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.
Fifty Shades of Greyhound- Harrison Scott Key
Apart from the obvious fact that planes fly and busses travel on the road, there are still meny keen differences between the two. As Harrison Scott Key States “Bus People are nothing like Airplane People, who are boring and have luggage and enjoy skiing. Bus People, on the other hand, enjoy talking about grenades and screaming.” (Key) On airplanes there are flight attendants constantly attending to you, offering you snacks and drinks, assisting you with your every need. On busses it’s just you and the strangers around you, there is no attendant to help you with anything. Another thing Key mentions is “On an airplane, an empty seat is a small miracle, a sacred place to set one’s book. On a bus, though, the empty seat invites lurid napping positions that resemble the attitudes of those who’ve been buried in lava and discovered many years later.” (Key) The mindset of the people riding on planes versus the mindset of bus riders is different. Planes offer more of a luxurious feel than busses do. Plane tickets provide you with an assigned seat whereas busses are first come first serve. There is an overall different vibe between the two forms of transportation.
Cardell works through the reasoning, popularity of the selfies and how it pertains to travel. She emphasized the premeditation people put into their selfies and why there is so much thought behind it. She stats that, “Selfie-takers are routinely pathologised as vain and narcissistic, a simplistic con- struction that critics have increasingly begun to complicate (Rettberg 2014; Senft and Baym 2015; Warfield 2014).” Even though a person taking a selfie is not always a way of bragging and living a life for an audience many people have clinged onto that vain aspect of a selfie taking. Cardell works to dive into the self fulfilling fasist of selfie taking through academic writing while another women does it through art. Stephanie Leigh in an interview with Insider states that selfies in her opinion are ““bragging” in the context of “I was here”.” (Millington, 2019) Therefore Leigh create “Stedfies” a form of anti selfies. When she finds herself at a picture worthy landmark, she lays on the ground as if she were dead and has someone take a photo. It does not fit the typical selfie template but the media and society has deemed them as such. The message Leigh sends with her anti selfies is quite different from what Cardell defines as a selfie. Leigh’s art building on the vain themes Cardell discusses, especially with Leigh’s message being, “It is my hope STEFDIES promotes the idea of ‘everyone is perfect exactly how they are, and not a damn thing has to be changed,'” she said “Don’t wait for the perfect time or the perfect shot — just be you, and that is good enough, and at the end of the day, incredibly interesting.”(Millington, 2019). Her followers eco this message by saying, “Many school groups follow the STEFDIES series, as they consider it a good tool to teach young adults there are alternatives to the perfectionism of selfies and online culture,” she said. “STEFDIES welcomes everyone to participate, and doesn’t care about about status or perfection.”(Millington, 2019).
The selfie is often maligned, and for good reason. It is symbolic of a self-centered consumerist culture in which appearances mean more than substance. From the lens of the self-facing camera, what matters about your vacation is the 4K picture in front of the Berlin Wall that you took, posing in your ripped jeans and yellow vans, not anything of substance you could say or portray about your travels.
A selfie is empty, a façade, only showing to your selected group of Instagram followers what you would like them to see about you. The image is framed around you; you are the focus, and the locale is only a backdrop. Cardell and Douglas use the example of Anzac Cove, in which selfies taken center, as per usual, around the individual, but then use the caption to reinterpret the context, connecting it back to the memorial of the Cove.
“These subject choices come together to form a micro story about the author’s journey to Anzac Cove – what elements of this experience are central to her, and what she particularly wants to share with her anticipated readership” (114).
The selfie-taker, wants to portray their life as interesting, as does everyone on social media, and to do so will draw from their surroundings, but connect the importance back to themselves. Their life is likely as normal as anyone else’s: a nine-to-five job, bills to pay, a pet or two, but they don’t wish to show this, because this is not attractive, not interesting. The selfie-taker is not a bad person, as Cardell and Douglas say throughout their article, but simply uninformed or a little short-sighted.
De Botton, in The Art of Travel, envisions a mode of travel far different from the selfie-taker. He believes that to see the world as a traveler through the lens of a camera, wanting to capture it artificially, is an empty and poor way to approach tourism. Instead, in one scene he goes so far as to collect the cameras of a Japanese tour group and gives them drawing supplies instead. To study and interpret your surroundings is to better understand and appreciate them, with no lens, no filter. In contrast to the selfie-taker, one who approaches the tourist gaze in such a way will appreciate and learn more from their travels and is more conscious in doing so. Such self-awareness is necessary for respectful travel, and only people who actively consider the ways in which they travel will be able to do so.
Cardell and Douglas do provide some complexity to the analysis of selfies.
“The contemporary traveler and travel documenter seek to interact with their experience and to create and share an individual presentation of the encounter to an audience,” they write (114).
However, the selfie is still often on the borderline of being disrespectful or self-aggrandizing. A person who, as in de Botton’s view, is self-aware and observant, does not need to tread this fine line. A selfie, even if taken in good taste and with the intent of being respectful, is still likely to be viewed negatively, as a literally self-centered view of travel.
This was perhaps one of the weirder but still equally as interesting as all the other past readings, like Bourdain, and other authors. However, the obvious difference between this one and the other ones is that the story starts on the path of exploration and tourism, but slowly turns into a story of losing control in a place that is not your home, and what the place means to you after you pass the threshold of being a tourist. If that entirely makes sense, I will reword it as, Theroux being a tourist in Africa, got caught up in this obligation to stay with a woman and her family for days on end. Towards the end of the chapter, he expresses that he needs to escape this cycle that he was stuck in. Wake up, go to the bar and guzzle down drinks until the afternoon, a conflict or a fight transpires, and when he comes back to rest and is pressured relentlessly for sex and pleasure with a woman that finds him attractive from the first few pages. He was pressured by this family, and in the end when he wants to leave this ‘trap’, he is, to be brief, rejected by the family that once accepted him for the past few days. This foolishness to trespass in a place that he was not familiar with the area, had effectively taken advantage of this family, and in turn, they were angry and riled up, to the point when he had the opportunity to escape, he ran.
Now, this chapter on tourism is much different in comparison to anything else just since it was about exploiting tourism areas for a place to stay. While it was not his intention, in the beginning, Theroux’s karma came right around as he was trying to escape a hellish situation that he put himself in. He was simply unaware to what power society had over him once he fell into the “trap”. Many of the other readings discuss the differences in culture and values, like Bourdain where he discusses what people did for fun or what their eating traditions are like etc, however, this is brought to a whole other level since this is an occurrence where he can be seen to be taking advantage of these people, for food, shelter, passion or pleasure, and foods and such. But on the other hand, the family is taking advantage of him and making him stay due to his lack of ability to dig himself out of a “debt” that he put himself into.
I feel in both of these narrations, the Americans are being taken advantage of due to their own negligence, though on the basis of different things. In Journey into Night, I feel that it revolves around Americans being taken advantage of by the system of travel itself (albeit this can be applied to anyone, but he’s American so that’s where I’ll be focusing). In Trespass, the American is being taken advantage of by another culture, and the lack of understanding of society. I wonder if this has to do with something similar found within American society that leads these two to be taken advantage of.
Sedaris talks about how paying thousands of dollars more gets him stares because of his placement on the plane and the way other passengers and the cabin crew associate with him. What I found interesting is the way he relates to people seeing him in a better part of the plane to seeing regular-looking people step out of a limo. It’s strange the way that we relate wealth and placement on a plane to placement in society and then to importance. Whereas Theroux is being sexually manipulated and then monetarily abused, in part to his own negligence and ignorance.
This plays into the tourist gaze we’ve been discussing so much in class because of the ways in which both of these men are viewing the world, and how their views are altered as their narration continues. At the start of each of their pieces, both authors don’t seem to have a fully fleshed out idea of how they’re viewing the world or at least the lens they’re looking through for their experiences. Though, in the end, both narrators seem to find what they were lacking before. Sedaris, satirically, details the ways in which he understands class and travel, and Theroux understands that he should look for the signs of when he’s being taken advantage of and not to put so much trust in strangers in a foreign land.
In Paul Thoroux’s Trepass we saw the utter difference Thoroux felt when he went to Malawi. In this case both him and the people he stayed with were using each other, which is not the most common experience for tourists in common tourist places around the world. This story made me think of Jamaica Kincaid and Antigua. She had grown to hate the White people after the racism and neo-colonialism they brought to Antigua. The pain that they caused her and others was immeasurable, so it is natural that they are distrustful towards others. This experience is one that many African countries have felt as well, such as Malawi. Due to this, I understand why the people he stayed with acted the way they did. They learned to exploit the White man as a way to get back some of what they lost.
I also believe that the end of the reading relates to one of the earlier readings we had from the beginning of the semester. At the end of the narrative Thoroux realizes how American he is after his experience. This goes along with the point from the readings that going to different places and experiencing other cultures causes one to be pushed further in their own culture. Thoroux also wasn’t able to overcome the difference and otherness felt from visiting another place for an entire year. He learned that in fact he didn’t come to understand anything about their culture at all and was instead a trespasser.
My London, and Welcome to It – A.A.Gill
To an outsider London is one of the most refined cities in the world. But to the natives it is just another day in life. One of the common thoughts we hear about London is the changing of the guards. According to Gill, he never actually witnesses this. But to tourists this is one of the details we pick up on. One may ask why this is, but the answer is quite simple. The things you see everyday become to blend in and you stop noticing them, but when you see something out of the ordinary it becomes new, something you’ve never seen before. Just as Gill mentions the loud shouting on the streets of New York, a New Yorker may see this as a common occurrence. The difference between a local and a tourist is as different as it gets. Gill menations how the people in London are not very nice. Although this may very well be true, a tourist may see it differently due to underlying stereotypes such as “English teacup manners” and the “exaggerated please and thank yous.” Gill does a good job illustrating the differences between a local’s point of view and a tourist’s point of view. The local is much more likely to notice the smaller details that they may describe as a pet peeve. Whereas, a tourist is much more likely to overlook these little details because of all the good things that they may see in the place. In Gill’s writing he notices all the minor flaws of London, something tourists are likely to miss
The digital culture, a place filled with people of all sorts. Professionals and amateurs alike, both in pursuit of the perfect piece of writing to show off the craft of travel, of vacation. Picture this, a cafe in an urban setting, surrounded by the tall buildings of a city. Two gentlemen one sitting on the left hand side whilst the other is on the right, both carrying a pen and a notepad. The one on the left dressed with a sharp white button up, black dress pants, and leather shoes. Clearly very professional. The one on the right, much more casual, dressed with a plain black t-shirt and jeans. Clearly the amateur. Two people, one professional and one amateur, both with a common goal; to write about their vacation in the current city they are visiting. Only difference is one of them is working for a company and the other works for himself. In the writing by Ana Alacovska, she goes on to explain how one of these is a poison to the authentic world of travel. The person who travels for money and the person who travels for the love of travelling comes across very differently. The professional has dedicated his life to writing exceptional pieces on different locations whilst the amateur writes mediocre pieces. Alacovska explains how the mediocre pieces are damaging the image of the location that is being written about. The amateur writer is willing to take a low amount of money, hurting this profession and making it harder for experienced writers who want higher pay. To conclude, there are two different types of travel writers. One pours their heart and soul into their work, the other gives moderate effort. Although both are looking for money, I believe that the writing should be left to the individual who loves travel for travel, not for a profit.
Wallace Vs. Iyer
This quote from Wallace challenges the opinions of Iyer, but only in the modern form of travel. Both Wallace and Iyer are well accomplished writers, with a good education and both make opinions based on observation and fact. Iyer argues that the diversity and progress a place can gain from tourists can make that place better and more authentic. The problem with this argument is that tourists while influencing a place do not make it more authentic when they are following commercialized and distorted advice. By distorted advice I am referencing travel information that has been commercialized as travel became more feasible. The commercialization means the recommendations are no longer honest but are instead ads paid by the business owners. Wallace touches on this when he analyzes the review of a large cruise ship. He realizes the description is “dishonest, but what’s insidious is the cumulative effect that such dishonesty has on us: since it offers a perfect simulacrum of goodwill without goodwill’s real substance, it messes with our heads and eventually starts upping our defenses even in cases of genuine smiles and real art and true goodwill.” He explains that the dishonesty originates from the argument between cruise ship and author. Furthermore, that dishonesty diminishes the substance of the text and confuses the reader. This type of travel writing and the result from people taking it seriously contradicts Iyers opinion.
The evolution of travel writing makes it so tourists are seeing what the host wants them to see, which is clearly not authentic. The tourist is no longer free but is subject to stealthy commercialism. They still may have a great time and benefit from travel information in a large way but it is not a completely authentic experience. Since it is not an authentic experience how could the place still be its authentic self with tourists spending their money and time in places that were advertised to them? Maybe the two ideas are disconnected, and the place is still authentic with tourists following guides but the lack of goodwill in dishonest reviews attacks the integrity of the information.
Note: Last week I did the assignment for this week, so this week I am doing the work that was do last week.