Posted by: hongpa | December 1, 2007

The Art of Revision

               Revision to me simply meant changing and fixing my drafts in order to “make it sound better”. However, Sommers opens up an entire new perspective to revision treating it as a crucial step of writing. Sommers quoted, “It is deeply satisfying to believe that we are not locked into our original statements, that we might start and stop, erase, use the delete key in life, and be saved from the roughness of our earlier drafts.” Writing allows us to express ourselves in our individual, unique ways that directly represents our feelings. Sommers talks about the importance of our individuality during the revision stage of our writings and the dangers of being completely influenced by outside opinions. Writing should represent our selves alone and no one else’s.  It allows us to express our own ideas in a form that should be genuine, personal, and restrained from outside influence.

                When I write I allow the words to just flow out of my mind onto the paper or monitor until I have allowed my thoughts cease. Then I go back and revise by fixing errors and word choice. After hearing Sommer’s views on revision, I have not been revising at all; I have simply been simply editing my own paper. Sommers talks about how revision does not always improve the paper and I completely agree. I believe that sometimes no matter how many times you change the words around, you can never perfectly describe your ideas. That’s why when I allow my thoughts to flow onto paper my first instincts describe my thoughts as effectively as possible. When I write I try to trust my instincts and sometimes revision is not necessary. Of course my writing is not even near perfect but who but myself can force revision? Sommers approached this topic with a very open mind and I agree with the flexibility of revision. Our brains being even more flexible, we can use revision in any way necessary to fit the needs of our writing.

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Posted by: hongpa | November 7, 2007

A Society of Stereotypes

               Brent Staples’s writing uncovers a nasty truth that haunts America to this day. The assumptions and stereotypes displayed in his stories seem so unfair and yet, they are reality. I enjoyed both versions but I like the style and approach he used in his second version. He expresses his inner feelings so well as he talks about the stories of encountering scared people and how his reactions changed throughout his experiences.

                Being a very dynamic character as he becomes more aware of the stereotypes in the world, the way his attitude changes is so interesting. From an innocent bystander to a man acting upon the stereotypes, Staples drastically changes his approach to these unfair assumptions. I am sure it happens all the time in every city and people are even aware of it. Staples’s tone in his second piece is very affective to persuade the reader to support his side.  The way he turns the stereotypes into a pretend reality for the “white women” by acting upon the fearful body language of passersby appeals itself to the reader and even amuses me. Staples wrote, “They’d made me terrifying. Now I’d show them how terrifying I could be.” I really appreciate his writing as he writes from the first hand view as a victim of stereotypes. He even attempts to avoid people on the streets at night as if he was some sort of vermin. The start to the story made me feel for his unfair situation, but when he starts his new approach, I am amused and almost in admiration.

Even though he feeds off the stereotypes by acting upon them, I respect that he comes out of hiding and shame of being a big black man by doing the exact opposite. Using the fear for his own amusement, Staples delivers exactly what the stereotype expects. No longer ashamed by the stereotypes, he makes his stand every time a walker suddenly turns fearful by acting out the very terrors that strike the walker’s mind.

Posted by: hongpa | October 29, 2007

Business Immorality

               The innovative business man behind the success of Abercrombie and Fitch, Mike Jeffries, could be seen either as a genius or a completely immoral, greedy entrepreneur. I actually believe that Jeffries is genius in the business sense, but carries out his actions in an immoral way. From lawsuits to his many controversial ideas, Mike Jeffries built his empire upon the ideals and principles that he believed to be not necessarily right but the most effective to his target market.

                Jeffries targets the younger teenage group to the young adult market emphasizing sexuality and social popularity. These years of life to many are stereotyped and viewed as a phase of discovering identity and exploring sex. In order to target such a group, Jeffries advertises necessarily in a way to rebound the desired images of this age group by the fashion style of their clothes. Although only a genius idea to Jeffries, the rest of the world fired back their disapproval, as seen by the many lawsuits against the company. I believe that in the search for wealth and success in a business, Jeffries established Abercrombie and Fitch in the wrong way. From the many sexual innuendos to the racial remarks discussed in the text, Jeffries showed his personality and disregard for certain people’s feelings. Jeffries even stated, “It’s [sexual attraction] almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.” Jeffries’s key ways to market to his desired audience is immoral and offensive to many people. Sadly, these ways boosted the sales of Abercrombie and Fitch and have been crucial to the success of the company as a whole.

                Yes, Jeffries is a rich and successful man, but was the way he obtained his wealth wrong? Is he wrong in doing all he could to be successful even if it was immoral? By his remarks in the text and the history of the company, I believe he was wrong. He created a business that thrives on the images of sex and popularity and does not care what the world thinks. It is very sad that the world buys into such images and that almost justifies Jeffries approach to advertising. Yet, we cannot allow conformity to blind us from what is truly immoral.

Posted by: hongpa | October 26, 2007

A “Classic” Approach

               One of the most important aspects of studying demographics for advertising purposes is identifying the target market. Mr. Watson and his Team Classic are employed just for the reason to find the target market and deliver their beverage product in the most effective way possible. Using hip hop and other images relevant to the lifestyles in the cities visited, Team Classic spreads their cause and the brand name of Coca-Cola.

                I actually found the project that Team Classic performs to be brilliant and a very good promoter of their product. As the text shows, this marketing to the inner city has boosted sales remarkably in an ingenious way. When I first thought about their mobile advertising project I honestly doubted its potential. Advertising to a population with lower income seemed useless and ineffective for sales. Then I realized that the advertisements would not only reach the inhabitants of the projects, but also it would be presented to the city as a whole. Cities, having a very dense population, would be the perfect place to spread the image of these beverage companies. Mr. Jackson’s ideas to further promote the mobile advertising also integrated the trends of music and recording companies to expand the target market. The performances by Team Classic create an image for Coca-Cola that is understood and respected by the inhabitants of the inner city. It is no surprise that these visits to the cities effectively contact the target market and hugely benefit the Coca-Cola Company.

                The attempt to reach the target market that no other type of advertisement can is carried out by Team Classic. They are down to earth advertisers with the mindset to put a positive image out to the public through their kind and understanding actions. The new hands-on approach is an exciting new way to interact with the consumer and advertise with the use of word-of-mouth. The many city dwellers would surely remember such a vivid experience and immediately refer to the product Coca-Cola.

Posted by: hongpa | October 23, 2007

My Dream, Your Dream, Everyone’s Dream?

                The value of our dreams for materialism and success is very apparent among Americans in this day and age. It is true to a certain degree how Lasn describes the affect of materialism on the average American. Yet, in my opinion, I believe that Lasn is extreme in her generalization of how we are sucked in by our dreams, by this materialism, and by the ways of this cult.

                As young children growing up in America, we are persuaded to believe the media and the way of thinking by the masses. We follow in the footsteps of our parents, older siblings, and images of the heroes we most respect. Children are also raised to have certain dreams. Whether to become a famous athlete, a firefighter, or an astronaut, a young child is taught to dream of adventure, success, and other values that their parents or guardians lead them into believing. Yet, this is when children are young and naïve and unaware of the reality around them. I believe at a young age we are somewhat mindless and follow the ways of this “cult” that Lasn speaks of, but once children grow up and realize their identities, their experiences will differ and disperse from each other’s to create individuality rather than following a cult lifestyle.

                Once again, I agree that to an extent that some children go on to become adults and still follow the ways of the masses. I do realize that even adults dream about many of the same values in life, but to me dreaming only gets you so far. How real is a child’s dream, or even an adult’s dream? We long for certain passions and act on our dreams as effectively as we can, but in the end, the majority of the people end up with a result short of their dream but not necessarily short of success or happiness. We all have dreams, maybe even the same dream, but the way each and every person pursues his or her dream is unique and makes us different in a way that no cult would allow us to be.

Posted by: hongpa | October 4, 2007

A Struggle for Identity

                The portrayal of the life of Palestinians, as told by Edward Said, reveals the fate of an entire nation that I was completely unaware of. These Palestinians faced obstacles in their lives that I could never even imagine. Being exiled from their homes, disgraced as a race, stereotyped, and overall treated unfairly for their nationality, how can these acts be justified? We see situations like this many times throughout history from slavery to genocide, and though this is not as extreme, it is just as big a problem since this particular incidence goes unnoticed and unchanged.

                Almost everyone knows what went on in the Concentration Camps and even the Internment Camps in America but amends were made as crucially as possible. Yet the predicament the Palestinians were left in was somewhat hopeless and utterly unfair. Losing their native homeland, Palestinians were known as refugees or aliens wherever they were. Their individual identities were hard to maintain as they were stereotyped into groups such as terrorists or people whose rights were constantly challenged and denied. Said stated his concern for identity quoting, “Identity—who we are, where we come from, what we are—is difficult to maintain in exile.” The world seems not to care for Palestinians in any way. Their identity was at risk as long as society continued to suppress the presence of these victims. Said argued that Palestinians had no outstanding influences in history to be given any compassion for their situation. They have no famous figures, no horrible mishaps such as the Holocaust for the Jews, no achievements enough for worldly approval. Only known for their bedlam in the Middle East and conflicts with the noble Jews, Palestinians were left without any compassion.

                The conditions the Palestinians experience are completely inhumane. We all have our own identities here in the safety of our democratic nation. Yet, our own safety blinds us from the sufferings of others such as these Palestinians. The people from a land where their own national colors are outlawed in countries such as Israel cling to the little they still have. Maybe this world does not care about the weak and the ways of Social Darwinism prevail. Whether or not the world cares, there are still those broken, but courageous Palestinians holding onto their lives and culture longing for a hint of mercy as a man in the desert longs for a drop of water. Their fight to maintain their Palestinian identity has opened my eyes to the real life struggles in this world. Said has revealed more than a struggling lifestyle. He has displayed acts of courage, which to me will be inculcated into my mind as one of the many brilliant characteristics of the Palestinian identity.

Posted by: hongpa | October 1, 2007

Criticism vs. Criticism

               Nobody in the world wants to be proven wrong. It is in our nature to become offended by criticisms and arguments brought upon our personal beliefs and ideas. I am not surprised by the reactions described in Mortimer’s writings by those who are offended by such debate. Yet, I believe this “revisionist history” is necessary. Just like revision is beneficial for a writer’s first draft, revision can also be a positive factor for history itself.

                The word revision and the definition of argument seem to be inter-related in this writing. The examples of Bush and Edward the second portray the use of revisionist history on supposedly controversial topics. When there is a subject for argument and a specific targeted person or group of people, someone will always take offense against these arguments.  The unpopularity and hostility shown to these revisionist historians is not at all surprising when they intentionally attack such sensitive topics. Mortimer tries to justify the revisionist history but I believe that even though this type of revision can be offensive, it is actually very beneficial for history all together.

                Revision is just another step to improve something, whether it is in the form of practice, research, or criticism. Historical revision is absolutely necessary for the accurate flow of recorded historical events. When the whole Iraq situation comes to a close, the public has a right to revise and criticize the end result and “story” as a whole. Historical textbooks are read by students everywhere throughout the world in order to educate. Without revisions and debates questioning the validity of certain events, the textbooks would be useless and filled with inaccurate information, ultimately teaching students false information. If the school system were allowed to use inaccurate textbooks without revision, there would be no difference between fiction and non-fiction in the classroom. Why then are these revisionist historians criticized? It is for their own criticism that naturally, the offended, will backlash their criticism towards the offender.

Posted by: hongpa | September 29, 2007

The Unknown Truths

I attended the panel session titled “The Many Faces of Genocide” because of my interest especially in the Darfur conflict. The speaker/writer of the essay described the entire background about how the government is trying to run out all the black Africans and establish an Arabic Regime. She also stated that many are unaware of what is going on in Darfur and have many misconceptions. One is that even though the conflict seems very ethnically based, there are actually Muslims on both sides fighting for what they believe in. The speaker was very confident in her arguments with factually-based evidence regarding the historical and current status of the Darfur genocide.

The second essay took a very interesting perspective from the view of an S.S. officer during World War 2. Her essay portrayed the life of a man who was practically forced into assisting the genocide of Jews even though the man was against it. Her essay eliminated the idea that all Germans were Nazis by the will of this man to stop genocide by attempting to make others aware of what was really happening. Unfortunately, the ineffectiveness of this man’s will power on others showed the true sorrow during that age. Though knowing about the horrifying truths, many who could have brought change did not have the courage to sacrifice themselves for the good of others. Yet, across the Atlantic, our founders did not do much better.

The third essay described a sort of genocide that most everyone did not consider. Speaking with pride for her ancestry, the speaker expressed her compassion for Native Americans. She talked of how we stole the lands from the American Indians and even of how we completely disrespected the sacred lands of the Natives. She even told of an example of when settlers built a road through one of the most sacred lands and continued to exploit them. Yet, once again no one seems to care for the victims who suffered in the past and we continue to disrespect without any compassion. Even though everyone knows about all the evil in the world, it will not do the world any good without any action. The growing apathy of the world is an evil in itself consuming or courage to make change. We must act like the S.S. officer did, like those beneficent Muslims fighting genocide, and even like those essayists attempting to share the many hidden truths of the world.

Posted by: hongpa | September 7, 2007

Innately Good or Bad?

               The excerpt “What the Bagelman Saw” brings up a controversial topic on the nature of mankind. Many, such as Socrates and Adam Smith, can argue on man’s behalf that we are naturally good. Many on the other hand, believe that man cannot be trusted when their morale is put to the test. After reading this excerpt, my own beliefs lie with the infamous philosophers and the bagelman himself.

                The many statistics in the excerpt proved with percentages and factually-based data that the majority of mankind could be trusted. The simple example of bagels, whether paying for them or walking away with free food, shows the hidden morale of the average person. The example showed that most people paid for the food when not being watched, yet there was that small percentage that did not bother to pay. I believe that small percentage is necessary to consider when discussing whether or not humans are naturally good or bad. What causes the dishonesty of these individuals?

                The portrayal of atmosphere and personal feelings towards the bagelman was a very interesting factor to keep in mind. When September 11 occurred, the rate of honesty spiked a full 2 percent. This shows that people truly have empathy and at least strive to better themselves. Even though we have fail at times and disrupt our honesty, I believe at the heart of every person is a burning desire to feel for the fellow man and live for the good of mankind.  When the toughest of times struck America, the nation became united for the common good to benefit one another and I believe that this common good is apparent when our morale is tested. The statistics alone prove my theory as the rate of theft dropped during September 11, when we all suffered the most. Man is certainly flawed at times, but when we are put to the test, the results show that the majority of people are naturally honest and ready to serve for the common good.

Posted by: hongpa | September 3, 2007

The Communications of Writing

                Communication is a necessity in life that comes in various forms to allow people to live amongst each other in harmony. In order to communicate with others, we must first be able to communicate internally with ourselves to be at ease. To me, writing is a way of expressing my feelings through communicating with my inner author.

                My inner author could be either conscious or unconscious but with the beauty of writing, my mind can draw out thoughts that I did not actually know I had. The motley styles for writing allows us to express whatever we feel with any approach that best describes what we are thinking. When I write, I allow my inner author to write whatever flows from my mind and when I later read what I write, many times I am stunned by the words that have been written. I realize that writing is my way of talking to me in the purest form, flowing like a river of fresh water, eventually reaching the depths of a wide sea where my thoughts can be read by anyone who treads upon my words.

                When we want to communicate with others, we must not only let our words flow, but also aim our writings to an audience so that they will be able to share the experience and thoughts that we ourselves feel. This is when revisions and drafts come to be very beneficial. We do not only write to communicate with ourselves, so we must express our thoughts so that the reader may truly understand our writing. Lauren Slater commented during her interview, “I ask myself, did they connect with this piece, does it resonate? What I should do with this paragraph or that paragraph isn’t an issue to me.” My goal for communicating with the reader is much like Slater’s. The only thing that matters is that the reader understands my writing, connects with my writing, and appreciates my writing. All else does not matter to me as long as solid communications exist between me and that reader.

                Though communicating with myself and others is my prime concern for writing, there are certainly other reasons. This assignment in itself is a reason that I am writing and it actually revealed my purposes for writing that I previously was unaware of. I never actually considered what writing meant to me or why I even bother to write. I believe writing stirs up and strengthens the ideas that we have hidden inside of us. Just as mathematics exercises our brain, writing exercises our thought process and allows us to think and clearly formulate our ideas.

                As a student, I study, as an athlete, I exercise, and as a writer, I communicate.  When I write for myself, I grasp my thoughts more firmly for my personal benefit. When I write for others I strive to fill the gap between the reader and me by creating a bridge with my words. I try to create this bridge as a professional architect using words of concrete to hold firmly together my thoughts and ideas for the reader to discover. If the reader cannot cross the hiatus of our differences then all communications are lost, and I have failed as a writer.

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