Posted: November 29th, 2015

Media, Images & Privacy

TOPIC OF ESSAY: Compare the commercials for three to five fast-food chains, looking at how–and how well–they represent the diversity of American society. Write an essay in which you present your observations and evaluate the commercials’ effectiveness. Part of your evidence will surely need to be descriptions of the commercials you analyze.

Chapter 21, 22, and 23 of Everything’s an Argument examine complementary aspects of images in the media–stereotypes of various groups in our society, the representation of the human body, and issues of privacy. In so doing, the readings raise complex questions about the extent to which the media are descriptive or normative. If they are descriptive, they reflect society. If they are normative, they evaluate and judge society either openly or indirectly by setting standards against which “real” people and events come to be judged. Thus, these readings lead to questions such as those listed below.

Do the media, in fact, reflect society as it is? Should they?
Do the media reflect society in terms of ideal types, that is, as we wish we were or as others (marketers? groups with various kinds of social power?) wish we were? If so, to what extent are these practices harmful? To whom? Why?
Do the media represent some segments of the population in terms of ideal types and other segments in terms of stereotypes–if at all? If so, to what extent are these practices damaging? To whom? Why?
Do the kinds of people we see in the media become comparisons against which we judge ourselves or against which others judges us? If so, to what extent are these comparisons harmful? Why?
Are the media both descriptive and normative? To what extent, and in which cases?
When and to what degree is the influence of the media direct (as many would argue the research on body image among young Fijian women illustrates), and when and to what degree is it mediated in some way (such that the media are linked to other complex changes that, in turn, influence attitudes or behaviors?
Do we have a right to tell family secrets, or should they remain classified?
Why is abortion private and the viewing of pornography not?
Should our government limit privacy in America in the name of national security? What price are you willing to pay for security–or the illusion of security? Has your opinion changed about these matters since September 11?

You may wish to use the questions above as part of your reading journal. Additionally, answering these questions in a free writing activity may help develop ideas for your essay.

Description of Audience:

Before you begin writing, you should have read about the writing & reading process, and you should now understand the basic concepts of formal writing, including the involvement of purpose, audience, tone, unity, and coherence in organizing thesis statements and topic sentences. You will use these concepts while constructing your essays. Additionally these concepts will be used as the criteria to evaluate your paper. To make certain that you address these concerns, answer the following questions:

To whom are you writing?
Why should this audience know about this topic?
Explain your purpose for writing to this specific audience. Ideally, the introduction to your paper should include the answers to the questions above in order to clarify your purpose, thesis, and audience for the reader.

Description of Assignment:

For Assignment 3, you will write a formal, academic, persuasive essay using the theme of Images and the Media and the readings in Everything’s an Argument and other sources as evidence for an argument. You should choose an audience appropriate for your topic. In other words, decide who should know about this topic? Also try answering the following question, “Why should my audience know about this topic?” This last question will help you to establish a strong thesis statement for the essay. Remember, this is a formal essay. Do not assume that your audience knows you personally. Use language appropriate for formal writing. Avoid using a personal tone (“I” or “me”).

You are required to use quotations and paraphrases from Everything’s an Argument and from other reliable, scholarly sources in order to support your argument.
Your thesis should include an assertion, taking one side of the debate and the rest of the paper should present evidence in support of your thesis.
You should also include counter-arguments and refutations to better develop your ideas.

Assignment #3 calls for you to derive a sufficient thesis and to support that thesis with an essay.
Papers will be evaluated on the quality of: the thesis (check for opinion and explanation), supporting points, proper integration of relevant, sufficient and reliable textual support and on the quality of your written expression, including correctness in format.
Supporting points should include: analyzing, showing relationships, and demonstrating with examples, facts, illustrations, data or other information.
Review textbook chapters carefully for advice on choosing a subject, collecting strategies, using outside sources of information, drafting, preparing for peer review, and revising.
Review the lectures and class discussions covering formal vs. informal writing, thesis statements, topic sentences, unity and coherence, as these concepts will be used to evaluate the strength of your writing at this point.
Papers should include relevant quotation and paraphrase from specific readings from your textbooks and from outside sources which relate to your topic.
Assignment #3 should be approximately 3-6 typed pages in MLA format and must be word processed or typed. For additional guidelines, please consult your textbooks and MLA style manual.
When determining the length of a paper, an author should decide on the length of a piece by analyzing the audience of the piece. In other words, how much information does your audience need to be convinced of your argument? An author should write as much as needed to convince the audience that the thesis is valid and should omit details that the audience would find obvious or irrelevant. That may require one page or that may require six. See my point here? It’s not about the length, but rather about the evidence a writer provides. Your papers for this class will generally be between 3-6 pages in MLA format depending on your audience, purpose and topic.
You are required to use the conventions of MLA format, although the double-spacing will not work via e-mail. I recommend you write your essay in a word processing program and format it using the sample paper on page 775 in LBH as a guide, then copy and paste it into your e-mail program. Also refer to page 737 in LBH for specific guidelines on formatting your academic paper.

After writing your paper, revise carefully to :
make certain the essay you have written meets the requirements of the assignment;
use the appropriate formal, academic tone;
eliminate contradictions, redundancy and lengthy summary;
replace repeated words with new ones;
limit your use of “be” verbs (was, were, am, are, is, will be, be, being, been);
make certain that all of your sentences are complete;
make certain that you spell words accurately;
eliminate slang;
make certain you have included a clear and creative title.

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