4) From Harbor to Harbor

Lexi Yost. “Shore to Shore.” Dublin. Ireland, 2016
After boarding the boat in Cleggan, I dsc_0809leaned against the railing as the boat pulled away from the dock, and into the Atlantic Ocean. Land fell away until we were surrounded by grey-blue waters. Hazy islands could be momentarily seen in the distance before they disappeared along the journey. After half an hour on the Atlantic, the island of Inishbofin came into sight. And within another five minutes, we pulled into the harbor. Soon we stepped off onto the wooden platform, and I was on a different land entirely than the one I had traveled from.
dsc_0879In class, we’ve discussed how technology shapes the way we think about the world. An exercise where we had to look at a computer desktop and define what the different icons are, and what they are similar to. One of these items was a ‘dock’. The bottom line of the screen that makes up the dock is filled with icons that lead to other links. I was grouped with Dan, and we discussed how the dock is virtually like the docks I had just used to both board and exit the boat. At the first, I was in Cleggan, and at the second, I was in Inishbofin. The icons were like docks because as we scroll our cursors over each icon, we can travel from site to site, or link to link. Hypothetically, it’s like traveling to separate islands or continents, where each icon births different results. Similar to the huge metadata sight, Kairos, everything can be connected by spanning distances. Just like my trip from the Irish mainland to the small island, we passed over those in the distance in favor for our set destination. With the boat (a cursor), we could visit any of the lands (sites) in our area.

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5) Black Sheep

Lexi Yost. “Go Your Own Way.” Inishbofin. Ireland, 2016
Inishbofin is the wildest location I’ve ever visited, in the fact that it seems to be virtually untouched from all signs of technological advancement. The only signs of human life besides our group were the dozens of white sheep, branded in blue or red paint. We walked among them for awhile, dsc_1089and along the way, a black sheep emerged from behind a hill The black sheep was so unique, compared to the hundreds of white ones running across the island. The opposite of its peers, the black sheep was different, and stood out in immense contrast from the herd. This concept of being ‘one against many’ is one of the notions at the very heart of rhetoric. Since rhetoric is the ability to be persuasive in teachings with regards to the audience and situational context, it differs from current-traditional thinking. That thinking is seen as negative, and can be represented by ideas of conformity and uniformity. Because of the natural and scattered movements of the sheep, I was reminded of expressivism, which is the natural and non-artificial relaying of thoughts and writing. Peter Elbow investigates this in his article, “Some Thoughts On Expressive Discourse: A Review Essay.” According to his interpretation of his review of Harris’s essay is that expressivism is seen as being dangerous to many in the modern world, especially with regards to education and the disagreement between teachers on expressivist/current-traditional discourses. But expressivism embraced going with your own nature, and rejecting current-traditionalism all together. Like the black sheep, rhetoricians and expressionists both defy the standard way of thinking in exchange for what they individual feel passionate about.

6) Off the Beaten Path

Lexi Yost. “Brave and Bold.” Inishbofin. Ireland, 2016
Through these blog posts, I’ve discussed visiting tourist sites such as Dublin’s archaeology museum, Trinity College, and the General Post Office. Ireland itself is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the world, as the sites, atmosphere, and imagination it fosters is appealing to tourists from around the world. Most come for the well-known attractions, such as the large castles and bustling cities like Dublin and Galway. But, like the black sheep amount the herd of white-sheared ones, being different isn’t a bad thing, and it can  lead to an immeasurable amount of both personal growth, and the growth of others through the sharing of your experiences. Aristotle was prominent among his times rhetoricians because he had an unique viewpoint and method of rhetoric that was unlike his peers’. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy state in their article, “Aristotle’s Rhetoric, that: “Previous theorists of rhetoric gave most of their attention to methods outside the subject”, such as dealing with argumentative disagreements that manipulates the emotion of the audience members (Stanford, 4.4). Because Aristotle went against the grain and instead developed his own techniques, he was able to develop a style that was beneficial to the history of rhetoric. Just like exploring beyond what is known or popular with travel, philosophies or thoughts can work in the same way.

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8) The Coffee Experience

Lexi Yost. “COFFEE.” Ireland, 2016

Anyone who knows me knows I love coffee. And not just love it: LOVE it. It is crucial to every morning for me, and sometimes late afternoons as well. In Ireland, I was more than
excited to try different kinds, and explore different brands and businesses of my most favorite drink. Throughout the four main cities we went to, I sampled countless cups of coffee and numerous coffee shops. To remember my ‘coffee experience’, I took a picture of either the cup or the business, and added it to my photo collection. While thinking of different digital forms, I realized that these coffee brands are a great example of them. The logos and brands not only display unique design-work, but in doing so, add a rhetorical spin onto the business itself. It’s no secret that design work is appealing to the customer, and every logo and visualization is meant to signify the brand/business, and to attract potential buyers. But what I found unique about the Irish coffee cups is that they not only used visual design work, but also used certain fonts and literary sayings to brand their product (a rhetorical strategy). Diana George, the author of “From Analysis to Design”, says: “Throughout the history of writing instruction in this country, there has been some attention to the visual nature of written composition… to emphasize the importance of handwriting or penmanship as a visual representation of the writer’s character” (Miller, 1439). The “writer” can also apply to the coffee shops owner, as they want their design work – the scripts, drawings, and fonts – to successfully reflect the wanted atmosphere and personality of the brand.

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9) Technology & Travel

Lexi Yost. “Photos and Phones.” Inishbofin. Ireland, 2016
Just like image here shows, my camera is one of my most favorite tools when it comes to travel. I didn’t go a single place in Ireland without it, and it was readily in my hands throughout the entirety of the trip. Preserving memories is a piece of cake when it comes to photos; like the famous saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words. But, like we’ve discussed in class, technology has changed rapidly over the years. What started out as handwritten scrolls made its way through typewriters, bulky computers, and now intensely personalized laptops and phones. Modernity depends on this ‘smart’ technology just as I rely on my camera to preserve my memories of the trip. Deborah Brandt and Katie Clinton write in “Limits of the Local” that “literate practices depend on powerful and consolidating technologies – technologies that are themselves susceptible to sometimes abrupt transformations that can destabilize the functions, uses, values, and meanings of literacy anywhere” (Miller, 1322). Technology transforms over time, and constant new models and advancements of the already ‘smart’ phones, computers, and other technology can change the way other technologies (especially similar technologies) are viewed socially and economically.

 

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10) When History Comes Alive

Lexi Yost. “Archeologists Make Great Storytellers.” Boyne Valley. Ireland, 2016
We’ve explored how the past is often resurfaced through revisiting texts and other forms of written or showcased representations. But history can also be demonstrated through visual presentation and storytelling. And, if my travels to Ireland taught me one thing, it’s that the Irish have a wonderfully exciting knack for sharing stories. An example of this is when we were traveling across the bogs of Inishbofin, and following a seasoned archeologist with never-ending jokes and a constant twinkle in his eye. The archeologist lead us up a small mountain (knok, as the locals call them), to sites where the remains of Viking walls, a roundhouse, and an ancient stone cross is located. Instead of just pointing out their locations, the archeologist blindly had us stand in different directions and hold our arms out (which we felt ridiculous doing, but complied). But, like the starry constellations, the distance between our outstretched arms marked the beginnings and ends of the walls, as well as the circumference of the ancient Viking roundhouse. This activity not only engaged us as an audience, but put us physically into what we were learning from the archeologist. We felt like explorers, rediscovering history that seemed, in the moment, almost tangible.

These different approaches appeal to different types of people, and one reason they’re so effective to certain individuals is because of discourse and speech communities. The Irish, although they are a culture, can be seen linguistically as a speech community. Their accents can be adapted, almost every man and woman I met had some sense of humor in everyday conversation, and most (like the archaeologist) enjoyed storytelling. From what I’ve seen, regardless of the general stereotypes of Irish culture, John Swales, an author of “The Concept of Discourse Community,” encapsulates its definition well: a speech community is made up of “shared linguistic forms, shared regulative rules, and shared cultural concepts” (Swales, 470). Because of the definition of speech community as being adaptable and not inflexible like a discourse community, the adaptability of the Irish culture points its community more towards a speech community. Also, since rhetoric, according to Aristotle, relies on the consideration of audiences, having an array of persuasive and educational tactics makes teaching people truly effective. This versatility is key in teaching in an ever-adapting environment, and approaching situations in a way that appeals to a certain audience(s) makes rhetoric possible.

Lexi Yost. “Trim Castle.” Boyne Valley. Ireland, 2016
On my final full day in Ireland, was able to take a day trip to visit Trim Castle (one of the locations where Braveheart was filmed). In front of the castle was a “knight”, greeting the tourists. He not only talked like a medieval soldier, but fully adapted the role. This not only added to the experience of the castle, but gave us a glimpse into what it would have been like in its hay day. Even though the knight was but a single actor, he was able to help our imaginations jump right back into the middle ages, and was able to teach us some linguistic/geographic history while he did so.Because we live in modern times, we retain histographic notes, or over-simplified versions of history, since we are looking back to the past, but can’t see it directly. Our modern lenses don’t allow us to fully envision what living back in medieval times would have been like because of modern influences that make up our psyche. And even though img_20160808_192547the knight actor can’t magically get rid of our lenses (because its obvious he’s an actor), he can fade them a bit, especially for children, through his rhetoric to help us understand a glimpse of what time was like before ours. This just comes to show that rhetoric doesn’t have to be just written literature. It can be found in relaying messages, our interpretations of events, constructed models and charts. It can be found in engaging people to participate in activities, and hands-on learning. And, last but not least, it can also be found in taking on a role (however extreme that may be)that you are deeply passionate about.