Blogging, blogging, and more blogging

As this AP assignment comes to an end I, as the student, am given the task of looking back and reflecting on this particular assignment I was given.  I am also challenged to look at my blogging experience and find the value and impact that have been left with me through this process of learning, writing, and analyzing.  So as I prepare to put my blogging days behind me, as I far as I know, and turn a new page in my AP Barron’s book I would like to share my thoughts throughout this blogging journey.

When I first started this assignment I chose the TV personality Bill O’Reilly believing him to be a columnist, however I very quickly found out he was not really a columnist.  So after a rough start and a column written by staff (which turned out to be very well written and quite enjoyable) I again began the arduous task of finding a new columnist.  This new path lead me to a man named Greg Gutfeld who is not only a TV personality, but also a columnist.  It turned out I really liked this new guy and he provided a different take on the hot topic issue: Ebola.  While my task to follow a columnist morphed into a different scenario than most I still feel that it was an important challenge to face because it presented me with two different personalities, opinions, and writing styles.

This experience has impacted me because I have been given the opportunity to expand my knowledge outside of the classroom and onto topics that are relevant to times now rather than of 18th century romantic poetry and mythical epics.  It has given me a means of discovering real life issues that I can connect to and analyze without dreading the very idea.  Through blogging I have also discovered a new creative outlet.  I can express my opinions about issues that I care about away from the restraints of the standard 5 paragraph essay.  I have uncovered the hardships about college life through the combination of in class learning and online work.  I have discovered the struggle to be on your own when it comes to homework assignments and having to remember to do it without my teacher constantly on me to do it.  This assignment has been very beneficial in many more ways that I probably won’t even realize until a situation like this occurs again in my future schooling endeavors.

So I will conclude this adventure with a thank you to my teacher for pushing us to do such an assignment and encouraging our class to discover different means of communication to the outside world in an educated manner.  Maybe one day I’ll actually do this for fun?

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

-Walt Disney


The Fear Factor

Before I start this blog post I feel as if i should inform you, the reader, that I have chosen a different columnist to follow.  After a particular situation arose I found myself in a predicament and had to choose someone else to analyze and so, after much debate, I have chosen Greg Gutfeld.  He is a political commentator not only in writing, but also on his TV show Redeye.  I am looking forward to this change because it has given me a chance to compare writing styles, personalities, and topics.  Now, without further adieu, my blog analysis of columnist Greg Gutfeld.

The topic of Ebola has recently become an important topic of discussion through many different avenues of information sharing, but through these many avenues are American citizens really getting the proper resources and information that they deserve or is it all just becoming one big nationwide panic?

In the opening lines of Greg Gutfeld’s article Panic Buttons he comments that “the most contagious thing in America is hysteria.”  This is a very important statement because it addresses our tendency, as a nation, to make panic/fear/hysteria our first response to things that we have little knowledge of.  It is revealed throughout the column that Americans tend to fall back on our emotions for reasoning rather than our own logic.  The conclusion is reached that “fear sells more that fact” and therefore we, as Americans, are prone to believing fear based stories and statements regardless of the facts, or lack of facts, that have actually contributed to that particular fear based conclusion.  The reader is then compelled to shine a light on their own lives and examine whether or not they have been susceptible to these very arguments and statements, and let’s face it, at one point in time it most likely has happened or will happen.  We have seen it in propaganda techniques such as the Red Scare or even World War Two slogans such as, “Know your place, shut your face.”  Techniques such as these were used to induce fear into the American people during WWII and convince them to stay clear of anyone who may look Japanese and to not reveal any information that could potentially put our country in harm.

In reading this article I have come to realize that I myself have been inclined to be persuaded by fear based persuasion techniques.  In our country we have resulted to gaining the attention of others by first generating fear and then displaying our arguments, therefore creating a fear based response in which the reader might be so scared that anything a writer says must be true because they seem to be providing “helpful” information on that alleged topic.  Currently teenagers specifically are being targeted by anti-smoking and anti-drug campaigns.  These commercials and ads are, in one specific ad, are displaying smoking as a demanding bully who won’t leave a kid alone and forces them to drop everything in their lives just for one cigarette.  While I’m sure these ads are generated with good intentions it seems to become quite redundant after a while and soon enough it’s just another commercial to skip during your pre-recorded shows that seem to promoted this kind of behavior.  Humans beings can become very susceptible to fear inducing techniques and when these approaches lead someone to develop an opinion based mainly on fear and emotion it can cause wide-spread panic creating more issues than there were originally.

“We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.”

-Christian Nestell Bovee

Panic Buttons | Greg Gutfeld

Off With His Head!

Through the article Incompetence, Going Viral a member of the prestigious staff at wittily attacks the incompetence of Dr. Thomas Frieden through the rhetorical devices of sarcasm and rhetorical questions.

Throughout the duration of the article the reader is struck by a sarcastic tone as the author scrutinizes Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and his point of views on the ebola outbreak and ways to control it.  During the article the author refers to Dr. Frieden as “the not-so-good doctor” when discussing his questionable political actions both past and present.  This sarcastic twist of phrase diminishes the trust that we, as Americans, have for our health personal.  After all if we aren’t able to trust the head of the CDC, whom one would presume is one of the most knowledgable people in the field of medicine, then what makes us think we can trust our average doctors and nurses?  When America’s politics infect our country’s well-being the result is skepticism and a lack of seriousness creating a sarcastic tone when referring to such serious issues as the ebola virus.

This lack of seriousness and respect are also evident in the rhetorical questions that the author poses in response to the reactions on the topic of the ebola virus.  When discussing the incompetence of Dr. Frieden’s dealings with this virus the author presents the question, “Well, Mr. President, how about protecting us from Dr. Frieden?”  This attitude towards Dr. Frieden can be viewed as rather hostile and angry which may appeal to the reader who is also outraged at his lack of serious towards this fatal disease.  By extending these rhetorical questions out to the reader the author is looking to help stir up the viewers opinions and feelings on this particular topic.  Questions posed within a column serve as a not only a transition tool, but also as a chance for the reader to incorporate their own ideas in to the article which would mostly support the author’s opinion of an incompetent public leader during this time of international crisis.

This article causes the authors strong opinions to emanate out to their readers in hopes of persuading them of the same feelings.  The overall tone of this column is concern for American safety and to reveal to the readers that Dr. Thomas Frieden is not to be fully trusted due to his immersion in both the political and medical communities.

My own personal experiences with diseases such as this is a joking form of it.  I live in a culture that is starting to become desensitized to these serious issues, where we make jokes about a virus that is killing people and ripping families apart.  It has become almost second nature for my society to immediately start making jokes and vapid comments about things that we do not fully understand only to try to make it appear in a way that we might actually understand; therefore, morphing high priority topics into completely different topics that are so far from the truth.

“The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and these are ignorance, superstition and incompetence.”

-Elbert Hubbard

The Face of The Factor

Bill O’Reilly is a man of many talents ranging from author to TV personality, but who is the real man behind all of the cameras and books?

William James O’ Reilly Jr. was born on September 10, 1949 in New York, New York (bio).  His journey in education lead him through many doors, the first of which was Marist College in New York.  While studying in New York O’Reilly received his Bachelors degree in History (Fox).  Shortly after he stared a job at a high school teaching history, but this was only a minor stop on his pathway to national recognition (O’Reilly).  He then proceeded to earn two master’s degrees, One in broadcast journalism from Boston University and the other in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (bio). Despite where he gained his credentials it is still indisputable that this is a remarkable man.

His broadcasting career started off in Scranton, Pennsylvania (for those of you who watch The Office you should understand how infamous this city is), but shortly he would go from an average city in Pennsylvania to a national stage.  Soon he began progressing to a national broadcasting stage by hosting the Inside Edition for CBS and ABC news (Fox).  After earning his Master’s degree from Harvard, O’Reilly started his own political commentary show called The O’Reilly Factor.  IN 2001 his show earned the prestigious title of the country’s most watched cable news program and has retained that title for the past 13 years (O’Reilly).  Aside from his television recognition, he is also a distinguished author with multiple nonfiction bestsellers as well as two “controversial presidential thrillers” titled Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy (bio).

Throughout Bill O’Reilly’s many years in the public eye he has managed not only to survive, but to thrive and prove that he is a lot more that an average man with political opinions.

“Lotsa people want to hurt me. That’s the price you pay for being a big mouth.”
-Bill O’Reilly’Reilly’s-Bio/515.html

A Shift in Tone

Looking back at my freshman year there are many things that I heard, and would have liked to hear, during that prominent year.  First, I was told that being in high school is so much better than being in middle school.  This is very much true!  As soon as the transfer between middle school and high school hits, a freshman might realize that there is more to life than the boys they pined after in eighth grade, or the radio station they listened to, or even the stores they shopped at.  Second, I wish I had been told to make the most out of it.  While I was in my Freshman year I remember thinking that this is the hardest year I have ever gone through and I have so much homework all the time!  If only I had known that school wasn’t getting any easier, that classes would just become more and more demanding as time went on.  Third, don’t be afraid to talk about things and speak up.  I started off thinking that I could only talk to my friends about things that were bothering me, but what happened when my friends were the ones bothering me?  Who else could I possibly be able to talk to about these issues?  The answer is that a lot of people are there to help along the way.  People who care about the future possibilities, the friendships that are so long-lasting it would take a war to ruin, or even the problems with parents over grades.  The knowledge that other people care about me and want to help, besides my friends, was very freeing and helped give me the understanding that there is always someone out there who cares no matter what the situation.  Looking back there are things that I might have changed if given the opportunity, however, without the choices that I made that influential year I might not have become the person I am today.

“Eventually all things fall into place.  Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know everything happens for a reason”

– Albert Schweitzer

The First Step

Out of all the things I thought might happen in my AP Language class I never imagined that blogging would be one of them.  So since this is my first blog post I have no idea what to write about, but I am sure I will get better as time progresses.  Through this blog I hope to be able to express my thoughts and opinions to anyone who decides to read this.

“Writing means sharing. It’s part of the human condition to want to share things – thoughts, ideas, opinions.”

-Paulo Coelho

P.S. As you’ll find out I’m a little obsessed with quotes, so enjoy!