After reading Carr’s article, Is Google Making Us Stupid?, the passage that struck me the most was the analysis of human and computer interaction from the movie, 2001. I could not help but relate that scenario to the present day. How many times do you see people walking down the street and everyone is on their phone, looking down, acting like machines as they head on to their next destination. God forbid if people actually talk to the person next to them, making a human connection instead of an electronic one. We hide behind these blocks of wires and glass, sending out “LOL,” and yet our facial expressions don’t change as we hit send. At times when I am scrolling through social media feed, there will be post after post of photos or videos about an exciting trip, a fun concert, or a funny exchange, all seen through a block of glass. Did any of these people actually enjoy these moments? Put the phone down! Why must we care about showing others the “great times” we are having? What happened to taking photos for ourselves and for our own memories? When did it become ok to publicly smear vacation photos on every single social media platform? And for what gratification do we receive other than a “like?” What does this “like” enable us to feel? We cannot save this “like,” have a conversation with it, or go out to lunch with it. All we have at the end of the day is the final number of these likes with our photos online. The once physical remembrance of the wonderful vacation we wanted everyone to think we had is now lost in the digital world.
The media tends to portray a very stereotypical explanation as to how men and women communicate. In movies, television shows and books, men and women are often shown communicating in a very formulated manner. Men are portrayed as very confident communicators, often making the first interaction with a stranger, persuading a group of peers, or speaking up to a person of authority. Women are portrayed in a more emotional manner, with their style of communication shown during one-on-one conversations showcasing a much more personalized and relatable tone. I have seen countless movies where the shy, emotional girl is too timid to talk to the popular, outspoken boy she has a crush on (aka Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries). When the question was first asked in class, my initial reaction was, of course, men and women communicate differently. Quickly I realized I was buying into the stereotype the media has made seem “normal.” Thinking rationally, it would make sense that communication varies from person to person, not gender to gender. I would think the way a person communicates is largely based on his or her upbringing, personality traits, as well as the individual he or she is communicating with. Bottom line, we are all people with feelings, interests, and dreams and the way we communicate should not be put into stereotypical categories based on gender.
Often times when I’m having conversation with my parents about my future and my career path, I find myself arguing with them. My parents strongly believe that higher education is a MUST in the field of business and MBA degree is the new Bachelor’s degree. Only having a Bachelor’s degree is not enough to stand out amongst other thousands of applicants and I would have much better chance of getting a successful job with an MBA degree. To a certain extent, I understand what they are telling me and believe that they have a valid argument, however, I see much more value in investing my time into getting an experience in the actual career field. Going through graduate school feels like a great waste of time that could be spent on getting an experience that will help me in real life. I believe that through experience, I can learn the things that matters in order to do my daily tasks such as getting comfortable with the office software, how to handle unexpected situations and many other specific things that can’t be learned from textbooks. In economics, there is a very simple yet very effective, self-explanatory approach to making a tough decision called Cost-Benefit Analysis. Using this method, it is clear to me that going through grad school has a high cost (tuition and time) with benefit (employment) that is not guaranteed.
When we had a discussion in class about what is more important between finding one’s voice and mastering academic discourse, I did not have an immediate answer. While I strongly agree with every individual having their own voice and being able to express them freely, I also value the importance of academic discourse and how it could improve and strengthen one’s writing. But more I thought about the question, I realized which one I valued more. We live in a structured world with rules and regulations that help us function fluently as a society. Even though we live within this structure, we build our own characteristics and become a specific individual. I know this is a very very far stretch, but I believe that this idea can be applied when it comes to literature and finding one’s own voice. Through academic discourse we learn how to write properly, express thoughts in a clearer way and acquire techniques that help paint more vivid images. And along the way, you develop your own style of writing, figure out what techniques you want to use and what not to use, find out how you can express your ideas in your own way, and find your own voice. Instead of viewing academic discourse as a cage that restricts writer from expressing freely, I see it as a tool that enhances writing. So, to answer the question from the class discussion, I believe writing class should put more emphasis on how to master academic discourse.
Yesterday in class, our discussion was in response to ideas presented in the first chapter of Joseph Harris’ A Teaching Subject. Soon, our conversation turned to the question, “Can English be considered a subject?”. In answering the question, most people answered yes, often citing that it is a very broad area of study encompassing multiple skill sets, but nonetheless a subject—from literary analysis and film studies, to rhetoric and writing, they all fall under the English umbrella. Many people, myself included, brought up the fact that the broadness of English as a subject is often what makes people question whether or not it can still be considered one entity. Given that new media in particular has added even more depth to the study of rhetoric and writing, one could say that English as a subject is ever-expanding. In response, I would say that I think that’s exactly the way it should be. As Harris states in the text, “We need, that is, to find ways of urging writers not simply to defend the cultures into which they were born but to imagine new public spheres which they’d like to have a hand in making.” For it is in imagining and expanding the spheres of English that English as a subject—reading, writing, rhetoric, everything—can be used as a means of invention and discovering new knowledge. Because isn’t discovering knowledge the point of studying a subject anyway?
In class last week we discussed if we think men and women communicate differently. There is no question in my mind that we do. After living with both my dad and brother for over 20 years there are so many differences that I’ve gotten used to in our communication techniques that I don’t notice anymore, but looking back I realize occur frequently. We touched on in class that women tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Women are more open with their emotions and their actions usually reflect their current emotional state where as most men don’t communicate with emotion at all. For example, when interacting with my dad or brother if something is upsetting me I let them know immediately but if it’s the other way around and they’re bothered by something they usually hold it in and won’t bring it up until days later. This seems to be the trend with most of my guy friends as well; they are not very willing to discuss their emotions. Another way that women and men differ is that women sometimes will end their statements open-ended or with a question because they don’t want to come off too strong or over confident. Where as, men like to portray themselves as powerful as they can and even if they’re unsure about something they will say it with complete confidence. I feel there is much smoother communication between men and men and women and women. This is because when women are open and honest about their emotions with each other it is normal to them. But, when they are that way with men, the men feel they are disclosing too much unnecessary information. With men communicating with one another, being straightforward and not as emotional seems normal to them and neither of them read into it because they’re both doing it. Most times with women and men, if men are short and to the point because they feel that’s all that needs to be said, women read into it and question if there is a problem. These are just a few of the reasons I feel men and women differ when communicating.
An interesting question that was brought up today in class that led to an important discussion was the topic of English as a class. What defines English? Is it a subject? This is a hard question, because I think that there are many aspects of English as a subject. I consider it to be a very broad idea, because I believe English is applicable to every other “subject” that we study in school. It is the foundation of our language and the way that we communicate. Communication is a key component in being successful in school, and without learning the basics of English, we would not be able to move ahead in our education development. I believe that there are different sections of the English subject that are divided into classes that students can take in school, for example, a writing course, a reading course, a journalism course, or a research methods course. The variety of classes help students zone in on specific skills that are appropriate to be learned for other subjects. In science classes, communication classes, and or any other subjects, the material being taught is different, but a research paper could be assigned to each one. Students would then use the skills learned in their English writing classes to efficiently write a paper. I think it is important for English to be learned, no matter the type of way, because without it, how would we communicate?