Thursday: Read section two and keep a journal of at least five instances of realism, naturalism, and regionalism in the text. Please be as specific as possible. Instead of saying, here's this quote, it's naturalism, explain why. Is it very detailed? Is it fatalistic?
Overview: There will be times throughout high school and college when you are asked to write informal responses. While these responses allow you the chance to use “I” and “my” in the way that a strict academic paper would not, they still need to have some academic aspects to them. Foremost, you still need some form of citation. Think about the blog examples that I showed you. One had formal, MLA citations while the other at least mentioned the names of articles. Depending on the class that you are taking, the latter may be fine. (For example, if you all have the same readings available to you and you have been asked to respond to them in particular. Err on the side of caution, though, and ask your specific teacher in these situations.) You also need to have some sort of flow and main idea to your work--even if that main idea is not presented in the form of a thesis statement at the end of your first paragraph.
You are going to be writing your own, one-page blog entry.
You need to use information from at least three of the news sources that you outlined in your graphic organizer. You need at least one from each section.
You need to decide how you would like to cite your information. Non-MLA is fine, but you need some sort of citation. If you used a news article of your choice, please include a link to it at the end of your blog entry or in parenthesis after you mention it.
You need to answer the following question: Is the historical fiction in When the Emperor was Divine still relevant today?
There is no right or wrong answer.
You probably should address the themes we discussed in class today to help you focus your answer. Remember, you still need a main idea somewhere, and your ideas still should flow even if you do not have a formal thesis statement.
Use the articles as evidence to support your answer.
Hint: Maybe you think the themes are still reflected in real-life events. Maybe you think there are different themes present, maybe the book was too specific. Maybe you are somewhere in the middle.
You do not need to confine yourself to my hint. That is just to help you to get started.
YES, YOU STILL NEED TO PROOFREAD.
You have all of class to work on this writing.
Sample Blog 1:
The Invisible Fence:
The Limits of Freedom Online
The Internet. It seems infinite. Has anyone seen every webpage in existence? Are there any limits in terms of the ways in
which it can be developed?
A quick glance suggests that the
possibilities are endless. But are they
really? Does the Internet really offer
us endless opportunities and new frontiers of freedom?
In its earliest form, the Internet was
mostly text-based (Nakamura 1). However,
even in this form—perhaps especially in this form—it was considered a potential
utopia. It was considered a place where
people could make their thoughts public without necessarily being judged upon
Recent publications challenge the true
extent of the voice that the Internet allows its users. Jodi Dean calls its supposed openness to all
voices a “fantasy of democracy,” a “fantasy of participation” (24, 30). She bases this on an argument that although
the Internet circulates our messages, it does not guarantee that they will be
received (20). Nonetheless, she believes
this placates people and directs their attention away from true political
struggles and organization (40). In her
words “technology covers our impotence and supports a vision of ourselves as active
political participants” (36).
Despite the logic of her argument,
there is some evidence that it is not completely true. Near the end of her article, she is forced to
recognize the success of MoveOn’s virtual sit-ins (46). More recently, there also have been virtual
protests related to the conflict in Egypt—although they are too recent to
determine the outcome of, it is clear that they are attracting a good deal of
attention and uniting many people. (Of
course, Egypt also raises other questions of who really controls our access to
the Internet). Given such examples, can
we really conclude that the Internet is becoming so overcome with voices that
we cannot pick out the big issues and respond to them in some way?
Virtual responses and their ultimate
effects aside, isn’t it enough that we feel compelled to get our voice out
online? If we continue to do it, it must
be doing something for us. Is it not
enough that it sometimes just fulfills this need to get out thoughts. Do our words always need to lead to political
action for them to be relevant? Even if
they are just making us happy, aren’t they accomplishing something?
When considering this issue of voice
it is important to consider that in recent years, the Internet has been
changing. Specifically, it has come to
depend more and more on graphics than on just text (Nakamura 1). Lisa Nakamura takes this into consideration
as she debates how much freedom it allows us.
She notes that there has been “disagreement over just how empowering
digital interactivity may be” (15). She
goes on to provide arguments for both sides as she explains the ways in which
graphics allow for the collaborative production of “digital images of the body
in the context of racial and gender identity formation” since new
representations deal with and renegotiate these categories (1).
However, Nakamura’s argument ends on a more
positive note than Dean’s. Despite her
obvious reservations, she explains that the Internet is “interactive” and
“empowering” (14). She also makes it
clear that even though women and minorities may not experience the Internet in
the same ways as the majority, their experience can get turned into
differential forms of access which allow them to redefine it (15). Furthermore, she claims that creativity allows
people to overcome majority opinions.
For example, she explains that avatars are “easily obtained and
customized” (30). She also ends her
introduction on the note that the Internet arouses and enables “the passion for
claiming identities” (35).
While I like Nakamura’s general assertions
about avatars, I cannot help but think that she glosses some important issues
related to them. First of all, when
things get put into a visual form, less is left to the imagination. To understand this, one needs to only
consider books in comparison to movies.
Have you ever read a book and later seen an adaptation of it that was
nothing like your vision? In some ways,
the movie form forces you to see the book from another’s vantage point.
A similar effect occurs when it comes to avatars. Putting an imagined avatar into pixels leaves
less to the imagination. This is
particularly the case when one is not in control of the design software. In this case, one is stuck with the options
thought up by another creator. Consider
the fact that when you register for a screenname or begin to create a new
avatar that you typically only get to pick between male or female genders (and
when it comes to the latter in video games, options are even more
limited). Additionally, there tends to
be fewer minority avatar options.
Therefore, even if we decide to explore new frontiers and lifestyles
unlike our offline lives, we might not have as much wiggle room as we would
In both its text and graphic states, the
Internet both allows for and limits freedom. As the Internet grows and changes, what the
future holds is uncertain. Perhaps, a
completely new interface will arise that will allow for more perfect freedom. Until that happens, maybe we should be less
concerned about the political issues and more concerned about the quality of
individual user experiences.
Jodi. Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet. Minneapolis: University of
Minneapolis Press, 2007. Print.
Lisa. Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism
Politics. Durham: Duke
University Press, 2009. Print.
Sample Blog 2
If I Die Young…Update My Facebook
Since my short hiatus from
blogging, I had a bit of trouble thinking of something worthwhile to talk about
this week…that is until my cell phone rang.
My default ringtone is currently The Band Perry’s hit single, “If I Die
Young.” (For those of you who have not
heard it, I suggest you YouTube it, though the music video is fairly plain). This may seem rather trivial, but it brought
to mind a news article that I recently had to read for class, Rob Walker’s
“Cyberspace When You’re Dead.” The
article questions what happens to all of the personal information and works
that we have floating around the internet once we die. Considering that each year the elderly
population has more exposure to technology and is, thus, more likely to leave a
virtual footprint, this question has growing significance.
Nonetheless, the question of what
happens to our Internet footprint is largely ignored. Walker suggests that this is partially
because as humans, we do not like to question our own mortality. Although the morbidity of the topic is
obvious, this does not seem like the best explanation. What to do about people’s technological
habits once they die has come up a lot before, just not necessarily when it
comes to the Internet. For example, I
remember browsing through a technology magazine about four years ago and coming
across an article about a man being buried with his cell phone. His family’s rationale behind this had
something to do with his love of technology and the simple fact that he always
seemed to be on his cell phone. This is
not an isolated case. In my attempt to
rediscover this article through Google, I found many similar stories—the
funniest of which had to be “Man gets buried with cell phone, still gets
incessant calls from his wife”
(http://m.gizmodo.com/5115670/man-buried-with-cellphone-still-gets-incessant-calls-from-his-wife). There you have it folks! Cell phones have become the 21st century’s
Given that the Internet—and the
need to stay constantly wired into it in some form or another—has become so
important to people, it seems like what to do with the deceased’s blogs,
tweets, and Facebook pages should be a point of concern. This is very much a current issue because it
is not only the elderly who pass away.
Some people do die young, and these young people are generally
tech-savvy and likely to have some online account that their death will leave
abandoned. I personally witnessed this
issue two years ago, when a girl who I went to high school with was tragically
killed in a car accident. She spent a
couple of days on life support in a nearby hospital before she was publicly
declared dead. However, one of my
family’s close friends works in the hospital and told me what had happened
before the media leaked the news, and subsequently, before most of my high
school class found out. I had this on my
mind the next time that I logged onto Facebook.
As a result, I soon found myself looking through her wall posts and
photographs. A morbid idea? Yes, and a very painful one. Nonetheless, I just could not get over the
strangeness of knowing a Facebook user, someone I could still digitally visit,
who had passed away. Walker touches on
the idea of using digital media as a way to memorialize those who have left a
mark on the Internet before passing on, but he does not get across the clear
sense of strangeness that I felt.
Although he mentions that
advertisements and spam may begin to mar memorial sites, Walker also overlooks
just how contentious things can get.
Going back to my example, after sifting through the webpage, I thought
it would be cathartic to post a memorial status. A number of my friends followed suit once
they came across the status in their news feed.
Even though these were not even posts to the profile, they caused an
uproar. Other people we had gone to
school with refused to acknowledge her death because the media had yet to
confirm it. Despite our honest
intentions, they felt as though we were leaving hate messages and trying to
send negative wishes. Thus, a few simple
status updates set off a drawn-out Facebook battle which ended in bitterness
and a good deal of unfriending. As petty
as this may sound, it was very stressful.
The emotions and sensitivity that are connected to the loss of an
Internet user need to be thoroughly considered as more companies and websites
develop policies about what to do with what is left behind. Not only is this new ground, it is clearly
not an easy task.
I think that this gets at the actual reasons
why dealing with the deceased’s virtual footprint has not become a bigger issue
today. It seems natural that virtual
creations and identities should follow people to their graves or get allocated
to their relatives like more mundane pieces of property. However, it must be understood that the
former are much more complicated than the latter. There are not unprecedented legal issues with
the latter. Moreover, they are not
involved with this issue of the mass accessibility of the property. Even when it comes to the example of cell
phones—even those still being paid for by living family members—large numbers
of people are not able to access and respond to one another’s messages. They are not able to tread on one another’s
raw emotions or affect one another’s image of the dead in quite the same way as
mass, interactive forms of communication are able to.
If I die young, I don’t care if you
update my Facebook…but my friends might.