My rhetorical choices in this final project were to open with a bit of important background on how the city is seen today, and why, as well as to elaborate on what my family who has known Washington for longer has felt about DC versus its rapid changes and socio-political progress. The DC I have grown to love is only a ‘drop in the bucket’ in relation to the importance of the history and different values displayed in each of Washington’s many Distinct neighborhoods. I feel that it is very important to remember that the most appealing version of the city that we now see as new residents and tourists are the most advertised version. I even added some personal background to add to the effect of how DC has been a very controversial city, and how my being a millennial has had a unique rhetorical effect on me. Because my parents had seen a much different heart of DC, it was much easier for me to be optimistic as I was of the many younger millennial group who felt slightly more indifferent–only knowing the National Mall, and the monumental icons of the city, and perhaps the Old Town Alexandria, or Georgetown.
I did not want to reinvent the wheel, so because I am much better at writing than using photos to convey my topos of the heart of DC, I simply integrated the progress of my research this term into this presentation. I would title each of my archives very carefully, as they described the exact observations about the city that ultimately lead me to my topos. Most important to me were the visuals. As I pointed out I really liked the quaint pseudo-vintage kind of feeling that parts of this section of town gave off. Although it is important to remember that some feel that the heart of DC is less about the marketability and more about community values. I also wanted to make clear that community is not necessarily devoid in this nicer section of town. It was just an interesting contrast to see that this part of town was very in a way pretentious. What I also noticed was that with it being as upscale and pretentious as it is, it still as I pointed out has a pretty solid product as well. If affordability is the main tenet of the heart of DC in modern day America, well this section was not the place. As I also reference, through my people watching, this nicer section is also very affluent. I wanted to show that clothing trends were also an important factor because those who would likely have lived in DC longer might choose practicality of cheaper clothing over the most up-to-date consumer clothing that I noticed. The nicer khaki-slacks, polo-shirts and related dress seemed to be a reflection of newer values in the city, and less of what would be seen in an area of the city that likes local boutiques, and thrift stores. The next part that I address is the ethnic concerns. As I noticed on 14th Street NW from the advertised view, it was rather homogeneously white but as I later show, is actually fairly ethnic but definitely very affluent. I wanted to point out the comparison to Adams Morgan because it was just the opposite. Adams Morgan to Malloy’s standard is much more community friendly in terms of being more affordable and maintaining an artsy vibe, without losing authenticity. It is also pretty ethnic. I had not done too much digging around AdMo’ having focused on 14th; but it was definitely an important after-thought because I know the area pretty well. I would also say that DC cannot exactly escape gentrification, but being a “broke college student” as I point out, the comparison was definitely interesting. The simple fact that different parts of the city have different types of values alone is enough to complicate what makes DC stand-out, or the heart of DC.
As a touristic millennial, the big city of Washington has been more of an excitement than the harsh socio-political epicenter that the older generation has gotten to know. I wanted to add the context of American University because it added the necessary effect to how I have come to know the heart of DC. There are many different opinions on what the true heart of DC is and I wanted to provide the necessary background for this. I knew that brochures posted on Washington.org, and similar sites as I had pointed out in essay one, are criticized for being ‘too new’ and not authentic enough for many who know what some feel is the real DC. However, I also wanted to make very clear that these changes are also part of DC’s nature and are not all necessarily malicious. Opinions like Washington Post columnist Courtland Malloy’s that feel more nostalgic are biased, and can easily omit some of the hardship DC had gone through specifically in the 80’s. However Uzodinma Iweala, recognize that there were obvious consequences to the role of gentrification, but it has been an important factor in the city’s overall progress.
I chose 14th Street NW, mostly after I had noticed Malloy’s viewpoint and the photo that I present as part of my annotated research. As I point out I would initially have no exact goal in mind, but would as I display in my project–come upon some very useful information simply from noticing things like architecture in the broader neighborhood surrounding 14th and U. What was most important to me rhetorically was the contrasts in which I saw the city, not just in its architecture; but in the many different characteristics of 14th Street NW compared with the broader neighborhood in relation to DC’s history. The photo that was most effective in my presentation, is the one that I pulled from the BBC Magazine piece “Washington DC from murder capital to boomtown” by Bill McKenna which shows DC having been a “murder capital.” As you can see the building in gray taken by Michael Horsley shows a very run-down building which from Malloy’s nostalgic viewpoint, was just fine. Since I had written most of my background as my “first mode” I thought since I was encouraged to use a Prezi, I would provide an embedded link to more Michael Horsley documentation, and finally simply put some of the images I used into a gallery.