This reading was also rather interesting. It shows just how much influence visual elements can have on the general public eye. I was not aware of this particular “Feminine Uncle Sam” ad before this reading, and it had me thinking about all of the different kind of propaganda used throughout history within the media, whether regarding women’s rights or not. People found a way to utilize visual tactics to sway the public to believing what they desired others to believe, and it worked pretty well in many cases. This reading reminded me a lot of a class I took last semester about decision making. We read many different books on the different aspects of decision making and the factors that influence it. One of the topics we discussed was this idea of “choice architecture,” which refers to the ability to control what another individual will decide when faced with a specific choice. For example, designing a door with a vertical handle along the side will most likely make an individual attempt to open the door by pulling, even if it actually meant to push to open. Here in the Feminine Uncle Sam example, every bit of art and text went into the piece carefully and deliberately because the creator wanted the public to think a specific way about the issue of women’s suffrage after reading it. Visual rhetoric in general is just very intriguing to me, and after studying rhetoric, I have become more conscious of these tactics for fear of someone trying to control my opinions or personal beliefs. However, I hope I can also utilize these lessons in an honest manner when making my final web project.
This reading was very intriguing altogether. The ways in which history is taught or showcased has always been fascinating to me. I had never really thought about what I was not being taught, or being taught correctly, while I was still in high school. However, when I got to college, my history professor made it his mission to show us common things that are left out of high school textbooks, and it is honestly so sad and frustrating that people teach, or in this case show off, the history they want others to see or believe. I completely agree with these authors that the makers of this museum are praising masculinity and whiteness, while “carnivalizing” the actual brutal events that took place (87). People’s conceptions of the “colonization of America” has always been hilarious to me because so many believe the children’s tales about it, especially the story in regards to Thanksgiving. Noone wants to focus on the fact that the Europeans arrival and “take over” killed off ninety percent of the Native American population, many by disease and many by force. However, apparently, it was a happy time where the Native Americans and the Whites came together as one and lived happily ever after. I thought it was really interesting, what Chris said, that majority of individuals believe the stories taught in museums over those with a PhD in history. It makes total sense to me because museums are thought to be one hundred percent correct, otherwise, why is it on showcase? This gives those who are producing a privately funded museum the freedom, if they so choose, to mislead others to believing their version of history, which could be potentially dangerous.
Before yesterday’s class, I do not think that I had the full grasp of remediation. While reading the text on remediation, I found myself getting lost or easily distracted because the information just was not sticking very well. However, now I believe to have a better understanding of the term and the reading, to a degree. I found Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin’s discussion about how society looks up mediation and how they want the general public to see or interpret it very intriguing. For example, a quote that stood out to me read, “Our culture wants both to multiply its media and to erase all traces of mediation” (5). I found this interesting because when I looked at some examples, I saw, what I think to be, exactly what they were talking about. Jen’s discussion on video games is still on my so looking back at the reading, gaming consoles popped into my head. I have had an xbox 360 for about 8 to 9 years now. As most gaming companies do, microsoft released newer updates of the xbox, one of the major ones being the switch from the 360 to the xbox one. I enjoyed the games I had on my 360 and really didn’t have the money to upgrade it to the newer version. However, with this release, microsoft shut down the production of any new games to be made for the xbox 360. I think this decision was almost entirely about the money, but the point of the decision was to force people to buy the xbox one and forget about the 360. They even allowed some xbox 360 games to be played on the one to encourage people even more to just cross over to the new platform since they could still enjoy some of their old games. It seemed as if they were trying to eradicate the xbox 360 altogether, perhaps in an attempt to “multiply its media and to erase all traces of mediation” (5).
I liked the more in-depth discussion on the topics discussed in the previous readings and the analyses of each. While the other readings gave great explanations of the processes of creating visual rhetoric via different modes, I enjoyed seeing real examples broken down and discussed piece by piece. The key terms, audience stance, transparency, and hybridity, gave a thorough definition to what we discussed in class yesterday about the importance of audience, as each of these are based on the intended or desired audience. With the examples given in the paper, I think that Boese’s interactive web dissertation was extremely fascinating, but too complicated, at least for a first time viewer. I would be afraid of implementing elements similar to her in fear of first time users being turned off by the complexity they have yet to discover and learn how to interact with. On the other hand, the class with the Shakespeare web site created a more simple layout to interact with, it seemed. Although I did not actually visit the site, it looked like a good example for the type of site I could analyze for my project. However, I think I would want my site to be a mix of the two, on the level of attractiveness and intractability. Moving on, I also enjoyed reading Dr. Hocks’ explanation of how she likes to teach visual rhetoric to her students. I think reading from that perspective also gave me a bit of a greater grasp of what visual rhetoric is and how we should go about putting it to use.
I enjoyed learning in depth the process and considerations necessary for designing a website in both of these readings. In a previous class that I took, I wanted to try to create a website for my final project. However, I started the process and realized I knew nothing about website design and development, even using free online tools like WordPress or Wix. The Writer/Designer Intro reading kind of shows elements that were discussed briefly in yesterday’s reading. The authors point out specific means of communicating a specific message to a certain audience: linguistic, aural, visual, gestural, and spatial. In this discussion, they show how each are used to relay or symbolize a particular message often times within a single text, which is referred to as multimodality. With the reading from Vatz, I found the persuasive or rhetorical nature within everything to be rather intriguing, and this reading went into more detail about how to use different modes for this purpose.
I thought the Screen Writing reading transitioned well from the Writer/Designer text. Carroll explains in depth how to design a web page or a website, along with the factors that need to be considered before and while doing so. He places an emphasis on how individuals need simplicity in accessibility, readability, and navigation. Something interesting he points out that I have never considered before is that there are about a billion people whose first language was not English. Therefore, when creating a blog or website, one needs to omit any kind of idioms, slang, or phrases that would not be easily understood by someone from another area. He also mentions how, statistically, people do not spend much time reading online in comparison to on paper; therefore, one should create a page with less words. This makes great sense to me because personally, I prefer not to read online, and if a website or article is extremely wordy, I will not even attempt to leisurely read it. After reading both of these texts, I think I am leaning towards attempting a website for my multimodal project because of the greater understanding I have gained from each.
I have taken two rhetoric-focused classes so far, and a theme I have consistently found intriguing is that rhetoric is in everything. Vatz discusses the impossibility of any situation to have “a nature independent of the perception of its interpreter or independent of the rhetoric with which he chooses to characterize it” (154). For instance, even something as simple as hearing the word “tree,” one will automatically associate the word with whatever sense, or multiple senses, they use to define that word. This has stuck out to me because before taking any rhetoric class, I never thought about the process of how I understand and interpret specific objects, ideas, or speech. Vatz also mentions this idea in Bitzer’s “rhetorical situation.” Bitzer argues that “the situation dictates the sorts of observations to be made; it dictates the significant physical and verbal responses…” (155). This made me think about the media and the influences it has on the general public and how they perceive the events or messages the media source is attempting to deliver. In my own observations, media outlet tends to take on a specific political stance when discussing the news. For example, FOX news leans more republican, whereas CNN leans more democrat, and this can be seen in the way they deliver news stories. News reporters and journalists have the power to manipulate the general public to toward their own personal beliefs on a situation with the way they word headlines and articles. Whether they realize it or not, they are taking part in the “rhetorical situation.” After gaining this perspective, I try not to take news sources too seriously. I have learned to pay more attention to the type of language used in any situation, even types of pictures used in advertisements. There is so much more meaning to everything than what is just on the surface.