Academic Writing, I’d like you to meet Creative Writing

Academic Writing, I’d like you to meet Creative Writing

These works can serve as a unique and intriguing source for Rhetorical Analysis assignments.

(my piece, expectedly eccentric, is down at the bottom of the page.  The other are somewhat more traditional, but complex and personal)


Miami, Gables practice ‘brick-and-mortar’ racism – Speak Up –

Miami, Gables practice ‘brick-and-mortar’ racism – Speak Up –

Carlos Medina, Miami, FL

I have been invested in the Coconut Grove community for 20 years, as a volunteer, an employee of a business there and a concerned citizen. Moving Coral Gables’ trolley-bus repair depot to the West Grove is an action steeped in historical injustice. Once again, this pleasant community is being treated unjustly, with condescension and with a sense of privileged charity by those in power, whether they are business people or politicians.What I saw and heard at a recent meeting run by city of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff was appalling. Sarnoff is on the wrong side of this issue, as are the phantom Coral Gables politicians who sent their lawyer but skipped this important meeting, which was overwhelmingly attended by West Grove residents. Sarnoff’s presentation was self-serving and insulting, publicizing the names of those in need who he so selflessly helped throughout his career.This is a racial issue of the first order. It is a replay of the playbook from the ’50s and ’60’s used by people with political and economic power to place their ‘inconvenient’ highways, stadiums, garages, depots, hospitals and prisons in the less powerful neighborhoods. Then they would cite “property rights” to sugarcoat such unseemly actions and the sprinkling of “benefits” already bestowed upon the “ungrateful” neighborhood.That is why Sarnoff’s presentation was so demeaning to our local democracy. He defended Coral Gables, with people who do not vote for him; there was the glaring absence of any Coral Gables politician and a “master knows best” attitude vividly on display. I was moved by the large presence of residents and by the many volunteers who are working like mad, on various fronts, to put a stop to this miscarriage of justice.I suggest that the West Grove community contact Al Sharpton and Bishop Victor Curry, of Miami’s New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International, who sits on the board of Sharpton’s National Action Network. Jesse Jackson should also be informed. If necessary, I am willing to donate funds, time and heart to help make this possible.The glaring light of the media that their presence attracts will expose what is going on in Miami. The West Grove is a living witness and survivor of brick-and-mortar racism.Let the City Beautiful build its oh-so-perfect repair depot within its own boundaries. Let the West Grove residents have some peace. And let Commissioner Sarnoff, who has done many wonderful things for Miami, get back on the right side of this issue and use his talent to protect and preserve the neighborhood of those who voted for him.

Carlos Medina, Miami

How to Escape the Claws of the Grammar Police

Refreshing stance in mainstream writing

The Daily Post

If superfluous commas, misplaced apostrophes (looking at you, it’s/its, they’re/their!), and sentence-ending prepositions make you flinch in horror, you’re in the right place. We take grammar seriously at The Daily Post; my fellow editors and I can often be found quibbling and nitpicking over tenses, modes, and — you guessed it — punctuation. Good writing, though, isn’t merely about adhering to rules. It’s also about knowing how and when to break them. Today, let’s talk about grammar — and the kinds of liberties you might consider taking with it.

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Hope in the Haystack

It appears that the faculty’s typical posture on contemporary writing culture varies significantly from that of the students’.
Documented communication is no longer tied solely to writing. Image, style, appeal, wit, video and trend etc. all serve as rhetorical devices in modern communication. Programs like Instagram, Snapchat etc. all enable haste, accuracy, multi-tasking, innovation and jocularity. Furthermore, attributes of current rhetorical systems include: immediate return, immediate feedback, entertainment, fans and literally followers.
As teachers, we currently compete against the speed of lightning and the emotional rewards of “likes,” “comments” and “followers.” Indeed, self-confidence is enabled as well as stardom. Our students pick and design their online worlds to fit their personal tastes and needs. With such pleasurable, pragmatic and personal agency available to everyone at any age in any corner of the world, students naturally require more from us. They follow celebrities, graphic arts, music, subcultures, geniuses, garbage, politics etc. at once, all while they earn their own followers, fame and feedback.
The sort of “cocky demeanor,” “high expectation,” and “sense of entitlement” emerging around us is no longer perceived as rude or impatient. They are speaking to us in their language which in a tricky way can act as avenues to their passions and motivational interests.
This expectation of a “trophy” easily translates to confidence in oneself, creating a strong platform for large group discussion and class blogging. Their talents and skills in multi-media can and will enrich the art, Composition.
The products of Composition will branch out into network. I surmise into a type of prism structured argument/essay, thereby eliciting more sophisticated, heavily layered and effective critical thinking.
There’s hope and excitement somewhere in this haystack.
–Nicole Hospital-Medina

Valuable Discussion on Multi-media, Writing and Literacy in the College Setting

These excerpts illustrate the evolution of rhetorical expression in an academic setting.
Excerpts from:
Understanding the Writing Habits of Tomorrow’s Students: Technology and College Readiness
Stefani R. Relles & William G. Tierney
University of Southern California

New Media Literacies: A Vocabulary for Online Writing. In digital communications research, online writing skills are formally identified as new media literacies. The three new media literacies that correlate to abridgement, justification, showmanship are (in order): visualization, appropriation and performance. Because our intent is to illustrate each new media literacy in practice, we bracket their finer details until warranted by empirical demonstration. The following brief theoretical sketches serve as preamble.
Visualization. Visualization is a reductive competency that mirrors the abridgement skills necessary to compose a written thesis statement. The difference between thesis statement construction and visualization is clear-cut: instead of condensing an argument to a single sentence, visualization condenses an argument to a single image.
Appropriation. Like the ability to use supporting evidence effectively in a college paper, appropriation is the online version of argument justification. Composition arguments remain faithful to text and offset evidence with quotation marks. Online arguments, in contrast, can be justified by text, image, audio, video or hypertext, also known as links.
Performance. Performance is an online protraction of showmanship. The expectations of showmanship, however, are different online as opposed to offline. Whereas showmanship in composition indicates a stable academic voice, online showmanship is signaled by dexterity with multiple voices.
Before we present data, a brief review of key concepts is in order…

The point is that fitting in academically requires students write differently online than they do offline. Two discourses are needed to meet the literacy demands of contemporary academe. If yesterday’s college writers were paper authors, today’s college writers must be discourse navigators.
Summary of New Literacies Theory: The principles of plurality, hybridity and identity are the scaffolding of new literacies theory. Plurality supports the recognition that today’s college writing involves composing papers and authoring content online. Hybridity suggests an underlying skill set that is transferrable to offline and online writing situations. Identity accentuates the cultural membership signaled when writers adhere to both discourse conventions.
These admittedly abstract ideas are important because they help redefine college writing in terms that are more authentic to the literacy expectations of modern institutions. In the remainder of this article, we discuss the application of new literacies theory to an online profile project that involved 91 students enrolled in a writing remediation program. Data from the project is used to show empirically how online writing supports the traditional writing that has always been expected, but for which college students are increasingly underprepared…