Tag Archives: rhetoric

“Dance to this Song”, Da Vinci’s Notebook, and writing templates

 

Hilarious! Ok, what does this have to do with writing though?

Aww man, this song is hilarious. However, it’s not only funny – it’s accurate. Every pop song today seems to sound the same doesn’t it? The repetition of popular music templates isn’t new though. In all honesty, templates aren’t new period.Here’s where I’m getting to the writing part. Stay with me here!

A template is something that acts as a model for others to copy. Some of you already have used templates for web memes (like Y U NO guy ). Or maybe you’ve used a template to make arts and craft projects. At any rate, templates are everywhere, even in writing.

No way. Fo’ real? You’re joking! (And we’re still not on writing yet…)

Oh no! I’m serious! Last year I read a book titled “They Say I Say” that discussed using templates in the classroom to help teach students ways to write (here’s the writing part!). I won’t go into detail, but these templates are really simple and make learning how to write easy, even for those of us that have been in college for (what feels like) decades. One example would be something like this: “The author says __(comment on authors standpoint)__; however, most people would agree _____.” It shows you how to analyze and write papers. Really cool stuff.

Ok, what does this have to do with Youtube and Asian guys singing pop?

Well see, the guys of kevjumba and Wong Fu Productions have figured out the template for pop songs: autotune, 12-bar blues based bass-line, catchy chorus, cheap lyrics (or whatever). They’ve got it covered. And it’s hilarious. Not only because we know it’s horrible, but it is catchy and popular no matter how much we know it’s an empty song. So, check out the video and think about the template. I’ll leave you with one more video of guys that have figured out the template to music (this time boy bands). 😀

 

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Alex Reid, the Blue Man Group, and my local professor…

I was doing some reading for class when I came across this quote: “blogging has a special relationship with serendipity and inspiration”. That’s Alex Reid talking about blogging in a chapter he wrote for Writing Spaces (an open-source writing textbook, check it out! It’s a great read, and it’s free. You can read the PDF of the chapter I mentioned HERE). What Reid was talking about was blogs don’t rely on the kind of structure that a traditional scholastic paper does (in the chapter he’s talking about using blogs in the classroom) and because of that, they’re a bit more “fun” to write. I’ll agree to that.

Serendipity

Now, specifically I want to talk about some of the serendipitous events that cover writing, rhetoric, and/or poetry that have happened to me since my last post. First, while surfing the homepage of wordpress I found this article – Blue Man group a Model for Communication? Now, I love the Blue Man Group so I was completely astounded and interested to see a blog post about not only BMG but also communication. Give the article a read; the author brings up some really great points about communication in a digital world and a business environment. Brilliant!

Secondly, a professor in my poetry class brought up an interesting idea: poetry never died but hooked up with electricity and snuck into music. He quoted a review of Bob Dylan in the Wall Street Journal Review that said more or less Dylan’s writing is bad poetry but wonderful songs. The patterns of speech, the phonetics, the rhythm of words and sounds simply make some mediocre lyrics into fantastic songs. (We won’t get into the debate of “good” or “bad” songs here, lol.) It’s an interesting thought. As a creative writer myself, I’ve pontificated on why poetry started to lose its mainstream edge in the twentieth century. Maybe my professor is onto something. Maybe poetry did evolve with the technology of the times and has snuck its way into our mp3s. I think some songs would certainly be examples to back that up.

Jerry’s Final Thoughts

So there you have it. Everywhere you look, there’s writing and communication. Even the Blue Man Group! Look around this week and see what kinds of everyday examples of communication you find. Post it up here and let me know what you (serendipitously?) encounter!

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Writing is hard and that ain’t no metaphor

“I don’t want to write anything! Do I really have to?”

I’m sure some of us have been at a place like this at least once or twice if for nothing else than a school project. This blog is for a course of I’m taking, yes, but it’s also for my own personal edification. I’m a writer at heart. Words give me a kind of peace that’s sometimes hard to describe. Sometimes a good sentence leaps off the page of a book (or the screen of your e-reader) and just sounds perfect to your mind. It’s sublime. Anyway, that’s another discussion. The topic here is: I need to write. Not only for class but because the only way to get better at something is to practice!

“But writing is sooooo hard!

And no, that’s not a metaphor. It really is just difficult sometimes. At times, I simply want to constantly look over my facebook feed, read my favorite web-forum, research something extracurricular I love, or just “do nothing”. Writing is too much like work. I have to manually process thoughts and type them out. When I read something online I only have to sit and move my eyes: much easier stuff. However, yesterday I did spend the better part of an hour working on my blog. I looked at other themes, changed the background picture a few times, added words, took away words, and changed colors. (I’m getting to a cohesive thought here, just bear with me.) All of that time didn’t seem so labor-intensive because I was “customizing” my blog. I was doing something “fun”. But here’s the rub: couldn’t one argue I was “writing” when I was “customizing”?

“You’re crazy, what are you talking about?!

Well, in class there was an article that discussed, more or less, how the definition of “text” is changing in our world today. Much of this can be traced to the internet. Previously there were only printed things: books, pamphlets, etc. However, now we have webpages, blogs, status updates, avatars. Our realm of communication has exploded with more and more visual elements. A classmate proposed a question: at what point do pictures, design elements, and even music become part of the “text” of a webpage since they all contribute to the information conveyed by that page. I think that’s a very hard to answer question. Though I do agree that all of these elements (and more) contribute to communication. I think visual and auditory elements certainly play into the “text” of a document. So, yesterday when I was playing around with the look of this blog, I was writing! Who knew? And see, here I was dreading having to write something; I was doing it all along. Composition is wonderful like that, honest! (And that ain’t no metaphor!)

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