Sunday, May 6, 2007

My writing, a reflection

I think that the thing that has change most about my writing would be in regard to the context of online writing. I have never really written on a blog or myspace or anything of that sort, and wasn’t too comfortable with the format when we first started. In my first posts I was still getting used to the idea of connecting to other sites through my writing using the hyperlinks and adding pictures and videos to help the writing. I now find it easy and helpful to link other pages in the flow of my writing. I discovered that this can be very helpful, especially when researching for the rhetorical analysis. It was much easier for the user to just click on a hyperlink to find out more about a certain subject than to have to search for it themselves. I find it a lot easier now to figure out what viewers of my own writing would like links to, what kind of pictures would help, or other multimedia elements. For example, this is how I hyperlinked things in my first blogs.

“On the other hand, if the viewer chooses extreme he knows he will be looking at videos that contain content that wouldn’t be seen on the everyday basis. This could range from incredible stunts to bizarre acts of nature. The jokes, pictures, and games are similarly broken down into categories describing the general context. Click here to see some of these categories.”(post)

In these blogs I had no pictures or other multimedia elements whatsoever. As oppose to my newer posts, which look more like this.

“Most game developers argue that anything created or found in the game is the property of the game developers, while people selling the items argue that they are performing a service, and not actually selling the imaginary item. People even sell accounts of characters that are high levels and full of gear.” (post)

In my recent posts I integrated the links into the writing itself, and I think that the links were more relevant to the writing. I also included pictures and videos in these posts that added to the writing.

Another improvement in my writing would have to be the focus I had on the purpose for writing. In our first essay assignment I had a harder time sticking to the parameters of the writing than I did in our second or third essay. I found it a lot easier to figure out exactly what we were supposed to be writing about and how to write it. I also found I had an easier time making myself understood in my writing later on. My flow seemed to have improved over the course of this semester. I think my writing is easier to understand, and sounds better because of this. For example, in my first essay I described something like this.

“The late afternoon air made for a not quite comfortable, but not quite chilly Colorado day. The area is a pleasant one to sit and watch. The smell of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and the Boulder CafĂ© mingle in the air to create a pleasing aroma.”(post)

I think the first part of this quote is kind of hard to understand. It makes sense but you have to reread it a few times to understand what its trying to say. In my newer essays my writing seemed a lot clearer.

“Because of this not much time was spent in our rooms. They were sparse, yet comfortable. Electronics, except for music, were prohibited so there was no TV in any of the rooms. The building was an old filming studio, so all the bedrooms were different, since bigger stars got bigger rooms. I was lucky enough to get one of the larger rooms. It had a long hallway leading up to the main room, its own bathroom and shower, and a fireplace which regrettably was not in working order.”(post)

I think I convey the ideas I have a lot more clearly in this example. You don’t have to stop to try to understand the meaning of the writing. It flows together a lot smoother. I don’t think the voice of my writing changed so much over the course of the semester, mainly just the readability, and understandability of it. This is always good because the main purpose of writing something is to convey your ideas. Having a good flow which the reader can understand is very helpful in this aspect.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Volvic, the best water ever

The idea that a product can make you a better thinker, better person, better lover, or just better is a greatly used marketing scheme. In this commercial for Volvic water, just that approach is used in order to create a good selling point and argument. The Volvic water company is renowned for their waters all natural mineral content, health benefits and great taste. This particular commercial is making the argument that drinking something that is all natural, and healthy for you, will create a better life and better ideas in the consumer.

A little information and the history of Volvic are helpful to understand the arguments this commercial is trying to make. Volvic is a brand of mineral water that is all natural and bottled in France. It is bottled just to the north of Puy de Dome, a volcano that last erupted in 5760 BC. The water that filters through the layers of volcanic rock soaks up a distinct variation of minerals not found in any other natural mineral water in the world. These minerals give Volvic a different taste and numerous health benefits. The all natural label promises that the water was not manipulated by humans whatsoever.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketNow, onto the explanation of the argument in this commercial. A number of different rhetorical strategies are used to get across the companies point. First of all, this commercial is a narrative. In the most basic sense it shows a bunch of caveman lugging a huge boulder up a hill. One caveman drinks some Volvic water and instantly gets the idea light bulb look. He begins chipping away at this rock, making it into something resembling a wheel. He then proceeds to put what appears to be an axle into the wheel. This is where some irony comes into play. The stick was not actually an axle, but a pole, and the wheel was a platform. The caveman had invented the first pole dancing platform. This narrative includes an illustration of what can happen if one was to drink Volvic water. Obviously the minerals in the water uplift the drinker to a higher level of thinking than his companions. He is able not only to invent the wheel, but think of a quite novel purpose for it. At the end of the commercial there is also a description of how the water is made, “filtered through layers of volcanic rock, to fill you with volcanicity.” This catch phrase is also a cause and effect situation. Drink our mineral water and be filled with volcanicity. Since this is not a real word, there is a lot of implied meaning behind it. From the narrative that precedes this saying, it can be gathered that volcanicity means some sort of motivation to create or explore, maybe some thing extra that no one else has. This extra something can only be gotten through the drinking of all natural Volvic mineral water. There is also a classification in the ad. The product is a drink, its water, and even more specifically it is mineral water. Mineral water alone is known for its health benefits, and Volvic is renowned to be one of the most mineral filled mineral waters. Therefore it should be the healthiest.

I believe that this commercial uses all three of the rhetorical appeals. Obviously it is using the pathos appeal to generate a certain feeling in the audience. For one, it is creating a humorous situation using the irony of the creation of the wheel for a pole dancing platform. The ironic comedy is the main focus of this commercial. It is this aspect of the commercial that makes it memorable, makes the viewer remember the commercial and the name Volvic. At the same time it is trying to instill a sense of motivation in the viewers. The commercial is almost saying, “Look at what this caveman did with Volvic, what do you think you could accomplish with it?” It makes it quite obvious that this idea only came around after the benefits of drinking Volvic took hold, though. This commercial is also using the Ethos appeal, not directly but indirectly. The name Volvic has a lot behind it. Looking at a number of different bottled water, and mineral water review sites Volvic always had high marks in taste, the benefits of its minerals, and the integrity of the company. Volvic claims to be very environmentally friendly, which is always a good image to portray in modern day society, and even more important if you’re selling an all natural product. For the most part, people who care to buy all natural products will also care about the environment. Looking further into this I found that Volvic actually uses PETE to make all their bottles, a form of recycled plastic, so in this case their actually telling the truth. In this particular commercial they also use the logos appeal. This commercial appeals to logical side of the audience, also in an indirect way. Remembering the narrative, it tells of a caveman who drinks Volvic and instantly has this ingenious idea. The logical path of thinking is that he had this idea because he drank Volvic. The health benefits of the minerals in Volvic will increase your thinking power and push you far ahead of your companions. Now this is a little bit absurd, but I think that most people would logically agree that an all natural mineral water is better for you than some kind of processed soda or other sugary drink. In using all three appeals, I think Volvic makes a pretty persuasive argument in this commercial.

Even though hundreds, if not thousands, of commercials use the tactic of promising a better life if you use their product, I think Volvic’s claim can be somewhat substantiated. If one takes into consideration the immense amounts of research done on the importance of maintaining a healthy, low fat, low sugar diet, Volvic water seems to be a logically good choice for a drink. The humor included in this commercial also makes for an enjoyable experience for the viewer, making the viewer remember the name Volvic. I think that although the argument is somewhat blown out of proportion in this commercial, that the point is still made.

Print Based Source:

France. Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet Country Guides, 1985.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

stop motion animation

I found this video really fun to watch and thought I’d write a little bit about it. It’s called stop motion animation and is used in a number of different mediums. Children shows like Gumby, and others use this technique to make inanimate objects appear to move and do things. Recently movies like Wallace and Gromit have used this same technique. The original South Park short used stop motion animation, by having paper cut out characters appear to move against a background. My first experience with this type of video making was in high school. I took a video production class that introduced us to different types and styles of film making. One project we did was a stop motion short film. I had a lot of fun with this project, and ended up with a Scooby Doo like chase sequence where the main character would go into one door and come out of another across the hallway. In the end the main character was melted with laser beams from my eyes, but that’s neither here nor there. Stop motion can create some very interesting effects when real people are the focus of the filming. It can be used to create seemingly impossible situations or incredible looking feats of agility or strength. I think it is just as fun to see inanimate objects seem to have a mind of their own. I recall a commercial recently where spare change from all over came together to form an object. If my memory serves me correctly it was for some bank that put your spare change from credit card purchases into a savings account.

Online Gaming

Most guys, at least those I know, between the ages of 10 and 25 seem to participate in a large amounting of ‘gaming’. Whether it’s on a platform system like x-box or playstation, or computers, gaming seems to be the common interest almost all guys can share. I have long been into online computer gaming and have had a few different games that I played extensively for different periods of time. The first game I really got into would have to have been Diablo II. This game went under the classification of a role-playing game, a game that puts you into a specific character which you build up with skills and experience, outfit with different types of gear, and move through a world where the difficulty increases along with that characters growth. The newest, and by far most interesting genre of games, is the mmorpg. This stands for massively multiplayer online role playing game, and in these games everyone that is playing is in the same ‘world’ online. They interact with each other, form groups to take on more challenging opponents, create guilds, and even have their own economies. There can be thousands of people online in the same game world. These online worlds can be huge, some of them taking hours to walk across in the game. These games have created some very strange debates and legal troubles. People can spend hundreds of hours searching through the game for certain items that are very rare, or they can buy them from other people on sites like ebay. People will pay actual money for the ‘owner’ of the particular item, to give them that item in the game. The legal trouble comes in over who actually owns this imaginary item. Most game developers argue that anything created or found in the game is the property of the game developers, while people selling the items argue that they are performing a service, and not actually selling the imaginary item. People even sell accounts of characters that are high levels and full of gear. Games like Diablo, Everquest, or World of Warcraft, create markets where people can make thousands of dollars selling these imaginary items.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bud Light, smooth and refreshing

Thinking about what to write for our free write this week, I didn’t have any really good ideas, so I decided just to do another rhetorical analysis. I decided to use a commercial from the super bowl, my favorite one of this year, advertising Bud light. This is using a narrative to tell a story of how two men decide who gets the last beer. The basic premise is that they both grab for the last beer, and to decide who gets it they decide to play rock, paper, scissors. As they come to the end of their 3 count, one man throws a rock at the other man’s head and knocks him down. He then proceeds to grab the beer and leave. This is using the pathos appeal by using humor to put the viewers in a certain state of mind. I think that if viewers find the commercial quite funny it will stick in their heads longer. Also they are using ethos simply by using the Bud light name. It is a very well known beer and a very well known company. They are appealing to the audience through their good name. People know that Budweiser and Bud light are two of the generally respected and well known beers in the USA. It’s also using definition and classification and the end of the commercial when they say that Bud light is a refreshing and smooth beer. It is describing it as a smooth beer and also classifying it as a light beer. Its name also classifies it as the beer of a major beer producer. It is not from a smaller micro-brewery, or an imported beer.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Youtube video

Best DUI stop ever!!!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Scooby and his Ipod

The ad I found wasn’t on adbusters, but I think it qualifies as a spoof ad. The image of Scooby Doo wearing an ipod is a parody of many of the ipod advertisements that feature a darkened figure on a bright background using an ipod. This fake ad is using illustration by showing a commonly recognized person (in this case an animated dog) using the product. I think this add uses all three of the rhetorical appeals. I think it uses logos simply by including the ipod name on the ad. This appeals to the viewer because ipod has become synonymous with ease of use and quality. It also appeals through pathos by trying to put the viewer into a light hearted state of mind by using humor. The humor in this ad only makes sense if you have seen other ipod advertisements. This particular one is making fun of the other ipod ads by using a cartoon character as the main figure. Every other ad has used real people listening to their ipods. I think it also appeals with ethos because the ipod is associated with Apple. Depending on who you are and your own personal views this may mean different things. For most people, though, I think it would mean reliability and good technology. Apple is a well known company that is used by millions around the world. I don’t really think that this ad was really trying to discredit ipod because it doesn’t really have any irony in it or anything that would portray the ipod as negative. I think it just took the previous ads and put a new, creative twist on the idea.