You probably recognize this image, but you might not be familiar with the story behind it. It has been circulated as trumpmania par excellence, democracy gone wrong. In reality, the woman in the photo is not the crazed fan that she appears to be. According to her account, her expression is "a combination of me laughing hysterically while yelling to my husband, “Did you get the pic?”. The generation and (mis)representation of this image provides a useful lens for looking at this week's readings. Specifically I'm interested in affect/emotion and audience.
- " What composition research really needs is an account of how much was lost...Such an account would undoubtably include a lot of grunts and groans...This is where emotion happens...Without that information, can we really say that we have an accurate description of the mental activities that underlie writing? (Brand, 709)": Brand argues that composition research is limited by the omission or reduction of emotion in the transcripts of writing sessions. However, the misinterpretation and circulation of this image demonstrates that the proximity of an affect (grunts and groans) to a disembodied text (transcripts) can be problematic. We have no way of knowing precisely the source of the writers frustration or elation in a writing session. It could be the environment, time constraints, cognitive impairment from lack of sleep or hunger, or even, as Copper might suggest, an ingrained social behavior. Affect does not describe emotion, rather it is a proxy measure for emotion. Is it really any closer of a proxy than coded patterns of writing or ad hoc descriptions of the writing process by test subjects? How might researches account for their assumptions about affect in order to draw more narrow conclusions about the relationship between emotion and writing?
- "The system of ideas is the means by which writers comprehend their world to turn individual experiences and observations into knowledge. From this perspective ideas result from contact...the perspective of the ecological model offers a salutary correction of vision on the question of audience. By focusing our attention on the real social context of writing, it enables us to see that writers not only analyze or invent audiences, they, more significantly, communicate with and know their audiences" (Cooper, 371): Attention to the "real social context" of the of this moment revealed the failure of the various authors at play to known their audience and make their motives known to audiences (the Mother, Trump, the photographer, websites that published the picture, etc.). Likewise, students should be able to utilize information technologies in order to reveal similar failures and inconsistencies when they are composing. Many of our readings have suggested that factors such as memory, social context, and genre- all of which have undoubtably exploded with complexity and accessibility in the last decade- play a significant role in composing effectively. It seems, however, that the condition of Freshman composition has not significantly improved in that time. How has the "ecology of writing" changed with the expansion of information technologies? How do these changes (or lack there of) affect our understanding of the relationship between writer and audience?