This is an appearance by Scott Adams, creator and writer of the Dilbert comic strip, last week on the weekly "Real Time with Bill Maher" on HBO. I'm sharing it here because Adams discusses exactly some of the things we talked about early in the term relating to framing. The Lakoff exercise I introduced ("Don't think of an elephant!") — this is precisely how Adams claims presidential candidate Donald Trump is (successfully) conducting his discourse. Adams' credentials as an "expert" on persuasion should be debated, but his comments here are directly relevant to our understanding of framing.
Three documents below, available to download, should give you some guidance for the third part of the class project ...
Here's the full video that was started in the Wednesday section this week — a good discussion of gender-inclusive language, and where gender-specific language lurks in our discourses. Thanks, Shivani!
So here's a question in light of some of this week's topics: Where's the communication (from whom to whom) when we talk to ourselves?
Goffman actually addressed this ...
Check out this nifty 2-minute video posted to Aeon (a great online mag), summing up Goffman's thinking about the performative self ...
Click here to download part 2 of a former student's project paper.
Again, this is a paper that scored well — though it has significant room for improvement, too. We'll discuss the edited version of this later in class.
Use this paper as a good example of using the denotative and connotative description from part 1 as examples for an analysis of the communication at work in your object. Note how the student incorporated readings from the syllabus and others.
Check out this short video that's highly relevant to our discussion of Adorno & Horkheimer and their hand-wringing about pop music. The video presents information A&H would be down with, claiming that pop music is endlessly repetitive. The kicker, though, is that this mind-numbing repetition is not the direct work of our capitalist overlords — it's our own fault. Well, our own choice.
Participation! Consider the consumer choice discussed in this video's claims. How free are we to choose? How has Internet data illuminated this? And what would Adorko & Jerkheimer say about this: are our choices really our own?
Click here to read/download an A-grade paper from a student in the course from a previous term.
I'm providing this as a model to illustrate the formatting and structure of the assignment. This should make very clear how to set it up: text for the intro (with sources cited), then a two-column table for the denotative vs. connotative descriptions. (Never made a table or used columns in Word before? It's easy.)
Pay attention to how this student telescoped the denotative elements into connotative possibilities. Also, consider that this paper actually could have used more connotations.
Remember: Part 1 of the project is due in week four.
The above song, a one-hit wonder from 1971, is a particularly historically and culturally situated lyrical consideration of signs — in the denotative sense, surely (actual posts and placards containing written messages) but also in various connotative senses.
Semiotics — the study of signification (signs, signifiers, signifieds) can be a lot to get your head around. If you'd like more in-depth background on signs, codes, texts, and more, look to this excellent primer, "Semiotics for Beginners," particularly parts 1, 2, 7, and 9.
Specifically for Part I of the communication analysis project: this link is a PDF of an extra reading (not required, but maybe helpful) from several previous syllabi in COMM 10. Marcel Danesi gives a great summation of the semiotic task you are assigned to accomplish in Part I of the project. Look to "Types of Meaning" beginning on p. 25 for a detailed explanation of denotation and connotation as you'll need to apply it to your selected object of communication.
The Wednesday lecture this week introduced the concept of culture and how it can be divided into different levels and claimed by certain social groups. Next week, you'll be reading Stuart Hall, who was instrumental in creating the scholarly field of cultural studies — one of the first academics to suggest that the study of popular culture was as important as examining so-called "high" culture.
Consider the difference between "high" and "low" culture, how those delineations have been presented to you, and where you straddle that line in your daily experience.
Last year, on my personal blog, I looked back at a 1915 essay that was influential in establishing that binary — and the lasting effect it has on America's view of itself and its culture.
Participation! Read the Van Wyck Brooks essay linked there (or here). What do you think about his perspective on American culture? Do we still divide the culture between this binary? For what purpose — what work is that doing, and for whom?