October 26, 2012

"...[U]ntil I was sent here."

Public Secrets is one of the most openly intentional and focused pieces I've experienced in this major. Its goals, its statements, it intentions are displayed explicitly and reiterated constantly by all authors and contributors to the hypertext. In the Editor's Introduction, Erik Loyer explains the situation and call to action before Sharon Daniel ever can. Loyer includes the argument of the piece, and offers personal accounts, testimonials if you will, to the new audience in which the piece is looking to inform and persuade. Far from subtle, Loyer provides the readers (the audience) with this quote: "It was a story I knew nothing about until I was sent there."- Jane Dorotik.

I do not believe it is overarching to say this text is very much a form of discourse-a form of deliberative discourse to be specific. There is a "situated action," by Miller's standards and it is presented to the reader (the audience) in several ways. There is a situation that the readers of the piece may or not have been aware of and the creators provide that reader with many both textual and observational evidence to this situation. Is there a common response to this situation that is prompted by this text? Well, yes and no. There have been, especially in this digital age, many digital arguments that bring an audience to a situation that no one may have previously known about beforehand, particularly the situation at hand, but the audience members have been presented social issue and have been called to action to address those issues before. I believe this provides justification for Miller's claims that "new experiences are made familiar through he recognition of relevant similarities; those similarities became constituted as a type" (156-157). This particular type is very much common in this digital age.

There is a rhetorical situation being presented to the readers of this text. To the creators, there is immense social injustice and situation in which the readers and public not only need to be informed on, but called to join the fight against such injustices. Daniel isn't as explicit in her introduction as Loyer is, but her message, her distaste for the prison system of California, and her desire to do something and advocate for these female prisoners is more than evident. To me, this constitutes a discourse. I believe this text is far from the genre caste that Miller so rigidly and explicitly constructs, however.

Perhaps a list would suffice:

Objectives met:
  1. This text meets the first feature of genre in that it refers to a conventional category of discourse, there being a rhetorical action being prompted by a rhetorical situation.
  2. This text follows many of the rules set by genre and follow these rules for symbolic interaction.
  3. The text provides a rhetorical mean for medicating private intentions and social exigence-it even explicitly calls them out!
Objectives failed:
  1. I am not sure that this text fuses all forms at the lower level of the hierarchy partially because (a.) I can not clearly define those forms and (b.) there is no clear distinction for this text as a genre other than what it is lacking compared to these objectives for genre and from form.
  2. I do not believe that this text is under a recurrent situation so far as to constitute substance for out cultural life.
This text functions greatly for he authors' intentions; the text brings attention to a social issue and looks to invoke a strong reaction and a powerful response that will ultimately prompt an action. So for me, this text works as a form of discourse but falls very much short of the genre label that Miller so rigidly defines. 


gabyjoe21 said...

I believe that Public secrets was speaking to an audience that has some level of awareness of the penile system. While the general public does have a very limited idea of its injustices--as presented in the piece--it was reiterated that the public has a limited and sometimes false view of prisons and its inhabitants. I will however say that Daniel did a really good job in somewhat making her own genre in order to effectively execute the intended message.She goes against the typical documentary or report structure that these types of messages typically come in.

noles1128 said...

i agree with gabyjoe21. Not many individuals in our society completely understand the penile system and how it works. Being aware of something so important in our society is crucial to know and Daniel did a remarkable job in making her essay much more effective than words on a paper. By using an effective medium and creating a new genre, Daniel was able to have her audience be fully aware of the situation. She provided multiple mediums within her web text to show society her view on public secrets.

ca depend said...

Is your definition of genre the same as Miller's? How do You define genre..

tyreekminor said...

Ca depend,

My definition of genre is no where near as strict with Miller's. Miller's is far too rigid and uncompromising. I believe that a genre is in itself a form in which to respond to a given recurring situation. That commonality and its following is more than enough to constitute it as a genre to me. Of course, there are variations because there are specific and unique situations and therefore responses to those situation, but they are just that: variants. Her five objectives are what I most take issue with.

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