The word ‘sick’ means being ill, but now it has a new alternative meaning that is being used just as much as the original. Now if you hear someone saying ‘sick’, they are referring to something as being cool. I’m not too sure why it is so common to say ‘sick’ instead of awesome, amazing, etc., but I noticed that other words change just like ‘sick’ has. For example, the words wicked and rad (radical) are words that have originally been associated with being bad, but the new usage of the words are positive in comparison. Maybe it is a trend to take words that have negative connotations and change them around entirely to be positive instead? For whatever reason, I like words that do this, and I think it is interesting to see how words are now being given completely new meanings.
April 11, 2017
Good: “Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A”- Oscar Mayer
This slogan does a really good job at using poetry in a unique and memorable way. Not only does it rhyme (way and A), but it flows together nicely, creating a song-like tune that is extremely catchy.
Bad: “If it doesn’t get all over the place, it doesn’t belong in your face” Carl’s Jr.
Considering that this slogan is meant for a fast food restaurant, I see where the humor was directed and that is why it just completely doesn’t work in my opinion. It has an obvious rhyme like the previous slogan, but it is the meaning behind the slogan that is simply bad. It makes the reader instantly sexualize the tag line, and even if the reader does not connect the saying with having sexual undertones, it then just makes the food at the restaurant sound greasy and unappetizing. With that being said, the slogan definitely made me never want to buy food from this chain.
Metaphor: “Your daily ray of sunshine”- Tropicana
In this tagline for Tropicana’s orange juice, a metaphor is being made between drinking orange juice, and sunbathing. Since orange juice has a lot of vitamin D I think this is an effective metaphor since it implies that by drinking this brand of orange juice, you will be getting as much vitamin D as you would if you were to actually go outside.
In this example of microstyle, the word “sucks” grabs the reader’s attention because it is typically a negative word but in this context however, it it supposed to be positive as it is an ad for a vacuum cleaner. This is an example of ambiguity because “sucks” can portray two meanings here; the vacuum cleaner could clean very well, but it could also be an awful investment.
29 March, 2017
I chose this as my example of effective microstyle because it features the same picture with the corresponding captions of “His” and “Hers”, and then written in smaller ink, it says, “‘I like shaving with a dull razor.'”-No one, ever. Not only is this comical, but it is clearly being aimed at anyone, no matter their gender which definitely affects who is willing to read this ad, and who will be persuaded to buy the product. Shaving is concern of basically everyone so by openly addressing the wants and needs of the consumer, they are more likely to capture their audience’s attention in a positive way.
I chose this as my example of ineffective microstyle because I think it is a good way to show microstyle that has failed when it comes to simplifying the language contained within it. Whoever made this ad tried to keep it simple by using “shoot” as a synonym for the phrase “take a picture”, but it has a completely different meaning when it is read compared to the connotation it is supposed to have. It sounds like the ad is telling the consumer to shoot their girlfriend with a gun which is obviously not effective at all when it comes to selling digital cameras.
23 March, 2017
Johnson argues in his introduction that we read differently than we used to. Do you agree? How does he say this changes how we write? Do you think that most people need more instruction in “microstyle?” Why/why not?
I definitely agree with Johnson’s argument about people reading differently than they used to. With the rise of technology and social media people are constantly being bombarded with words and images so as Johnson says, people in the modern day do tend to skim over things in an attempt to fish out the information that is worthy of their time. Johnson says that this affects how we write because now we are used to using quick and short anecdotes that will get our messages across to others, as Johnson says, “When we write now, it’s often to make small observations about daily life, not to develop extended arguments or narratives” (24). For the most part I don’t really think people need more instruction in “microstyle” because based on what I have seen in social media and the world in general, people have a pretty good grasp on how to shorten their thoughts without losing the attention of others. I think that young people especially are easily able to write in microstyle because with the popularity of social media, kids are being socialized to process data and observations in this very quick way.
9 March, 2017: An example of “bad writing”
“The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.”
I found this hilarious example of bad writing from a website that was supposedly comprised of different analogies written by high school students. This one stood out to me because at first I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be taken seriously or as a joke. For the purpose of this assignment I am going to assume that this writer was being serious and for that reason alone, I have to question the quality of this sentence. There are so many descriptions and analogies that this writer could have made in order to capture the image of a tiny boat floating across a pond, but by using this analogy as the description, the scene within the sentence cannot be taken seriously at all. I ended up picturing a bowling ball plunging into the pond instead of visualizing the actual image the writer was trying to convey. Bottom line, the sentence is absolutely ridiculous. I think that in order for good writing to be taken seriously, a reader should not be laughing at you, but rather, should be laughing with you, and in this case, I was definitely laughing at the writer’s decision to compare a boat to a bowling ball.
This is an excerpt from the novel, The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson that I found online. In this small portion of his book, he uses the exclamation point way more than necessary and this greatly diminishes his voice as his writing here sounds very immature. According to Noah Lukeman in A Dash of Style, “Ultimately, the problem with the exclamation point is that it’s too powerful, too attention grabbing. […] There may be an occasion, once every five years, when it is needed; until then, […], it is best left in the closet” (187). I think this quote sums up perfectly why the exclamation points used in this piece of writing are completely unneeded, they are excessive and add too much urgency to the character’s voice which makes it sound like juvenile, over-the-top writing.
What do you think of the distinction Landon makes between “effective” and “impressive” writing? Which one is emphasized more often in college, in your experience? What do you think about this?
The distinction Landon makes between “effective” and “impressive” writing is pretty accurate. I definitely think that effective writing is more geared toward getting your ideas across to your reader, and how in depth you go achieving this greatly impacts how “effective” your writing is perceived. Impressive writing on the other hand is more focused on the unique style that each writer offers to the subject they are writing on. The distinction Landon offers here is clear, and with that being said, I think it is equally important to take note on his observation about how even though effective and impressive writing are different, they are still intertwined together.
One of my majors here at KSC is creative writing, so I definitely find that both effective and impressive writing are given a lot of emphasis in the courses that I have taken. Comparing this to my other classes that I take for my WGS major, I find that effective writing is given more of an emphasis. Personally, I think all professors, no matter the course they are teaching, should emphasize both parts of writing rather than just one. I understand why for some professions people think they may not need impressive writing, but in the end, effective writing is not good unless it is written with a distinct style. I think that more often than not, academic writers tend to focus on getting their message across to the audience rather than doing it in a way that will be pleasing to read (I cannot tell you how many times I have developed a migraine from trying to dissect mile long sentences in scholarly texts). I think that effective and impressive writing should be valued more in school because again, both concepts are interrelated, and I’m not so sure that one can be good without the other.
“I hesitated–give me at least that much credit–but in the end, Dave’s manic enthusiasm was too much to withstand.” On Writing by Stephen King Pg. 33
This sentence from Stephen King’s memoir On Writing, immediately grabbed my attention. I like this sentence because it is straightforward, while also being poetically pleasing in the sense of rhythm and language. By using the dash marks, King singles out his voice very well, and in doing this, he deviates from his story just slightly to address his reader. I think this provides the sentence with a very comical style which is very effective in this particular sentence. King’s descriptive language in this sentence is also very pleasing, the words “manic” and “enthusiasm” pair together to form a really vivid image of emotion on behalf of his brother’s character. Overall, I think I like this sentence so much because while King is being somewhat minimal in his descriptions and punctuation, it works perfectly for the content that the sentence provides and therefore has a very witty payoff.
An author who I look up to immensely is Patricia Highsmith, and this is thanks to her Mr. Ripely series. In the first novel of the series, The Talented Mr. Ripley, she definitely has a distinct voice that is strengthened by the main character’s paranoia and disillusionment, “Tom threw the weight over. It made a ker-plung and sank through the transparent water with a wake of bubbles, disappeared, and sank and sank until the rope drew taut on Dickie’s ankles, and by that time Tom had lifted the ankles over the side and was pulling now at an arm to lift the heaviest part, the shoulders, over the gunwale. Dickie’s limp hand was warm and clumsy. The shoulders stayed at the bottom of the boat, and when he pulled, the arm seemed to stretch like rubber, and the body not to rise at all. Tom got down on one knee and tried to heave him out over the side. It made the boat rock. He had forgotten the water. It was the only thing that scared him” (Highsmith 107-108). This excerpt from her novel is really well done in my opinion because even though Tom is committing a murder, the way Highsmith describes his actions almost adds a normalcy to the crime. I think this aspect of her style contributes a lot to the development of the main character as the audience begins to empathize with him. She writes about his murderous intentions as if they are necessary for his survival and happiness, so when she writes these scenes, there is a disturbing suspense that is made very obvious to the audience. I also like her style in this excerpt of the novel because as she describes Tom trying to leverage Dickie’s lifeless body out of the boat, she contrasts the horrifying event with the fact that Tom is only afraid of one thing, water, which just normalizes the whole situation therefore adding to the disturbing themes within her book. I like her style here because it is very blunt, and to the point which adds an eery quality to her writing which adds a lot of anxious excitement when it comes to the audience trying to unravel the plot.
Even though I love Highsmith’s writing style in her Tom Ripley novels, her books can be lengthy, so there are times that her style does not work as effectively as the example shown above, “Tom was in the garden when the telephone rang. He let Mme. Annette, his housekeeper, answer it, and went on scraping at the soppy moss that clung to the sides of the stone steps. It was a wet October” (Highsmith 297). This excerpt is from the opening lines of the second novel in the series, Ripley Under Ground, and even though I do not hate her writing style here, I find it kind of boring for the beginning of a novel. Her writing style in this example is very quick, and to the point, the only suspense created within these lines is the question of who is on the other end of the phone. This particular opener is not my favorite writing style because it is very simplified, and has no real intrigue to it. Even though this book does come second in the series, I still feel like opening lines should get the reader’s attention, and make them want to read on, but these lines do not make me want to do that.