Introduction: What You Should Expect
The collection of works located under the Pages tab, each titled “Task X,” represents a journey to find the connections between communication and learning in an online game environment. There are four selections, and each of which have individual purposes. Task 1 is the proposal, the beginning; while Task 4 is the final product, the conglomerate finality of the pages. In writing them, I believe I have been successful in both meeting the course requirements and fulfilling the Course Outcomes of ENC 1102.
The Outcomes: Fulfillment
For Outcome 1–which entails complex textual analysis and synthesis–the course essay that best fulfills it is Task 3, the Annotated Bibliography. This is because the task requires a short summary of the secondary sources and a brief synthesis to the other secondary sources, which ultimately meets the base requirements for the Outcome. This, however, is not the only way to fulfill that outcome. For instance, the introduction in Task 4 utilizes those secondary sources in the CARS Model outlined by John Swales: throughout that introduction I adapted my secondary sources’ relevant portions such as James Gee’s quote on the difference between “problem games,” or games that have one singular problem-solving purpose, and “world games,” or games that have a wide variety of problems and ways to solve them. This is a specific fulfillment of the first characteristic of Outcome 1, defined on the Course Outcome handout.
Tasks 1, 2 and 3 fulfill the requirements laid out by Outcome 2 in that they are the embodiment of recursive inquiry-based writing and research. To clarify, Task 1 was the development of initial claims and the propositions to perform research to address those claims, or the CARS model; Task 2 required primary research–interviews, observations, textual analyses and surveys–to be performed, or the Methods and Results; and Task 3 is again the Annotated Bibliography, or the collection of analyses and syntheses of relevant secondary sources.
In Outcome 3 the objective was to interpret research findings and create our arguments that answer our claims. This is apparent in Tasks 2 and 4, especially in the Results sections for both. These sections are meant for analyzing the data collected and the application of that data to the research. For example. my Results included interviews, and for each interviewee’s answers I applied their responses to my research, analyzing what my interviewees answers meant and using them in tandem with my claims.
Outcome 4 required us to rethink the way we see writing when doing research. The fulfillment of this comes from all of the Revisions and Initial/ Final Reflections we have done on the major tasks. The most work I have done in either regard are the revisions I have done on the CARS model and the Discussion, which I currently use in the Task 4 final, as these employ massive amounts of editing and contextual revision. When I went through revising each paper, and sometimes completely rewriting certain portions of them, I had to incorporate as much of what I learned in the course as possible while still maintaining the focus of each paper. This entire outcome lends itself to my general writing skills in that it instills the concept of growth and development as a writer in life.
In summary, I believe my development as a writer has grown significantly. The substantial feedback from my peers and my professor have provided me with insight as to how great research papers are written. There is a specific progression I find between Tasks 1 and 4: in Task 1 there is not much development, no solid foundation as to what I wanted to do. In all honesty, I was really doubting whether or not I’d be able to stick to communications in Clash of Clans in January–but I was told to keep at it and that it would soon become a much better topic. By Task 2 I had already been invested in it and there was no real opportunity to turn it around at that point, so I decided to just keep trying to get as much out of it as I could. Task 3 was rough in the introduction, but when I had revised that section to be later used in Task 4 I had felt a great sensation of accomplishment. My peers and professor lauded my leap from an underdeveloped topic to a fully-fledged arguable research gold mine. I personally feel that Task 4 is the pinnacle of my research in ENC 1102, and it definitely has superiority over Task 1.
This post marks the beginning of new posts for the Spring 2016 semester. All posts preceding this one are not applicable to ENC 1102; however, they are free reading!
The posts hereafter will appear in backwards chronological order.
(Remember: describe for the reader, then analyze)
What is the Text You Are Analyzing? (Task 3.2)
Jimmy Fallon’s Interview with Donald Trump: “Donald Trump Interviews Himself in the Mirror”
Is it one specific episode/ song/ film clip/ movie/ article/ essay?
One short clip
Write a short description: 2-3 sentences.
Jimmy Fallon asks questions of republican presidential candidate Donald Trump while impersonating him. The clip is a parody that is supposed to exaggerate Trump’s attitude and create humor.
Why are you interested in it?
I find Jimmy Fallon to be a hilarious character. I have watched his show for a few years, and this particular clip was interesting because of its comical nature.
What is your initial research question about it?
What different texts and information does the audience need to understand the obvious and the subtle references?
What is your hypothesis (the possible answer(s) to this research questions)?
The audience must know Trump’s infamous attitude, a dabbling of politics, and a mythological story.
Iterability (Task 3.4):
Watch/read/listen to your chosen text.
Identify and record every single time another text appears. (i.e. a character is holding a Coke bottle, or is wearing a “Hall & Oates” t-shirt. They don’t have to say anything about this text, but the fact that it appears is intertextuality at work.)
Jimmy Fallon enters as Trump, holding an iPhone.
[Unreadable] brand bottles of hair products are set up on the vanity.
Identify and record every single time that this text references another text. (i.e. the author includes a specific quote, or a character uses a specific song lyric.)
The 2015 Republican Debate is a topic during the interview, something that most political followers have watched.
A text that may be an unintentional reference is the clip of Shia LaBeouf’s more or less “motivational” video, depicting him yelling “Just do it!” Donald Trump responds to the question of how he plans to create jobs in the country, saying “I’m just gonna do it.”
Fallon, as pseudo-Trump, is asked how he would solve the Mexican illegal immigration issue. In response he says he “will challenge them to the biggest game of Jenga ever.” This references the iconic family game Jenga, a game based on the strategic removal of rectangular blocks without collapsing the tower.
Trump calls forth the audience’s knowledge of current tax policies and government spending policies.
Fallon references the pumpkin spice latte, widely advertised through Starbucks as a seasonal beverage.
One of the final references is from Trump to the statement by Kanye West that he, West, would run for president in 2020 (please no).
Presupposition (Task 3.4):
Watch/read/listen to it again.
What basic context is necessary to understand this text?
Political subjects such as the upcoming presidential election next year, taxation reform, and the like.
Identify and record every time that the text requires us to have some sort of cultural knowledge.
It is within our own culture that we elect a president every four years.
Identify and record every time that the text requires us to have some sort of technical knowledge.
We must have knowledge of the unfair tax policies and the lack of jobs inside the country. The text also requires us to know the physical appearance of a very popular phone – the iPhone.
Identify and record every time that the text requires us to have some sort of historical knowledge.
We must have historical knowledge of the past Mexican immigrations and the consistent issues encountered. It is also required that an unintended reference be recognized, and that is the nonverbal hint toward a mythological story.
Identify and record any assumptions that the text makes about our beliefs, our values, or even our demographics (i.e. Do the authors assume that we are Americans? Republicans? Young people? Married? Educated? That we care about certain issues, or objects? Etc.)
The text assumes we are educated in and concerned with current events and have some form of experience with political science. The text also assumes the audience is young, married, American, and either Republican or Democratic.
- What patterns do you see?
This text has a pattern of prior historical knowledge and of politics. It also requires knowledge of iconic figures like Gary Busey, Kanye West, Jenga, and Apple products. One particular obscure reference is to a particular mythological story from Roman times.
- Of the above findings, what is most important?
It is most important to know about the political points of this text.
- What do you make of all of this? Based on what you’ve identified, do you now feel prepared to answer your initial research question?
I find all the information in the clip to be an amalgamation of different references ranging from a kids’ game to serious politics to ancient myths. I am now more than prepared to answer the initial question and any one henceforth.
Jimmy Fallon is known for the hit talk show “The Tonight Show,” a show where parodies, sketches and skits occur, as well as mini game shows such as knock-off lip-sync battles and various guessing games like to Taboo. The main event to Fallon’s show is the interviewing of a celebrity, primarily one who has made a recent chart-topping song or plays the lead role in a highly-anticipated film; and, in the weeks leading up to the Republican debate, Jimmy Fallon transformed himself into the likeness of Donald Trump for a humorous interview with the real Donald Trump… in the “mirror”.
In order to understand even the introduction to the scene, we must first establish the understanding that Donald Trump is by and large a selfish asshole, hands down. We must also consider the narcissism Fallon displays as Trump, a nod again toward this arrogance. That being said, it is now possible to provide the rundown of the interview.
Fallon enters, dressed as Trump, with hair and makeup to enhance the parodied identity. He is on the phone with someone, and claims he will call back after he combs his hair–a three-hour process. The lookalike Trump takes a seat and subtly introduces the real Trump, stating “I look fantastic.” Camera swap to the real Donald Trump; audience laughs, cheers, and applauds. Various questions are asked by Fallon to Trump pertaining to political issues like the growing Mexican illegal immigration concern and job creation. The former issue Trump asked Fallon to explain how he would mitigate it–the answer just might make you chuckle. During the final portion, pseudo-Trump Fallon asks if True Trump’s vice president would be Gary Busey, famous for actually being out of his mind; and True Trump’s response causes either cringing or laughter (or both) with the lead-up phrase “I want someone with ambition, someone like [pause] Kanye West.” Audience laughs, cheers, and applauds (and some go “ooo”); scene end.
This entire interview, of course, is a satirical take on how Donald Trump plans to fill the hole the United States has dug itself. From it, certain questions arise–
- Why is this interview funny?
- What knowledge does the audience require in order to understand this humor?
- What is the importance of this knowledge?
- In what other ways is this interview a parody?
- How can we see intertext throughout the scene?
From these questions’ answers, I anticipate learning some bit of foundation behind Donald Trump’s plans as well as a new way to understand political humor.
In the video clip, Jimmy Fallon becomes the likeness of Donald Trump, right down to the speech and gestures. Throughout the interview with “himself,” Trump answers questions on various subjects that need attention by the next president. The intertext of this interview presupposes we, as the audience, have knowledge that Trump is running for president (and if somebody doesn’t know that, they most likely live under a rock). It is also presupposed that the audience has at least basic knowledge of current political issues, such as illegal immigration and lack of jobs for Americans–two issues Trump (and pseudo-Trump Jimmy Fallon) have “methods” of solving.
There is one portion of intertext we can find relating to the myth written in Ovid’s Metamorphoses of Echo and Narcissus. After a sequence of events that rendered Echo mute except to repeat only the words spoken by others, Narcissus rejects Echo’s love, and so she prays to the goddess of love Aphrodite. Echo disappears, leaving nothing but her voice (so now she is credited with the effect of echoes). Narcissus, meanwhile, rests at a pond, exhausted from hunting. As he leans in to take a drink of the water, he gazes at his reflection and falls in love with himself. As the more-detailed story goes, he wasted away at that pond, forever attempting to grab hold of his own reflection.
This myth coincides with the interview, as it is Trump-look-alike Fallon and Trump himself conversing, a nod toward the word “narcissism,” which means “deep love for oneself.” This suggests (and is reinforced by documentation of events) that Trump is like Narcissus, in love with himself.
There are many discourse communities to which an individual can belong. These communities can range from a few people to thousands, from web-based to personal, or from simple to complex. I personally belong to multiple groups; below, I will draw out a list and provide a brief explanation of each.
Music Brings Us Together
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I gather with a group of friends to play music. This group is usually eight people strong, but recently we have gained an immense amount of popularity–upward of twenty individuals have performed at least for one session with us.
More Than Forty Members Strong
I am involved in an online group of players on the widely-popular mobile game “Clash of Clans.” Every two days we are pitted against other groups to attempt to defeat them in what is called “clan wars.” This group I find very fun to talk with–one of them is from Canada and drives a zamboni (the ice polisher of hockey rinks), something not very often seen.
Alumnus of a High School Band
I am an alumnus of my high school, obviously; and, given the prior knowledge that I am a musician, I was in the high school band. I am still in touch with many of my cohorts in the band to date.
I spend much of my weekends at three friends’ house doing laundry and conversing. I often talk tech and games with one of them, and we have recently picked up a card game to pass the time.
Importance of Music
In deeper analysis, I find that the strongest community to which I belong is that of the musical group of which I am a part. Our “mission,” if it can really be called that, is simply to play music and entertain others, for free. Just yesterday–Wednesday, October 28th–we had one of the largest gatherings of musicians: twenty-two students, all trained in some form, sang and played instruments together throughout the day. In some sense, that could be our real mission–to instill confidence in singers, so that they might join us and enjoy playing music with us. The ways of which we communicate varies from texting to third-party applications to personal conversations; and through these methods we plan times to gather together and provide free entertainment.
School let out at 3:05 p.m. and the halls were utterly desolate. The false oblivion was amplified by the fact that the particular hall I strode down was old.
My high school was over fifty years old at the time, old enough to have borne witness to the rise of the human rights activists of the 1960’s and the 1970’s and certain anti-racism riots. In Escambia High School’s history, from the fall of 1972 through the end of the school year in mid-1973, riots had plagued the halls after a football game agitated the freshly-enrolled colored students. The cause was by the then-newly desegregated school’s mascot and fight song–the mascot was modeled after the Colonel Reb mascot of the University of Mississippi, the fight song was “Dixie,’ and the school’s flag was that of the Confederates. For weeks, anti-riot teams lined up outside the school to throw tear gas through the windows. Law enforcement patrolled every corner and every hall and every bathroom. It was mayhem for months until a court hearing deemed the icons “racially irritating” and were removed.
This was not the case in late 2011. There were no anti-riot teams, no tear gas, no racism (okay, maybe a little–but it hardly ever came from the white students). The hallway was not as old as the school itself, but it was the third wing to be added, the second and first being the original school (half the original school, at that). The faint blue linoleum floors were scuffed with shoe marks, sneaker soles, rubber door stop skids, and scratches from every possible thing that could scratch linoleum. Blue lockers lined this aged, oddly well-managed hallway. In three-foot by three-foot recesses there were the large solid-core heavy doors that opened outward. The white brick walls were cold, solid. The door I was heading to was on the left. I didn’t have to walk far from the entrance. I put my hand on the metal door handle and turned it.
I stepped into the classroom, hoping not to be the only one who returned for help. Blue carpet coated the floor, posters and boards scattered across the white brick walls. In the back, blue shelves and cabinets were suspended on the walls, a large back shelf with three chairs for times when there were too many students or students from another class arrived. Three filing cabinets, each with various paraphernalia littering the top and front, stood next to the small desk with a computer monitor and laptop on top. This was where the grades would be sent to an online database that no one could use because it was always under maintenance. The front of the room was dominated by a large projector screen, and a podium and desk and cart with a projector in the foreground. At this desk, my cranky pregnant English teacher sat. Ms. Gentry. She greeted me (which was odd–she never greeted me).
During the months we had been working, the primary topic of the first semester was Shakespeare. Nobody liked Shakespeare–not even Shakespeare himself. The first two months of the school year, my class had no permanent teacher because the one who was intended for us died of cancer just a week before the year began (sadly, this teacher, Mr. Julian, was my older brother’s, and he was very upset that Mr. Julian died and that I did not get the chance to meet him). The week’s study in the middle of October was the analysis of Shakespeare’s favorite meter: dactylic hexameter (I can feel the cringe brought on by this mention).
I wasn’t alone, there were other students; yet I still sat isolated. I was on a mission to write a poem like that of Shakespeare, but dactylic hexameter was all too difficult for my freshman underachieved-English-scores mind. I sat staring, thinking, raising blood pressure for about half an hour. Just before I was about to walk out and break down, Ms. Gentry saw that I had not moved or written anything since I had sat down, and she came over to my desk. She asked me what was wrong, and I could not help myself but to start crying like the incapable freshman that always struggled with English I was.
I remember her actually being nice to me, telling me that I did not need to worry so much about the assignment. I told her why I had come for the after-school help: my parents were having trouble helping me and keeping me focused. And then she said the most memorable thing I could have possibly heard from her cranky mouth: “You aren’t stupid, you can do this. If you weren’t cut out for this kind of work I would have removed you already.”
These words lifted my spirits. We then worked together to finish my assignment, her walking me through dactylic hexameter and reminding me of the rules of writing in such a meter. I finished, said my goodbyes, and went home. I turned in my assignment the next day, with the words “Thank you” written on the bottom of the page. The next week, that assignment was returned with the grades written on them. I retrieved mine. The number eighty was written on the top, in red ink and circled. Below the “Thank you,” two words were scribbled: “You’re welcome.” This moment had turned me from despising English work because of my lack of ability to comprehend it into a student who enjoyed attending my English courses. It was those words from Ms. Gentry that I still remember.
This event was life-changing. I strove to write as best I could, to expand my vocabulary, to become a better writer. In my later years of high school I would go one to impress my instructors with individual pieces that even they would not have written so well when they attended high school. These, too, made me a better writer; and those words began it all: “You can do this.”
When it comes to writing essays and the drafting process, I don’t particularly follow the rules provided–I tend to edit while writing and I neglect drafting. I have never been able to grow accustomed to such practices. Drafts are like the husks of the reanimated dead, the molts of the final essay (not actually, but to me they do have similarities). If I sense even a whisper of incorrect spelling or grammar I “nip it in the bud,” as Barney Fife would. The ideas are seemingly a distraction, and so I generally only make two drafts of any paper. Many may view this as a sin or me as an abomination and unworthy of being dubbed a writer; however, I find that having six or ten drafts is excessive, and that the works could not be more perfectly boring because they have had too much editing and revision.
My two drafts typically involve the first being like a final paper, fleshed out and grammatically correct. I defer to any one or six of my peers for their feedback and criticism, and then incorporate their suggestions as best I can into the final draft. This might be termed as “lazy,” yet I would call it “efficient;” I prefer skipping the planning and first two drafts, and getting to the penultimate draft simply because the planning and first draft are extremely foreign to me. I feel it is a waste of time to plan out the essay when the ideas are going to be rewritten and replaced regardless of who came up with the ideas or where they came from in the first place. I am just not comfortable with drafting, and I find it a hassle to hand-write a flowchart of the ideas to be touched upon and the common theme–I would much rather wing it and then revise as I create new ideas (in the same way the Constitution of the United States of America is constantly revised to adapt to new amendments).
Setting is crucial to writing, as well. I have never been a morning writer, or an afternoon writer. I write best at night, when my mind has had a good beating for the day. It’s like using a muscle to lift something heavy just once, then suddenly light objects seem even lighter. I prefer my office chair under me, a leg crossed out of habit, my laptop with a second monitor on my glass desktop. Something about the office theme really drives me to write and do any work at this desk. I took extra precautions to ensure I would be able to write my first core essay in such optimal conditions. I sat down to write at nine p.m. and ended my session at three in the morning. I constantly corrected spelling, reworded sentences, cut some and added others, read and reread through each paragraph as it was written. It was ironically stress-free. The essay took me about three of these sessions to finish due to the meticulous editing, and even though my score was only in the eightieth percentile, I was and still am proud of writing as much as I did.
I believe there is always room for improvement in a writer’s life. Questions should always be asked and answers should always be given. For example, I might ask myself why I chose such a conversational “thought process” form of writing; or why I had waited until I was attending college courses to start writing as if I actually enjoy it (which I do). I might also question my habits, why I write and edit simultaneously, why I cannot let a misspelled word slip through the punctuation. One could even go so far as to ask me a question themselves, such as if I feel my style might not be effective enough.
10,000 hours is a long time to invest in something. I personally have invested thousands of hours already into playing video games (a sad truth, some would say), though maybe not ten thousand just yet. It is through this investment that I can learn the controls and mechanics of any video game in a matter of minutes, as compared to those who might not have as much experience and thus would take longer to get over the learning curve. This is quite different from my literacy skills due to a lack of emphasis on the honing of those skills.
There were a few events that influenced my writing life today that happened fairly recently, when I was in my high school years–mainly, my senior year. A friend of mine is currently studying to be an English professor; his writing skills at the time of our senior year were beyond what I could have ever expected from any high school student until then. His passion for writing was my motivation for improving my own ability, and so I would ask him questions and request his assistance when he was able to give it. This very friend taught me quite a bit about writing which I still implement in my everyday writing experiences.
I still retain most of my grammatical knowledge because of the extent to which I studied it in my four-year Latin program. I started my Latin program when I was a freshman in high school; because my aunt and older brothers had taken the course (both of my brothers only completed two years), I wanted to follow their leads. During the second and third years my interest faded–until I was offered the chance to attend the FJCL (Florida Junior Classical League) State Forum in Orlando, FL. My mother had only one son of four to attend this state competition, so she was very ecstatic to receive the news that I had been invited. For the next three months until April, I studied more Latin derivatives than I had ever studied before, taking numerous practice tests and meeting up with a friend who now studies Latin at FSU (he placed first in the state in his category, with a score of 49 of 50 correct). With his help and the support of the entire state team, I gained knowledge and experience of cooperation, hard work, and loving what I do.
If I had never asked my friends any questions, if I had never accepted the invitation to the State Forum, if I had given up hope in either of my language studies programs, I would most likely not have been accepted into UCF. I would have continued to work a food-service job for $3.25 an hour, living with my parents and attending part-time college for nursing or some degree other than computer science. I would not be in Orlando, studying the most widely-used technology on the second-largest campus in the United States. I would not have these profound opportunities to succeed.