Write a 1250 (minimum) word essay on one of the following topics
- Mairs’s essay compares media entertainment representations of multiple sclerosis both within themselves and with her own experience and recommends not only should there be more representations of her particular condition in today’s media, but also they could be more positive and complex. Can you think of another real-life condition that seems underrepresented in the entertainment industry (not in “news” but in shows/movies)? By comparing what examples you can find in entertainment with what you otherwise know about this condition, what recommendations would you suggest to improve the depiction of this particular group?
- Note: This does not have to be a “disability!” It may be a lifestyle choice, an ethnic background, a career choice, etc.
- Wright’s essay compares today’s social media interactions with ancient tribal customs and realizes there are many more similarities than one might realize. Can you think of another social activity in which an enormous change in technology has occurred, but some of the original experience remains? Compare a particular activity that people engage in with how it worked both before/after a specific tech change and come to a conclusion about the results. For instance, travel directions before/after GPS, shopping before/after internet, communication before/after the mobile phone, etc.
- Note: To succeed at this specific assignment, choose a specific tech development and compare before/after it. Don’t write a history of tech advancement, for instance how gaming has advanced from the Nintendo 64 to today’s smart phone!
- CHOOSE ONE OF THSI ESSAYS FOR THE COMPARISSON DRAFT
- DIS-Ability By Nancy Mairs
From the New Yorker, July 9, 1987.
FOR months now I’ve been consciously searching for representations of myself in the media, especially
television. I know I’d recognize this self because of certain distinctive, though not unique, features: I am
a 43-year-old woman crippled by multiple sclerosis; although I can still totter a short distance with the
aid of a brace and a cane, more and more of the time I ride in a wheelchair. Because of these devices
and my peculiar gait, I’m easy to spot even in a crowd. So when I tell you I haven’t noticed any woman
like me on television, you can believe me.
Actually, last summer I did see a woman with multiple sclerosis portrayed on one of those medical
dramas that offer an illness-of-the-week like the daily special at your local diner. In fact, that was the
whole point of the show: that this poor young woman had M.S. She was terribly upset (understandably,
I assure you) by the diagnosis, and her response was to plan a trip to Kenya while she was still physically
capable of making it, against the advice of the young, fit, handsome doctor who had fallen in love with
her. And she almost did make it. At least, she got as far as a taxi to the airport, hotly pursued by the
doctor. But at the last moment she succumbed to his blandishments and fled the taxi into his manly
protective embrace. No escape to Kenya for this cripple.
Capitulation into the arms of a man who uses his medical powers to strip one of even the urge toward
independence is hardly the sort of representation I had in mind. But even if the situation had been
sensitively handled, according the woman her right to her own adventures, it wouldn’t have been what
I’m looking for. Such a television show – as well as films like ”Duet for One” and ”Children of a Lesser
God” – in taking disability as the major premise, exclude the complexities that round out a character and
make her whole. The show was not about a woman who happened to be physically disabled; it was
about physical disability as the determining factor of a woman’s existence.
Take it from me: physical disability looms pretty large in one’s life. But it doesn’t devour one wholly. I’m
not, for example, Ms. M.S., a walking, talking embodiment of a chronic incurable degenerative disease.
In most ways I’m just like every other woman of my age, nationality, and socioeconomic background. I
menstruate, so I have to buy tampons. I worry about smoker’s breath, so I buy mouthwash. I smear my
wrinkling skin with lotions. I put bleach in the washer so my family’s undies won’t be dingy. I drive a car,
talk on the telephone, get runs in my panty hose, eat pizza. In most ways, that is, I’m the advertiser’s
dream: Ms. Great American Consumer. And yet the advertisers, who determine nowadays who will be
represented publicly and who will not, deny absolutely the existence of me and my kind.
I once asked a local advertiser why he didn’t include disabled people in his spots. His response seemed
direct enough. ”We don’t want to give people the idea that our product is just for the handicapped,” he
said. But tell me truly now, if you saw me pouring out puppy biscuits, would you think these kibbles
were only for the puppies of cripples? If you saw my blind niece ordering a Coke, would you switch to
Pepsi lest you be struck sightless? No, I think the advertiser’s excuse masked a deeper and more anxious
rationale: to depict disabled people in the ordinary activities of daily life is to admit that there is
something ordinary about disability itself, that it might enter anybody’s life. If it is effaced completely or at least isolated as a separate ”problem,” so that it remains at a safe distance from other human issues,
then the viewer won’t feel threatened by her or his own physical vulnerability.
This kind of effacement or isolation has painful, even dangerous consequences, however. For the
disabled person, these include self-degradation and a subtle kind of self-alienation not unlike that
experienced by other minorities. Socialized human beings love to conform, to study others and then to
mold themselves to the contours of those whose images, for good reasons or bad, they come to love.
Imagine a life in which feasible others – others you can hope to be like – don’t exist. At the least you
might conclude that there is something queer about you, something ugly or foolish or shameful. In the
extreme, you might feel as though you don’t exist, in any meaningful social sense, at all. Everyone else is
”there,” sucking breath mints and splashing on cologne and swigging wine coolers. You’re ”not there.”
And if not there, nowhere. But this denial of disability imperils even you who are able-bodied, and not
just by shrinking your insight into the physically and emotionally complex world you live in. Some
disabled people call you Taps, or Temporarily Able Persons. The fact is that ours is the only minority you
can join involuntarily, without warning, at any time. And if you live long enough, as you’re increasingly
likely to do, you might well join it. The transition will probably be difficult from a physical point of view
no matter what. But it will be a good bit easier psychologically if you are accustomed to seeing disability
as a normal characteristic, one that complicates but does not ruin human existence. Achieving this
integration, for disabled and able-bodied people alike, requires that we insert disability daily into our
field of vision: quietly, naturally, in the small and common scenes of our ordinary lives HERE IS THE LINK TOTHIS ESSAY https://quillbot.com/courses/introduction-to-colle…
- HERE IS THE SECON ESSAY
- Friending, Ancient or Otherwise By Alex Wright
- THE growing popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Second Life has thrust
many of us into a new world where we make friends with people we barely know, scrawl messages on
each others walls and project our identities using totem-like visual symbols.
Were making up the rules as we go. But is this world as new as it seems?
Academic researchers are starting to examine that question by taking an unusual tack: exploring the
parallels between online social networks and tribal societies. In the collective patter of profile-surfing,
messaging and friending, they see the resurgence of ancient patterns of oral communication.
Orality is the base of all human experience, says Lance Strate, a communications professor at Fordham
University and devoted MySpace user. He says he is convinced that the popularity of social networks
stems from their appeal to deep-seated, prehistoric patterns of human communication. We evolved
with speech, he says. We didnt evolve with writing.
The growth of social networks and the Internet as a whole stems largely from an outpouring of
expression that often feels more like talking than writing: blog posts, comments, homemade videos
and, lately, an outpouring of epigrammatic one-liners broadcast using services like Twitter and Facebook
status updates (usually proving Gertrude Steins maxim that literature is not remarks).
If you examine the Web through the lens of orality, you cant help but see it everywhere, says Irwin
Chen, a design instructor at Parsons who is developing a new course to explore the emergence of oral
culture online. Orality is participatory, interactive, communal and focused on the present. The Web is
all of these things.
An early student of electronic orality was the Rev. Walter J. Ong, a professor at St. Louis University and
student of Marshall McLuhan who coined the term secondary orality in 1982 to describe the tendency
of electronic media to echo the cadences of earlier oral cultures. The work of Father Ong, who died in
2003, seems especially prescient in light of the social-networking phenomenon. Oral communication,
as he put it, unites people in groups.
In other words, oral culture means more than just talking. There are subtler and perhaps more
important social dynamics at work.
Michael Wesch, who teaches cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, spent two years living
with a tribe in Papua New Guinea, studying how people forge social relationships in a purely oral
culture. Now he applies the same ethnographic research methods to the rites and rituals of Facebook
In tribal cultures, your identity is completely wrapped up in the question of how people know you, he
says. When you look at Facebook, you can see the same pattern at work: people projecting their
identities by demonstrating their relationships to each other. You define yourself in terms of who your
friends are.In tribal societies, people routinely give each other jewelry, weapons and ritual objects to cement their
social ties. On Facebook, people accomplish the same thing by trading symbolic sock monkeys, disco
balls and hula girls.
Its reminiscent of how people exchange gifts in tribal cultures, says Dr. Strate, whose MySpace page
lists his 1,335 friends along with his academic credentials and his predilection for Battlestar
As intriguing as these parallels may be, they only stretch so far. There are big differences between real
oral cultures and the virtual kind. In tribal societies, forging social bonds is a matter of survival; on the
Internet, far less so. There is presumably no tribal antecedent for popular Facebook rituals like poking,
virtual sheep-tossing or drunk-dialing your friends.
Then theres the question of who really counts as a friend. In tribal societies, people develop bonds
through direct, ongoing face-to-face contact. The Web eliminates that need for physical proximity,
enabling people to declare friendships on the basis of otherwise flimsy connections.
With social networks, theres a fascination with intimacy because it simulates face-to-face
communication, Dr. Wesch says. But theres also this fundamental distance. That distance makes it
safe for people to connect through weak ties where they can have the appearance of a connection
because its safe.
And while tribal cultures typically engage in highly formalized rituals, social networks seem to encourage
a level of casualness and familiarity that would be unthinkable in traditional oral cultures. Secondary
orality has a leveling effect, Dr. Strate says. In a primary oral culture, you would probably refer to me
as Dr. Strate, but on MySpace, everyone calls me Lance.
As more of us shepherd our social relationships online, will this leveling effect begin to shape the way
we relate to each other in the offline world as well? Dr. Wesch, for one, says he worries that the rise of
secondary orality may have a paradoxical consequence: It may be gobbling up whats left of our real
The more time we spend talking online, the less time we spend, well, talking. And as we stretch the
definition of a friend to encompass people we may never actually meet, will the strength of our real-
world friendships grow diluted as we immerse ourselves in a lattice of hyperlinked friends?
Still, the sheer popularity of social networking seems to suggest that for many, these environments
strike a deep, perhaps even primal chord. They fulfill our need to be recognized as human beings, and
as members of a community, Dr. Strate says. We all want to be told: You exist
- HERE IS THELINK TO THIS ESSAY https://quillbot.com/courses/introduction-to-colle…