On TikTok, a social media app, there is a creator named Paravi, and she did a series of her singing songs titled “Lyrics hit differently when you get older.” Until I saw one of her videos, I never realized how many different ways a song could be interpreted. Specifically, she did multiple covers of a song titled, “Cloud 9” and simply changed the pronoun used in the song. Even if the pronoun remained the same, such as “he,” users interpreted the song with their fathers, brothers, husbands, boyfriends, and even pets. They used her cover of the song to show how much someone they love has impacted their life. Through the use of a certain pronoun, each sentence we say can be differently interpreted.
Rhetoric is not always expressed through words. Personally, I interpret rhetorical situations best through images. One of my best friend’s fathers suddenly passed away, and my softball team was there to support her family no matter what as many of us have known her for several years. One of the dad’s on the team designed stickers with the father’s initials and a cross. While this is a simple design, it is extremely meaningful because it reminds us that our team is not just a group of talented softball players, but we are family. If anyone outside of our team were to look at the sticker, they would not understand that deep meaning of the sticker. This relates to Hers by Gloria Maylor, discussing context surrounding a word. Similarly, this sticker has no meaning until you understand the context surrounding it.
After traveling alone across the country, and leaving my family for a week, I realized how close I had become with my family, specifically my brothers, since quarantine began. It has been difficult to see the bright side of COVID situations, however I am very glad I became closer with my family. While in Hawaii, I began thinking about the meaning of “ohana” and how important it has become to me. It is not the word itself that is important to me, but rather what the word means. “Family” prior to quarantine meant coming home after a long day of school and softball practice just to eat dinner and go to my room. Now, “family” means genuinely enjoying time, and being fully engaged.
“Die with memories, not dreams.”
For this week’s commonplace entry, I decided to focus on impulsive decision making. Why? Well, I just bought myself a flight to Hawaii, and I rarely take risks in life.
After about ten minutes of research, I discovered that impulsive decision making is perceived as a bad thing. I have to disagree. If we were to weigh our decisions in life based on fear of consequences, imagine how boring and gray life would be. For example, my senior year of high school, I impulsively decided to apply to go on a mission trip to Haiti. After discovering I was chosen, I began to regret my decision and worry about the risks. I had never been out of the country before, let alone go to a third world country with some people I had never met. However, I went, and it was one of the best experiences of my life, and I would do it again.
There are plenty of good impulsive decisions such as deciding to go on a run because the weather is nice, or telling that person you love them, or even going on a spontaneous road trip with your best friends. Sure, bad things can happen along the way, but sometimes not thinking and taking a leap of faith (even if it is a small one) can prove to be worthy. I usually am the person to overthink every little decision, however, for a year now I have been stuck in my room sulking, thinking about how these are supposed to be the best years of my life. Rather than continuing to sulk, I decided to take action, and make the best of my situation.
This quote is more commonly known as the “Five by Five Rule.” As an athlete this quote plays a large role in my life because it helps me move on from errors I make in a game. However, I apply this quote in my life outside of the softball field, such as failing a quiz or making a fool of myself in front of people. This quote humbles myself, and helps me calm down when I am frustrated or worried. Now especially, it is very easy to only focus on the negative things in life, however this quote may help get over small things that happen.
Due to the fact that I am stuck home this semester, I have taken the opportunity to start building my resume, and this semester I am assistant coaching my high school softball team. They are ranked in the top 15 teams in the state, however this past week they lost their first game. Many players were down and very frustrated after the game, but I told them the Five by Five rule. I hope that the players will find the power behind this quote that I have over the years.
I talked to my grandma not too long ago on the phone. She lives in Ohio and I have not seen her since July, so whenever I call her, it turns into an hour phone call which I am very grateful for. During these calls she asks me about my life, (boyfriend stuff, softball, family, friends etc.) but recently she’s been asking how I am feeling. I ask her all the same questions, but she always expresses how she wants me to be able to live “the best years of my life” freely, but in reality my college experience has consisted of me sitting at my desk and staring at a computer screen.
On February 7, 2021, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers miraculously won the Super Bowl. I lived in Cleveland for 13 years (I am a diehard Cleveland fan), but I moved to Tampa Bay seven years ago, and that night I was rooting for the bucs. After the game, my friends and I rushed downtown, and celebrated the win with thousands of people. It was one of the best moments in the past year that I could recall. Complete unison and normalcy, it was truly beautiful. Everyone who was there, wanted to be there by choice.
I asked my dad what he would do if the Browns were to win the Super Bowl, and he told me he would pay any amount of money for a ticket, just to be in person, and celebrate until the sun rose, even during COVID. What my father told me brought me back to what my grandma, his mom, preaches to me. Life is too short to wake up with regrets, so I am going to live my life to the fullest.
In his “Academic Arguments,” Fish argues that academic arguments are valued based on “originality” and appropriateness of the argument he or she is defending through “interpretive communities.” More specifically, he uses “Holocaust Deniers” to demonstrate an argument that is “perfectly legal,” yet it is absurd. For example he writes, “Although theoretically any topic is ripe for academic consideration and debate, some arguments do not make it into the arena.” In other words, while the academy is open to all topics for argumentation it is not mandated that every argument should be considered. In sum then, Fish suggests that academic arguments are scholarly arguments that require research and are able to be properly defended with an original thought.
Curzan, What Makes a Word Real
While Curzan argues that the meaning of a word changes over time through people’s usage, Fish argues that the meaning of a word is based on what is and is not surrounding it.
In his chapter three of Winning Arguments, Fish argues that the purpose of legal arguments is not to evaluate whether someone is a good or bad person, rather whether or not he or she was capable of committing the crime through “interpretive constructs.” More specifically, legal arguments evaluate whether a person committed the specific crime through rules already in place prior to the case. For example, he writes, “All persons are equal before the law.” In other words, the person must be evaluated without assumptions and labels such as having a criminal record, race, or other associations. In sum then, Fish suggests that there is no universal law to help decide every crime, rather “interruptive constructs” already in place help assess if a person is guilty or innocent of the crime at hand.
In an article by Gloria Maylor titled Hers, Maylor argues that it is not words themselves that do harm or good, rather it is the words meaning and its context. More specifically, she discusses the usage of the n-word in different contexts. For example, she writes, “… but it was set within contexts and inflections that caused it to register in my mind as something else.” In other words, the n-word’s interpretation is dependent upon who says it and how they say it. In sum then, Maylor suggests the n-word is just a word until it is given a certain meaning in a certain context.
While Fish argues that we understand argument through “interpretive constructs,” Maylor argues that we understand words through their contexts.
In his chapter two of “Winning Arguments,” Fish argues that political arguments are a never ending circle of back and forth through the use of “talking points”, however there is a rare chance of conversion. More specifically, he uses modern day occurrences to demonstrate the regularity of political arguments, and the difficulty to reach a verdict. For example, he writes, “Being convinced of either of these views of the responsibilities and limits of government renders you incapable of hearing arguments from the other side as anything but the progeny of error.” In other words, once a person has formulated their opinion on a political issue through educating themselves on the topic, they view their opinion as the right opinion. In sum then, Fish suggests that the difference between fact and opinion becomes hazy during political arguments and causes the inability to be convinced.
While Curzan argues that we should be more open minded to decrease societies ignorance of languages, Thomas argues that we should celebrate our ignorance instead of trying to “explain everything about everything.”
In his Winning Arguments Fish argues that there are multiple types of arguments, such as the argument of authority, and that “the art of persuasion” can be utilized through “good” or “bad” end goals. More specifically, one does not necessarily win an argument through leaving the opponent speechless to gain satisfaction, but rather arguing to persuade the opponent from point A to point B. For example, he writes, “Good persuasion aids in the rational sorting through of alternatives that characterizes a democratic society…” In other words, the goal of an argument is to arrive at a solution that both sides have come to agree on, and can accomplish the goal of whatever the argument was about. In sum then, Fish suggests that we must argue with “good persuasion” due to the fact that argument is ever present.
In her, Says Who? Teaching and Questioning the Rules of Grammar, Curzan argues that we must question grammar rules just as we question other educational topics such as science. More specifically, she focuses on the words “they” and “hopefully.” For example, she writes, “Grammar is not, and should not ever be framed as a ‘Because I said so’ subject.” In other words, we should question who says these writing conventions are correct and why. In sum then, Curzan suggests that students should be allowed to make their own grammatical and rhetorical choices because as students they are asked to question everything.