First Take

Well, I accidentally slept in and missed class for the first time all semester on Wednesday and it is awful.

However, that afternoon at Cross Country Practice I asked my teammate and peer Dillon Wells about what I missed. He then informed me that in his section they had a good discussion (as usual) and told me that we aren’t meeting as a class this Friday, 11/7. Apparently we have a choice between blogging on our own instead of class or meeting with our cohort groups. Since I am leaving for my last Cross Country meet of the season in an hour-ish I chose to blog on my own

So now I am sitting in my room watching one my favorite shows, First Take, on ESPN2. I am thinking of analyzing the way they use rhetoric to make a point on this show. Some observations I am noticing right now are…

  • LOGOS-this is a huge part of how they make they’re arguments about sports topics. Right now they are discussing the NFL game between the Jaguars and the Cowboys. Stephen A Smith makes the argument that the Cowboys will choke at the end of the season, finish 8-8, and miss the playoffs like they do every year. Skip Bayless uses the logic that the Jaguars are not a stellar team and the Cowboys will crush them on Sunday. Both arguments are logical and make sense. We will see who is right.
  • Ethos-Both men have an appeal to authority on their side simply because they are on a TV show. Most people will assume that these guys know what they are talking about because they got on this show for some reason.

Okay so now I am sort of using this post as a brainstorm/possible resource page and I just found a great article that I am in the middle of reading. It was alright, maybe I will use it as a resource that I disagree with.

How Ironic is it that I also found a blog post discussing the use of rhetoric on ESPN. This blogger from Penn State compares two shows on ESPN and claims that one shows a good example of rhetoric and the other is a bad example. I am not sure how much I agree but it sure was interesting.



Friday’s Discussion/Argument

On Friday in class we had what I thought was a really great discussion about a problem that we have as a class. The problem is basically that the administration needs us to show weekly progress in the class with some sort of quantifiable data. First we looked at all the parties involved and assessed what each party valued.

  • Administration- They value grades being posted to Canvas. They want to see weekly progress with some sort of quantifiable data. It is also important to note that they run a business and value making money.
  • Students- As students we value our free time a lot. We have a lot of obligations in our lives which include: work, relationships, sports, leisure, and even our academics. We don’t necessarily want a numerical GPA attached to our worth as a student.
  • Fort Lewis College Writing Program– As a program or department they value student participation and engagement most of all. They want us to struggle and work with new concepts. One of these important concepts that we mentioned is learning how to form an argument.
  • Professor (Bill Mangrum)- Bill has made it very clear to us that he values self initiative, personal responsibility, and self assessment.

Now that we have covered all parties involved, how do we meet all their values? This is what we struggled with in class and we seemed to come to the conclusion that it is nearly impossible find a solution that meets everyone’s specific values. One of the main problems we found with the administrations policy is that learning cannot always be shown with simple numerical data. Candra said it best when she said “when overassessing, we end up with too narrow of a focus”. She is basically saying that we need to look at the big picture and focus on a students actual ability and their engagement in a class!

While I know this might blow the administrations mind, maybe we should consider putting less emphasis on a students quantifiable GPA. We could go for an approach more like Bills and actually get students to be engaged in a classroom and assess how  much they have actually learned themselves. This is what holds students accountable and leads to real learning.

The BIG picture about capital punishment

During this Common Reading Experience, Sister Helen Prejean said one sentence that really stuck with me and moved me. It actually enlightened me to why I don’t believe in the death penalty.

What forgiveness really means is not letting the hate overcome you

The part about not letting hate overcome you really struck me. Obviously if one of your loved ones is murdered, your first instinct is to hate the person who did it more than anything you’ve ever hated before. It is a natural reaction, however, hating that person and getting them sentenced to death will not change anything. Not letting that hate overcome you is how our society becomes a better place. Once we, society as whole, gets over that hate we can possibly abolish the death penalty and spend more time focusing on the real problems at hand. The societal problems that lead to terrible crimes are what we should be focusing on, not killing the people who commit them.

Are there just evil people? Is our justice system fair at all?

At the beginning of Sister Helen Prejean’s lecture she posed a few questions to the audience.

  • Are people evil?
  • Can we judge people simply based on the worst act they have done?

These questions really moved me and made me think hard. In our society I think we do tend to judge people based on the worst thing they have done. It doesn’t seem fair to me. What if we judged people based on the best, most generous act of kindness they have ever done? How different would our world be?

Remember that this chart shows just the victims of the murderers sentenced to death row, not all victims of murderers in America.

Another point that Prejean brought up is how minorities (specifically African Americans) are discriminated against in our justice system. After listening to her speak I did some research and found this chart which blew my mind.


Common Reading Experience Reflection

I just finished listening to Sister Helen Prejean speak about her book for the common reading experience.

I simply had to come to the library and blog about it immediately because I was so moved by it and her passion about the death penalty in this country.

I have always been interested in capital punishment as a scholar and have always been extremely against it for a variety of reasons including…

  • Two wrongs don’t make a right. We learned this in kindergarten but our government fails to apply it to our justice system. Just because someone is a murderer, it doesn’t make it okay to kill them.
  • It is more expense to put someone on death row than it is to give them life without parole. This is because it takes so long for the process to be carried out and the appeals process is never ending. This is displayed well on this graph  I found.

    As you can see the time between sentencing and execution is long and only getting longer.
  • Capital punishment does not solve the societal issues that cause people to commit these heinous crimes.

Listening to Sister Helen Prejean did not change how I feel about the death penalty but it did give me a fresh perspective on the matter. Her words and experiences were very powerful.


The NCAA and their term: “Student-Athlete”

I would bet that nearly every American has seen this logo and knows what it means. The National Collegiate Athletic Association is iconic when it comes to American and Canadian College Sports. When it was first formed they created this new term, a “Student-Athlete”. They simply added it to our language and now it is everyday part of my vocabulary. It was first created with good intentions to show that balance between athletics and academics in every college athletes life. However, college sports have become so gigantic and so popular that the “athlete” part of that term is beginning to overwhelm the “student” part. Most Division I basketball players barely make it to class at all during the season because they are busy traveling around the country to fund every other sport at that school. This does not seem very scholarly to me.

College Football and Basketball are huge industries that generate billions of dollars of revenue each year for the schools. The burden of generating all this revenue is almost solely on the backs of these players who are merely compensated with a scholarship (something that is just an expense for the school and is actually worth a lot less to the university than it is to the student). All  the while, college coaches are making up to $6 million a year and athletic directors make up to $2 million a year. Something doesn’t seem right here….

Now I am not blaming the NCAA and their made up term for this injustice. I am blaming the athletic departments of these universities for taking advantage of this term and generating millions of dollars of revenue from TV contracts and giant home football/basketball games. If people are paying to come watch the athletes perform why shouldn’t the athletes be compensated for that? Their is literally no other profession besides athletics where this happens. If I were to tell an art major that he couldn’t sell a piece of his art because he was still a student in college, he would tell me how ridiculous that sounds, and I would agree with him.

Using Inquiry in Athletics

Our classes working definition of inquiry turned out to be…

Inquiry-The process of obtaining knowledge through a question(s) and/or observation(s) that is relevant to the discourse.

Some questions I have about this definition are..

  • Why didn’t we make it more than one sentence so that we could elaborate more thoroughly?
  • Why didn’t we include the part about evolving the discourse or furthering the conversation?
  • Does the discourse have to be of interest to the public for it to be considered true inquiry?

Bill asked us to apply this definition of inquiry to our discipline, my discipline or major is Exercise Science. Inquiry could be applied to almost any subject because there is always more knowledge one needs to know.  Athletes and coaches both use inquiry in order to figure out how to make their team successful. Athletes inquire to their coaches all the time about how to improve on something or how to fix a nagging injury. They do not just ask simple questions like “How much should I run?”. They ask well thought out questions such as “How far should I run today and should I stop if my achilles is bothering?” This provokes a somewhat elaborate answer that give the athlete all the information they need to know about their run for a day. Athletes also use inquiry by observation all the time. If a boxer observes that their opponent always drops their right hand when throwing a jab they will they will start exploiting that knew knowledge they have gained. I could think of a thousand more examples about the use of inquiry in sports but I don’t want to bore anyone to death.


Critical Refelction

It is really two bad we won’t be meeting in these groups again, I was becoming quite fond of the people in my group. We worked hard together and did a good job of helping each other. Well I guess it was mostly Candra helping me as I struggled to learn how to navigate this blog website. However I’ve come a long way since the first time we met together and my group is partly responsible for that. Even though we won’t be in a group together anymore I am sure we will still help each other out throughout the semester all the time. I look forward to getting to know more of my peers through different cohort groups. That’s all for now.

More multimodal discourse

Flyer about sportsmanship outside athletic offices
Flyer about sportsmanship outside athletic offices

This flyer about sportsmanship uses multimodal discourse to make an argument about sportsmanship. Some of the modes they use are…

  • Visual- this colorful poster attracts the attention of Fort Lewis student athletes as they walk to the locker room. The fact that this poster is right outside the Office of the athletic department makes sense because they are trying to remind the athletes to have good sportsmanship so they don’t end up getting disciplined in the office.
  • Linguistic mode- There are not many words on this flyer but they are chosen very carefully. The word Sportsmanship is right in the middle and in large letters so that it is the most noticeable. Also the NCAA logo  in the corner is there to show that the NCAA also supports sportsmanship.

Multimodal Texts around Fort Lewis College

Flyer  in Crofton Hall
I  Flyer in Crofton Hall

I thought that this flyer in Crofton Hall was a great example of Multimodal text. They used multiple modes to make the argument that people should come to their bingo night. These modes included…

  • Linguistic Mode- The first thing I noticed about this mode is that they named their bingo night by using a rhyming word to create the “Flamingo Bingo”. This catches peoples attention and makes the event seem more fun at first glance. The rest of the words are used precisely in order to give enough info to anyone who wants to go to the bingo night.
  • Spatial Mode-  Whoever made this poster did a good job using the spatial mode. They put the title of the event at the top in big letters to catch peoples attention and let them know what the flyer is for. The rest of the words are organized neatly so they can be read easily and quickly by the audience,
  • Visual Mode- This flyer is extremely colorful which also grabs peoples attention as they walk through Crofton hall. They used pink to go with the flamingo theme and light blue probably because it goes well with the pink.
Poster for Men's Basketball in Whalen Gym
Poster for Men’s Basketball in Whalen Gym

This poster is not so obvious in the ways it uses Multimodal methods of communication but it definitely does use them. The different modes it uses are…

Linguistic Mode- This mode is fairly simply, the text tells you that the people on it are members of the Fort Lewis College Men’s Basketball team. The words Skyhawk Basketball are large and bold because they are trying to spread awareness of the basketball team and encourage people to root for them.

Gestural Mode- The way this mode is used is quite subtle. The players and coaches are arranged in a way that makes them look like a team and that each individul is equally important. I noticed that some of the players and standing up with their arms behind their back. This makes them look large and powerful which makes the team seem more successful. This is encouraging people to come watch them win basketball games.

Visual Mode- The first thing I noticed about this mode is that all the players are in uniform. They do this because they want people to know the players numbers and because this is what they will be wearing during games. When people see basketball players in uniform there is a good chance it will make the audience of this poster want to go see a basketball game. Also the placement in this poster is huge part of how they used the visual mode. It is a gigantic poster located high on the wall in Whalen Gymnasium right outside where they play. This is to ensure that their audience is people who are into sports because most people who spend time in Whalen watch sports.

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