themselves, often being shared and used by various people on social media. It could even be said that Denny’s has become a meme for its crazy popular and strange but humorous posts.
This type of advertising has been very successful for them because it allows them to gain a new audience through the younger generations that use social media, while at the same time running normal advertisements of the restaurant on TV to maintain the audience that doesn’t use social media.
Companies’ use of memes is an example of how advertising is so adaptive to the current trends and norms in society that involve new forms of communication. Companies and organizations use memes because they are easy to read, simple to digest, shareable, trendy, popular, to the point, and relatable. Companies rely on memes for social media pressure, and because they reach a wider audience that helps them gain more popularity. This form of communication seems very simple, but it is very effective. It shows how communication on social media is changing and how appealing to what’s popular can be very beneficial for company advertisements. What is also shows is the power of memes and how influential they have become in our society. They have become so popular that celebrities and companies are using them to gain popularity among everyday citizens. The fact that individual memes are also short lived allows for new and better memes to be made every day based on what’s popular at the time. In this way companies can easily keep up with changing trends and stay on top of what’s popular among the biggest groups of people, which should keep the production of memes alive and well for a long time to come. I think the popularity of memes will only increase and adapt in the future to continue to fit societal norms and desires.
Addiction and the Internet
“Our pasts are becoming etched like a tattoo into our digital skins” (Shon-Meyerberg, 2011, p. 14). Facebook, YouTube, Google, and all other Internet sites are sister systems who work together to soak up and share personal information provided to it by its users. Every person has his or her own individualized Internet system, seeking only the information he or she wants to see. Just as the Internet latches onto each individual, drugs and alcohol have there own way of reaching out and grabbing its victims. Until we become aware of a need for change, no transformation seems necessary.
Change and maintaining change, this was the theme of the 65th annual Nebraska Symposium at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. While attending a speech given by Dr. George Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, I was reminded of this very important fact, “you take the drug to fix the problem that the drug causes.” This results in a never-ending cycle of abuse. According to Dr. Koob, less than 20% of alcoholics receive help to overcome their addiction.
Without assistance, overcoming an addiction is nearly impossible and Dr. Koob gave this startling statistic; over 8,000 people die every year from alcoholism. Unlike terminal illnesses and cancer, these deaths are highly preventable. There are alcohol anonymous (AA) meetings held in almost every community. These meetings give alcoholics the opportunity to share their stories and communicate with other individuals struggling with the same addictions.
Finding the location of AA meetings is as easy as entering a simple phrase into a search engine. It is important to realize that every search you enter puts a tag on you but is this always a bad thing? If I were to routinely search for AA meeting locations, my personalized Google may assume I’m an alcoholic. With this assumption, I would begin receiving adds for alcohol addiction hotlines or tips on overcoming alcoholism, which could be very helpful. Internet users will always be locked up in the cages of their own interests and desires but the cages of addiction can be broken.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
An event around campus where I saw rhetoric being demonstrated was at the End Rape on Campus March that took place on April 13th. This event took place during our class time so I was not able to see the speakers but they demonstrated rhetoric in the fact that they tried to persuade people to look at rape and sexual assault from their point of view. I was only able to come to the end of the march but I believe this was a powerful example of rhetoric for many reasons.
One of the main reasons I found this march so important was because it brought attention to a topic that many people do not like to discuss. It broke the decorum or rules around talking about rape and sexual assault in public. By bringing this issue to campus and making it known to students it brought light to an important issue. PREVENT does a great job to educate students on sexual assault and topics like that but by having a large march in the union it is hard for people to ignore this topic.
Another use of rhetoric I saw were many people made signs like “#WeBelieveYou” and “End Slut Shaming and Victim Blaming”. These signs left a powerful message that not only showed this is an issue but that the victim is not alone in this. I think this was a very powerful message that raised a lot of support for people who have gone through sexual assault to know they are not alone. In a way this motivates people to come forward and share their story to help other girls. Another way this march was a motivator is that it motivated people to take action. By drawing attention to the problem sexual assault creates it motivates people to do something about the problem.
The march that took place on campus was a great example of rhetoric being used to try to get people to change their mind on a big issue. I hope this march makes a big impact on people to reframe how they view sexual assault and rape.
Monday, April 17, 2017
A campus event that I recently attended was the Tosh.Show College Campus Tour at the Pinnacle Bank Arena on Friday, April 14th. This tour was a stand up comedy show hosted by Daniel Tosh, who hosts a popular Comedy Central program called Tosh.0. The show lasted about two and a half hours, and consisted of stand up comedy performed not only by Daniel Tosh, but also by his various writers, co-workers, co-founder of the show, etc. This show was not one for the faint of heart, and highlighted multiple current issues, which is why I wanted to talk about it in this blog post. I am not one to be easily offended, nor was I by this show, but I was definitely shocked by some of the things that were said about serious issues happening not only our country but our world. For instance, Tosh’s opening “joke” was a five-minute rant about abortion. I will not state my own personal stance on the topic, but the “jokes” that were told about abortion were very obviously insults towards people who stand with ending abortion and Planned Parenthood. I noticed that once performers changed to the co-founder of Tosh.0, almost half of the audience in the Pinnacle Bank Arena left. Over the weekend after this event, I read multiple angry blog and Facebook posts about how offensive viewers thought the show was, and how they were furious that they “wasted their money” on a ticket. Although I do agree that his and all of the rest of the performer’s content was very vulgar and offensive, I am confused as to why these offended people got so offensive? If they know anything about Daniel Tosh, they know that he is famous for his highly offensive comedy show, so why would they purchase tickets? What I took away from this experience is that a lot of people in today’s world are extremely offensive, and once someone does not agree with their same values and beliefs, they are all of a sudden too good for them to even “waste their money” on a ticket to a comedy show. I personally enjoy watching Daniel Tosh’s stand up comedy as well as his program on Comedy Central, not purely because of his viewpoints and concepts, but more because he openly laughs about issues in the world and relieves some of the tension that everyone associates with them. I think it was nice to watch a show that makes fun of how serious our world is, because I believe that it relieved a lot of stress that people in the audience might have had about the social and cultural issues that were discussed.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
UNL had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Stacy Alaimo’s March 28th presentation, dubbed “Deep Sea Speculations: Literature, Art, & Science in the Abyss”, for the Robert E. Knoll lecture this spring. The premise of this lecture was how the aesthetic of the deep sea circulates in the realms of literature, art, and science, and could that aesthetic be considered political. Alaimo pointed out that deep seas have always provoked modes of surreal speculation, and her talk circulated throughout the roles both the humanities and the STEM fields have played in these speculations and the bafflement that has historically been associated with deep seas and deep sea discoveries.
Dr. Alaimo’s presentation first gave background to the earliest explorations of the deep sea, done by naturalist William Beebe and inventor Otis Barton in Barton’s invention of the bathysphere. The bathysphere was a metal sphere with two portholes, with just enough room for the two men to crouch together as they made over 30 descents into depths of the ocean.
Beebe wrote over 800 articles and 24 books, and in those that focused on his work in the sea, Alaimo made clear that there was a deep intertwining of science and aesthetic in Beebe’s work. During the bathysphere dives, he would comment on the depths he and Barton reached; at 600 feet below the surface, he noted, “Only dead men have sunk below this.” He described luminescent fish and compared them to the stars, drawing frequent parallels between the depths of the oceans and the voids of space.
Transitioning to the realm of art, Alaimo used Beebe’s colleague Else Brostelmann, who illustrated the creatures Beebe described from his dives. Her productions were published by National Geographic, and of them Alaimo had to say, “The art brings the depths into the human world while conveying they are outside of human translation.”
The literature that Dr. Alaimo concluded the lecture with was the 1953 science fiction novel The Kraken Wakes, by John Wyndham. It is a narrative propelled by the bafflement of the amorphous creatures in the deepest parts of the oceans, and can be read as a lack of wonder and inability to interact with the surreal, according to Alaimo.
Concluding her lecture, she makes the point that in order to sustain blue ecology and halt the devastation currently being done to our seas, we need both the reason of science and the creativity of the humanities. Humanists can communicate the message of sustainability with the logos of scientists and their own pathos, drawing the ethos of their arguments from both sides of these disciplines. This message echoes what several digital humanists have mentioned in past class readings, and such reinforcement should be seen as an indicator that there is value to all sides of human exploration.
**Posted for extra credit
https://www.britannica.com/science/bathysphere (Bathysphere image)
https://www.natgeocreative.com/photography/elsebostelmann (Bostelmann eel illustration)
http://www.stevenkasher.com/exhibitions/national-geographic-the-past-and-future-present (Bostelmann fish image)
Friday, April 14, 2017
Phi Delt Phillies
A campus event I recently attended on Thursday April 13, 2017 was the Phi Delt Phillies. It was a fraternity philanthropy that was benefiting profits for the ALS, as known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a very rare muscle weakness disease that can be treated, but there is still no cure for. An age to start being affected is early as 6 years old, but it is more common in later years in the 50s and 60s. All of the proceeds go to the organization that helps find a cure for ALS. Each ticket was $5 in advance from a Phi Delt member or $6 at the door. There were flyers all over campus for this event and every Phi Delt member had to advertise it and sale at least 5 tickets. Phi Delt members went to each chapter house on city campus to advertise this event and get the word out about it. They would give out free tickets to some houses if they could guess the name of someone or if they remember what day it was on, just to see who was and wasn’t paying attention. The Phi Delt members provided services for the paying consumers working in an assembly line to make everyone an individual Philly cheesesteak sandwich. The event was held in the basement and their house chef made the food provided. It was a successful event that raised a lot of money for the ALS association.