Trust No One

I had a few different thoughts as I was reading “Trust me, I’m lying”. As a consumer, I was taken aback by the things that were said in this reading. First of all I started wondering who would think of doing these things, and why they would do it. It doesn’t make sense to me that people would want to start such controversy. Then I started questioning what I could actually believe on the internet. I know that people say you cant trust the internet, but the internet is such an important part of our lives; it would be nice if the information we were receiving was accurate. And since the internet is such an important part of our society, and is becoming increasingly more important, this issue of false advertsing (in the nicest terms) is only going to get worse. Or will it?

Holiday is brutally honest in this piece. He really exposes the industry for what it is, and it seems like he’s doing it with good intentions. He is telling us first hand what was happening, and how easy it was. For some reason, I trust him. Which is weird considering the fact that he just admitted to all this false advertising he has done. I guess it just seems that he has good intentions in his book, “trust me, I’m lying”

So, will this issue get worse? Or will people learn from it, and start to recognize the difference between real and fake?

I had heard of the invisible children before, but after reading “trust me, I’m lying”, I saw it from a whole new perspective. I don’t know if I can trust anything anymore. It opened my eyes in a way. We are so quick to donate money and do this and do that without knowing where the money or food or donations are going.


Rethinking Everything You Thought You Knew About Genre

Apparently genre isn’t as simple as pop, R&B, country, and oldies. It’s not even close to being that simple. I think it might be the most complex topic I’ve had to wrap my mind around in a while.

After reading Dean’s Genre Theory, I understand why the first thing she said about genre was that it is messy and complex. That’s an understatement. Just when I think it’s starting to make sense, it contradicts itself. This piece almost sounded like a huge riddle to me; “(I) can arrange something that exists and produce something else”. What am I?

I understand why she decided it would be easier to tell what genres are not before going into what they are, because it seems like they can be just about anything depending on the context and the situation. Before I get into this, I want to say that there was more of this piece that confused me than there was that I understood.

Genre is not classification

Say whaaaa? You mean to tell me that everything I have every thought to be true about genre is wrong?

Genre is not form

Dean says that genres are more than forms. She associates genre with “familiar places we go to create intelligible communicative action with each other and the guideposts we use to explore the unfamiliar”. To me, this sounds very similar to my inquiry, stereotypes. We stereotype to “explore the unfamiliar”, so does that make stereotypes or stereotyping a genre?

Genre is not fixed

When I think about genres being “tied to social purposes and contexts”, it makes sense that they are not fixed. If no two situations are exactly the same, no two genres can be exactly the same.

So if genre is not classification, not fixed, and not form; what is it?

Genre is social

The social aspect of genre supports my idea that stereotyping may be a genre. They “arise from social interactions”, and are “shaped by social situations”. They create social roles for participants, and they allow users to choose among options to effectively accomplish their purpose. My group’s contribution is looking at how stereotypes change with society. In this piece, Dean says that genres “grow out of past genres, and develop new ones”. This is basically the definition of stereotyping.

Genre is cultural

Sir Edwin Tylor provided us with the first good definition of culture:

That complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”. In my anthropology class, we have learned that culture is learned, shared, integrated, and dynamic. Since genre shares all of these characteristics, it only makes sense that genre is cultural.

Genre is historical

When I think about “historical” meaning that is has a history, there’s no doubt that genre fits in this category. It changes and evolves with society and the world around it.

Genre is situated

Genre is not situation, but it depends on situation. It “reflects a group’s beliefs and how it views the world”, so genre will vary from place to place. Dean compares it to “going to a place and taking on a character of that place.”

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started reading Genre Theory. Genre is so much more complicated and complex than I could have every imagined it to be. It’s everywhere and everything, but has no real definition. It will continue to evolve and change as long as people are evolving and changing, which will hopefully be for a long long time.


Stereotypers and Stereotypees

This is probably pushing it a bit to say that these are two different discourse communities because we are all a part of both, but I’m going to say that they are. Here’s why.

“A discourse community has a broadly agreed set of common public goals”

Both stereotypers and stereortypees share a common goal of categorizing for acceptance and understanding. Stereotypers categorize others to understand and accept groups or individuals that are different than themselves, while stereotypees categorize themselves to fit in.

“A discourse community has mechanisms of intercommunication among its members”

Both stereotypers and stereotypees use face-to-face communication and electronic.

“A discourse community uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback.”

Feedback mechanisms for both communities would look pretty similar. They are most likely to use social media likes and retweets, hashtags, surveys, etc. to relay information and to get feedback from others within their discourse communities.

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“A discourse community utilizes and hence possesses one or more genres in the communicative furtherance of its aims”

Both stereotypers and stereotypees use texts, Facebook posts, memes, and may even hold meetings.

Stereotypers may post something like this,Screenshot-2014-03-11-at-12.41.21-AM

*note the use of the hash tag, and the retweets and favorites

whereas stereytypees may post something like this,


So, we see the stereotypers’ posts being more offensive, and the stereotypees’ posts being defensive.

“In addition to owning genres, a discourse community has acquired some specific lexis”

The lexis we see in the discourse communities of stereotyepers and the stereotyped tends to be pretty derogatory. Stereotypers specifically do a lot of name calling and use words in ways that they weren’t originally intended to mean. The first example that comes to mind for stereotypees would be LGBT. This would technically be a discourse community within the discourse community of stereryotypees, but Im using it as an example because not many people would know what LGBT stands for unless they were part of that community.

“A discourse community has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discoursal expertise”

This is a mouth full, but basically it means that discourse communities have experts and novices. We see this in both discourse communities (stereotypers and stereotypers). Novices would be children because believe it or not, kids are exposed to stereotypes and learn at a very young age. The ones teaching them, directly or indirectly (parents/ teachers/ adults), are the experts. Whether they are teaching and learning to stereotype or just that stereotypes exist determines which discourse community they are a part of.


While discourse communities have a broadly agreed upon set of common goals, the individuals within the communities may have their own personal goals, which can differ. This is similar to the idea of a writer’s style.  There is a broadly agreed upon set of rules/ guidelines that make writing styles (narrative, biography, blog post, research paper, etc.), but each individual may have a different way of approaching one specific writing style.

Mini Reflection:

As a writer, I am growing and gaining a better understanding of what the student learning outcomes (SLO’s) really mean, and how to use them to my advantage. You really have to know and understand all of them to be able to improve your writing. I have used the SLO’s to read, understand, and respond to articles and prompts in class; and more recently, I’ve used them to understand and gain knowledge from articles and from my peer’s posts in order to move forward with my inquiry.

What does your style say about you?

In “The Sense of Style”, the author, Pinker talks about how writing is way more complex than a lot of people seem to think it is these days. He seems to think that technology; such as texting, facebooking, tweeting, etc. have started to take over in recent years, and that it may be affecting younger generations’ writing abilities. I would have to agree with this to some extent. I definitely agree that technology is taking over. It’s not only taking over our social lives, but it’s taking over our academic lives as well. The difference between the two, though, is the language and syntax we use. While it may be okay to use improper grammar and say things like “where r u?” or “lol” in a text or on twitter, It’s certainly not the most academic style. There is a line, and I think that as long as internet and smartphone users can recognize when certain writing styles are appropriate and where they’re not, we should be fine. But that is something we had to be taught, and future generations will also have to be taught. If we, as writers, cannot recognize the difference, or are not taught the difference, it will affect us in the long run. Pinker mentions, in the reading, that “style earns trust”. This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say that we will be affected in the long run. I say ‘we’ referring to my generation and future generations because we are at an age right now where our ability to impress people with our writing is critical. Not only in the classroom, but outside in the real world. Once we graduate, whether it’s from high school or from college, we are going to go on to get jobs. Maybe even go to graduate school, med school, etc. Wherever we decide to go, we have to , first, impress our interviewer with our writing. If we are applying for a job or a school, and our application is filled with improper grammar, incomplete sentences, and really just doesn’t make much sense, what is that going to make us look like? It’s definitely not going to make the “judge” feel like we’re capable of doing the work. We have to earn their trust through our writing. We have to make them believe that we want the job, or that we can do the work, and they only way to do that, is to sound like you know what you’re talking about.
“I won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar”

Mini Reflection
I’m not the best writer, so right off the bat, I go into writing classes thinking the worst. Usually, they end up being better than I expected. I was pretty intimidated by this reading and probably all of the other ones simply because of it’s length. I went in thinking ‘there’s no way I can read all of this and remember enough to blog about it’, but I did. When I find something dry and boring, I have a hard time remembering two sentences back, let alone 10 pages back. I just have to give myself more credit and maybe a little more time to work on things like this.

Inquiry Based Learning

According to Wikipedia, Inquiry based learning “starts by posing questions, problems, or scenarios” as opposed to “simply presenting established facts or portraying a smooth path to knowledge”.

Based on my research, it looks like IBL is used in most subjects in school, particularly math and science courses, and they seem to agree on the basic definition. Both math and science courses use IBL to get a better understanding of why things are they are instead of just learning how to get the answer (if that makes sense). I didn’t see any disagreement.

To me, “context” basically means environment. Environment not being literal.Academic writing is any writing meant for an academic purpose.

Rethorical Knowledge

Im most familiar with this phrase from my AP English class in high school. I think it basically means knowing and understanding how to write and get your point across, while forming logical sentences and phrases.

Critical Reading

I’m familiar with this phrase from previous English classes and it means to analyze and understand a reading.

Composing process

I’m familiar with this term from any of my classes that I had to write a paper or an essay in. It’s just the process of writing the paper, so brainstorming, maybe research, planning, editing, peer editing, etc.

Knowledge of conventions

I am not familiar with this term. From what it says online, I think that it means knowing how to differentiate between genres in both reading and writing.

Critical Reflection

I have hears this before in previous English classes. It is the ability to understand and explain why you made certain choices in your writing.