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“This I Believe” Checkpoint 3: Script

           In consideration for a life experience that I would like to attest to, I found that talking of my attraction to men should be at the top. One of the most difficult things that I had to come to terms with after such a long time was that it pervaded my perception of idols and even men around me. It’s had a distinct revival in recent years in media coverage, to which I am grateful for. What I want to identify is a grounded reality of my attraction to men and what it means to not have that reality envisioned in my idols. Growing up around me, I found no solace in the opinions of my peers on the idea of homosexuality. It was difficult to communicate that when they found a woman in a film attractive, that I thought her immaculate male counterpart the better option. Of course this never occurred to me to be a sexual attraction until much later; there was always an air of excellence to him that I supposed had just not gotten across to my friends.

           This put an enormous divide between me and my friends at a younger age simply because I wasn’t able to communicate this attraction to men without them defining me with profanity. Knowing what I do now, I could have argued Cass’s theory on homosexual identity formation. This states something to the effect of, identity formation being a process utilizing an initial comparison to someone or something else and eventual inclusion into a community. Learning of how I came to be this way was the only solace I could take in understanding and being able to communicate effectively my feelings. Self-discovery and tutoring myself in the ways in which I could explain my attraction to men was difficult but integral to how I perceive others distaste for who I am. There is nothing to truly explain what I am because I have been brought to this moment of my reality through a collective hand holding.

           Finding the community in which I would feel accepted proved just as hard though. Many had experienced the same kind of unexplainable social phenomenon that I had gone through, but I was somewhat different even from these people. Surely their experiences are not devalued by mine, but I found this lack of acceptance for who I was even in the queer community. As a bisexual not prominently appearing as such, I seemed exactly like those that have attacked the queer community for so long. I hold no blame for this but it gave me an important perception that I had not noticed before. The straight majority has an understanding of the queer minorities that has affected the perception of queers in the media. In this realization, I found that no one truly represented who I was. The media climate in which I inhabit has not been able to fully integrate all the colors of the rainbow that make up the beautiful LGBTQ flag.

Being an astute observer of postmodernism allowed me to realize the intricacy of the problem, understanding how straight culture has deluded the aspects of LGBTQ culture that is most important.The aspects of acceptance no matter what it entails. Through this lense, Philip Eubanks makes an excellent point, “postmodernism is attuned to grand narratives or metanarratives – stories that pervade, shape, and, it is often asserted, delude cultures” (Bazerman & Prior, 35). This delusion by straight culture interference just serves the ruination of LGBTQ people as an accepting spectrum. Without a complete representation of sexuality, it will continue to be relegated to a stereotype that will have extreme trouble assimilating into the average.

           It was in my research and experience that I found something truly important that was much needed, higher visibility. Gay culture has become more noticeable in recent years, but simply as a political and social movement. Culturally it has had a stereotyped and homogenized placement in mainstream media. Even to this day I’ve seen the closet story of the gay high school teen or the masculine lesbian/effeminate gay man. These are facets to a large picture but mainstream media seems to think this comprises the entire community. This troubled me very much because I couldn’t believe how present queer people could be politically to most people, but the little variation that is seen culturally in representations of queer culture. There’s not much variation in what kind of characters I saw on shows like the CW or Fox. The characters generally had some kind of stereotype that goes along with the gay community being portrayed.

What this awakened in me was a resolve for a change in that perception. At first it came from my ability to write. I wished to inform the public through writing on the subject of my own experience and what it will mean in the coming years for queer representation. After accepting the practicality of the situation, I decided on education. In educating I realized I would have a voice to a younger generation that would be able to adapt and change the views of the world. Imparting my own knowledge of the world through the knowledge of scholars just like me could provide for a world through new minds and intellects. Imparting the teachings of those around me I could provide for a more welcoming world to any person that felt left out by any kind of sexuality.

It’s for these reasons that I find an acute understanding of the world through the lense of my sexuality. Without this understanding I would not have realized such an important dichotomy between straight culture and LGBTQ culture. With the knowledge of it though, I find myself in a place of resolve. Understanding that the next generation could be better than mine. Realizing the hopes of a world outside of turmoil over someone’s sexuality or gender. Education is an important facet in the understanding of our world and the people in it more comfortably for others and oneself. I hope to purvey my knowledge on those I can enlighten. This I Believe.

Cass, V. (1979). Homosexual identity formation: A theoretical model. Journal of Homosexuality, 4 (3), 219-235.

 

Eubanks, P. (2009). What writing does and how it does it: an introduction to analyzing texts and textual practices (pp. 33-56) (C. Bazerman & P. A. Prior, Authors). New York: Routledge.

Summary & Synthesis Report #1

Tristan Heibel

ENGL – 300 Texts and Contexts

18 February 2018

SSR #1

Summary:

 Bootstraps, by Victor Villanueva, is a personal set of memoirs in which Villanueva attempts to describe how people of color and language interact in modern American society. From Villanueva’s perspective, race has a large effect on how the white majority looks down on Latin and black speech patterns. He identifies ways in which slang terminology is even more complex and just as important as academic language. Later within his memoir, he reflects on the normative societal interpretation of the slang he encountered while living “on the block.” His interpretation of academia and the way they looked upon the types of language he grew up around was used to emphasize his overall point that the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” statement is flawed by how society perceives minorities. 

Synthesis:

Within Barton’s description of linguistic discourse analysis, she begs the question, “How do speakers and writers organize language to function in texts and contexts” (Bazerman & Prior, 61). This is intriguing because it relates to the idea that Leander and Prior examine in chapter 8 of the same text. They describe in full through a certain study of talk to text communication by “mapping some of the ways that talk is transformed into, shapes, and occasions texts” (Bazerman & Prior, 201). Barton, Leander, and Prior all identify language as a tool that transforms and manipulates written text. One may see a perfect example of how spoken word may manipulate text and its context through Villanueva’s description of talk that he heard growing up. Although he identified himself as “dogmatic” at home, he refers to how people would speak “on the block.” Villanueva describes it as being able to split infinitives. He does this by using the word “fanfuckentastic” as an example (Villanueva, 8). In doing this, people put more emphasis on the word and, in all, the entire statement it belongs to. This segment, taken from Bootstraps, exemplifies how talk can shape the way in which people were choosing to communicate. In text, it allows for a far better understanding of context without further explanation of an emotion, relating back to what Leander and Prior stated about talk occasions texts. This all relates to the central idea that MacNeil puts forth in his book Do You Speak American? MacNeil acknowledges both sides of an argument that the english language is being narrowed or broadened by the growing influence of Spanish. After identifying that the United States is a place of change since the revolution, he writes, “To communicate all of this, American language adapts” (MacNeil, 4). Villanueva’s understanding of English through talk is vastly different in his opinion from academic speech patterns, MacNeil acknowledges this and believes it is the natural adaptation of spoken english to better define the contexts and texts.

Similar to this idea that language shall adapt and change depending on what influences it may encounter,  Krista Ratcliffe puts forth that there are distinct benefits towards understanding these new ways of communication. Villanueva lets the reader in on the lexicon of “the block” and allows for whomever is reading to understand his experiences through this talk. Ratcliffe explains this by stating in her book Rhetorical Listening, that through the use of rhetorical listening, differing cultures may be able to “negotiate troubled identifications in order to facilitate cross-cultural communication about any topic” (17). Villanueva identifies this in Bootstraps through his description of a study done by Basil Bernstein on the speech patterns of African American children. Bernstein identifies that African American youth in urban areas have no language capabilities. He believed that they were incapable of formulating any of what he thought was rational english. Villanueva then counters this by stating that black speech patterns are even more complex than the ones conventionally used. Were academia able to communicate within this language barrier, Ratcliffe’s ideal of negotiating troubled identifications could be put to use.

Expanding upon David M. Levy’s opinion in Scrolling Forward of how documents are perceived, the same can be said for talk. Levy states about documents, “you can’t see them if you look only at them, ignoring the surroundings in which they operate” (29). Related to Villanueva, this idea is easily applicable to talk. For instance, within Bootstraps, Villanueva counters Piaget’s stance in which Piaget was “not concerned with culturally relativistic notions of cognition” (12). Later on in the same paragraph, Villanueva counters by stating, “the whole oral -literate dichotomy is spurious in America” (12). Put generally, he’s stating that social needs are changing and that the way in which racial minorities communicate simply indicate language needs within the social structure they occupy. Language is a constantly changing field, in which it will most likely never land on anything that will stay for good. Villanueva emphasizes this point on multiple occasions to get across his point effectively. 

Questions:

  1. In which ways has language changed to shape the world that we live in academically instead of culturally?
  2. Should language find itself in fluidity at some point instead of trying to be pinned down as a quantifiable fact?
  3. How does language in the academic arena relate to a culturally grown understanding of language like in working-class communities?

Word Count: 874

 

Bazerman, Charles, and Paul A. Prior. What writing does and how it does it: an introduction to analyzing texts and textual practices. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. 

Ratcliffe, Krista. Rhetorical listening: identification, gender, whiteness. Southern Illinois University Press, 2005.
Levy, David M. Scrolling forward: making sense of documents in the digital age. Arcade Publishing, 2016.

MacNeil, R. (2008). Do you speak American? Princeton, NJ: FMG Home Video.

“This I Believe” Checkpoint 1: Proposal of Queer Representation and the Media

In using the word queer, I hope to encompass not only genders but sexualities that are either not heterosexual or cisgender. As a whole, the way any sexual or gender minority is represented within our media and culture is by either a passing mentality or without much consideration of the actual importance these characters represent. Much of the time these characters are handled incorrectly and considered more of an accessory to straight or cis main characters. I believe that as an English student studying literature, I will be able to apply thoughtful insight into not only my experience, but others as well. Learning to write effectively and teach effectively will allow me to help the world move towards queer representation in a more positive light. Without this, I believe the world will never move past its intolerance and injustice that faces minority groups encompassed within the queer spectrum. Using professional and personal sources, I will emphasize the impact of the media’s current adaptation of queer peoples against my hopes to change it.

I will be completing my project within the following time constraints: My sources will be collected and and parsed by February 14, after this, I will have completed the script to my podcast by February 21. Over the course of the time between this and the week starting on February 25th, I will record my podcast. Finally, on the day of March 14th, I will have completed editing of my recording and submitted it for review.

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