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.
Category: Simona Barca
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.
Fifty Shades of Greyhound
In “Fifty Shades of Greyhound,” Harrison Scott Key praises the idea of a “bus person.” A bus person, he says, is not like a plane person, who is pretentious and talks about skiing or doesn’t talk to you at all because they will be off the plane in a few hours and why would they spend that time talking to you? A bus person, he argues, is a person who will delve into conversations of truth and life because they’ll be on that bus for well over 10 hours and will have plenty of time for such self-reflection and must share their findings with their fellow passengers. The bus person is a very specific kind of no non-sense, tell-it-like-it-is traveler. The writer praises the idea of a bus person to show his audience that the mind space of a bus person is somethin we all have the capacity to be and should occasionally get off our high horse and realize that we all at one point or another at least had the elusive dream of being a bus person, or leaving everything behind and hopping on a bus either for new adventure or to forget about life’s responsibilities for a while. Whether we want to admit it or not, we envy the bus person who just hops on a bus and goes.
Going it Alone
In “Going it Alone,” Rahawa Haile uses confirmation to argue for a particular version of a story. Specifically, she focuses on the outdoors nature experience from the angle of a black woman taking to the woods by herself. The larger narrative, which is tales of experiencing the solitude, the adventure and isolation of the outdoors, is generally exclusive to people we associate with outdoor leisure: white men. By sharing her own experience hiking the Appalachian trail and inserting the history behind people of color not being welcomed in the outdoors culture, Haile not only shares a different angle of a known narrative but explains and educates why that is. She also offers solutions for how the gap can be closed, and that is by using advertisements and media to show that people of color belong in the outdoors too.
A Small Place – Jamaica Kincaid
Jamaica Kincaid uses Commonplace throughout her book in order to expose the system that has been the root of all the corruption in her country, rather than a single person or persons. In the book she talks about the colonization of Antigua and how the English loved their country so much that they tried to make every place they went to a version of England, but it was never a successful transformation so they hated that new country and its inhabitants as a result. This painted a picture of English people and their empire as a people who were always after the newest, shiniest toy and got bored with it just as quickly. Except this wasn’t an inanimate object they were playing with but people’s lives and entire communities and cultures that they erased simply because they could. This use of Commonplace shows that Kincaid doesn’t blame the English doctor who made them be scrubbed clean before seeing him, or the Irish schoolteacher who told children to stop acting like monkeys that had just jumped out of trees. Rather the fault falls on the system of colonialism, the mentality of expansion, and the constant and historical degradation of black people and the Englishman’s thirst for conquest.
Bourdain’s video about food tourism in Cairo was very interesting to watch and one-of-a-kind but he is also actively against what he sees as basic tourism of going to see the pyramids up close. His disdain for the basic tourist attractions in Cairo is palpable. On the one hand he is against the self-serving, self-centered, consumerist tourist experience where tourists visit famous places and pollute them with their tourist-y-ness: tour buses, selfie sticks, and basically reducing the experience to photographic proof that they were there. That, however, seems extremely hypocritical when you realize that is exactly what Bourdain does when he goes camping in the desert for one night. He rents a whole caravan of vehicles to take him and his crew into the desert. He is not responsible for anything; his guides take care of driving, the food, sleeping arrangements and even entertainment with the sticks game. And in all this he only stays in the desert one night, and has everything pre-prepared and catered to him. In his zeal to avoid basic self-serving consumerist tourism, that is exactly what he ends up doing.
In “Defining Visual Rhetorics,” the author makes use of very descriptive ekphrasis to detail advertisements and their use of gender roles and perspectives relative to environments in order to reach their audience and sell their product. The description of gender use in specific environments showed that time period’s attitudes towards the femininity and masculinity of fresh-aired nature environments versus polluted, brutalist industrial environments. It also signified the strict gender roles of this time period: specifically that women’s roles were to clean up after the men’s industrial mess, as described in the article with the advertisement for soap. The author’s use of ekphrasis helps the reader see the visuals of the ad he is talking about without actually looking at it but simply relying on the author’s description. The reader can see not only the ad but how the ad was used to express a view of gender roles and the environment that reflected society’s views at the time and was advantageous for selling their products.