28 Oct


I know I said last week that I would post a QOTW that would be due by today, Friday, Oct. 28, and I had one all written up that I thought I had posted here, but obviously that’s not the case. Therefore, don’t worry about having a QOTW response for today.

I’ll just reuse the one that I was originally going to post last week. That will be up tonight.

Sorry for any confusion!



15 Oct

We’ve either seen it or experienced it ourselves before — bullying. It’s been documented, cinema verite-style; it’s been dramatized and made humorous in movies. It’s been written about in books and articles. Musicians have written ballads and hard-rock anthems about it. And it’s an incredibly serious issue, as we’ve seen with things like the Columbine High School massacre and, more recently, the suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi last year when he jumped off a bridge after his roommate videotaped him in a sexual situation with another man.

So here’s the question: Explain how, if at all, the media has affected the way bullying is portrayed or, conversely, our understanding or perception of it. You may, but don’t have to, use specific movies/books/songs to demonstrate your perspective or argument about this particular issue.

Your 150-200 word response needs to be posted by class time on Friday, Oct. 21.


9 Oct

As those of you who were in class on Friday, Oct. 7 know, you need to bring in a copy of the print advertisement that you will be analyzing for your print advertisement analysis essay that is your next major assignment.

See the assignment sheets page for a list of links that you can visit for several websites that archive decades of print advertisements that you can use for your analysis. Be sure to read the assignment sheet and take a look at the example essay I wrote that is also on that page for an idea of what I’m looking for.

If you don’t bring a printed copy of your chosen ad next class on Friday, Oct. 14, you won’t get in-class credit for the day. No exceptions.

In addition, remember that your final draft of your celebrity obituary essay — including your rough draft and your peer review — is due next week.


8 Oct

We had a brief discussion on this during class, but I figured it was a good topic to address with more prep time to think about it. So as we talked about, Steve Jobs, the genius behind Apple — makers of iPods, iPhones, iPads, and other revoluntionary products — died last week. He was 56 and had been sick for some time. For awhile he had been regarded as somewhat of a pariah in the business world, never really being able to lead Apple. But all that, as you can guess, changed when the new products started coming out, starting with the iPod.

So here’s the question: In this 150-200 word QOTW response, talk about Jobs’ impact on the world — whether that impact is positive or negative — with the technology that his company pioneered during his tenure.

Your response to this QOTW is due by class time on Friday, Oct. 14.


1 Oct


As you remember, we got into a bit of a discussion about starting sentences with “and” and “but” and “because,” etc. I know there are English teachers out there who rail against that tactic, but here are links to two lengthy articles for the Spinal Column Newsweekly I wrote in the past three months and demonstrate ways to incorporate that strategy. Notice how such sentences can keep the momentum of an essay or article — even long ones such as these — running smoothly and therefore make it so the essay/article/paper doesn’t seem to flag at all. They maintain energy.


30 Sep

In 1993, former NBA star Charles Barkley famously declared in a Nike commercial that he was not a role model. That stirred up a conversation about the place that professional athletes and other celebrities — movie stars, musicians, etc. — have in our society and, in particular, their influence and effect on impressionable children. Now, just a few days ago, Detroit Pistons great Ben Wallace was pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol and a weapons violation just a few miles from the OCC Highland Lakes campus in Bloomfield Township (Barkley has also been arrested on DUI charges in the past). But this kind of behavior isn’t just a problem with basketball players; certainly, celebrities across the pop culture and mass media spectrum have engaged in activities that have been less than admirable and yet they still continue to get work (for the most part).

And in your next major essay, the fake celebrity obituary, you are presumably picking a celebrity you dislike to shuffle off this mortal coil. But instead of that this week, I want you to focus on the best — not the worst — celebrities in this QOTW response.

So here’s the question: In about 150-200 words and including one source (newspaper or magazine article, website, etc.), tell us who the best celebrity in the world is — not because of their talents, but because of their behavior and/or personality when out of the limelight, a time when most of the bad celebrity actions take place. Let’s hear about the positive things for once, and tell us who you think the best-behaved and most admirable celebrity is, regardless of the field in which that celebrity operates (music, movies, art, athletics, etc….). Your response to this Question of the Week is due by class time on Friday, Oct. 7.


22 Sep


Don’t forget that we don’t meet for class tomorrow. E-mail me your final drafts of your paper by tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 23, and come to class on Friday, Sept. 30, with your rough drafts and peer reviews. E-mail me if you have any questions. Otherwise, I’ll see you a week from tomorrow. For Sept. 30, as well, you must come with your fake celebrity obituary essay topic in mind, as well as having read the articles assigned for that day.

See you then.