Writing II KMWF

Blog 11

For the upcoming remix project, I am going to remix my research paper on Breaking Bad and how it became so influential (as well as what conditions led to it being so unique in the first place). While I am not entirely certain how I will be doing this project, I have narrowed it down to two choices. The first choice I have decided on is a Google Slides presentation featuring pictures relating to my paper and maybe even a short 30-second video included at some point in the presentation. The second option will be making my own video where I might even do a voiceover (no promises there) summarizing what I argued in my paper. As to how I will specifically present these ideas, that is still up in the air. By far the biggest challenge that comes with this project is trying to come up with concrete ideas for how to execute my presentation. With only 3 minutes to present, this adds an extra constraint.

The main reason I want to tackle this project is because of my infatuation with the show and its universe. The show’s writers did a good job ensuring there is a lot to explore, which I already did with my paper, which is why I want to use my research paper for this project. Considering the short length of this project, I will probably have to cut out some things I brought up in the paper (such as the show’s moral compass and cold opens) to make room for an overarching point, although I hope I can cover at least one new thing I didn’t discuss (or just overlooked) in my research paper.  Since Breaking Bad is visual media, it just makes sense to incorporate my own visual media for this remix project.

BLOG 10.

This is a picture I took of a church me and my family used to regularly attend in pre-pandemic 2020. We aren’t actually that religious, but the people that attended it were nice people and we would help them organize events. Unfortunately, the pandemic struck and the church was forced to stay closed for the foreseeable future. Although we did reattend it a few times after it reopened, it has been at the same frequency as pre-pandemic. The image has been edited to be much grainier and dimmer because it demonstrates how much the church has become a bygone memory for me. I also chose an image of the church’s basement rather than any other part of the building because of how unfamiliar the location looks. This pandemic has left a lot of us estranged from the things we were once familiar with, and I tried to depict that with my picture.

Blog 9

For the introduction of my research paper, I chose strategy #3, which is to address my reader’s concerns. I chose this because I felt like I might be too biased when reviewing my own paper, so having suggestions come from a third party might help me improve my paper. The person who reviewed my draft thought the introduction should’ve gone into more detail about the audience Breaking Bad attracted, as well as its influence. When I was originally writing the intro, I found myself reluctant to do this because I thought I was going to end up sounding redundant. My grammar and use of quotes were fine, although doing this did make me consider removing some unnecessary sentences and replacing them with ones that are more relevant to the paper.

Blog 8

  1. According to Reed, the 1978-1992 “retrenchment period” can be connected with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic since both were used as pretenses for enacting budget cuts toward the private sector. In the retrenchment period, CUNY experienced massive cuts in its city and state budgets, which forced it to lay off employees and implement other cost-cutting procedures. The biggest change was in the rising tuition costs: many students suddenly found themselves unable to pay for their education, which was exploited by future predatory loan programs. Likewise, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the same policy of budget cuts, which went hand-in-hand with our healthcare system becoming overwhelming. Overall, both the retrenchment period and CUNY’s response to the pandemic were the result of exploiting the fears of economic uncertainty to diminish public spending.
  2.  The way Reed uses “death cult” is meant to make us think about the effects of privatization on CUNYs. The total privatization of many aspects of CUNY has created unnecessary hardships for lower-income and minority students, while the more upper-class students hardly get affected at all. It adds a lot to the stress of their college experience since they have to worry about financing their tuition costs while also keeping up with their work.
  3. To Reed, what anti-austerity and anti-racist groups at CUNY must do in order to achieve their goals is to start off by teaming up, because their issues both stem from the same core issue. To emphasize this, he shows us a quote that comes from Audre Lorde: “There is
    no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” Reed believes these groups have to forge “active strategic collaborations” if they want to transform aspects of CUNY, and even society at large. After all, if enough people make their voices heard, they may just get what they want. Reed also recommends a mass labor strike and mutual aid to add to the bargaining power these groups can achieve.

Blog 7

An underlying feeling that I have about the politicians that govern our country is how tone deaf they seem to be. It’s as if they care more about securing positions of power than actually enacting policies that would tangibly improve our lives. Of course, the reality is much more complicated than that, but the article “Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the Limits of Representation” does not do much to convince me otherwise. The article goes into how Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick seems to be at odds with the policies he has supported in the past. For example, Joe Biden played a nontrivial role in the creation of the 1994 Crime Bill, which created rhetoric around black communities being inherently prone to crime. Fast forward to the 2020 election, and Biden was giving speeches that quoted civil-rights anti-capitalist Ella Baker in an attempt to sway black voters.  To me, this shows one of two things; either Joe Biden has sincerely changed his beliefs since the 90s (entirely plausible since he was the vice president for Obama), or he just wants more votes. Considering Biden has never (according to the article) given any clear apologies for his role in implementing these policies, I find the former to be somewhat unlikely. What also doesn’t help his case is, according to the article, “fifty-two per cent of African Americans said that Obama’s policies had not gone far enough to improve their situation,” which was a significant increase from his first year as president. Overall, our country still has a long way to go in terms of representation and equality, and right now I am uncertain if we are even heading in the right direction.

Blog 6

After spending a lot of time considering what piece I should choose to write about (more time than I would like to admit), I think it would be a good idea for me to write about Breaking Bad. It is the show I have watched the most of times after all. It is an AMC crime drama airing from 2008-2013 about a high school chemistry teacher who gets himself into the drug-dealing business after receiving a lung cancer diagnosis. Throughout the 5 seasons of the show, we get to witness Walter White, the protagonist, spiral in on himself and become an egotistical maniac, all while his sidekick (“sidekick” being a very generous term for someone who is being constantly coerced to do horrible deeds throughout the show) Jesse Pinkman becomes increasingly more jaded yet paranoid as the show progresses. Although we can talk about the main characters of the show for ages, something that isn’t dissected as thoroughly as it should be is the conditions that influenced these characters into making the decisions they do throughout the show. For example, why would someone like Walt, a man with a master’s degree in Chemistry, choose to lead a life of crime rather than become a researcher when he was offered the job? Who, or more accurately what is truly to blame for the events of the show transpiring in the first place? Can that even be determined? There is a lot about Breaking Bad that can be analyzed since there is always more than what meets the eye.

Blog 5

The artpiece I am choosing to discuss for this blog is David Wojnarowicz’s “Untitled.” I found the visual style of this piece to be the most interesting and appealing to me, which is why I chose it. Something about this art that immediately stood out to me was the repetition of the phrase “this kid.” I counted the number of appearances of this phrase to be around 20. The piece is obviously about a gay child and the persecution he will face as one, and Wojnarwicz seems to depict it as a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. On one hand, if the kid does not speak up and submits to the harassment, then he will either commit suicide or hope to be murdered. If he does speak up, however, then he will be subjected to the opposition people who do not want him to exist and brutal experiences such as shock therapy. This is quite a harrowing piece when it’s put this way. In a way, it’s very easy to relate this to modern-day LGBT movements, especially considering the recent wave of anti-transgender bills being proposed all over the country. While shock therapy and outright discrimination against gay people are illegal, it’s clear that the struggle for equality among LGBT groups still has a long way to go. All in all, this artpiece is important because it serves as a time capsule for gay rights throughout history.

Blog 4

When it comes to determining what writing style I have, examining what sentence types I use can be very helpful. After looking through the first two paragraphs of my draft, I found out I have a tendency towards compound and complex sentences. I identified 7 complex sentences and 4 compound sentences. It is possible there might be even more that I didn’t properly identify but the numbers do tell me this: I love complex sentences. On the other hand, I hardly used simple sentences at all. This fact surprised me because I was expecting simple sentences to appear just as often as compound sentences, but I guess when it comes to writing papers I try to avoid them. What definitely stands out the most is the sheer lack of any complex-compound sentences in my writing. There was not a single sentence in the paragraphs I looked at that could be identified as complex-compound. I can guess why I don’t use simple sentences often: I want my writing to appear more sophisticated. But why I don’t use complex-compound sentences at all is beyond me. Well, I guess there is nothing in the first two paragraphs of my paper that really necessitates such a sentence type. I suppose I should at least try to include on complex-compound sentence in the paragraphs where I have to compare the two objects. Knowing which sentence types I tend to use the most and which I don’t use at all will help me a long way in becoming a better writer.

Blog 3

Whether or not people are brave enough to face it, climate change will become an issue we have to respond to eventually. Along with climate change itself, we will also be forced to address the inequality that will come in terms of those who are affected by it. Both articles from Versobooks and The New Republic highlight one important thing: “it’s a race to the bottom.” While climate change is something that will be viewed as a catastrophe to the majority of the population, to businesses, it will become simply another venture. The New Republic’s article “New York’s Invisible Climate Migrants” gives us an existing example of how this happened with Superstorm Sandy. The article details how a significant number of lower-income residents were forced out of their homes because they couldn’t afford to repair their homes. These vacant residences were subjected to predatory businesses, and some took the bait because they had no other choice.  But it has always been this way; lower-income and minority citizens are always guinea pigs for the federal government. As demonstrated by Capitalocene, “race was the single most important factor in determining where toxic waste facilities were sited in the United States and that the siting of these facilities in communities of color was the intentional result of local, state, and federal land-use policies.” With this statement, we are forced to accept an uncomfortable truth, one that would be vehemently rejected by some: race is absolutely important in determining how your community is treated. Intentional policy in the 80s was intentionally designed to put toxic waste facilities near non-white neighborhoods, an action that is also a metaphor in itself. Until we learn how to stop valuing businesses and profit over the livelihoods of our citizens, we can only expect these problems to become ever more exacerbated as climate change worsens.