Discussion Responses

Discussion Responses - The Braindead Megaphone 12 September...

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The Braindead Megaphone – 12 September 2010 What problem does Saunders suggest is afflicting the American mass media? What evidence does he use to support his argument? Which elements make his argument more convincing? Which elements work to erode his credibility? In his article, Saunders argues that American media, driven by a powerful profit motive, is drowning in insignificant, poorly-thought out stories that try to pass off as “news”. Accordingly, the general public also dumbs down to concern itself with un-newsworthy issues as it thinks, questions, and imagines less. Saunders uses real-life examples of the publicity that relatively unimportant cases, such as that of OJ Simpson, received to demonstrate his point – people no longer know how to independently gauge the importance of an issue. He also brings up the war in Iraq as an example of a “failure of imagination”, hinting that, had America thought through the war and were more cautious and conscious of its actions, it would not have entered the war in the first place. Most of the metaphors Saunders uses, from the one with the megaphone in part 2, to the scenario in part 7 about the vegetable that turns people red, are powerful and easy-to-understand ways to explain his arguments about a braindead, money-obsessed media afflicting a braindead culture and society. Weakening his point, part one of Saunders’ argument about the Middle Ages field worker seems like an irrelevant and poorly-explained introduction to his main point; he draws a narrow distinction between historic man and modern man and only vaguely alludes to mass media making the difference between the two. Later, his argument jumps around, going first from explaining that society is capped by an intelligence ceiling to accusing media of greed and corruption to encouraging people to question and resist mindless newsfeeds and wait, what was the main point again? Progression and expansion of the argument are welcome but they only loosely adhere to the focus of the article. Getting Started – 14 September 2010 What is the audience for Anne Lamott's "Getting Started"? What phrases or sentences, exactly, point you toward your answer? What topics does she stress as important to strong and consistent writing? In “Getting Started”, Lamott mostly gears her writing toward a younger crowd, ranging from mid to late-teens. She employs a more informal tone, simply by using “yeah” instead of “yes”. Her writing is peppered with sarcastic humor, joking, “…self-loathing may cause you to fall into a narcoleptic coma before dinner…” and “‘it’s not like you don’t have a choice, because you do – you can either type or kill yourself.’” Also, she references One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest , traditionally-high school text material, on multiple occasions, and in the beginning when she guides the reader into producing quality writing, she only asks that we think about childhood recollections, making the assumption that her readers have yet to gather any adulthood memories.
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In “Shitty First Drafts”, Lamott all but demands that first drafts be shittily constructed. The first draft must be raw and uncensored, a chance for inner brilliance to shine through before
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Discussion Responses - The Braindead Megaphone 12 September...

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