All posts by vferrari1

Multimodal Object Analysis

Pounce is a life-like, life-size sculpture of a panther cast with a sleek and muscular tone. Pounce is the representation of a beautiful and majestic panther, caught in the act of moving forward. The statue is dark in color, but it appears gray with the light of the sun. Its surface is smooth in the sense that it does not present ripples except on the neck, chest, and paws. In these three areas, there are ripples that indicate the presence of soft fur. For the rest, no other traces of fur are visible. The coat color is plain black without spots. The body measures in length more than four feet, and the long tail measures approximately twenty-five inches. The tail is perceptibly curved and points upwards; the definition of the muscles on both sides is clearly elaborated, as well as the strong lines defining the muscles of the legs; the face is not frontal, but slightly bent to the left. The same detailed precision is reserved for the paws. They are large and powerful, and the fur between the toes is incredibly well-modelled. The hind legs are larger and longer than those at the front. The ears of the statue are bent back in listening mode. The head is small compared to the rest of the body, and the eyes are rather big and deep-set, with the pupil not circular in shape, but drawn by two sharp lines. A tangle of fine lines building the underlying musculature suggests the pronounced jaw as well as the elaborateness of the upper part of the head. The nose is broad, outlined by a thin rectangle. At the rectangle’s base, there is a little oval representing the main part of the nose: the nostrils from which the animal is supposed to breathe. The nose is of a different color than the rest of the statue. While the statue is black or dark gray, the nose is clearly golden. The mouth is shut and characterized by a plain line that crosses the lower part of the face horizontally. The face has no visible whiskers. The base on which the statue stands is a simple rock of the same color as the rest of the statue; however, the base does not present a regular configuration because the outlines of the rock are jagged and irregular. The plaque at the base of the statue reads: “Donated by the Georgia State University Alumni Association on its 75th anniversary; Dedicated February 12, 2005. ‘Promoting Panther Pride.’” The plaque is black and the words are written in white. The logo of the university, a blue stylized paw, appears at the bottom right-hand corner of the plaque.



Pounce is not only a statue, but also the mascot of Georgia State University. This bronze reproduction seems ready to pounce on an enemy, hence the nickname “Pounce.” The smooth fur is a realistic detail as panthers are not animals with a thick fur, like wolves and polar bears for instance; the layer of fur that protects their bodies is rather thin as the one found here. Depicting a panther in the process of moving forward is a possible allusion to the path towards the brilliant future that awaits every student, while the base with its irregular edges may allude to a wild landscape in which Pounce is wandering. This detail suggests the idea that sometimes students need to act “wildly” in their academic career and break the rules to achieve successful results. As previously mentioned, the passers-by can notice that Pounce’s nose is of a bright yellow. Indeed, several generations of students have touched Pounce’s nose before their tests, because this gesture is believed to be a good luck charm. Rubbing Pounce’s nose has now evolved into a solid tradition. Although this convention is quite old now, students keep it alive, as evidenced by the different color of the nose. In the same way, the plaque would seem to promote a sense of devotion and attachment to the school, especially underlined by the last words in which “panther” becomes an attribute for “pride.” Furthermore, the plaque looks like a classroom blackboard and references to the academic institution in general. The fact that the Student Alumni Student Association collected the funds to build the statue is significant as this donation shows the profound dedication, enthusiasm, and pride that the alumni still feel toward their old university, an affection that led them to finance the building of a statue that may become, if it is not already, a relic. The statue finds its home on the main campus in the Unity Plaza, a small square situated in front of the Student Center. It proudly stands as a reminder of the greatness and achievements that students can reach in their academic path. It is interesting to notice that Pounce is frequently surrounded by a crowd of chatting students on their way to class. Some of them quickly rub its nose before going to take an exam. The sense familiarity with which students approach the statue shows that Pounce has become an integral part of Georgia State campus, as important as the library or the sports arena. There is only one statue reproducing Pounce on the entire campus; however, the presence of this symbol is crucial, as there are more prestigious campuses in the U.S. which do not put their mascots on display. Georgia Tech, for example, put up for sale a physical model of Buzz, the yellow jacket representing the school, but it does not seem to have a statue on the university ground. A possible explanation is that Georgia State University, having a commuter culture, has the need to enhance the school spirit and unity more than other colleges. Therefore, the usage of symbols becomes extremely important in this context in order to cultivate the institution’s traditions. For the same reason, the statue represents a realistic rather than a cartoonish panther. In fact, a realistic panther better conveys the seriousness of the academic environment and reflects the idea of solemnity and distinction that a cartoonish panther could not capture.

Pounce is not only an inanimate statue, but also a living mascot. Nowadays, mascots come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They are present at every level – from non-athletic occasions to professional athletic events – and they usually have intimidating or aggressive traits that refer to the concept of competition and rivalry between schools. The panther was probably chosen because, although black panthers are not the biggest creatures in the animal kingdom, some larger animals fall victims to their powerful bodies and extraordinary fighting skills. Another thing to take into consideration is that the living mascot, although sometimes impersonated by a girl, is invariably portrayed as a male panther. The decision of having a male mascot is common to all the schools in the U.S., the reason however is not yet clear. It would be interesting to see a female mascot in the future. Usually, Pounce can be seen walk around campus and greeting students and parents during important events. He also attends athletic events, panther prowls, community projects, etc. Attendance at a variety of University-sponsored events is essential for the mascot to be an effective symbol. It has existed in its actual form since 2009. In the video below, Pounce accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and in turns challenges the following mascots: Hairy Dawg from UGA; Buzz from Georgia Tech; and Gus from Georgia Southern. When the ice bucket is poured on his head, Pounce limits himself to raising his arms and showing his muscles. “You have 24 hours,” he warns the opponents. The video shows the main characteristics of his personality, which reciprocate the ones of the inanimate statue: strength, combativeness, and intelligence.

Of course, there is a big difference between the statue and its embodiment. While the statue is an icon and a representation of the great history behind Georgia State, the mascot is more like a nice and funny animal entertaining freshmen and children. It represents a stylized panther with blue fur, visible white teeth, black whiskers, and a long tail. The mascot usually wears the men’s basketball or football uniform. The statue is the more serious and static symbol of the institution of Georgia State University. In the past, the logo mascot of Georgia State was an owl, and the students attending Georgia State were called the Owls. This is probably an allusion to the fact that originally the school offered only evening classes. The name was later changed into the Ramblers in 1946 and finally into the Panthers in 1956, which is the one still used today. The first panther-mascot, Urbie, was conceived in 1989: a blue feline, more massive and goofy than the current version, with a bright smile and marked whiskers. The final version, Pounce, was finally created in 1993 when Georgia State entered a new phase of growth and emerged as a major presence in Atlanta. A few years later, in 2005, the statue was financed by the Alumni Association and created by Atlanta artist Tom Sapp. The additional makeover dates to 2009.



The statue representing Pounce is so important in the university culture because it is a symbol of education, of the hard work the students have to endure, and of the hope to reach success and stability in life. Looking at the statue or rubbing its nose is at the same time a physical and a spiritual act as the person performing this action simultaneously sees a concrete artifact, the expectations for the future, the rich history of a prestigious institution, and the sense of being part of a larger community. The student is like a panther. Despite of being a solitary animal, the panther congregates with others of its species when the occasion demands it. Similarly, students at Georgia State proceed alone in their academic career, but they will find themselves working with many other people once the college adventure has ended.

Blog Post #10: What is Exposition?

Exposition is the act of demonstrating the knowledge and expertise of the author on a certain topic. According to the online Oxford Dictionaries, “exposition” is “a comprehensive description and explanation of an idea or theory.” It is derived from the Latin verb exponere, which means “to put out, exhibit, or explain.” An example of exposition is provided by the following sentence in the online Oxford Dictionaries: “The first edition of the Critique contained a lengthy exposition of the theory of the transcendental idealism.” In the same way, expository writing is about sharing information to inform and explain a topic to the reader by providing relevant details, facts, and information. This kind of writing generally tends to leave out personal opinions, although it may be subject-oriented because it is often based on the author’s experience. Also, expository writing aims to illuminate the topic for the reader and help him or her better understand the writer’s view. It is one of the most common writing styles, if not the most common, since it is present in virtually all textbooks and “how-to” manuals. There is an interesting video on YouTube providing a general definition for expository writing and then dividing this particular style into four possible essays based on topic selection: Definition, Process, Cause-Effect, and Opposing Sides. A Definition Essay provides a full explanation of a term or idea including examples and other key information. A Process Essay provides a description of how something works or an explanation of how to do something including instructions, narration, or a sequence of events. A Cause-Effect Essay provides a description or explanation of the connection between two or more events, exploring either the causes or effects of the events in question. An Opposing Sides Essay explains two or more sides of an argument by presenting opposing ideas with fairness.

The video is not only clear and informative, but it also makes an interesting connection between exposition and culture. Indeed, something like Greek mythology and literature can be investigated through the process of expository writing, which makes it more familiar to the reader or viewer. It also explains how certain work of arts are produced and describes the techniques used in the process, which is important as it gives an example of how one can understand the relation between a lifeless essay to practical use, science, history, religion, and other topics. This is the main reason why this video is so appealing and different from the other videos dedicated to expository writing: it makes a connection with material culture studies, as this specific writing style is the best one to give an expression to cultural study and analysis.

Then, the video defines the principal components of expository writing: a thesis and supporting ideas. A thesis must include a topic and the essay structure, while the support must include relevant details and examples.


In contrast, a persuasive essay is about convincing the reader of a certain idea or point of view. The main goal is to support one’s opinion with evidence and research. While persuasive writing promotes a personal opinion, expository writing is based on factual information. According to the online Oxford Dictionaries, “persuasion” indicates “the action or fact of persuading someone or of being persuaded to do or believe something.” It comes from the Latin verb persuadere, from per– “through, to completion” + suadere or “advice.” Therefore, the opposition between the two styles is quite marked. Even the components, although similar, differ dramatically in the body part of the essay. A persuasive essay requires something more than details and examples; the opinion of the author needs to be supported with reasons, arguments, and justifications. Furthermore, persuasion may incorporate a call for action from the readers in the conclusion of the essay, a trait usually absent in expository writing.


A good starting point to write an expository essay is to know the what and the how of a topic (Arola, Sheppard, and Ball 40). In order to write an effective essay, it is necessary to know the topic well, as expository writing is mostly based on the articulation and description of something. In the book “Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects,” the use of technology to enhance the students’ learning experience has become a common feature of the way in which the exploratory process is carried on. The authors Arola, Sheppard, and Ball recommend students to research what’s already been said about a certain topic before starting the essay and also to investigate how other authors have presented their ideas about the topic. Using associations and multimodal techniques of analysis is also essential in order to fully explore and present a subject.

Something that struck me is the relevance of the audience in expository writing. Indeed, it is important to know well not only the topic, but also the kind of people you are describing and contextualizing the topic for. A certain audience may require background information due to their unfamiliarity with the topic; a certain audience may find background information annoying as they are already familiar with the subject; and someone else may want specific and detailed  material in order to further his or her knowledge. In order to know what to write, one needs to know who the audience is.

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. – E. L. Doctorow

Blog Post 8: Breaking the Vicious Circle of Desire

According to Jean Baudrillard, sociologist and philosopher, there are “three orders of simulacra” in  which we can divide the course of history. In the first order, called “the counterfeit” or the early capitalism, people desired things because of their socially symbolic value. In other words, people thought in terms of signs: the different classes were recognizable through distinct objects, such as a particular attire, beautiful houses, expensive accessories, etc. In the second order, called “the series” or industrial capitalism, the large-scale factory production instilled a desire for things that was based on their sign value, namely the idea that people define their identity through the things they possess. People bought things that were not directly related to the idea of survival, but rather tied to the culture in which they lived. Finally in the third order, called “the hyperreal” or postmodernism (right after World War II), commodities became a language; the signifier  became digital, a machine, DNA. Society began programming people to acquire things not because they operate as signs, but because they work as human language: the rapid technological development created an environment in which the media conditioned us to buy unnecessary objects. I believe that we are living in this kind of society  nowadays. Indeed, we are conditioned to want something and, once we have satisfied this initial desire, we are programmed to immediately desire something else. It is a cyclical process including the following stages: a strong desire, the appropriation of the object and a temporary sense of satisfaction, and finally a new desire for something that replaces the previous object.

For example, for trivial it might be, the invention of the mobile phone is a revolutionary step in the postmodern technological wave that changed the way in which people live all over the world, affecting social customs and cultural conventions, as well as economic and political practices. At the same time, however, it has opened the door to a mechanism of alienation and self-destruction that probably was not foreseen when the first models were introduced to the market. Indeed, we are obsessed with mobile! Although this technology is supposed to bring people together through a global net of communication, it often drives them apart as norms such as etiquette and genuine conversation are ignored in favor of a more digital approach to social conventions. That is why recently it has become a fashion to ask the first person who reaches for his or her phone during a meal to pay for the bill.

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In my experience, buying something is always tempting, and this temptation takes the form of clothes for me. The obvious benefits is that I can enjoy and display something new and beautiful, receive compliments from other people, have a confirmation of my sense of fashion and enhance my self-esteem. The equally obvious costs literally weigh on my wallet and reflect in a wardrobe that after a certain period of time I just want to replace, and figuratively traduce into a constant stress for the money I dissipate and the urgency of finding new storage in an already cluttered closet. There is a real disease termed “oniomania” for those who have the uncontrollable and compulsive desire to shop, a clinical addiction that might have disastrous results in one’s private life.

In an article entitled “Addition to Shopping Becomes a Serious Mental Disorder,” psychologist Nadezhda Yugrina claims that “shopping addiction resembles drug, gambling or alcoholic addiction. One should look for its reasons in the childhood of every particular individual. As a rule, such people suffered from the shortage of human care and tenderness when children. A person can grow in a normal family and receive good education, but experience a strong need in love. When such people grow up, they can find attention in various stores.” The first symptoms of shopping disorder were identified in the 1990s. This mental disorder is common mostly with women. “Researchers found out that about twenty percent of German women acknowledge their insuperable desire to buy something all the time. The addiction has conquered 40 percent of American women, whereas 52 percent of British females said they found shopping a lot more enjoyable than sex.”

In this case, people use things as a compensation and a form of extended self. To the disease of oniomania, it has been dedicated a movie called “I Love Shopping” in which the female protagonist has the uncontainable urge to buy clothes. Despite the happy ending, the movie clearly shows the costs of wanting things. The same addiction can be found in other female figures on the screen: Rachel Green from “Friends, ”Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex and the City,” Caroline Channing from “2 Broke Girls,” and so on.

In conclusion, there are many benefits and costs for wanting things. Although the reason why people desire material things changed in the course of history, there is still a strong connection between humans and the artifacts they produce, and it is a psychological, cultural, and social connection in nature. However, I believe that the costs of human desire are often superior to the benefits as we sometimes fall in a vicious circle in which we constantly desire things that we don’t need without ever reaching a complete and enduring satisfaction.

Blog Post 7: Rethinking Higher Education

I chose to develop my discussion on a fascinating TED talk: “Shai Reshef: An ultra-low-cost college degree.” Since my timeline focuses not only on the history of college per se, but also on the struggles that college imposes on students, this video was particularly interesting as it stresses the inaccessibility of higher education nowadays.

There is a brief introduction for the TED talk: “At the online University of the People, anyone with a high school diploma can take classes toward a degree in business administration or computer science — without standard tuition fees (though exams cost money). Founder Shai Reshef hopes that higher education is changing ‘from being a privilege for the few to a basic right, affordable and accessible for all’.” The quote from Reshef’s speech is very important as it suggests his intention to revolutionize the modern system of higher education and help disadvantaged students realize their dreams. For this reasons, Reshef has been named the “Ultimate Game Changer in education” by the Huffington Post and had made an appearance in the list of the 50 people who will change the world in WIRED.

According to what Reshef says in the video, he created a virtual, tuition-free institution offering to help people all over the world, a model that has recently been accredited by DETC. He begins his speech by giving the examples of three young people who strongly wanted to pursue an academic career after graduating from high-school but were unable to enroll in college because of financial reasons. These are stories of creative individuals whose intelligence was denied by the classic academic model, but could be expended by his new online program. Reshef pinpoints three reasons for which the young generation is denied an education: financial reasons (college becomes a privilege instead of being of a natural right), cultural reasons (in some countries women are not allowed to go to college), and capacity (there are not enough seats or places to accommodate everybody). In contrast, being a virtual college, the University of the People is affordable and does not pose a problem in terms of capacity. Students don’t need to buy textbooks because the professors put their materials online, and the professors themselves are volunteers who don’t want a salary. “If the Internet has made us a global village, this model can develop its future leadership,” says Reshef towards the end of the video.

Certainly, it is beautiful that the University of the People opens its doors to everybody, no matter where they live or what their social position is. It is also brilliant that Reshef identifies what is wrong in modern education and uses the power of the Internet to change it. However, there are some issues raised by the academic model he introduces that are not fully examined. For instance, there are only two possible fields of study: business administration or computer science. It is true that these are currently the main areas of interest in college education as they give the possibility to find a job in the world market more easily than other fields. However, this is something that may be considered a limitation since there are disadvantaged students who are certainly interested in other areas of study as well. Another limitation is probably due to the virtual character of the program: Reshef highlights the importance of “peer to peer learning,” which means that students are encouraged to interact and study together online. The problem is that online. Having a conversation online is different from having a conversation in person and influences the quality of the discourse. This is especially true if the students are from different countries and have different time zones. Also, the University of the People does not offer a full college life: libraries, social events, trips, workshops, etc., are not available through the digital system. Finally, women who are denied an education because of their gender would not have easy access to a virtual college, since they do not have access to an actual college in the first place.

Now, it’s your turn. What do you think of the Universtiy of the People? Is it an useful and effective institution worldwide? Is this virtual college a step forward into a brighter future? Do you believe that virtual colleges are better than actual colleges? Is Shai Reshef a great thinker, even a genius? Or is Shai Reshef’s vision a little too simplistic?


Timeline Blog Post: College Through History

In my timeline, I present the evolution of college from its foundation at the University of Bologna in the eleventh century to contemporary initiatives centered on the idea of a more accessible and affordable academic institution. In particular, I focus on the triumphs that college as an institution reached in the course of time, as well as on the struggles and frustration inherent to this academic path. For instance, to cite one of the positive entries, the formulation of the Constitutio Habita, an historical document in which for first time rules, rights, and privileges of universities are officially defined, is a moment of great importance in history as today’s generations are still enjoying the results of this conquest in terms of academic freedom. In contrast, to cite an example from the negative entries, poor nutrition is a major problem today on the university campuses of the United States, as many students cannot follow a healthy diet due to the sudden transition to a new lifestyle, irregular schedules, lack of sleep, and bad eating habits. While motives of pride were more common in the past ages, nowadays college tends to be associated with social and cultural issues. As we can see, college has its ups and downs as many other institutions. However, it seems that there is space for improvement as some people have recently worked on interesting initiatives that aim to promote a more positive image of college. For instance, Shai Reshef founded an online institution that spreads awareness of higher education’s importance, and at the same time widens the range of students who can afford a degree. Therefore, the timeline emphasizes the role of college throughout history by underlining its negative and positive consequences on the student population and even those who cannot afford to be students in modern society.

Blog Post 5: Harmless or Harmful?

An object can be many things: a tool, a weapon, a political instrument, the symbol of a culture, etc. Objects certainly have many faces, and these faces are easily interchangeable, as John Cline shows in his intriguing essay “What Is a Machete, Anyway?” For instance, a machete can quickly transform “from a boy’s plaything to an instrument of violence.” The act is so spontaneous that there is no conscious realization of this undergoing process, and the person who is responsible for it involuntarily gives character to an inanimate artifact. That is, things that look harmless have the ability to become deadly, and vice versa.

Instead of focusing my attention on objects that look dangerous but have a playful side, like the machete, I want to concentrate on those objects that seem innocuous but hide potentially lethal consequences for those who use them. What about watches, for instance? A watch seems inoffensive at first glance, but the so-called “radium girls” in the ‘20s think differently. During World War I, men went to fight on the front, and women went to work. At U.S. Radium Corp, a company in New Jersey, women painted watch dials with a material that was new at the time, radium, and in particular a radium paint powder that made watch numbers glow in the dark. Then, the women working at the factory began to get seriously ill, and  U.S. Radium Corp denied that the dial painter was harmful, claiming that radium was indeed beneficial to human health. This episode reminds me of Cline’s assertion about politics. He states that weapons like firearms, or even a machete, might lead to a possible insurrection, and for this reason state’s agents think to be the only ones entitled to use violence. This is clearly an abuse of power based on a faulty reasoning, as I believe that citizens have the right to defend themselves when necessary (only when necessary). In both cases, politicians and businessmen used objects to carry own their agenda. In the case of the “radium girls,” a substance considered innocuous to the body caused these girls to slowly deteriorate, loose their teeth, and even their strength to the point that they couldn’t even raise their hands. However, the corporation made the outrageous statement that radium “was helpful rather than injurious to the human system.” From innocent substance to silent poison.

In the same way,  more recently, the famous multinational company Samsung, based in Korea, caused 243 chip factory workers to get cancer due to the proximity of highly toxic chemicals. Samsung’s apologies did not sound sincere, however, as the corporation still refuses to connect the death of a 23-year-old and the sickening of other numerous workers to the chemicals used in the factories. “Former Samsung workers, their families and civil groups struggled for years to raise awareness about the cancer cases.” These people tried, and are still trying, to highlight the transformation of seemingly harmless chemicals into agents of death, a process taking place before our very eyes, sometimes fostered by the same authority that is supposed to protect us from dangerous objects.

Blog Post 3: Different interpretations of death in different parts of the world


According to the definition in the online Britannica Encyclopedia, a “death mask” is “wax or plaster cast of a mold taken from the face of a dead individual.” But the interesting part is that, according to this source, “death masks are true portraits, although changes are occasionally made in the eyes of the mask to make it appear as though the subject were alive.” This detail is interesting as it reminds me of Fidler’s article, especially when the author states that a death mask will always be dead, as that this sense of vacuity or passivity is a fundamental feature of such creations. As Fidler claims, “there’s an inertness that accretes to a body, a slowing of the blood and then a swelling as that same blood pools.” Therefore, these benevolent corrections may be made with the intent of reviving the traits of the deceased one last time, and persuading the viewers to think that the separation between life and death is not so sharp, and that the mask they are looking at is not an aberrant creation that evokes death and annihilation.

This concept implies the fact that death masks have a negative connotation, and that talking about death in general is harbinger of doom. In Japan, indeed, “open and public discussion of death remains one of the greatest societal taboos,” and although some believe that death is a way to remember the preciousness of life, most people believe that death should not be a discussion topic, especially in presence of children (Sagara-Rosemary and Davies, 223). More specifically, “the negative view of death is so deeply embedded in Japanese society that even professionally trained personnel tend to think that the mention of death could hurt and shock children” (Sagara-Rosemary and Davies, 224).

However, death may be a source of attraction as well as repulsion. When public enemy number one John Dillinger was shot by the police in 1934, a crowd of onlookers gathered around the body to take a look at the famous fugitive, regardless of the fact that they were actually staring at a corpse on the street. In this case, death represents something fascinating, intriguing, and almost seductive, to the point that two groups of medical students made a death mask of the famous criminal from a plaster mold. “The mask captured every detail of Dillinger’s face — the bullet wound, the scrapes from where he had hit the pavement, the bloating and swelling from the heat and pooling blood, and even the tell-tale signs of underground plastic surgery.” John Dillinger’s death was such a source of wonder that the two masks were taken without appropriate authorization. His story makes us understand how controversial is the idea of death, and how this dynamic process is addressed and sometimes even celebrated differently in various parts of the world.

For instance, there is a tradition called “Sky Burials” in which the recently deceased are used to feed wild animals. According to the Tibetan Buddhists, this practice reflects the fact that the human body is simply “an empty vessel,” so there is no need to commemorate it. The Buddhists also see this ritual as a final glorious act: in fact, the remains will sustain the life of other creatures. Another interesting way to see death, and in particular the death of a powerful person, is to be found in the body of cultural traditions of Nigeria. In the play “Death and the King’s Horseman,” death becomes a sacred duty, which the protagonist cannot escape. Indeed, according to the Yoruba tradition, “the death of a chief must be followed by the ritual suicide of the chief’s horseman, because the horseman’s spirit is essential to helping the chief’s spirit ascend to the afterlife.” If the horseman does not complete the ritual, the king’s spirit will wander on earth and hunt the living.

In conclusion, death masks can signify so many things, and can be interpreted in many ways, because death itself has numerous interpretations, and that makes impossible to give death a clear connotation.


Blog Post 1: The Importance of Abstract Ideas

At the beginning of John Maguire’s essay, “The Secret to Good Writing: It’s About Objects, Not Ideas,” I thought that the author was presenting an interesting writing method based on focusing on physical objects. I found it interesting at first, but then, as I was reading the rest of the essay, I realized that yes, giving examples might be an important skill, especially because it demonstrates that the writer have a wide knowledge and a fervid imagination, but at the same time, focusing too much on artifacts in counterproductive for the overall quality of the writing work. This is obviously my opinion; however, I am convinced that the use of only one specific method or strategy to write a paper is not sufficient, and while giving examples is certainly useful, and sometimes clarifying, it is not always necessary. The specific type of assignment give to the student is crucial in deciding how to write something, and this appears to be a detail that Dr. Maguire does not take into consideration. As I said, citing artifacts is not a bad strategy at all, but drawing from one’s ideas, beliefs, and real world experiences is much more important. Convincing the reader of something by telling an episode that has actually happened is more effective than convincing the reader with a list of objects. Also, Dr. Maguire is too severe in judging his students’ skills, and this is demonstrated by the fact that he cannot prove what he is claiming with statistics, percentages, or charts of any kind of the overall  scores reported by his students. He only cites a conversation which he presumably had with a colleague, and for one who stresses so much the importance of artifacts, this example does not look sufficient to support his statements. He also judges harshly his students’ grammar, which is not exactly pertinent to the theory he carries on in the essay. In addition, it is true that abstract ideas come from objects, but it is also true that abstract ideas can generate various examples. This inverse path is not considered noteworthy by Dr. Maguire, while I believe it is an interesting theory. In the essay, there are a few instances of object-based writing. If Dr. Maguire wants to emphasize the advantages of this writing style, he should probably add several more tips on how to write with artifacts in mind, because this is not very clear from the reading of the essay. This reading reminded me of Dr. Czikszentmihalyi’s article, “Why We Need Things,” as the latter underlines how physical objects are a consequence of modern society, and not always (if never) a good thing. “It goes without saying that one consequence of our evolution as cultural beings has been an increasing dependence on objects for survival and comfort” (20). He adds: “It is difficult to understand our psychological dependence on objects as long as we hold the belief that humans are naturally in control of what happens in their minds” (21). In my opinion, that is the reason why ideas are very important, and writers should defend them rather than relegating them in a corner like old shoes. I believe Dr. Czikszentmihalyi agrees with me as, on p. 28 of his article, he states: “If one develops control over the processes of the mind, the need to keep thoughts and feelings in shape by leaning on things decreases.” Therefore, writers should fight this dependence on objects instead of fostering it.