It seems like all my life I can remember being cooped up in a classroom being told what is acceptable and what is not. Writing and reading for the purpose of having fun disappeared in middle school and I lost part of what made me, me. It seems as if every time I tried to write something in my own voice it was shot down by my teachers, and any creative flourish was swept to the side. All my creativity was drawn to other arts because of this and it affected how I feel about writing. Poetry was always something I loved and it still is, but the idea of writing poetry means I have to adhere to certain rules that I’ve been fed. The crazy thing is that it’s not even true I can write free form poetry or make up my own metering, but the years of teaching has dampened my motivation to create through writing. This culmination of teachings is what is referred to as Engfish by Macrorie.
It’s funny to me that this almost imaginary force field of oppressive ideas has such an effect. When I write for class and assignments my main concern is what the professor would want to hear, but not what my own voice wants to project. It’s definitely a goal to be able to use my voice in it’s most raw capability. I want to speak with the truth that is in my mind not hindered by trying to impress anyone reading. I love the point that Macrorie makes about becoming more like a third grader, “The difference between the college students’ writing and the third-grade child’s is simple: One is dead, the other alive.” Returning to the seriousness we had as a third grader about every day life seems like something that would revert us to more childlike, but maybe that isn’t a bad thing after all. Speaking our minds because it’s how we feel disregarding the outside influence is how it should be, unless you’re a neo-nazi.
Schafer makes a very cool point about the sounds that inhabit the world around us. The space we live in is occupied by everything that contributes to our sensory experience, but we are yet to truly dive into how and where sound effects us. Sound is more than just the science of waves, it is part of our culture and influences the art that we make, and we manipulate sound to the best of our ability but we can still do more. Schafer proposes that the soundscape that we all live in, should be a communal study for musicians, psychologists, and sociologists alike can make unique discoveries and contributions. The sounds that are put into our soundscape effect us in particular ways that we are not always sure of, and Schafer makes the point that in his sort of communal system, sound across culture can be examined and studied how it effects us.
One of the most important ways that new sounds are introduced to us is through music that we listen to. Today music is a rapidly evolving industry and the sound of it is ever expanding through new genres and sub-genres. In recent years the newest trend in music is the hip-hop scene. This sound has made its way into our popular culture, transcending the original intention of the sound. Some would argue that hip hop has even acted as an agent to bring the races closer together culturally. Schafer mentions that in today’s world music can be made by anyone, and he is right! Through this communal soundscape anyone is given the power to create influential sounds that effect lives and thoughts. The sound that we create and introduce to each other acts as a cross-cultural device that breaks down barriers which brings a real truth to the name for music as the “universal language.”
Information gathered through exerts from “The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World” by R. Murray Schafer.
Eastern Airlines was a company that ran its course from 1926 until 1991 when it was liquidated. At the Georgia State University archives I was able to identify three different kinds of artifacts.
The first is this flight attendant’s uniform. The outfit includes a below the knee-length dress with a collar, and a bright yellow cardigan. The material for both of these seemed practical as the dress was thin and the cardigan more heavy for warmth.
The second artifact I examined is this advertisement; it is simple yet complex at the same time. The text reads “Smile.” and the circular figure below, that I presumed to be a globe, is filled with travel pictures, art, flowers, etc.
A manual on flight attendant/ hostess etiquette and dress was the third artifact that I observed; the text within it is bold and concise. The manual contains images to aid the reader as well and even transitional pages.
Concerning all of these artifacts from the Eastern Airlines display I believe they are all connected to a similar mindset. The era that the airline existed had many periods of revolutionary thought like the “love revolution” and other promotions of free thinking and the like. The advertisement is playing to the audiences emotion, and it does a really great job digging into the sentimental value of travel. Even though travel may cost a lot for families and especially air travel, Eastern Airlines was trying to convey that happiness is more than material. While the message itself is good, it was still an attempt to get people to spend money. The flight attendant uniform reminded me of the fifties, a time that a lot of people look back on as one of the greatest decades. However, the fifties were filled with constricting gender roles and the outfit is a good example of that. It looks like the picturesque housewife’s dress and cardigan, which to a customer would be appealing but only further pushes the negative and constricting stereotype. The flight attendant’s manual also demonstrates this same thinking. Pushing the women to look a certain way and formulate their lives around work provided for other people. Although at the end of the manual there is a note left for encouragement but it seems like a sort of consolation in this modern era.
*All pictures taken by the author from within the Georgia State Archive
During a presidential address in the year of 1985, Dr. Melvin Kranzberg delivered what would later become his six laws. While 1985 does not compare to today’s use of technology and its influence, the speech still set a president about technological determinism. In his presentation Kranzberg denies the idea of technological voluntarism and aims to show how it does not hold up due to its failure to show a wide array of options. Kranzberg argues that technological voluntarism confines the subscriber to a narrow corridor (in reference to Lynn White Jr.’s open door metaphor) and that technology has much broader horizons.
In what would become Kranzberg’s first law he states, “Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.” To further disprove the door metaphor Kranzberg uses this law to show how technological advances and interactions in society through technology have a much greater impact outside of just technological devices. This ambiguous nature of technology shows how the use of tech and its message heavily rely on the context and the creator’s intention, and display the idea that the possibilities through technology are endless in their interpretation and uses.