Monthly Archives: November 2012

Reading for Tuesday

Read the following short stories from The Minority Report and other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick: “Captive Market,” “The Minority Report,” and “Explorers We.”

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Response Paper #4 & Extra Credit #3

Response 4

Write an interpretation of Ursula LeGuin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” Writing an interpretation is essentially literary argument.  You have to pose an opinion of judgment about the meaning of the story; then, you must give evidence that supports your opinion.  Le Guin’s piece is satire of a sort, social commentary.  In addition to your basic argument, you must also establish links between the allegorical nature of the content of “Omelas” and our own world. This is a standard length response paper: 10 point Times New Roman font and fill the page.

Due date: 12/04/12

Extra Credit #3

Write an interpretation of Doctor Horrible Sing-Along-Blog. Basically, follow the same directions as the “Omelas” response. (Worth 30 points)

Due date: Last day of the semester

Essay #4: Narrative Argument

The first thing to remember about this essay is to relax and have fun with it.  You will write a narrative (story) which contains an argument.  Obviously, you must first have an idea of what the argument is going to be before you can write the story; however, you don’t have to have it all thought out.  In subsequent drafts your argument will take shape, especially after the workshop.  Look to the stories and fables in chapter 9 for ideas.  The narrative is part 1.  Part 2 is an examination of the narrative argument.  Your narrative and examination should be 2-3 pages each (for a total of 4-6 pages).

Here are some tips:

Narrative:  Every narrative has certain qualities that makes it a narrative.  The major thing that makes a story, the thing a story cannot do without, is conflict.  You must have some kind of conflict in order for the narrative to be a narrative.  You’ll find this is central to the argument.  Other things to consider for narratives are characters, plot, setting, and point of view.  All of those contribute in different ways to the vibe and interpretation of the story.

Examination: You need to identify the central argument in your story.  Clearly explain the situation, how the narrative works, what elements are significant, what you think is effective, how the reader should interpret the story, and elements you have put in to make sure there would be little or no chance of a misreading.  Be sure to identify and defeat any potential fallacies or counter-arguments your opposition can point out (the defeat does not have to be absolute; and, if you think a defeat is unnecessary, you can say so, but you must state why).

One last thing: Make your story a science fiction piece based on something inspired by Physics of the Future.

Extra Credit: Content and Censorship

The PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) was founded in the mid 1980’s by a group of wives of political leaders.  One of the most outspoken of the group was Tipper Gore.  The goal of the group was to restrict the content of music and to make parents aware of what they (the PMRC) believed to be violent, sexually explicit, or had references to drug use.  They compiled a list of 15 songs thought to be the worst of contemporary music at the time.  One of the songs included in this list was “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister (it came in at #7).  The PMRC claimed that the song encourages violence.  In 2003, in an interesting twist of political irony, Arnold Schwarzenegger successfully ran for governor of the state of California.  His campaign song was Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

Look up the lyrics to “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”  You should be able to find them on a number of sites before the RIAA clamps down on the internet for the free distribution of lyrics.  Also take a look at YouTube for the video.  It can be found here.  Once you have familiarized yourself with the song’s lyrics, and the video, it will be time to write your paper.

Here’s your prompt:
Write a 5-6 page paper on your impressions of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (the lyrics and the video) in response to this question: Should this video be a candidate for censorship?

  • Here are some questions to consider while writing the paper:
  • Why do you think members of the PMRC objected to the content of the song (lyrically and the performance in the video)?
  • Do you think the song promotes a kind of senseless violence or does it intend something else?
  • What does it say that a would-be political leader (and now a confirmed one) used it as a campaign song?
  • Does it make a difference that this leader’s claim to fame is being the Terminator?
  • How does the appearance of the band affect what you make of the song?
  • The intro section was one of the most memorable parts of the video.  How does that section represent the main question being asked?

Remember to use specific examples and reasons to support your views.  Be strong while asserting your opinion on terms, scene, and word usage.

Requirements:

  • Standard MLA format (12 point font, Times New Roman, Works Cited page, etc.)
  • 5 full pages is the minimum requirement.
  • You must cite the song lyrics at least once.
  • You must reference the video either through direct description or use of dialog at least once.
  • Secondary sources are welcome, but they are not required.

Reading for 11/20 and Tips for Essay #3

Reading

There is very little reading for Tuesday, so please do it.  I know you have a paper due, but after it is done, the rest of the semester is much easier. It may also be fun for those who like fiction and writing stories.

For Tuesday, read the informational beginning on narrative argument in Chapter 9.  Also read the short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula Le Guin. That’s it.  I suggest that you begin reading the stories in The Minority Report over the break, but we will go over that on Tuesday.

Tips

When constructing Essay #3, try to think about using one of the strategies in your text.  I often find that Aristotle’s arrangement pattern is the easiest and strongest, but the deductive syllogism has been good to me, as has the method of putting together a cohesive string of questions as invention and answering them for the actual text (more or less Cicero’s ideas in your text).

For starters, keep in mind the actual prompt in Essay #3 is to focus on a statement Kaku makes in his book Visions: “Ultimately society must make democratic decisions on whether or not to restrict certain kinds of technology.” So you must focus on that idea of “whether or not to restrict certain kinds of technology” based on your current understanding and research.

Say you want to deal with climate change.  Since we just watched Cool It, you might be inspired to use that source, along with some others, to write about restricting the use of fossil fuels.  A deductive syllogism might look something like this:

MP: Technology with catastrophic potential should be limited or eliminated.

mp: Fossil fuel-based tech has catastrophic potential.

C: Fossil fuel-based tech should be limited or eliminated.

Use that simple progression from general to specific to guide your writing throughout the paper.  You might begin with a stirring introduction that covers a tech-caused disaster; then, you can proceed to show your research that fossil fuel-based tech is leading to serious and avoidable problems; and lastly, you make the case that it should be limited or eliminated (which can be done in a number of ways–Lomborg’s big point was to make alternative energy more affordable).

An approach using Aristotle’s arrangement would follow a similar line (you can actually combine the two if you wish):

Introduction: Begin with a stirring tale of tech-caused disaster.

Statement of fact: Show your research into fossil fuel-based tech and its effects on the environment, society, and perhaps even the economy.

Statement of proof: Present your argument for limiting or eliminating fossil fuel-based tech.

Refutation of opposition: Clearly, there are those who would not want to get rid of or limit this tech.  Show that their arguments are flawed or unworthy of continued pursuit.

Conclusion: Remember, this is your last word with the reader(s). Make this section your knockout punch. Put forth writing that will emphasize your argument and stick in your audience’s mind.

If you like the question approach, come up with about 10 questions that relate to the subject and the prompt. That number is not fixed. You may use less; you may use more. But arrange the questions in a logical manner and proceed to answer them. Write flowing transitions between sections. You can put the questions into your writing, but avoid doing it too much.  Here are some questions that may come up for the subject I have above: What is a fossil-fuel? What harm does it cause? What is climate shift and why is it potentially catastrophic? Are there feasible alternatives to this technology? What are the drawbacks of not using it to the extent we are and how will we manage with less use?

 

Reading 11/06-11/08

Read Chapters 3 & 4 in PF for Tuesday and Chapters 5 & 6 for Thursday. You should have already read Chapter 3, but we didn’t discuss it yet. You don’t need to understand it all, just read through the material and try to connect things to our current reality and future policy.