Thursday, February 15, 2018

What's with this Jane Austen thing?

I do not understand Jane Austen or the nature of her work. But I do understand there are a lot of devoted Jane Austen fans. Can somebody help me figure out what you see in her work?

When I have read Jane Austen, of my own accord. I got a chapter in, read snippets in other sections of the book and never forced myself to read it again. Now I have to get all the way "Persuasion" for my British Lit, women writers class. I am about 3/4 done with it. And I have to admit I am still confused.

Jane Austen writes like an 18th century middle school girl. All internal feelings and gossip of a character who can never act for herself. All about social positions and wondering if somebody likes them or not.

The story almost makes sense if I cast Ann as an Ogre or Vampire or some other social outcast that is hiding who they really are. (Hence the rise of the Twilight series?)

The class started so promisingly with Aphra Behn, who at least wrote of topics of action, then Evelina by Fanny Burney. In Evelina the character once again tells all her emotions and thoughts and worries about social missteps, and can not talk for herself, but at least it was written with every scene dialoged up and easy to play in your head, something that Austen doesn't do a lot of. Austen tells us about it, and doesn't show it. UGH if I were her writing teacher . . .

This is the same time period as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Now there was a story. Of course Mary Shelley had an awesome mother who firmly believed women should not been as the frail, pale and ignorant. That treatsy today seem like no big deal, but Mary Wollstonecraft wrote a whole book on it "The Vindication of the Rights of Woman" and if I was any guess by the nature of what we have been reading, it was sorely needed.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Good, Bad or Ugly?

For Dana Boyd, blogging is about building bridges of understanding across the great gulf of the online world.

Every useful thing is a 2 edged sword. Most things can be as harmful as they are useful, that includes the internet. Dana tells a story about one awful Blogher conference. What a horrible thing happened when those in the audience instead of working towards building bridges, actively tore a live speaker down on twitter that was trending behind her on a big screen.

And hence we see the ugly side of social media, just in case speeches of hate or intolerance was not enough passed around on Facebook.

The most powerful use of blogging I have seen, which shapes my sense of the value of social media, was a vlog from the heart of the fighting in a city in Syria. It was a teen girl, describing the best she could what was going on. It was honest. It was raw, and it was needed to awake the world the awful situation we had allowed to develop.

Another powerful scene is social media is when 2 countries were preparing for war, but all over social media, notes of love and admiration were sent by individuals in one country to the other stating that they didn't support the war and had no desire to harm the others. This worked both ways and the governments had to back down from the full offensive action.

There is power in the tools of  social media. How are we going to use this power?

Service and Social Media are not always opposite, It depends on your focus

Another thing to think about when looking at Social Media use and Narcism

Linda K Burton said: 

We live in a culture where more and more we are focused on the small, little screen in our hands than we are on the people around us. We have substituted texting and tweeting for actually looking someone in the eye and smiling or, even rarer, having a face-to-face conversation. We are often more concerned with how many followers and likes we have than with putting an arm around a friend and showing love, concern, and tangible interest. As amazing as modern technology can be for spreading the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and helping us stay connected to family and friends, if we are not vigilant in how we use our personal devices, we too can begin to turn inward and forget that the essence of living the gospel is service.
I have tremendous love for and faith in those of you who are in your teen and young adult years. I have seen and felt of your desires to serve and make a difference in the world. I believe that most members consider service to be at the heart of their covenants and discipleship. But I also think that sometimes it’s easy to miss some of the greatest opportunities to serve others because we are distracted or because we are looking for ambitious ways to change the world and we don’t see that some of the most significant needs we can meet are within our own families, among our friends, in our wards, and in our communities. We are touched when we see the suffering and great needs of those halfway around the world, but we may fail to see there is a person who needs our friendship sitting right next to us in class.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Templates, Forms how do I identify myself within thee?

Unless you are talented in writing code, you have probably used a template to create your page or identity online. Facebook is ripe with these, so is Blogger. I even built a whole commercial websites using templates, then I learned how to manipulate code and made it better ;p

Christine Rosen discusses social media and virtual friendship and does so from a very 2007 bend. Since then we have learned that Social Media is not a big scary monster for teenagers and young adults only, now it is old school, left to those of us not hip enough to move on the next trend of social networking. There has been no lack of research on how social media is connected with our, and especially our teenager's mental health.  Christine could say "I told you so." But she hasn't published much to The NewAlantas lately.

Something about gathering friends by those answering similar things in the same categories...
Hold that thought. It's a real-life distraction break intruding on my online musings.
This little cutie climbed into my lap, nuzzled me said "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" and then hit my glasses off.

ok, Back to carefully constructed cyber-reality.

So identities we create online are often a result of filling in forms and are therefore limited to the nature and design of the forms or templates. Do these templates construct our idenity? Jenny Davis seems to think they do. Which brings me back to Christine, who thinks that we try to make ourselves unique on these online social media templates by doing things just like everybody else. Apparently, there is/was a tend of profile pictures with fingers up noses. With the group I hang with on social media, the trend is one of using our baby's pictures as our profile pics. I feel it helps send the message that I am a proud mommy and am not looking for social interactions with those looking for dates.

As I have worked on genealogy and indexing, a very addicting hobby, I have learned to value forms. Geneology becomes a much easier pursuit when forms became the rage. Forms make it so much easier to figure out what is going on, especially when they are typed. Before forms came on the scene you have to peruse the handwritten notes and books of the clergy. Not only do you have to decipher handwriting, but you have to wade through a lot of information that doesn't relate to what you are looking for at all, then you have to learn another language to read the clergy's notes from whatever countries your ancestors lived in before they immigrated to America, in my case a lot of German and Norwegian. Luckily for us, a lot of people volunteered hours to do "indexing." Indexing is taking these records and filling out the information into computer forms that become searchable, and are instantly linked back to the pictures of the original records.

So I guess, what we have now is not only templates constructing our online identities, but are also helping us construct the identities of our progenitors and also where we came from. Do you think they will help us figure out where we are going?  Do you think I could find an online form to see my grandkids?

Friday, February 02, 2018

How does Politeness work in Social Media?

Questions to consider:

How does politeness interact with social media, blogs, vlogs and minimal space mediums like tweeting?

Isn't politeness the grease of the social clockwork?s this grease ignored entirely for reasons of shock/attention span or character space? Or did it evolve and change forms?

We know some of the evolution:
All caps = yelling
Terminal periods on texts and tweets seem severe, nay even aggressive. Crair says that line breaks are more effective than the humble period, and terminal periods are completely unnecessary and therefore if they are used, they hold a different meaning, that being one of "pissed."

What about things like  :), or ;p, Where do they come in for politeness? When and how are they properly used?

When does discussion get uncomfortable? or offensive?

Does proper sentence structure show respect to your topic?

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Blogs as Literature?

Steve Himmer in The Labyrinth Unbound attempts to analysis blogs as literature.
 First he explains that blogs have codes to understanding, just like novels.

The novel ... is defined as much in how readers are trained to enter its shared codes as it is by the specific delivery of those codes. Likewise, the weblog relies on particular codes enacted by both author and readers—readers who become, in this case, secondary authors.
Interactive writing, how novel!

 Unlike a novel in which the author’s interpretations are viewed through the lens of a character, or traditional journalism in which the author is purposely made invisible, writing on a weblog can only ever be read through the filter of the reader’s prior knowledge of the author. As one day’s posts build on points raised or refuted in a previous day’s, readers must actively engage the process of “discovering” the author.

This author discovery is one of the joys of reading good blogs. Besides learning on whatever topic the blog posts about, you slowly unwrap and discover what makes another tick. I have enjoyed this on little bit of finding the underlying author while learning about baking cookies or environmental degradation. 

Unlike a printed text, a blog "offers is multicultural, offering multiple paths for traversing the text. There is not single defined narrative route, as in Ulysses, but instead a variety of possible movements from each point in the work to any number of other points in the work. The text is reassembled—thus rewritten—through the interaction of author and reader with each performance."

And now for a barely related fascinating tidbit: "Raymond Queneau’s Cent Mille Milliards de po√®mes, for example, is a collection of ten sonnets with each line of each poem printed on an individually manipulable strip of paper. Because each line of each sonnet poetically “fits” with every line of every other sonnet, there is a potential for producing and reading 1014 (100,000,000,000,000) individual poems. "

The interaction of blogs can be infinite and ever changing and ever expanding, never completed- almost a performance art, the process of making the blog literature is as valuable to enjoy as the the literature itself.

The weblog, as its detractors criticize, is often characterized by mundane, banal, sometimes embarrassing personal content ranging from what the author ate for lunch to specific health problems and sexual issues. This personal content, moreover, is frequently intermingled with commentary on politics or culture, making the personal, the public, and the political inseparable in precisely the ways the avant-garde demanded.

"Personal content intermingled with political commentary or cultural issues of the day"? That's never been seen on this blog.

With the analysed nature of blogs as lit, the ever-changing, never finished, interactive styles, it will be interesting to see how this literary style is taught in classrooms in 100 years.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Minimal Poetry

As Mark Twain once said, "Forgive me the length of this discourse, I hadn't the time to make it short."

Minimal Poetry would tend towards that trend of saying more in fewer words. In our modern world, most of what we see of this would be related to either Social Media, Facebook posts, and Tweets, where brevity is required, or in commercial settings, names of companies, brand, and logos.

The Huff Post ran an article on this.  From which a take a quote that questions the lack of validity often given to such Minimal Poetry:

"If there was such a poetic form as the two-word poem, it would be the ultimate in literary minimalism and the vanishing point for that most characteristic of modernist trends in poetry: ever-greater compression, or breviloquence. Why couldn’t the form of just two words have its own unique esthetic challenge that is just as valid a self-imposed restriction as a rhyme scheme or the seventeen syllables of a haiku? If a haiku is no less a poem than an epic, why should a two-word poem be any less a poem than a haiku?"

Having worked hard in the commercial word to create some of this Minimal Poetry to express the aims and desires of the company instantly to a hopeful buyer and brand follower, I can testify to the number of hours involved in it. It takes a lot of time to get it just right.

The two words poetry to express some of the following are below.
RoundBelly = maternity clothes
Eco Sprout = organic children's clothing
These are by no means the best examples that exist out there, and I am sure I have written some better Minimal Poetry myself, but these are the ones that I used often enough to remember them.

Here are some others that come to mind:
Don't squeeze the Charmin
Finger Licken Good
Third Rock from the Sun
Sleeping Angels
Toddling through the Demolition Zone

Besides commercial and online social adventures in Minimal Poetry, protest signs are a great source.

What do you know of Minimal Poetry?