So, Remember Bitcoin?….

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Reflective Statement-Taylor Brody

Writing with Passion

After taking College Composition I with Professor Hodges last semester, there was no doubt in my mind whose Composition II course I was going to take. I learned so much last semester, and I wanted to improve on my writing even further…I believe I did just that.

The biggest difference between this course and the course from last semester was the opportunity to write about a subject of my choice. I decided to pick a topic that I was passionate about, and I ran with it. Earlier in the year, a random person on Facebook decided to question my “psychological health” based on the fact that I was a brony. I used this opportunity to prove him dead wrong, and I believe that I did just that.

After learning many writing skills last semester, I was determined to apply them from the get-go in class. Learning is one thing, but applying is something completely different. As a person who writes as a hobby, I believe application is vital.

Despite working through many stressful situations at home and at school, I am certain that I’ve learned much from this class about sentence structure, clarity and claims, which I will apply in my writing for the rest of my life.

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Research Position-Taylor Brody

Friendship is Magic

Colorful ponies, friendship and magic: these are all characteristics of what most would call a television show for young girls. However, the one show on the air that features all three of these components, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, has attracted a much different crowd: grown boys and men, ages 13-35. These male fans, known as “bronies,” originated online, after an article by Amid Amidi of Cartoon Brew sparked a debate on the 4chan forums. Amidi argued that The Hub channel, created by Hasbro to sell toys, marked “the end of the creator-driven era.” He went on to argue that Hasbro’s acquisition of Lauren Faust as the Creative Director for FiM was an example of an established star of the industry “selling out.” It was a surprise to him that Faust, who had been involved with successful original creations such as Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and The Powerpuff Girls, would take the lead in creating a television show that was designed specifically to sell toys. Some debaters on the 4chan forums argued that Amidi was judging Faust and FiM unfairly, and that the show itself was actually amazing. A few other guys decided to watch the show as a result, and the fandom started to multiply into what it is today: a creative, loyal fanbase that dedicates itself to a quality program.

At first glance, it certainly seems strange as to why bronies enjoy FiM. After all, it’s a children’s cartoon about multi-colored ponies that learn about friendship, with the occasional musical number in between. However, it’s not the concept, but the substance that attracts bronies to the show. The animation, despite being done using a simple program called Flash, has received rave reviews from viewers and professionals alike. Online reviewer Pan-Pizza praised the animation, believing that “for Flash animation, there is often so much on-screen while [the movements] remain incredibly smooth.” Also attracting the male fanbase is a cast of quality voice actors, including, but not limited to: Tara Strong, John de Lancie and Andrea Libman. Strong, best known for voicing Timmy Turner of the hit show The Fairly Oddparents, voices the lead character of FiM, Twilight Sparkle. Unlike many children’s television shows nowadays, there is certainly realism in the voice acting of FiM, despite the show being set in a fantasy world. Add de Lancie, who is most famous for his portrayal of Q in Star Trek and Libman, who is skilled enough to voice two characters in the show at once, and the result is a very qualified cast of voice actors.

The final two aspects of FiM that attract bronies to the show are the character development and the positive acknowledgement of the fanbase by Hasbro and the creative team of the show itself. As for character development, Faust stated in an interview for Equestria Daily that character foundation was “the focus of my pitch bible.” Looking at other popular children’s cartoons that target similar age groups, such as Johnny Bravo and Dexter’s Laboratory show that a developer doesn’t necessarily have to develop the characters in his or her cartoon in order to create an effective show. Characters can simply go through the same motions every episode; Johnny Bravo constantly fails to impress women, and Dexter’s experiments are constantly foiled by his sister. In FiM, however, characters do not stay the same. With each passing episode, certain ponies learn about their flaws, and after they learn their lesson, their characters develop. For example, in the episode “Griffon the Brush Off,” Rainbow Dash allows one of her old friends to bully her five closest friends. At the end of the episode, Dash learns that you should defend your friends, even if the bully is close to you. Fast forward to “Wonderbolt Academy,” multiple seasons later, when a pony close to Dash almost causes her friends to fall to an inevitable doom. Dash immediately disapproves of the act, saving her friends and reporting the bully-pony’s actions to the head of the academy.

Hasbro and the FiM team have been more than accepting of the brony community. In February 2013, Hasbro released a commercial for FiM that was based on the well-known Dos Equis beer commercials. It is unlikely that a commercial such as this one was directed towards a young audience. Hasbro has also been incredibly lenient regarding copyright infringement. There are many brony artists on the web that create music, fine art and even their own animated FiM shorts and episodes. Only one fan-created project, a video game known as My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic, has ever been sent a cease and desist letter by Hasbro. Other than that, Hasbro lets bronies get away with using their characters, music and episode footage from FiM. Even more accepting of the brony fandom are Lauren Faust and Tara Strong. Faust has given shout outs to the bronies on multiple occasions in episodes of FiM, either by obscure geeky references or by naming background characters after brony-given names, such as Derpy Hooves and Doctor Whooves. She also contacted the creative team behind the aforementioned Fighting is Magic and is now working to remove copyright infringing material from the game, while creating new, original character concepts for them. Strong has also reached out to bronies, volunteering her Twilight Sparkle voice to YouTube animators and attending many brony conventions, along with other cast members.

Of course, a fandom like this is bound to receive criticism. Fox News bluntly accused bronies of being “a bunch of grown men to stay home from work to watch My Little Pony.” Howard Stern interviewed one particular brony at a BronyCon who admitted to being sexually attracted to the characters of FiM, and applied that to the entire fanbase. Other common accusations toward bronies are claims that they are homosexuals or pedophiles. Of course, none of these accusations can be applied to the entire fanbase. In fact, a study by Dr. Patrick Edwards and Dr. Marsha Redden proved all of these accusations to be false when applied to the entire fanbase. The results of the study showed that 84 percent of the bronies who took their survey were heterosexual, while only 1.7 percent were homosexual. To disprove Fox New’s accusation, 64 percent of bronies who took the survey were in college or had earned a college degree, 70 percent were full or part time students and 32.7 percent had full or part time jobs. One would imagine that those numbers would be much lower if bronies were staying home from work to watch their beloved show. As for Stern’s accusation, it’s simply not fair to apply one weirdo’s personality to an entire fanbase. Every fanbase has a few quirky individuals; honestly, it is very easy to find them, as they are only a Google search away. When analyzing the brony fandom, or any fandom, it is important to analyze the entire thing, not just specific aspects.

The brony fandom is a unique fandom that has many viable reasons to enjoy watching FiM. They are creative, analytical and, most importantly, normal. In fact, the brony study showed that bronies are less aggressive and more connected with art, music and nature than non-bronies. It would be fantastic if, in the future, the gender and age gap was broken for television shows, and anyone could watch what they wanted, when they wanted, without the risk of not being accepted.


Posted in A14: Research Position Paper, Portfolio, Taylor Brody | 1 Comment

Portfolio (Grade) Conferences

The schedule I copied from the whiteboard looks like this:

  • TUE MAY 07
    • Rory O’Connell
    • Mike Middleton
    • Justin Baker
    • Joe Passalacqua
    • Kirsten Smith
    • Jodi Dziedzic
    • Kailee Whiting
    • Adam Tutolo
    • Brianne Waters
    • Nicole Clark
  • THU MAY 09
    • Brent Adkins
    • Kevin Buttari
    • Rick Casario
    • Sammy Kovnat
    • Anthony Matias
    • Chris DiSarcina
    • Taylor Brody
    • Billy Kluge
    • Steve LeBano
    • Dan Primavera (added)
    • Kenyah King Ho-Sang (added)

I hope this coincides with your understanding.

No particular times are promised. I expect to meet with each of you more or less in the order above. You may of course make ad hoc adjustments once you arrive at our usual meeting place, at our usual time.

Posted in Class Business, David Hodges, Professor Post | 3 Comments

Reflective – Rory O’Connell

In the beginning of this semester I had no idea what to expect from this class. I knew that it was a writing class that would have me think differently, and I knew that there would be several smaller papers that would be combined into one large portfolio. But what I didn’t know was that it was entirely online, set up in a blog format. Writing in this setting was something that was new to me and in a way still is.

Writing in this style has made it easier to edit and revise my papers. I’ve been able to edit my posts and revise any errors with little hassle. The way the class is structured also helps with revising. I’m allowed to edit my posts up until the final portfolio which gives me more then enough time to fix errors.

While writing my various papers and reading through multiple sources I’ve come to understand that writing is a very organic process. Over time papers are edited and parts rewritten, all for the sake of giving what is being said more meaning. The paper grows and its meaning becomes increasingly clear to the reader.

The information used when writing is also important to the writing process. The information has to first, be correct, and then be explained in a way that the reader can understand. It serves as the key focus of the paper, everything else is there to help support and explain the information.

When a writer has a paper that has so much power it is the writers responsibility to use it correctly. They need to understand that people will probably take what they say for granted and believe it.

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Reflective Statement – Anthony Matias

The Last Piece of The Cake

I have never pushed more as a writer or thinker in any of my previous classes.  This semester I was challenged with unique topics and a new class format in terms of the blog.  The theme of counterintuitivity was challenging at first because it went against everything that I have learned in the past but as the year went on it started to make more sense than I thought.  With your help I was able to push myself as a writer and learn many new things.

Core Value I. Understand that writing is a multi-stage, recursive, and social process.  Writing is a multistage process was one of the biggest things that I learned this semester.  I received so much feedback for my Casual Argument, then fixed it and received another huge chunk of feedback.  It was evident that even though I made corrections there was still many mistakes that can go easily missed.  With the class being online it made it easy to see the corrections I made from one revision to the next and to get feedback from you as well as my classmates which made it easier to improve my essays.  You taught me that even an essay that is seemingly perfect can still benefit from being revised.  I saw the benefit of using a multistage process when I got my grade for my “Money Revised” it was a huge improvement from the first draft and the grade reflected that.

Core Value III. Understand how texts represent meaning and how the processes of writing and reading create and interpret meaning.  Writing has to have meaning was the other big thing I learned this semester.  Every sentence has to have its own meaning and the whole essay has to be a good string of thoughts that have to relate to one another.  The topics I had to write about in this class were unlike any I have had before.  I had to get a good understanding of each one in order to have the right meaning behind my essays.  With the feedback you gave me, it showed me that I’m not writing for myself to read my essay, I’m writing to appeal to my audience.  I need to make sure they understand the meaning of my sentences by providing some support.

Core Value V. Understand the role and use of information in writing.  When writing it is important to understand the use of information.  I learned a lot about this goal while writing my research paper.   In this class, with these unique topics every piece of information was critical.  But I learned i order to make that information useful, I had to interpret it from different angles.  Also, incorporating that information into my writing gives my reader a good understanding what I am saying.  There are so many sources out there. You just have to dig deep to find them.

Core Value VII. Understand the power and ethical responsibility that comes with the creation of written discourse.  Writing gives you many responsibilities and they are all important.  Yes, freedom of speech allows a writer to say whatever they want but, they have to understand they have an audience to appeal to.  This class taught me that I can’t be so aggressive and attacking in my essays.  I need to be fair for both sides of the argument .  Time and time again I saw in my feedback that I shouldn’t be so harsh or shouldn’t jump to conclusions.  I was able to see my mistakes and took responsibility for my actions while writing.

I enjoyed this class very much and having you as a teacher made it a lot easier to get through.  This class made me a more open minded person not just about writing but about life.  I look at both sides of the argument before jumping to a decision.  Even the things that we think make the most sense can be argued. Every aspect of writing was touched upon and I’m going to walk out of this class with much more knowledge on how to write with meaning and responsibility

Posted in A15: Reflective Statement, Anthony Matias, Portfolio | 1 Comment

Reflective Statement – Adam Tutolo

Surviving Comp II, One Step at a Time

This semester in college composition II I was pushed to the max level of my creativity. I have learned to express my opinions much clearer and easier. This class was challenging, but at the same time I grew to be a better writer as the class went on. A different take to comp class was refreshing. The completely paperless class is a great way to practice for the future, where technology will rule over paper. With a combination of pressure, good feedback and so many resources my writing has gone to the next level.

Core Value I states that writing is a multi-step process. This is definitely true revisions are key to producing the best writing possible. A student has many resources at their disposal to improve their writing many times. The fact that other students can see your writing and give you ideas, is a great way the further revise your work.  All the writing in this class is on you and you are given the judgment to decide if you want to make your paper better. Revision is imperative to success in this class. Getting great feedback is such a relief because then you can accurately fix up your paper, and make it the best it can be.

Core value III tells you that writing is all about meaning. I have definitely learned that in this class over the past couple months. I have realized that you need true meaning in your writing to be successful. Also that there are many sentences that I could put into a paper that really have no meaning, and it would be better off just to delete the sentence. In this class I have tried to really think about each sentence I am typing. While I type out each sentence I am interpreting the meaning of what I am saying. I look back and realize how many meaningless sentences are probably in my papers from years past. If you want to persuade your reader you need a true meaning behind your word to convey him or her.

Core value V tells us we need to understand the use of information in writing. Especially when you are doing some sort of research paper good information is a must. There are so many sources out there. You just have to dig deep to find them.  In this class I have learned to apply good information in my writing by dissecting the information. Each piece of good information needs to be analyzed, and then you can decide how to input it into your writing. Without good information we would be writing purely on opinion and you can’t be very persuasive that way.

Core value VII states that you need to understand the power and ethical responsible that comes with writing. The writer possesses the power with his or her fingertips. Obviously your brain tells you what to write, but when you type it out your writing possess persuasive power. The writing you produce could change someone’s views or get someone really thinking about a subject.  Words can be very powerful when put together well with meaning.

Bottom line this class has taught me to be a better writer.  Every aspect of writing has been touched upon and I am going to walk out of this class with much more knowledge on how to write with meaning.  The hands on interactive method in this class has prepared me for the future. I have become a much more confident writer and that is in thanks to the format of this class. I look back on this class and I am grateful for how it helped me.

Posted in A15: Reflective Statement, A16: Your Portfolio, Adam Tutolo, Assignments, Portfolio | 1 Comment