Section 5: Definitional Text

Workshop Draft of Cover Letter with peer commentary:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HaQ2YelLIDGCDEF7clOIQtsphoeXByzyRkaHUH71fxE/edit?usp=sharing

Post Workshop Revision Plan:

In my peer review cover letter, I had a lot of detail describing the rhetorical choices I made. However, what I lacked was any real explanation as to how my political cartoon actually arrives at the definition I propose. Further, my definitional text draft was a bit weak in my justification of using a drawing as my medium.

Conference Draft:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HaQ2YelLIDGCDEF7clOIQtsphoeXByzyRkaHUH71fxE/edit?usp=sharing

Conference Draft Comments:

So I didn’t really receive any written comments by my writing professor for the definitional text cover letter. Rather, she told me in person that I should add a bit more to my justification of using political cartoons as my medium. To do so, I should have added a bit more about the nature of political cartoons and the kind of common effect they have on readers.

Post Conference Revision Plan:

After my conference, I attempted to follow Professor McIntyre’s recommendations and add in more about the nature of political cartoons and the kind of effect they have on readers. In addition, another thing I really attempted to revise is the way I frame my arguments in the cover letter. The reason behind this is that something I haven’t been doing that well this term is framing my arguments. I have a lot of things to say in my essays, and even though the points are well written, I am not giving clear guidelines as to the flow of the essay. This results in the reader oftentimes getting lost with the flow of the essay, or not really understanding the point I’m trying to get across. So in this cover letter, I provided a succinct roadmap of what I’m doing to do in the essay at the very start of the cover letter, and then I made guidelines along the essay to make sure that the reader was following along the arguments I wanted to make.

Final Draft:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1y6xkk_fNi3OJkCtHYMnecElirGNczCT9_PX3rKHW6g4/edit?usp=sharing

 

Section 4: Case Study

Workshop Draft with peer commentary:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/15lHuRq6X5kc1ZS7VbuNw2LnYoQ4za0UE5lQTekWOwKs/edit?usp=sharing

Post Workshop Revision Plan:

My plan for revision was to add more about the case itself. What I had essentially done for the peer review draft was add onto my literature review essay a paragraph about the how the SOPA bill would violate free speech. In addition to adding more information about the case, I should also discuss more in depth the implications of violating free speech while making connections to SOPA.

Conference Draft:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s-JURRBaeHMkXLgEoNTyK05GoeScP0WWoJqbJUAPJjg/edit?usp=sharing

Conference Draft Comments:

Matt,

This draft is shorter and less focused than your final draft of the lit review. The order of information in your lit review made sense to me and your discussion of Balkin there was more directly related to your specific case. In this draft, you’ve moved back to more general discussion of free speech. Why not begin with your lit review draft and add a thorough, detailed discussion of the introduction, opposition, and eventual defeat of SOPA? Wouldn’t such an examination reveal that, at least in response to SOPA, more companies and users in the US believed that the negative free speech implications outweighed the need to protect intellectual property? At your conference, let’s talk about how to move from you very good final lit review draft to a very good case study draft.

Professor Megan McIntyre

Post Conference Revision Plan:

What I had done in my conference draft was I removed a large bit of the content I had in my literature review essay because I thought I was exceeding the page limit with the information I had. Unfortunately, this diluted the case study as a whole, and seemed to be very  broad and not very focused. So my plan for revision was to put in the original content I had deleted out, and to make clearer and more focused connections between SOPA and violating free speech. Also, another huge thing I had to work on was framing the argument. I realized that a flaw of my essay was that I didn’t have clear directions of the direction of the essay, so this might make the reader get lost along the way. I have to define what the fish is so my readers don’t get lost in the seaweed.

Final Draft:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/11NArya8SasmhX4Y30nF_x5UdkVdK0ccKJPSCX-dqui0/edit?usp=sharing

Final Draft Comments:

Matt,

You’ve done a good job in the body of this essay refocusing on digital free speech for the most part and making connections to Balkin and to SOPA. Still, however, there are moments where you move away from your specific, fairly well-supported argument to a much broader one. This happens in the first few sentences of your paper; it happens in your first paragraph on freedom of speech, where you don’t frame the discussion as part of your specific argument but as part of a broad, less-connected definition of the term. Your analysis and discussion of Balkin is smart and thoughtful, but it is difficult to tell if any of the ideas in that fairly lengthy section are yours.

Professor Megan McIntyre

Case Study Rewrite:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hC2FDUo0B2ZUVbQLW_53Xn4lppuo_FQZfEmLE2HzDdI/edit

Section 3: Literature Review

Workshop Draft with peer commentary: 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/15CAcuOQoef_0uWiyPPo7bnVPb37QlsuHL_jd9eCq3S8/edit

Post Workshop Revision Plan:

The main thing I wanted to revise was that I no longer wanted to go into intellectual property rights. I realized that going into the philosophy of both intellectual property rights and freedom of speech would far exceed the page limit, so I decided to focus on free speech. Furthermore, I wanted to add in more sources because I only had two at that time.

Conference Draft:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SeQSPgPwCQz_5DHdLOkiKp_tgUsJCWolNqrXEiD72Fc/edit?usp=sharing

Conference Draft Comments:

First draft comments:

  • Give me just a little bit more here or below when you introduce your guiding sentence(s): what kinds of potential threats?
  • This is actually the First Amendment in full. Could you either make that clearer for the reader or switch this for a quote from Schaffner in which he analyzes from freedom of speech — which you’re calling freedom of expression — means?
  • There are limits to expression, though, right? The most famous example is yelling fire in a crowded theater, but the Supreme Court has laid out other limits to freedom of speech.
  • Good. This is a good way to connect this more esoteric discussion of freedom of speech to your specific issue. Consider doing a bit more of that work of connecting in this paragraph.
  • Does Balking make connections to digital culture? Is so, could you provide some of those connections here?
  • Is the purpose of this paragraph purely to explain Balkin’s paper? If so, why does it need to be a separate paragraph? Is this paper has a more specific purpose. how might you make that clearer to your reader?
  • Same questions as above. Also: can you make some connections to the main idea of your paper? If you spend over a page without making such connections, your reader is likely to get lost.
  • This quote occupies more than half the paragraph. How might you supplement this quote with other sources?

Second draft comments:

  • recognize that Balkin is your key source here, and I see that you’ve worked to better integrate his argument and clarify the organization here. However, I’m still finding your discussion less compelling because it really only features this one voice. The last time you cited/discussed another author was page 2. That’s a real problem for a literature review because it indicates a lack of breadth.
  • But you haven’t provided much in the way of a review of other sources that take up this question. That seems like a real weakness of this review.

 

For Revision: *Make explicit connections between the three sections in each section *Bring in additional source to corroborate Balkin *Introduce Balkin’s creditial

I’ve added comments throughout. Please pay special attention to my final two comments.

Post Conference Revision Plan:

After reviewing Professor Megan McIntyre’s commentary, I realized a large weakness of the literature review was that I really only had one source– the Balkin source Initially, my problem was that I thought Balkin’s arguments were so unique that it would be hard to other sources that supported his points. However, Professor McIntyre told me that although Balkin’s arrangement of arguments may be unique, his specific points can be supported with other sources. From that point on, I revised my literature review essay by adding in more sources that agreed with Balkin’s specific points.

Final Draft:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uu67MeVHdYoYW14Ns9C3VtFjCQcCrc64RW9O4EyTtPA/edit?usp=sharing

Final Draft Comments:

Matt,

Your freedom of speech discussion seems much more integral to your larger discussion now, and the specific connections between digital speech and freedom of speech work well. Your discussion of Balking continues to be well organized and specific, though the I’m not quite sure I follow the connections you work to make in the paragraph that spans pages 4 and 5 about the connections between Balkin’s argument and findings from BPI and Jewitt and Yar. I do appreciate, though, that you’re working to bring additional sources into conversation with Balkin. I think this sort of synthesis is more successful later when you discuss Balkin and Natanel, though you don’t give me any information about who Natanel is or why I should believe him.

One other important note: using words like censorship and phrases like “chilling effect on free speech” make it sound like you’re making an argument. The topic sentence of the paragraph that follows reinforces this. I doubt that the RIAA and MPAA would agree with those characterizations of anti-piracy legislation.

Professor Megan McIntyre

 

 

Section 2: Writing Before Dartmouth

College Essay Prompt: When you meet someone for the first time, what do you want them to know about you, but generally don’t tell them? 

There is no getting around it—I am Asian. I have indeed grown up with Tiger parents who have always “encouraged” me to practice the piano, solve mathematical equations, and become a doctor by the age of fourteen. What I wish people knew about me is that I do not always take things or myself so seriously.

I still have ambition and strive to achieve but I just don’t beat myself up when things don’t go my way. I don’t need to be the best or the brightest. As long as I can enjoy myself, learn something along the way and do the best I can, that’s all I care about.

While others stress and obsess about their futures, I am going to enjoy today…maybe go out to dinner with friends, play videogames, and above all have a nice laugh.

Evidence-based writing from high school:

When one hears the word destruction, he or she normally associates this notion with physical weapons, such as nuclear bombs or guns. However, Rod Serling, renowned US actor, producer, and screenwriter extends the scope of means that can cause mayhem. In fact, he once said that, “The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices — to be found in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own — for the children and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone.” In other words, Serling essentially states that accusations driven by prejudices and fear have the potential to harm everyone. This statement is shown to be true by the prevalent accusations of witchcraft in the play The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, the rampant claims of others as being communist sympathizers during the era of McCarthyism in the 20th century, and the heinous persecution of three boys collectively referred to as the West Memphis Three.

Throughout the play, a multitude of people from the town of Salem were accused of practicing witchcraft due to underlying fears and prejudices. One example of this was when Tituba accused Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn of practicing witchcraft. Near the beginning of the play, Tituba was falsely accused of forcing Abigail and Betty to drink a mysterious concoction she brewed. Since brewing potions in that time period was commonly associated with witchcraft, it was from this basis that Abigail accused Tituba of witchcraft. Consequently, Tituba was forced to admit that she practiced witchcraft and to reveal the names of her fellow practitioners, or else she would receive the brutal punishment of a vigorous whipping. Thus, Tituba confessed to practicing witchcraft, and she also blamed Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn, two homeless people, of conspiring with the devil. Not only is the theme of scapegoating evident in this sequence of events, but it is also evident that Tituba accused Osborn and Good because she feared the prospect of being whipped. Ultimately, these accusations lead to their execution, for practicing witchcraft was a crime punishable by death. In addition to Tituba’s accusation, Abigail also claimed that Elizabeth Proctor, a high member of Salem, practiced witchcraft as well. To bolster her claims, she stabbed herself in the stomach and convinced Mary Warren, the servant of the Proctor family, to bestow upon Elizabeth a poppet with a needle stuck in the stomach. Moments after the transfer of the doll, Cheever arrests Elizabeth for possessing the doll because “’Tis hard proof!” (Miller, 75) of her practicing witchcraft. The reason behind Abigail’s cleverly formulated scheme to have Elizabeth perceived as a witch was because she despised Elizabeth Proctor for being the wife of John Proctor, whom Abigail had a liaison with, exemplifying the conflict between Abigail and Elizabeth. Thus, it is important to realize that the motive behind her accusations was due to her prejudice against Elizabeth. However, what is even more paramount is the fact that the victims of such prejudiced and fearful accusations were all from different ranks of society. This goes to show that any individual is vulnerable to accusations driven by fear and prejudice.

Similarly, a variety of people were accused of being communist during the era of the Cold War. Such claims were driven by the notion of McCarthyism, which is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty due to prejudiced fears of communism (Mid-West YCL Member, 2010). A victim of McCarthyism would be Owen Lattimore. Born in Shanghai, Lattimore’s origin allowed him to later become the United States government liaison to Chiang Kai-Shek, political leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party (“Victims of McCarthyism”, 1995). However, his affiliation with Kai-Shek many people to fear him; among these people was McCarthy. In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy openly accused him of being a communist spy (Pace, 1989). Though these unwarranted claims were later dismissed, the effects had already took place; his reputation and credibility was completely tarnished because of McCarthy’s claim. In a similar manner, Val Lorwin also faced accusations that stemmed from McCarthyism. Born in the United States, a state department employee who worked in the labor division, Lorwin was ranked 54 on the list of people who McCarthy claimed were communists. This misconception was due to the fact that that Lorwin’s friend Harold Metz, who bore prejudice against Lorwin for holding a occupation of better status (Pace, 1989), claimed that Lorwin showed him a red card and hosted a group of “strange-looking men- at his house (“Victims of McCarthyism”, 1995). However, Lorwin later confessed that the red card was for the Socialist Party, not for communism, and that these people were actually Socialists. Nevertheless, the effects of these accusations had already taken place because his reputation was tainted and his job was lost. They key difference between Lattimore and Lorwin is that they were each unique in the terms of where they were born. The impact of this is that that it shows how all individuals are susceptible to pernicious accusations driven by feelings of fear and prejudice, for these both individuals were each unique in terms of birthplace.

In a similar manner, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin, collectively known as the West Memphis Three, also faced accusations driven by fear and prejudice. In the small suburban town of Memphis, there boys were found dead. Since these three boys were last reported to be seen playing with the West Memphis Three, they were subsequently convicted on the charges of murder. These convictions were bolstered by the fact Echols and Baldwin were known for having a penchant for heavy metal rock bands, while Misskelley was known for having violent behavior— in other words, these three boys were atypical compared to the prevalent norms upheld in the small town of Memphis. These accusations were quickly placed on the children because in a time where innocent children are killed, parents would be terrified for their children (Steel, 2003). Thus, these parents quickly scapegoated those who were denounced as abnormal because they deemed that detaining these scapegoats would ease the seeds of trepidation within their hearts (Steel, 2003). These accusations ultimately were approved by court officials, and thus these three boys were sentenced to life-time imprisonments. Between the three children, there are key differences, for Misskelley was totally different than Echols and Baldwin. Miskelley, unlike the other two, was an aspiring 3D artist with acknowledgeable grades and a seemingly bright future (“West Memphis Three Facts”, Lennin). The other two, were high school drop outs who received mediocre grade reports and were thought to have a bleak future. The significance of these differences is that anyone, regardless of intelligence or diligence, can be affected by wild accusations driven by fear or prejudice.

The similarities between the accusations drawn in the play The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, the era of McCarthyism, and the hysteria regarding the West Memphis Three trial are paramount. In all scenarios, such accusatory claims are impelled by two common factors: fear and prejudice. In the play, Titubau accused Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn, two homeless people, of practicing witchcraft, for she was afraid of the threat of a vigorous whipping, and Abigail accused Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft as well because was prejudiced against Elizabeth, a woman of high status, for being the wife of her romantically coveted man, John Proctor. Similarly, Owen Lattimore, born in Shanghai, was accused as a communist sympathizer because McCarthy feared his association with the Chinese Nationalist Party, and Val Lorwin, born in the United States, was framed as a communist spy because his friend, Harold Meltz, was secretly prejudiced against him for having a higher-end job. Likewise, the West Memphis Three, each an unique teenager, were presented with the same dilemmas, for members of the town Memphis recklessly convicted them on the charges of murdering three teenagers because they were easy scapegoats since they were different from the norms, and they were fearful for their children’s safety. So when a person says that thoughts and attitudes do not matter, one can undoubtedly respond with an adamant nay, for the rampant witchcraft accusations in the play The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, prevalent claims of others as being communist sympathizers during the era of McCarthyism in the 20th century, and the persecution of three boys collectively known as the West Memphis Three all attest to Serling’s claim that accusations caused by fear and prejudice can affect all individuals.

Section 1: Reflection

Strategies Learned Over Term:

  • Integrating a variety of sources in my essays to provide a richer and deeper journey for my readers.
  • Framing the arguments very clearly, in the beginning of the essay as a roadmap and along the essay, to make sure the reader does not get lost. Included in such are explicit connections between the point I am trying to make to the overall objective of the essay.
  • Explaining every single thought and process in my mind so that the reader does not get lost. It may seem repetitive to me, but not for the reader.

Reflection:

I think the strategy I have spent the most time using this term is explicitly framing the arguments I want to make, am making, and will make in my essay. A common commentary I’ve been receiving on a lot of my work is that I am not making clear connections between the arguments I make in my paper to the overall objective of the essay. Many times, my professor has written, “What is the point of this argument?” or “How does this argument fit in with the overall goal of your paper?” I’ll be honest and say that my hubris initially got in the way of me seeing the flaws of my writing. I thought to myself, “Why can’t you just continue reading and you’ll see the point I’m trying to make!”

I lamented to my writing professor, “It’s like an ecosystem. I am first starting off by saying where this ecosystem is, then moving onto what organisms are in it, and then the animals, and the specifically the fish. I am navigating you from a large picture to a smaller one.” Then Professor McIntyre said this beautiful one liner that completely humbled me. “If you don’t tell me you are going to focus on the fish from the start, I might get lost in the seaweed!”

And from that point on, I knew that framing my arguments clearly from the start all the way to the end was a strategy I definitely had to work on. That being said, I will now do exactly just that with this reflection. I will look at my literature review and case study essays and cite the comments Professor McIntyre has made to express the need for better connections in my essay. Afterwards, I will then discuss how I have taken these comments into consideration during my revision, and pinpoint revisions in my essay to show that I have made an effort to frame my arguments better.

Starting off with the literature review, the conference draft I spent to my professor was an absolute train wreck. In this essay, my goal was to do a literature review that would show why protecting free speech is more important that protecting copyright laws. However, I only had one source from Balkin, a professor at Yale University whose work I would continue to use for the rest of the term, that barely had any connections to the main argument I wanted to make. For example, in my conference draft, I spent the majority of my paper elaborating Balkin’s argument of how free speech is affected in the digital culture. The problem was that I never really explained why I was talking about digital culture influencing free speech in the first place! And my professor knew this from the start and called me out on it. She commented on my essay, “Is the purpose of this paragraph purely to explain Balkin’s paper? If so, why does it need to be a separate paragraph? Is this paper has a more specific purpose. how might you make that clearer to your reader?” Talking about digital culture influencing free speech did have a more specific purpose, but I wasn’t making it clear.

I believed that discussing how free speech is seen in the today’s digital age was important because free speech has the stigma of being this esoteric concept that people casually throw around when they don’t want to be quiet. For example, “I don’t have to be quiet in class, the First Amendment says I can speak freely!” No, just no. Although my idea for bringing in Balkin’s discussion of free speech in the digital age, I wasn’t making this very clear in my writing. I assumed that the reader knew the reason for my choices without explicitly explaining why I made them. So in my final draft, I made it very clear the purpose of including Balkin’s discussion of free speech in the digital culture by giving a brief roadmap of my essay in the introduction (i.e the steps I will take to prove my point), and by framing the argument once again when I actually got to the part in the essay about free speech in the digital culture. And my work has paid off, for one of the comments in my final draft said, “…and the specific connections between digital speech and freedom of speech work well.”

Similarly, I tried to make use of the strategy of explicitly framing my arguments from the beginning to the end in my case study essay. In my case study, I think that I did do a better job of framing my arguments along the essay. For example, in the final draft of my case study, the end of my introduction did indeed have a roadmap of the steps I would take to make my argument that violating free speech has a worse impact than copyright infringement. Further, I also did make the effort to frame my arguments along the way of my essay. For example, at the beginning of each paragraph (new topic), I would repeat the steps that I have taken and further elaborate the steps I will take from that point on in the paper. However, the problem at hand wasn’t so much that I wasn’t saying what I was going to do in the paper. Rather, the problem was that I wasn’t really explaining why I was taking the certain steps I did when I was framing my arguments. This can be seen when my professor writes, “Still, however, there are moments where you move away from your specific, fairly well-supported argument to a much broader one … where you don’t frame the discussion as part of your specific argument but as part of a broad, less-connected definition of the term.” The example she refers in this comment is in my discussion of what free speech is and where it comes from. So I think the problem here was that I was not making it clear why I was discussing the definition of free speech in the first place.

In my rewrite of the case study, I added onto the roadmap I provided at the beginning of my introduction. In addition to writing out the steps I would take in the essay, I also made sure to write why I decided to take these certain steps. So how this played out was after I listed each step I was going to take, I laid out an analysis of why I took that certain step. So in the case of me defining free speech and where it comes from, I specifically added that I do this in order to show that free speech isn’t some esoteric concept, but rather it is indeed a very real and relevant right in our everyday lives.

In conclusion, I think I have grown a lot as a writer. I am now more intentional about the steps that I take, and I also write a lot about the kind of mental processes I have as I take certain steps in the essay. I think the mindset I now have when I write is to assume the reader knows absolutely nothing about the topic and needs a very thorough explanation of the steps I take and why I take those steps so they do not get lost in the project. All in all, writing 5 was indeed a blast and really altered the mindset I have when writing.