Nathan Ryan Reeves Uncategorized

Anthony Bourdain, and Cairo

The legendary food-travel writer Anthony Bourdain never fails to entertain me with his ways of writing. The video was constantly descriptive while being a little tongue and cheek at the same time when inconveniences would happen, like when the sailboat ran into the bridge and making them stuck in the river for a couple of hours.

The thing I liked the most out of the video was the rawness of its content. Bourdain makes jokes about not going to the pyramids and that he feels bad later for not going, but then immediately doesn’t feel bad about it at all. It reminds me of the theme of being a tourist, and finding a way to find something authentic, rather than something that is made up, hence him not wanting to go to the pyramids in the beginning, and overall avoiding them and leaving Cairo for dinner.

While the show is mainly about food, Bourdain still finds a way to finds the authentic pieces of society in Egypt. Centered around the different foods he visits cafes, farms where they raise and kill their food, and a funny joke is said at the café when the older gentleman Bourdain is talking to says that young people wouldn’t like the traditional café and that they want things a little more modern, and internet connectivity. I think it’s funny because it reminds me of the “generation complex” where older generations don’t think fondly of what younger people like, and if it isn’t traditional, then they don’t want it, but I digress.

Bourdain shows more than I expected from a 37-minute show. The episode was unexpectedly fast-paced, while not affecting the experience since I was able to retain the information with his impeccable narration. Bourdain’s background of being a chef in the past gives a good perspective on being open to foods, and had never said a bad thing about what he tried, all he would say is that “it will be good”. Openly saying that different cultures food he had never tried before is delicious if you have the desire to try it. Even when spending a night in the desert with a group of people, he says that he knew they were going to kill the goat for their dinner, and came back after just seeing the alive goat, smelling it covered with seasonings. I was not caught off guard, I guess his reaction just comes with years of culinary experience.

Maybe the reaction in the back of my head is caused by the American society that I have been used to, which is way more capitalist and materialistic centric compared to other cultures.

Finally, the last piece that had my attention the entire time was the authenticity at the end. Spending a night in the desert, he explains that this is someone’s open area to reset and that some people that are attracted to water, or the forest, and analyzed and said: “no wonder why the Europeans found this place so fascinating”. Implying that when you travel to exotic places they tend to have a unique identity, that can reset or change a person in their experience. Overall I absolutely loved this episode.


Shipping Out PT2 David Foster Wallace

Shipping Out 2- David Foster Wallace
Progym: Description

David Foster Wallace shows the many luxuries he experienced whilst aboard the Nadir. From the routine newspaper Nadir Daily to the exotic dinners, Wallace makes it sound like a paradise to be on board of a cruise. He talks about the luxury and sense of isolation from the world that is shielded from you whilst cruising, how the cruise ship seems to be its own little planet. However, there still seemed to be a part of the trip that didn’t sit well with Wallace. Although he was surrounded by luxury and entertainment, he couldn’t help but feel somewhat entrapped, like he was missing out on authentic fun. The cruise had all the necessary features for him to find relaxation but in truth, everything seemed so instituted. It was like he had been forced to have fun. After a few days on the boat he starts to notice that the cruise is not all that flawless, it has its imperfections alike everywhere else. Wallace realizes that what he craves is not forced happiness, but rather he would like the chance to be able to thoroughly enjoy a vacation that does not seem obligatory.

Lucas Enrique Fernandez Uncategorized

Shipping Out Pt 2

Vituperation (Over-Pampering):

Too much of a bad thing, something poisonous for example, is bad. However, too much of a good thing, like sugar for example, can be equally as bad. All in all an excess of anything can end up spoiling it. In the case of over-pampering this is especially true. Pampering can be defined as being afforded every bit of comfort, attention, and care one needs. This steps into the realm of over-pampering when people begin paying too MUCH attention, leaving you things you do not need or doing things you do not want because it is what they believe to be a universally “kind” thing to do. David Foster Wallace captures the essence of this dilemma in Shipping Out when one of the porters offers to take his luggage to his room for him, which was a polite thing to do but not what Wallace wanted.

I am putting this guy, who barely speaks English, in a terrible kind of sedulous service double bind, a paradox of pampering: The Passenger’s Always Right versus Never Let a Passenger Carry His Own Bag

This situation, and the mess that follows, perfectly sums up how over-pampering is a lose-lose situation for both the pamperer and the pamperee. The pamperer is liable to get yelled at by his superiors for not following the proper extent of care (too much care) but he is also not supposed to go against the pamperee’s wishes for that too would be unacceptable. The pamperee also loses since they are held up from their original task to argue with the pamperer that they are overstepping their bounds. Wallace also later has to hear from a Greek member of the crew how the porter was chewed out, guilting him when it wasn’t even his fault. In the end, I believe that at resorts and cruiselines instilling the expectation that you need to overpamper your guests puts unnecessary stress and pressure on everyone involved. All this causes is a unbearable sense of despair where things are taken out of your control.

Nathan Ryan Reeves Uncategorized

Breaking Down and Image; Description

We covered rhetorical images in the last post but are similar since the article has the same basic principles as the last one. How does an image make you feel, and what makes you feel that way? You can get the answer by breaking down the image according to the context, audience, and the purpose of the image, and the feeling that it is trying to convey and instill into the person. I feel like a broken record when discussing the concept of visual rhetoric since it all feels the same

“A picture can paint a thousand words, but a few words can change the story”

The quote explains this concept well since what you can get from the image can depend on the context, and the rhetorical strategies used. But what makes an image so powerful? What gives an image its power to a feeling?

Just like the reading from Cohn, the reading “Psychology of Rhetorical Images” mentions the difference between information and what is most apparent to the viewer. For instance, the difference between the most or least vivid information. Simply put, what is the most realistic information and what is the least realistic, like statistics. Images land more on the most vivid information part of the scale because it is a photograph of experience (below).

“…advertisers want to transform people… they want to compel people to buy a product without knowing why… as a visceral response to a stimulus, not as a conscious decision.”

Hill explains that pictures give an emotional and a stimulative response saying that the feeling you get isn’t a conscious decision, but rather how we feel in the moment without thought. Emotion is not this thing that can be thought about and controlled in the moment, but rather it is just what you feel.

What emotional response does the picture below give you? A happy feeling? Inner peacefulness? Maybe the feeling comes from the older man’s expressions, or maybe it is the bunny on his head that gives the image a more light-hearted feeling. What does the image bring to the table in terms of context? Rhetoric in images is broken down between purpose, context, audience, and the subcategories in those like tone and location.

To me, this image spoke out to me since I was looking for an image that would not be too hard to describe or investigate. It is perfect due to the casual nature of the image’s background, and the happy subject in the foreground. The context doesn’t need to be known down to the “T”, but visual representation can hold power in the emotion it gives off.


Catherine Dodd Corona Uncategorized

The Art of Travel – Alain de Botton

Traveling Nearby

Progymnasmata: Confirmation

This video as a side piece to Alain De Botton’s book “The Art of Travel” is a wonderful collage of the reasons to travel. The perks and drawbacks of traveling to the unknown. He ventures through different kinds of travel such as cruise ships, road trips, and plane travel. With most places he draws from artists who painted, photographed or wrote about the sublime and wonderment of different places. Along with clips of the cities and villages that almost abstractly show the feeling and aura of each place. Whether it be an obscure shot of the neon on a red light district or the smooth movement of an airport escalator. From quick shots of tanning European cruise ship go-ers to the erotically dressed swinging hotel guests, these small clips give the viewer a sense of the atmosphere of a certain place. Botton travels to several different countries and discusses the “why” of travel in all of them. One of my favorite points he makes is that one does not necessarily travel far to feel the excitement and pleasures of travel. He observes people in distant places wandering sheepishly towards their guide. It seems that their curiosity is not being fed by the must see wonders of that destination. People have left their home to wander aimlessly, and maybe that is what they want. But there are lots of people that travel to see something exotic. He argues that something “exotic” is a matter of perspective. A cold rainy english day can be exotic to an Egyptian, just like the Nile can be exotic to an english man. The point being travel and the wonders of travel can be felt very close to home. It’s a wonderful argument because it manifests curiosity. People should travel to different cultures. There is extreme merit in that, but people should also explore their known. By accepting travel to nearby or known places one can accept more curiosity into their day to day. In a way it folds some of the wonder in travel into habitual life, so days do not feel so monotonous.


Sept 11th – Encomium

A Foreign Mind

Being foreign in a country can be exhilarating because of how different the perception of a new country is to foreigners versus how it actually is to those who have lived there their whole lives. While experiencing foreignness in traveling you will also feel scared and curious of this new place, which will motivate you to go around all the new corners of this mysterious place that lies in your mind. 

“This is the point of the foreign. We don’t travel halfway across the world to find the same things we could have seen at home. Those who undertake long and dangerous journeys have every incentive in stressing their discovery of a world far better than the one they left behind.” -Pico Iyer

Because of Iyers experiences throughout his years, he now feels a foreign in any country he steps a foot in. This can be a scary thought for many because of the fact that you won’t belong to a specific group of individuals, but instead foreignness is something we should all try to achieve. If we think about it everyone’s mind and experiences are foreign to the rest of the world, no matter where you stand. 

“It’s a blessing to be a foreigner everywhere, detached and able to see the fun in things.” -Iyer 


Traveling and The Romantic Era 

For many, traveling is considered a hobby, or even a personality trait. Some travel for pleasure and others for work, but it is undeniable that by doing both you gain some knowledge of something new you didn’t know before. Personality changes while visiting a place you have never been before, you open your mind to new experiences and get to look at new cultures and places with a new and refreshed set of eyes.

Abroad is the place where we stay up late, follow impulse and find ourselves as wide open as when we are in love. We live without a past or future, for a moment at least, and are ourselves up for grabs and open to interpretation. We even may become mysterious — to others, at first, and sometimes to ourselves” -Pico Iyer

These characteristics that we see present in the act of travelling are very similar to characteristics in the romantic era. Romanticism makes an emphasis on individuality and personal freedom, these characteristics are some of the reasons many travel. Personally when I travel I enjoy spending time by myself, getting to know and trying to fully understand myself. According to romantics we experience the sublime when we are out in nature, in other words out in the unknown. Every time you get the luxury to travel to a new country or area you get to experience the sublime aspect of discovering, in other words pursuit of knowledge. 

Like Pico Iyer stated in his TED Talk,

 “In the end, perhaps, being human is much more important than being fully in the know.” 

Traveling is made to dive into uncertainty and fear in order to discover this new knowledge. Because maybe it’s fine to not know everything, and as we get to live we will understand the sublime of discovering new things. 



Welcome To Our Progymnasmata Blog!

Major Project 1: Travel Progymnasmata


For Major Project 1, “Travel Progymnasmata,” you will craft both creative and explanatory responses to our course readings in relation to the progymnasmata. What are progymnasmata? They are the “rudimentary exercises” practiced by students in Greece, Rome, and Renaissance Europe—as well as by Thomas Jefferson and American students all the way up until the early 20th century. The goal of the progymnasmata was to prepare for rhetorical performances, the kind of which we’ll be building towards this semester.

Because you will be graded primarily on completion (see below), this project is your chance for “productive failure.” That is, I’m less concerned about you “getting it right” than about the effort and labor you put into your work as you explore the different progymnasmata exercises in relation to the history, rhetoric, and art of travel. In short, you can respond however you want to the readings by evoking the progymnasmata.

What should these responses accomplish? 1. For some readings, you may want to explore how an author makes use of one of the rhetorical concepts related to the progymnasmata. 2. For other responses, you may want to respond more playfully to the reading (although you will need to demonstrate that you actually did the reading, through strategies such as quote, summary, and paraphrase). In the end, you should strive for a relative balance between these two approaches.

Playfully? Well, by that I mean feel free to craft your responses using different audio, visual, and textual media. Feel free to create an artful picture or image. You can do whatever, as long as it’s clear that your response is inspired by the different progymnasmata exercises and reflects on our course readings. The only other criteria is that you will need to be sure to practice the different progymnasmata—so you should label each response to clarify which one you are working on.

Find the progymnasmata here: