Lucas Enrique Fernandez

September 11th Progym


An Ode to Difference

Is there a concept more beautiful and worthy of praise than difference? Difference breeds competition, giving the opportunity for people to prove their own uniqueness. Without difference there would be no Olympic Games,¬† and no Taco Bell in the USA or McDonald’s in Asia. Difference allows for a new perspective, looking outside of the rose-colored view of sameness. This is where the fire of progress and innovation are birthed. We look up to those who are different the Michael Jordans, the Beyonces, and the Albert Einsteins of the world. Difference allows us to better experience and appreciate the world around us, giving us a break from the mundane when we travel. Difference is not something to be scared of, but rather something to embrace. It not only leads us towards tolerance but gives us a chance to look into ourselves and reflect on what makes us us.


I chose to do an Encomium on difference because Pico Iyer again¬† touches on cultural differences and exchange in The Foreign Spell, where he explores the concept of foreignness. Iyer believes him being foreign is a gift claiming that “As some are born with the blessing of beauty or a musical gift, as some can run very fast without seeming to try, so I was given from birth, I felt, the benefit of being on intimate terms with outsiderdom.” Iyer’s writing itself seems to be an encomium as he notes while others are quick to scorn difference and being an outsider, he believes for it to be an asset and something he cherishes.

7 replies on “September 11th Progym”

I like your ideas about difference, and how it makes the world more interesting and wonderful to view through travel. You mention at the bottom how you thought about the connection to Iyer, but I think it actually goes a little beyond your explanation also. I think this connects somewhat to Iyer’s sort of contemporary Neo-Romanticism about travel, and how foreignness gives provides an inescapable lens through which we can appreciate other places.
I like how you formatted it into two separate, concise sections, with one providing the progym and the second explaining it. I think this is an effective method, though if you also want to get creative you could weave the two together to almost create a conversation between your thoughts about the reading and what they might mean.

I like how you focused on differences in general rather than being specific about traveling, yet it still fits with the reading. Especially when saying that differences allow for a better time while traveling. I definitely agree that differences should be embraced rather than looked down upon. I think this fits with Romanticism, since it’s all about going into the unknown and learning more about others and yourself. I like how you also included a small explanation as to why you decided to focus on this, it was a great way to tie it back to Iyer’s article and draw parallels between his article and your writing.

I enjoyed your post due to the way you split it up. Your ode to difference was enticing. I liked all the examples you gave from Michael Jordan to Albert Einstein and how you related it back to differences being the key to innovation and creation. Then, your explanation as to why you wrote an encomium was quite useful. I liked how you also touched on that Iyer’s piece itself was also an encomium celebrating be different or a foreigner rather than focus on the negatives.

I really liked how you identified Pico Iyer’s feelings about being an outsider as encomium. The sentences you pulled from his essay were almost intimate to read. It The love he has for being an outsider helps us digest his thoughts on difference like you present. Really well said. Also think your formatting lends itself well to your content.

You’re on the right track here Lucas. A few things:

1. I liked your explanation after the encomium. But I’d like to see you craft the post in such a way that the relation is obvious, such that you don’t have to explain. Perhaps include quotes, paraphrases, etc within the encomium to strengthen the connection.

2. Iyer is indeed celebrating difference. But the main idea here, really, is that difference is absolute, and impenetrable. That we can’t simply appropriate difference, or bridge across it: the Other remains elusive. I’d have liked to see you get at that compelling, rather controversial claim.

3. Read this sentence out loud… something’s missing: “We look up to those who are different the Michael Jordans, the Beyonces, and the Albert Einsteins of the world.” I’d suggest adding a colon after “different”; colons are punctuation often used to introduce a list or series of some sort.

If I were to describe this in a few words, I would say that it is written well and is a unique way of doing so. While you didn’t straight up allude to what text you were referring to it was still an effective way of wording the concept of the text talking about “uniqueness”, and the alliteration of “difference”. Something that it would benefit from is the addition of quoting in the middle or wherever you could fit it. I feel that it would fill in the rest of the post and take away the need for an explanation at the end. Besides that, I liked the style and there is little to complain about in this post.

First, I really enjoyed how you decided to state the fact that Iyers was probably writing from an encomium perspective because of how he introduced his paper. Also, I completely agree with you on why we should all be aiming to be different because it helps us reflect on what makes us unique. Besides your ideas, I really liked how you added an explanation paragraph which makes it so much easier to understand your intentions behind your words.

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