RA 3: “Suburbia” in Fleming’s “City of Rhetoric”

In Fleming’s “Suburbia” section of “City of Rhetoric,” the author argues that suburban relocation provides jobs, good schools, safety and piece of mind, therefore, it should be an achievable option for residents of Chicago’s public housing projects, yet it isn’t. Fleming advocates that the suburbs are private and disintegrated areas that do not equitably distribute resources throughout our society. In addition, he asserts that society should be committed to opening up every suburb to individuals from all races, classes, ages, ethnicities, and religions. By doing this, we will be able to increase the amount of housing vouchers to help specific families leave distressed neighborhoods and enhance society as a whole. Fleming also cautions that society should be wary of pursuing suburban relocation too aggressively. He argues this in two ways. Firstly, Fleming advocates that in order for suburban relocation to be effective towards ending urban poverty and unemployment, society needs to bring a large part of the city to the suburbs. By doing this, an effort also needs to be made towards making sure that the suburbs do not sprout suburbs of their own, as this is a natural tendency when too much of the city is relocated to the suburbs. The second point Fleming cautions is that the suburbs are often unfavorable to public life by their centerless and chaotic form. Because the structure of the suburbs abandons the typical rectilinear grid style of metropolitan areas for curvy streets and awkward scales, the author points out that the suburbs often have harmful effects on the public sphere as an entity. Overall, Fleming asserts that the suburbs do not represent a healthy public sphere, and therefore, it is difficult for individuals living within Chicago’s public housing projects to integrate themselves into the suburbs, despite a better infrastructure of living.

Annotated Bibliography 3 & 4

  1. Stokes, Dillard. “Democracy Reigns In Judiciary Square.” The Washington Post  (1923-1954); Washington, D.C. July 24, 1940.
    1. In his 1940 article, Dillard Stokes offers a rare perspective on Judiciary Square, detailing the lives and activities of the children that played in the area during the early 1940’s. From the beginning, Stokes uses poetic and descriptive language to describe the scene: painting a picturesque image for readers of children thriving in a government area, surrounded by democracy. He discusses the architecture of Judiciary Square being used as a playground, and the legal proceedings occurring throughout the square as background to this showcase of color and joy.
    2. I plan to use this article to contrast the current built environment of Judiciary Square in 2017. The area itself now feels empty and void of life and color, where Stokes once describes it as vibrant and full of happiness. The language often used to describe such a relatively lifeless area in Stokes’ article is quite the opposite, and I wanted an opposing perspective to the current environment embodied by Judiciary Square.
  2. Griffin, Sandy. “One Judiciary Square Building Over Subway.” The Washington Post  (1974-Current File); Washington, D.C. December 19, 1988, sec. Business & Finance.
    1. According to Sandy Griffin’s 1988 article, One Judiciary Square, a building being developed at the time, would be built to mirror the architecture of Judiciary Square itself. Griffin states that the building had just been proposed, and was being built to reflect the surrounding buildings and blend into the historical architecture, rather than stand out. Griffin discusses the challenges of the building being constructed on top of the Judiciary Square Metro Station, and the anticipated outlook of the project.
    2. I wanted to use this article as further background on the construction of one of the most important buildings in my area. The building itself stands out to me, yet according to Griffin’s article, it was intended to blend in with the architecture already in place. I wanted to use this article to contrast the differing architecture styles currently in Judiciary Square, and how the intention of the building’s construction at the time differs so greatly from its outcome.

Commonplace 8: Midnight in Paris

“I believe that love that is true and real, creates a respite from death. All cowardice comes from not loving or not loving well, which is the same thing. And then the man who is brave and true looks death squarely in the face, like some rhino-hunters I know or Belmonte, who is truly brave… It is because they make love with sufficient passion, to push death out of their minds… until it returns, as it does, to all men… and then you must make really good love again.” -Ernest Hemingway, “Midnight in Paris”

I chose this particular quote for this week’s Commonplace because I was truly taken aback by its contents when I stumbled upon it. After a long, cold, and exhausting spring break, which I do believe counters its actual purpose, I sat down to complete an assignment and turned on Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” in the background. I’ve always loved this movie, but in watching it this time around, I was particularly drawn to Ernest Hemingway’s character. The above quote is presented in a quasi-mocking fashion, as if mimicking Hemingway’s classic short sentence structure and abrasive rhetoric. Yet the scene achieves the direct opposite, and it is certainly one of the most moving and inspiring moments in the entire movie. The protagonist, Gil, faced with the realities of love and death, finds guidance and comfort in a literary hero that may or may not be a figment of his imagination. The concept is radical, yet Hemingway’s words echo so true and so real. The crossover of the rhetorical situation of the quote and Hemingway’s actual words are contradictory but still incredibly fitting for the movie itself.

Commonplace 7

In Samuel Beckett’s Worstward Ho!, the author argues that failure is not necessarily a thing to avoid, and that there is a strength and substance to failing rather than succeeding. In his novella, Beckett states: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” These sentiments are incredibly important to many different populations, specifically students and scholars. Failing matters for these individuals, because without failure, one cannot truly find success. The form Beckett chooses to use to express his thoughts on failure is simplistic in nature, and intentionally so. The simple structure of the sentence highlights each point, regardless of the grammar behind the relationships between the independent and dependent clauses. The first three commands Beckett offers are all dependent clauses when followed by a period. Had Beckett used question marks or commas to integrate this grouping of clauses together, the flow would certainly be more cohesive. Yet the original structure feels like a war cry or mantra, specifically through the use of periods instead of exclamation points, question marks or commas. By not using question marks, Beckett is not questioning whether these things happen to individuals. The periods make these statements finite, stating that people have tried and failed unquestionably. Each clause is impactful and straightforward, changing the punctuation would make Beckett’s mantra questionable rather than explicit and strong.

Adjacent to Greatness, Without Cohesion: A Rhetorical History of Judiciary Square and Its Exclusionary Built Environment

It is often said that the Judiciary Square area of Washington D.C. is an inclusive place, acting as an asset to the civil functionality of the entire city, despite its high profile clientele. In this essay, I will argue that the environment of Judiciary Square actually does the opposite, appearing inherently exclusionary, and intended for a selective audience. According to the District of Columbia Courts’ website, Judiciary Square and the buildings within it represent an environment of refined greatness, dedicated to history, and adjacent to the monumental core of Washington D.C. The area itself, located north of Pennsylvania Avenue, abides outside the action and tourism of the Capitol. For those individuals with no knowledge of the city’s structure or geography, Judiciary Square itself would be an area unnoticed by the public eye. It functions for convenience; it is a place where politicians, judges and lawyers can easily commute. Judiciary Square provides a site where those in the public judiciary sector can uproot themselves from the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C., as well as the tourists, and thrive within their own, compact anthill of the law. It seems as though the District of Columbia Courts wants to keep it this way. There is a certain inexplicable privacy that dwells in the conversation and day-to-day activities around Judiciary Square, and when visiting the site itself, it is very apparent in its environment alone. In seeking out an explanation for the inherently private aura that this area has, one could look to the District of Columbia Courts’ website for information.

The website itself provides plenty of information on a variety of areas, if you can figure out how to navigate it. The purpose of the D.C. Courts’ website seems to be educational, with tabs targeting the public and legal professionals, along with jurors. The website targets a sense of logos, citing specific, credible sources related to the D.C. Courts. Despite the educational messages the site alludes to, its target audience is not clear. The design of the site itself is unremarkable, using a simple color scheme and low quality images right on its front page. Its header bears the insignia for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, neither of which seem recognizable on first glance. The home page features a rotating feed of “D.C. Courts in the News,” showcasing headlines involving candidates and judges, but very little else. Though the intention of the website appears educational, it is very difficult to locate information on a specific topic. After extensive searches and exploring nearly every tab featured on the site, one may be able to find some information, located deep within the archives of this rather maze-like website. Perhaps the site is intentionally difficult to navigate, just as the judiciary system is. Judiciary Square itself is an amalgamation of different buildings and architecture styles with little cohesion, just as the website for the District of Columbia Courts is. If their intended audience was students looking to learn about the way the judiciary system of D.C. works, then the students would have an incredibly difficult time finding any of that information. The only educational diagram offered by the website is rather low quality, and ultimately confusing (see fig. 1).

Organizational chart from Judiciary Square website

Fig.1: “Organizational Structure.” Organizational Structure: District of Columbia Courts.

If the intended audience for this diagram is instead legal professionals, then the website is also incredibly confusing. The resource page for legal professionals is a mish mosh of poorly organized links and documents that any judge or lawyer would be put off by. The intended effect that the site seems to lean towards is that the D.C. Courts are highly productive and offer a lot of information for interested parties. The images shown on the website either have a smiling child in a courtroom, a group of students learning in a courtroom, or a smiling judge. These images intend to make individuals feel like the D.C. Court system is doing its job, and offers a welcoming and cohesive environment for all, appealing to the pathos of site-goers. The actual effect of the D.C. Courts’ website is that the site itself is rather ineffectual. It is hard to navigate, and frustration grows from trying to use its interface effectively. Its overall aesthetic is not pleasing to the eye, and it feels like a boring government website. The rhetoric used on the site, especially when it comes to headlines, uses a lot of law and government terms, instead of simple language that urges the reader to pursue information further. Just as Judiciary Square, the home of the D.C. Courts, feels like an exclusive environment, its website also feels exclusive. It seems as if you really need to know your way around the judiciary system in order to navigate this website correctly, which is the same environment that Judiciary Square itself exudes.

It makes one wonder, why is the rhetoric surrounding Judiciary Square so exclusive? What is it about this area of Washington D.C. that makes one feel like they are an outsider looking in? The D.C. Courts’ website explains the History of Judiciary Square, buried deep inside the archives of its domain. The history begins by providing a background into the location of Judiciary Square; it explains that its location “adjacent to the monumental core of Washington D.C.” makes it an important location, intended to be a “municipal center of the city.” Along with the location of Judiciary Square, the buildings of Judiciary Square were also built across several different years, beginning in 1820 and culminating in the 1970s with the construction of the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse. Though the site states that the buildings were intended to have a cohesive flow that mirrored the architecture originally planned by city designer Pierre Charles L’Enfant, the buildings lack any sort of true cohesion in person (see fig. 2).

Judiciary Square buildings of different architecture styles

Fig. 2: Judiciary Square Park

Judiciary Square is also home to several different sculptures, none of which demonstrate any noticeable cohesion between them. The first sculpture was constructed at the end of the Civil War, days after Lincoln’s assassination on April 15, 1865. This statue was the first public monument dedicated to Abraham Lincoln. The statue itself has been moved around the square during different points of construction, and no longer sits in the center. In the 1920s, the Joseph J. Darlington Fountain was built to commemorate the leader of the Washington Bar Association, along with a statue of South American liberator Jose de San Martin. These three leaders could not be more different, yet they are cornerstones to the rich history that Judiciary Square advertises on its website. The area itself also has some residential communities, and used to be home to Vice President John C. Calhoun, a man known notoriously for doing the opposite of what leaders like Abraham Lincoln were striving to achieve. There is a lack of cohesion and narrative in the environment of the area, and the confusing rhetoric of Judiciary Square continues in 2017.

Judiciary Square is clearly a place incredibly exclusive in nature, with few pedestrians walking about, and a dense population of government officials taking up space. The built environment surrounding this square in D.C. is odd, and does not exude a consistent narrative. It feels like a place built to keep government officials in, and everyone else out, in the United States Capitol of all places. When one thinks of the message embodied by Washington D.C., it is all about inclusion, not exclusion. But when you take a visit to Judiciary Square, you feel inherently unsure, unenthused, and unwelcome.

Commonplace 6

  1. “Now, sleep alone most nights.”
    1. The “Now,” acts as a conjunction at the beginning of the sentence, meaning that the clause to the left of the comma is a dependent clause and it cannot stand alone. Following the comma, “I” and “sleep” are the subject and verb of the sentence, respectively. The “Now” tells us when the independent clause, “I sleep,” is occurring. “Now” and “I sleep alone most nights” are a dependent clause attached to an independent clause with a comma.
  2. David Fleming concludes his City of Rhetoric by arguing that “education [should be] oriented to the ‘strong publics’ of decision making rather than the ‘weak publics’ of opinion formation” (205). For Fleming, then, composition courses, which traditionally have asked students to write from a spectatorial point of view where opinions are merely stated, should instead have students engage with those opinions, and actively participate in society.  In other words, Fleming argues that a civic-based education would emerge, that is focused on making an accessible community that adapts to the practical and ethical demands of engaging with others and creating a rewarding dialogue. This idea connects to my project on Judiciary Square, because my main focus is on how exclusive and closed off the area is, and how there lacks a certain acceptance of ideas. It is difficult to engage with a community that feels so closed off and unwelcoming, and one is forced to merely be a spectator with opinions, rather than an engaged citizen.
  3. After reading the transcription and watching the trailer, I had two contrasting experiences. When I read the transcription, it felt more like a Logos explanation of the argument the professor was trying to make. Simply reading the transcription feels like someone answer a question logically about why a decision was made. But after watching the trailer, I experienced a strong sense of Pathos and Ethos. Pathos was very dominant in the speech, when Professor Delany’s voice broke towards the end, evoking emotion and a passion for his students. The Ethos behind his argument also came out more clearly, as it seemed that he was doing this method for ethical reasons and you could see his justification much more clearly for this alternative teaching method.

BED DigiDoc Textual Analysis: Judiciary Square

Adjacent to Greatness, Without Cohesion: A Rhetorical History of Judiciary Square and Its Built Environment

According to the District of Columbia Courts’ website, Judiciary Square and the buildings within it represent an environment of refined greatness, dedicated to history, and adjacent to the monumental core of Washington D.C. The area itself, located north of Pennsylvania Avenue, abides outside the action and tourism of the Capitol. For those individuals with no knowledge of the city’s structure or geography, Judiciary Square itself would be an area unnoticed by the public eye. It functions for convenience; it is a place where politicians, judges and lawyers can easily commute. Judiciary Square provides a site where those in the public judiciary sector can uproot themselves from the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C., as well as the tourists, and thrive within their own, compact anthill of the law. It seems as though the District of Columbia Courts want to keep it this way. There is a certain inexplicable privacy that dwells in the conversation around Judiciary Square, and when visiting the site itself, it is very apparent in its environment alone. In seeking out an explanation for the certain “je ne sais quoi” that this area has, one could look to the District of Columbia Courts’ website for information.

The website itself provides plenty of information on a variety of areas, if you can figure out how to navigate it. The purpose of the D.C. Courts’ website seems to be educational, with tabs targeting the public and legal professionals, along with jurors. Despite the educational messages the site alludes to, its target audience is not clear. The design of the site itself is unremarkable, using a simple color scheme and low quality images right on its front page. Its header bears the insignia for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia – neither of which seem recognizable on first glance. The home page features a rotating feed of “D.C. Courts in the News,” showcasing headlines involving candidates and judges, but very little else. Though the intention of the website appears educational, it is very difficult to locate information on a specific topic. After extensive searches and exploring nearly every tab featured on the site, one may be able to find some information, located deep within the archives of this rather maze-like website. Perhaps the site is intentionally difficult to navigate, just as the judiciary system is. Judiciary Square itself is an amalgamation of different buildings and architecture styles with little cohesion, just as the website for the District of Columbia Courts is. If their intended audience was students looking to learn about the way the judiciary system of D.C. works, then the students would have an incredibly difficult time finding any of that information. The only educational diagram offered by the website is rather low quality, and ultimately confusing (see fig. 1).

Organizational chart from Judiciary Square website

Fig.1: “Welcome to: Organizational Structure.” Organizational Structure: District of Columbia Courts. Accessed February 26, 2017. http://www.dccourts.gov/internet/about/orgstructure/main.jsf.

If the intended audience is instead legal professionals, then the website is also incredibly confusing. The resource page for legal professionals is a mish mosh of poorly organized links and documents that any judge or lawyer would be put off by. The intended effect that the site seems to lean towards is that the D.C. Courts are highly productive and offer a lot of information for interested parties. The images shown on the website either have a smiling child in a courtroom, a group of students learning in a courtroom, or a smiling judge. These images intend to make individuals feel like the D.C. Court system is doing its job and offers a welcoming and cohesive environment for all. The actual effect of the D.C. Courts’ website is that the site itself is rather ineffectual. It is hard to navigate, and frustration grows from trying to use its interface effectively. Its overall aesthetic is not pleasing to the eye, and it feels like a boring government website. The rhetoric used on the site, especially when it comes to headlines, uses a lot of law and government terms, instead of simple language that urges the reader to pursue information further. Just as Judiciary Square, the home of the D.C. Courts, feels like an exclusive environment, its website also feels exclusive. It seems as if you really need to know your way around the judiciary system in order to navigate this website correctly, which is the same environment that Judiciary Square itself exudes.

It makes one wonder, why is the rhetoric surrounding Judiciary Square so exclusive? And what is it about this area of Washington D.C. that makes one feel like they are an outsider looking in? The D.C. Courts website explains the History of Judiciary Square, buried deep inside the archives of its domain. The history begins by providing a background into the location of Judiciary Square; it explains that its location “adjacent to the monumental core of Washington D.C.” makes it an important location, intended to be a “municipal center of the city” (Metropolitan Architects & Planners). The buildings of Judiciary Square were also built across several different years, beginning in 1820 and culminating in the 1970s with the construct of the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse. Though the site states that the buildings were intended to have a cohesive flow that mirrored the architecture originally planned by city designer Pierre Charles L’Enfant, the buildings lack any sort of true cohesion in person (see fig. 2).

Judiciary Square buildings of different architecture styles

Fig. 2: “0_4200_84_2716_two_USA_WashingtonDC_JudiciarySquare_CKW-7.jpg (485×304).” Accessed February 26, 2017. https://a0.muscache.com/locations/uploads/photo/image/13291/0_4200_84_2716_two_USA_WashingtonDC_JudiciarySquare_CKW-7.jpg.

Judiciary Square is also home to several different sculptures, none of which demonstrate any noticeable cohesion between them. The first was formed at the end of the Civil War, days after Lincoln’s assassination on April 15, 1865, and was the first public monument dedicated to Abraham Lincoln. The statue itself has been moved around the square during different points of construction, and no longer sits in the center. In the 1920s, the Joseph J. Darlington Fountain, which was built to commemorate the leader of the Washington Bar Association, along with a statue of South American liberator Jose de San Martin. These three leaders could not be more different, and yet they are cornerstones to the rich history that Judiciary Square advertises on its website. The area itself also has some residential communities, and used to be home to Vice President John C. Calhoun, a man known notoriously for doing the opposite of what leaders like Abraham Lincoln were striving to achieve. There is a lack of cohesion and narrative in the environment of the area, and the confusing rhetoric of Judiciary Square continues in 2017. A place so exclusive in nature, with few pedestrians walking about, and a dense population of government officials taking up space. The built environment surrounding this square in D.C. is odd, and does not exude a consistent narrative. It feels like a place built to keep government officials in, and everyone else out, in the United States Capitol, of all places. When one thinks of the message embodied by Washington D.C., it is not one of exclusion, but of inclusion, for all Americans. But when you take a visit to Judiciary Square, you feel inherently unsure, unenthused and unwelcome.

Annotated Bibliography #1

  1. Voorhees, Theodore. “The District of Columbia Courts: A Judicial Anomaly.” Catholic University Law Review 29, no. 4 (1980): 917–37.
    1. In his recent article, Theodore Voorhees offers a harsh critique as to why the District of Columbia Courts are the way they are, and provides context by comparing these courts to the rest of the country. From the beginning, Voorhees explains how the courts were founded and how they function respectively to the federal government. He elucidates on the functionality of the Circuit Courts, the Supreme Courts, the State Court system, and the Courthouses themselves.
    2. I plan to use this article for context. My site is located in the middle of Judiciary Square, surrounded by Courthouses. It functions to work in tandem with the surrounding buildings, and the history of these buildings and their relationships to one another answered a lot of the questions I had after visiting the site.
  2. Metropolitan Architects & Planners, Inc. “Welcome to: History of Judiciary Square.” Welcome to: History of Judiciary Square, June 6, 2003. http://www.dccourts.gov/internet/about/history/main.jsf.
    1. According to the Metropolitan Architects & Planners, Inc, Judiciary Square is an area ripe with history, on the outskirts of the National Mall, that serves as a functional center for the law. The authors discuss the buildings, their founding, their architecture, and their relationships to one another. The circumstances surrounding each building are also discussed, and how they currently function versus their intended use.
    2. I chose this webpage for a quick run-down on the area. I knew nothing about the area itself, and I wanted to educate myself at a basic level. This is a government webpage and it explains very broadly how the area came to be and how it works. I used this on an “I don’t know and I want to find out” basis.

 

Commonplace 5

  1. We  often walk around without giving the things around us much thought. Consider, most architecture is intended to blend in, rather than stand out in a typical metropolitan area. Nevertheless, most individuals ought to pay more attention to the world around them, in the same way that we pay attention to social media subtleties. We focus so heavily on relationships with other people but very little on our relationship with our environment. As a result, we are blissfully unaware of the subtle and not so subtle details of our world. We do this by keeping our faces in our devices, walking around oblivious to our surroundings. The upshot of all this is that we have loss a vital connection between human and environment. As this essay will detail, although many scholars of human behavior and architecture have addressed  the  idea  that  we experience a disconnect between our day to day and our environment, these ideas have rarely been discussed in terms of their relationship with technology.
  2. The American University website explains AU as a school where you can connect with professionals in Washington D.C., and have a job by the time you graduate. The rotating images include footage of students engaging and studying, as well as a clip of Barack Obama making an appearance at AU. This shows potential applicants that AU is high profile enough that the school can land visits from powerful people, and that students have the opportunities to interact with those leaders. AU centers its rhetoric around the future, instead of the time you spend while at the actual school. The home page is all about accomplishments of alumni, and how you too, as a prospective student, can end up like them. It consciously propagates a message towards the future, rather than the present. 
  3. “The sun came up a baleful smear in the sky, not quite shapeless, in fact able to assume the appearance of a device immediately recognizable yet unnameable, so widely familiar that the inability to name it passed from simple frustration to a felt dread, whose intricacy deepened almost moment to moment . . . its name a word of power, not to be spoken aloud, not even to be remembered in silence.”

    (Bold = Subject, Italics = Verb)
    This sentence is not a comma splice because all of the clauses following the first independent clause describe the subject of the sentence, the sun.
     

Digital Archives: Historical / Exterior / Text #4 & 5: District Attorney’s Office

The view from the front of 555 4th Street

The view from the front of 555 4th Street

I was surprised how bustling the atmosphere surrounding the site was. Granted, it was rush hour and most individuals were leaving work, but I was shocked by how many people were in the area. The streets were jammed, though I couldn’t locate any parking lots other than the one in this picture. It appears there is mainly street parking, which I found peculiar. I blame the nearby Metro Station, which must be incredibly convenient for government employees working in Judiciary Square. The cars in the area were also mainly taxis or Uber cars, I barely saw anyone driving their own car without someone in the back seat. There were very few police cars in the area, I only saw one and in passing. This struck me as odd, considering the federal courts and Department of Justice are spread throughout the area.

Planters in front of 555 4th Street NW

Planters in front of 555 4th Street NW

I wanted to include the planters in my archives, as they were absolutely bizarre. I tried to sit on one for about 15 minutes before relocating because they were so uncomfortable. They contain some flowers, but also these large leafy plants that slightly resemble lettuce. I couldn’t figure out what they were and why they chose these. From afar, they do appear to be large flowers, but these make no sense for the current season, as flowers do not survive very well in 50-degree weather. Additionally, no one appears to pay the only source of color in the surrounding area any notice. It feels like the area outside a doctor’s office or in a business park – very forgettable and industrial.

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