Pagan’s use of narrative in this piece is extremely effective because it successfully shows the consistencies of travel culture and human interests from ancient Roman times until now. While a large part of the article emphasizes how different traveling back than was compared to now, it also focused on similarities of human nature. Roman holidays may have been elaborate, months-long educational journeys, but what they left behind and what tourists nowadays search for in the streets of Pompeii, are sketches of male genitalia. Our fascination with doing things we probably shouldn’t extends back to Roman times and probably before then as well. The use of narrative in this article, specifically when the author’s girlfriend is searching for the pictures of penises through the streets of Pompeii, is a casual way to connect the modern reader to the ancient Roman traveler. While they may be separated by thousands of years and several civilizations, there are also things that bring them together and things that have never changed. It’s so easy to get lost in the grand measure of history and culture when looking at ancient civilizations. Sometimes we need a reminder that they were people just like us, with interests, hobbies, problems, and yes, penis drawings.
Month: December 2020
Understanding visual rhetoric
The best way to explain the effectiveness of visual rhetoric is to put them in side by side comparison. That’s exactly what Jenae Cohn does in “Understanding Visual Rhetoric.” In the very beginning of the article, she puts two pictures of the same tray of burger and fries next to each other. One has good lighting, the food is arranged aesthetically, and looks extremely appetizing. In the other, the lighting makes the fries and burger look old, there is no aesthetic placement of the food items and it looks more like we should be on the lookout for something crawling off of the tray. These two pictures of identical items shows the impact of visual rhetoric. The first is appetizing and inviting, and the second is grim and would make someone think twice before eating the contents of the tray. This comparison does exactly what Cohn wanted it to do: show the effectiveness of visual rhetoric and how it can influence people’s opinions and attitudes about the items in the photograph.
Urry Tourist Gaze
All over the world the unsung armies of semioticians, the tourists are fanning out in search of the sign of Frenchness, typical Italian behavior, exemplary Oriental scenes, typical American thruways, traditional English pubs.
Urry uses confirmation to affirm the idea of the tourist gaze, that whenever we are tourists in foreign countries, everything we see becomes a staple of that country and its culture. Not only does everything we see become an extension of our idea of that country, but we bring our own preconceptions of what we expect and try to fit our experiences to match our preconceptions. For example, if you see a couple kissing in the street in Paris you will view that differently than seeing a couple kissing in the street in your hometown somewhere in Nebraska. In Paris, its romantic and expected. That’s how it should be. In Nebraska it’s probably more of an annoyance. If you see someone eating a croissant in Miami, you probably won’t think twice about it. If you see someone eating a croissant in Paris, it’s suddenly oh so French. When tourists go to Paris, the city of love and croissants, they expect to see those things, so when they do, their preconceptions are affirmed. It’s a lot like confirmation bias. When you go somewhere looking for something specific, you will probably find it. And when you do, you will exclaim how right you were about the whole thing. The reality, however, is that you found it because you were looking for it, not the other way around.
Journey into night
Vituperation against a man whose mother just died seems like the harshest way to use literary exercises but it somehow works for David Sedaris. At first, Sedaris is outraged that the people in First Class are complaining about a man crying because his mother died. This seems like a fair reaction. But later he wonders if the man isn’t maybe overdoing it. He’s not arguing against the concept of crying, or crying for a dead mother, or even of men crying. He is specifically talking about this man crying for his dead mother. He uses this vituperation to show how ugly we all can be in situations like this. When reading his article, we can all identify with (or at least I can) having these same thoughts when seeing someone crying. Come on is it really that bad? Can you really not keep it together? And then on the other end of the spectrum, when we are the ones suffering, we, like David Sedaris, have been preoccupied about how distraught we look, how distraught we SHOULD look, and the theatrics of it all. Maybe Sedaris and I are just two self-absorbed individuals, but with his vituperation, Sedaris is shining a light on our own inner thoughts and how ugly we can all be when someone is suffering.
Traveling through selfies
In this article, Cardell argues that selfies are a form of travel writing and add to the cultural narrative of travel. This is a refutation of the generally accepted societal notion that looks down on selfies. The notion that selfies somehow pollute and decrease the value of the travel narrative. Nobody wants to be the tourist with the selfie stick. But Cardell argues that selfies actually show a more authentic view of the places where they are taken because they tell the story of the person in the selfie in the context of the location. It’s a form of “autobiographical travel” without the pages and pages of text, months or even years of writing and editing until publishing, and without the cost of publishing a book. Instead, this is the experience of the average traveler in a snapshot. Cardell also refutes the idea that selfies are always vain and self-centered. In the example of the selfie at Anzac Cove, the selfie-taker is looking away from the camera and into the water, so that the attention isn’t on her but on the location behind her. In the caption, she also makes sure to describe to her audience where she is and the significance of the place. By purposefully taking attention away from her by looking away from the camera, she emphasizes her surroundings and what she’s looking at, which achieves the goal she is looking for: turning her audience’s attention to Anzac Cove.