Nathan Ryan Reeves

America the Marvelous-Thesis/Theme & or Proverb (America is good or bad? which one is it?)

The article “America the Marvelous” is very reminiscent of the perspective that Barry Blitt writes. What it reminds me of is a conversation I had with my friend where we agreed that “America wasn’t the greatest country in the world”, which proceeded with a list of reasons why we hate America. But after some time, there was this childlike positivity spark, the kind of spark that makes you think that you can do anything, and we then thought about the sparkly image of America and what really it has done over the years (while still retaining the dull character that comes along with the negatives).

The way that I would describe the beginning of the article is that America is the worst place in the world. This comes down to the naïve nature that Americans pose, and the bias that Americans are all selfish monsters that create what they want and destroy what they do not want. Not that America plays God, but at some points, the attitude feels godlike with the power of a child throwing a tantrum. The childish image of America is really carrying its already tattered image to a whole new level, while the rest of the world is laughing in our faces. The only thing I can laugh about is the fact that Brexit happened, so that is something that I have on Europe as a whole, but I digress.

However, to contrast in the later paragraphs, Blitt attacks the rest of the world for the fact that the old world patronizes the younger nation of America. For instance, in the quote below, there is a great example of America setting the tone for many of the things that the world can take for granted.

“These same people will use every comforting, clever, and ingenious American invention, will demand America’s medicine, wear its clothes, eat its food, drink its drink, go to its cinema, love its music, thank God for its expertise in a hundred disciplines, and will all adore New York. More than that, more shaming and hypocritical than that, these are people who collectively owe their nations’ and their personal freedom to American intervention and protection in wars”

While it never stood out to me, it did kind of shock me when I finally realized that the rest of the world hates America, yet the US stands out as one of the most important countries culturally and economically. The cultural part of this example can be mixed since yes we make and consume products that the rest of the world adores, but that doesn’t counteract the fact that America can be very unsympathetic of other cultures and of other peoples from other cultures. I guess the underlying racism covered up by the positives can be added to the reasons that America sucks so much. Chocolates and flowers can’t cover up the fact that America has a shiny yet stinky culture.

The rest of the articles builds this theme of accomplishments, and what that means in the long run of the image of America and Americans as a whole. While not all people are naïve and selfish, just as not all Americans are lazy and unhealthy, the fact of the matter is that a country like the US is not the most perfect in the world and that when it is all said and done, while hated, America has its influence all over the globe, even if the rest of the world hates it.

Catherine Dodd Corona

America the Marvelous

A Response to Gills Main Aim

Progymnasmata: Proverb

Americans are stupid, crass, ignorant, soul-less, naïve oafs without attention, irony, or intellect. These same people will use every comforting, clever, and ingenious American invention, will demand America’s medicine, wear its clothes, eat its food, drink its drink, go to its cinema, love its music, thank God for its expertise in a hundred disciplines, and will all adore New York.

In recent times people are quick to trash America. I suspect it is because critically analyzing the challenges the States faces is too difficult, so their solution is to trash talk Americans and use them as a scapegoat. People outside of America seem to be extremely critical of what we do and how we do it. Funny, because most of the time they only offer cynicism and no constructive feedback. Somewhat like a bully in the third grade. Even though I am praising the point above, I completely understand that America faces real obstacles and could improve on many structural aspects of our country. However, people often forget the tremendous accolades America has produced. They reap the benefits from our scientific discoveries, and cultural exports, yet they seem to sit on a high horse above it all, while they feed it a Big Mac and scroll through the internet. I remember while traveling through Southeast Asia, people would ask where I’m from. The moment I said the states I was then an ambassador for all Americans forced to go to defend the many issues people were consumed with. At first I agreed with most foreigners, but after a while I started to argue for the greatness of the States tooth and nail. How could I betray the place that raised me and gave me everything I am today? The best response I started to come up with was simply nodding my head and then asking, “Why do you care so much about what we do in the States?” Their response was often because we are so darn terrible, but I always tried to say, “You care because of how important we are. You care because America’s decisions affect the world, when was the last time people cared so much about your country?” It was a very arrogant response, but also very American. Gill goes on to mention that Europeans love to turn their nose at smelly Americans, yet our decisions historically and today still affect their lives. But sadly Americans seem to do that too. There is a lack of gratitude for what this country gives the world. Again I do not want to negate the palpable and massive issues America needs to fix. Although, I believe what Gill is pointing out is there needs to be some gratitude or validated patriotism for the States. He nor I am saying to blindly support this country while belting the star spangled banner, but think critically about what the States has done and given you. Be as critical as you want, but have it be constructive criticism. Stop trashing the states because it makes you feel smart, educated, and above it all. 

Paula I Arraiza

The Beauty in Tourists Attractions

Type of Progym: Proverb

“Ferocious denigration of tourists is in part an attempt to convince oneself that one is not a real tourist”

When traveling, many of us tend to do our best to separate ourselves from other tourists. We long to have the most unique and real experiences and take pride in these once back in our home country. Whether you want to admit it or not, we all take part in this. Whether it be something as simple as avoiding Starbucks and going to a local café for local coffee or exploring underrated sights instead of tourist-filled ones. We love to come back home with a unique story to tell our friends and family. As the author said, we do this to convince ourselves that we are not real tourists, that instead, we lived like locals as much as possible. However, it’s truly impossible to immerse yourself in a country if you’re only in it for a short period of time. There’s nothing wrong with admitting to yourself you’re a tourist and doing “touristy” things. After all, you’re there to explore new sights, and these all don’t have to be completely unknown to other tourists. Yes, there’s something beautiful about having a completely unique experience to other tourists, but we should let them happen on their own instead of looking for them. For example, one of my favorite memories, in general, is going to the Peterhof Palace in Saint Petersburg. While Saint Petersburg is a highly visited city, and the Peterhof Palace is extremely popular, there was still something special about it. While many people, myself included, would hate standing in between thousands of tourists with their maps and selfie sticks, this time I didn’t feel the same way. The architecture was beautiful, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, or the fact that I was in a country so far away from home. Even though we rode the metro and ate at amazing local places where the servers barely spoke English, this is still the memory that stuck with me the most. There’s something amazing about standing in front of a well-known tourist attraction, or “marks” as Culler calls them, and taking it all in for a moment, feeling astonished and grateful for the fact that you made it there.

Catherine Dodd Corona

The Tourist Gaze

The Dilemma of Too Many Tourists

Progymnasmata: Proverb

Creating an analogy between pollution and overcrowding is a fantastic way of exemplifying some of the difficulties with places of interest. While there may be nothing wrong with a particular destination the messy masses can often be a struggle. That being said the messy masses can be an integral part of an experience. Regardless, overcrowding is definitely a form of pollution.  

Urry makes two contradictory points on the influx of people wanting to see a particular sight. One stating that an excess of people can pollute that area even more just by having more visitors. The other is that an influx of people can help protect special places. While contradictory both points are essential to understanding the impacts of too many people, especially when it comes to wildlife tourism. An influx of tourists can cause more trash in a river but that interest can also cause governmental protection of said river. Protection is important to save ecosystems, beautiful sights, environments like parks that benefit public health, and more. It is a balancing act, finding how many people is too many, and how many is not enough. 

A great example for this dilemma would be the protection of the desert southwest along with the increase in industrial tourism. There are lots of National Parks in the desert southwest protecting canyons, arches, sand dunes, and more magnificent natural creations. The protection of these areas allows more people to access them and benefit from their wonders. On the other hand, the influx of tourists have caused crowds and infrastructure that can take away from the experience, and brings in litter, cars, infrastructure and more. Part of the magic of the desert is the solitude and sense of nature, but with an almost Disney esq. visitor center in Zion and hundreds of people it is hard to experience those qualities of the desert. 

It is important to understand both points because it mitigates arrogance. I have felt connected to the desert traveling to very unknown places on river trips growing up. So to see the industrial tourism in these areas hurts my heart because it is such a special place. Especially when the people visiting are disrespectful of the environment through littering and other rude actions. BUT these places that I love would not have the maintenance, or the protection they have if they stated secret and unknown. Arches would be defaced, a McDonald’s could sit two feet from the Grand Canyon, an oil drill could destroy my favorite landscape. I also live in a tourist dependent town, Aspen, Colorado and without tourists my town would cease to exist. Tourists in both places make areas like Zion National Park or Eric’s Bar undesirable in my opinion, but both are interesting places I would recommend many people visit. There are still special wonderful “secret” areas I can enjoy, plus the fascinating places people are curious about. 


Samuel James Conroy

Proverb Progymnasmata

Proverb Progymnasmata

            The writing in the article, “Breaking Down an Image,” is quite superb. Rhetoric images are not talked about a lot in the world of literature due to there not being many images typically instilled in writings. In this piece the author breaks down a system to decipher images in text to understand their true meaning. This is done by breaking down the analyzation into numerous categories. These categories are: Audience, Context, Purpose, Tone, Arrangement, Location, Scale, Text, Typography, Font Size, Font Type, Color, Connotation, and finally Readability. This was done because many people do not typically think about why images are placed where they are and how it persuades us. The main thing to consider when viewing an image is the visual rhetoric that it gives off, or the effect that is has on someone.

It is best to be in touch with the images that you are viewing or else you are putting yourself in a bubble of ignorance. This is the equivalent of not reading the news, so you don’t have to face the realities of life and view what is truly going on around you. Some may choose to live like this as that way they can go about thinking all is good and be a living embodiment of ignorance is bliss. One cannot hope to understand what is trying to be said to them unless they can accurately analyze what is being shown whether it is through images or writing, which “Breaking Down an Image” tries to service.

Aongus Mui

The Rhetoric of an Image (Proverb)

Proverb of Breaking Down an Image

One of the most revolutionary items in modern day is a simple image. Images are made up of countless elements like color, mood, and most importantly context. Images are part of our daily lives. According to Jenna Pack Sheffield, “Visual rhetoric is a means of communication that uses images to create meaning or to make an argument.” (Sheffield) This is one of the main themes in her passage. Sheffield stated this to demonstrate that even though pictures seem ordinary, many of them have a far deeper meaning and can persuade us without our knowledge.

Humans are all hardwired to keep memories, it is only natural for us. But how many memories can you recall before some begin to slip away? This is where images come in, they help us secure our brightest moments, with no chance of being forgotten. Something that is often related to images are texts. Texts like articles or poems may be able to paint a picture in your mind but they will never be able to fully recreate an image that the author has in mind. Images are one of a kind, they show off many different types of components. Some of the components mentioned by Sheffield are purpose, tone, and scale; all of which are crucial to creating an image. The power of images are displayed by how all of the elements fit together, giving the audience a particular feeling only achievable by vision.

To conclude, images are all around us, we see them digitally, in stores, and quite frankly everywhere. Pictures can be of great influence to us, they exhibit many moods and objects specifically put there. Advertisements for example are images that have persuasion, they encourage consumers to buy a product. Images have the ability to influence us into wanting to do something or vice versa.

Samuel E Evans

“Understanding Visual Rhetoric” by Jenae Cohn, The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

Progym: Proverb

“Give the camera, put it away, and start to draw, because if you draw, you see the beauty of things properly” (de Botton 43:58).

In this quote, taken from Alain de Botton’s film The Art of Travel, he paraphrases the message of the English philosopher John Ruskin. I like this quote, both because the message is both very relatable and understandable, but because there is also some humor to it. Having English parents and thus being raised on British television and comedy, I can see the subtle, dry humor in de Botton’s philosophy, including with this quote. He seems to present Ruskin’s message in almost the most direct method possible, both for effect and to help prove his point. This quote, as well as his choice to use Ruskin, demonstrate in short de Botton’s very English perspective on travel.

Ruskin, according to de Botton, despised the attitudes of tourists, who he thought “looked at things but didn’t really notice them” (de Botton 43:44). Ruskin then urges us to really make an effort to not just capture images because we feel obligated to, but instead to really appreciate them. De Botton translates this to the modern-day with the example of cameras, and in this scene, he proceeds to collect the cameras of the Japanese tourist group he is with and make them draw the English church they are examining. This, accompanied by the chuckles of the tourists and his clumsily collecting the many cameras really makes the scene.

Some may disagree with de Botton’s argument here and say that photographs and postcards and tacky wall-art are important pieces of the travel experience that help you remember it once you return home. You might say that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and that you will never be able to recall just how wonderful your time away from home was unless you can really see it. This, it can be argued, is exactly his point, because we will always remember it better and also enjoy it more in the moment if we aren’t focused on getting the image that will allow you to see it later. If you let it sink in while you are there, perhaps by drawing it, you will remember the full moment better.

You could compare this idea to the many people who decide to travel with no plan. Sometimes, if you worry over the details, obsess about having the best possible time on your vacation, you ruin the moment. Just as focusing on the perfect picture takes you out of the moment, so does thinking only about the “next thing.”

Personally, I have begun following a similar idea over the last few years. When I was younger I would take far too many pictures, stopping to take poorly-framed, underlit snaps of whatever attraction. But now, I have decided to only take pictures that I think I will actually like to see later. I can find an image of the lighthouse at Negril in Jamaica, but not a picture of myself with the eccentric guide who brought us off the beaten track down the rocks past the building. Things like this are worth capturing because they enhance the moment, they don’t distract you from it. Instead, I can put my mind to simply enjoying my vacation, in the moment, not worrying about whatever else.

De Botton’s quote here, in its odd humor and awkwardness, and the amusing scene it is a part of, is particularly enlightening to me because it puts into words an idea I have been acting on for a while, but haven’t consciously thought about. It goes against many of our impulses as travelers, but it is also highly rewarding and worthwhile, and de Botton’s method of illustrating it is excellent.