October 26, 2012

black/white and the gray area in between

“Public Secrets” by Daniel was especially enjoyable for me. Like me, she is comfortable mix different mediums for the most effective communication possible. Doing this may turn some people off but I think it serves a greater good for the text. The multimodal reading engages the reader (“interpreter”) whether they like it or not and it also provides a more comprehensive understanding of the text and message being delivered. The play on black and white throughout the text had symbolic meaning for me. Perhaps it is supposed to remind us that the process of understanding isn’t just black and white. I wish more writers had a more fluid view on the delivery of his or her message and considered themselves “storytellers”, realizing they have more options than just writing. 

Incarceration and Heteroglossia

Its interesting to use the word heteroglossia in a subject such as prison inmates, they don't seem to coincide with one another but this article does exactly that. Every prisoner is a voice and the culmination of those voices linked by an author is heteroglossia. A prison is actually the perfect setting for this term because inmates more than any other humans within our country yearn for the ability to be heard. They want to be heard because nobody has listened since the day they were incarcerated.  If an inmate pleads his/her innocence that is more or less in denial of their crimes and their voices are immediately dismissed by the general listener. If an inmate excepts his/her crime they are condemned as criminals and still nobody will listen to them. Lets think about the prisoner voice for a second. The prisoner since the day he/she was busted has created a new voice inside their  head that either accepts what they have done or dismisses any such crime, and that is it, they are left to dwell. In no other situation in our country is somebody left to dwell on their mistakes for such an extensive period of time(a sentence). Its this psychology that author Daniel wanted to capture. Incarceration is a period of reflection like no other and if someone is given the chance to expel their inner monologues of the experience, I'd listen, its the perfect opportunity for heteroglossia.

Situated Actions

Many of these perceptions are “situated actions.” For example, the retired military officer viewed the country as “a target” during Vietnam because he was in a war and that caused his actions to be situated. If he was not in the air force at the time his situation would have been different and he would not have been commanded to view that country in that way. In the project, they discuss a lot about perceptions, such as spacing the world.  With time humans begin to understand the actual size of things and this in turn is what created our “situated actions.” We would map maps based off of what was perceived to be the actual size of the world and we would build planes based on these perceptions. These perceptions changed over time and with time the situations changed and better products were able to be produced. I am not sure if I am getting the right concept of this project, but this is what I am thinking, so I am typing it. This idea of perception makes it easy to understand why “recurring situations seem to ‘invite’ discourse of a particular type (Miller 162).”

Heteroglossia: Different Voices and our Perception

Before reading this piece I had understood heteroglossia to be different voices created by one narrator. But Daniel had made me feel that perhaps we can extend that perception our of just literature and see how different voices work in other pieces. The introduction to Daniels work that it has an "algorithmic structure," calling to our attention the "fine lines" between the ideas of "inside and outside, incarceration and freedom, oppression and resistance  and despair and hope." By reading about these different women and seeing how they think as we shift from one view to the next we see all these different voices with different views that put to question our own ideas, complicating what once may have seemed more black and white.

Our Perceptions

Public Secrets does a masterful job of allowing people from all different points of view to see life inside the prison through individual pathways. We perceive prisons from the outside with little knowledge of what goes on inside. Going through Public Secrets you see things through a different lens that enacts change on common misconceptions or ideas.

With regards to the layout, it really is fascinating and in my opinion draws you in. Who wouldn't want to click on the individual blocks that have different life stories on them, most of which hit a sensory feeling or emotion? The borders lay a close resemblance to prison cells and draw a closer tie to the difference between being behind bars or free.

Public Secrets- Genre and Heteroglossia

The Public Secrets case study for today was an interesting case to look at through the lens of genre. When we discussed genre before, we came to the conclusion that genre was closely related to the recurring rhetorical situations that Burke and other theorists have written about. So the way that is case simultaneously subverts and reinforces certain genre conventions made for an engrossing read. This case largely succeeds because of the way that it subverts the expectations of the audience who are reading a prison memoir. Popular culture has portrayed prison, even women's prison, as a brutal and unforgiving place where you are likely to get maimed and dehumanized at every turn. The Public Secrets memoir-documentary (memoirentary?) subverts these expectations by selecting quotes from inmates' interviews that paint the California prison system in a different light. According to the inmates, you're more likely to be subject to dehumanizing treatment from the prison staff and virtual slave labor than you are to getting shanked in the shower.

Daniel Redefines Prison and Shapes Our Action

In class we came up with the claim that mediums are in fact what shape action. After watching Daniel's Public Secrets we have to ask if it is Daniel’s medium that gives her message meaning and therefore prompts action or if the situation(genre) that gives rise to action in and of itself?  

It is in part the hypertextual nature of the project that makes it interpretable. I say this because, all of the visuals combined with text and an audio component make it this is a very layered piece of discourse. The hypertextuality gives Daniel’s words impact because of the stimulation it provokes in the interpreter. Even in the author’s statement, Daniel is making the same argument that she is through out the project but the simple text version isn’t nearly as impactful and therefor isn’t interpreted in the way that Daniel’s means for it to be interpreted if her ultimate goal is to persuade and arouse action. This also leads us to wonder if the way the information is presented, through this hypertextual medium, if that also contributes to our interpretation because of it’s effect on our emotions.

Public Secrets- Genre, Heterglossia, and Hypertext

Miller says “A classification of discourse upon recurrent situation or, more specifically, upon exigence understood as social motive, is to base it upon the typical joint rhetorical actions available at a given point in history and culture” (158). With that being said the best way to tell that Daniel’s project is a cultural analysis is by simply listening to the content she’s provided. This interactive website with sound clips and textual accounts from female inmates in California State Prisons testifies and criticizes the prison system. By addressing the trouble of secrecy in the midst of the amount of prisoners. This whole project is a genre made up of itself. Daniel is attempting to tell the untold story of female convicts within America, and all of the trials and tribulations, they face daily. For the reason that female convicts tend to be forgotten sometimes in the justice system, and for that reason Daniels wants their testimonials heard.

Bakhtin Reflected in Public Secrets

Bakhtin describes describes heteroglossia as a "special type of double-voiced discourse," which is exactly what is going on in "Public Secrets" (Bakhtin, 324). The first voice in this text is society's perception of what prisons are like. The beginning sequence makes it sound like prisons are carefully designed to look a certain way from the outside so that society feels safe. The three million dollar razor wire fence, metal detector, and gun tower may seem a little over the top for a seemingly calm women's prison, but civilians driving past will feel comforted seeing it. The "uncannily suburban, perfectly manicured, lawn complete with a rose-lined path and built in sprinkler system" are there solely to make outsiders feel like the inside of the prison also looks that way. However, the prisoners tell a very different story. The women report not getting sufficient cleaning products to clean their living areas, chipped paint, and treeless, grassless yards. Most of the prisoners interviewed said that they had the same nasty conceptions of prisons as the rest of society until they got to the women's prison, saw that there were women who were being punished for finally fighting back after a life of repression, and saw how disrespectful and unnecessarily crude the staff is to the women.

Daniel and Ubiquitous Computing

Daniel's webtext, "Public Secrets", was done in a medium that I have not really seen before.  That is why when I was watching/listening to the webtext, I immediately thought of Bolter and Grusin's "Ubiquitous Computing."  I would consider the medium in which Daniel executes her text to be just as crucial as the text itself. The medium that Daniel uses brings her text to life and closes the gap between the text, the reader, and the real world.  While watching, I found the way the black and white colors shifted and reversed themselves to be interesting and to having a definite relation to the text.  Daniel's topic was about the barrier between a women's prison and the outside, seemingly oblivious world. 

Heilbrun, Heteroglossia and Prison/Guard Studies

The thing I first thought of when viewing this piece is Heilbrun's "Writing a Woman's Life". It is interesting to see how far women have come since that piece has been published. In that piece, Heilbrun talks of women's inability to write honest autobiographies due to fear of misrepresenting what a woman should be in society. Now, there are webtexts of women's interviews, detailing the most private and brutal of experiences, through our prison system. I think Heilbrun would be really proud of the women's voice in this piece, and the way it is using its voice to try to make a change. It could be argued that the only reason the women in this piece are willing to give out these private interviews are because they are prisoners, with nothing to lose, in a desperate place. But all the same, their voice is overpowering in this project, inciting sympathy, sadness, and a desire for listeners to reach out and help them. Ironically, the "shrillness" Heilbrun discussed in her piece is still very much present in this piece-- but how could abused prison women not be shrill? While their "Shrill" voice may be emotional and desperate, the whole point of the piece is to point out that the reason for this voice is because the state of California has created a monster of a prison system.

ignore it, and it shall not affect you

In class we looked at  "heterglossia" as a plurality of voices. Merriam Webster defines it as "a diversity of voices, styles of discourse or points of view in a literary work". "Public Secrets" by Sharon Daniel relates to heteroglossia because it is, in itself a plurality of voices and a diversity of voices. Sharon uses different points of view from prisoners as she visits and talks with them to make her point across. She wants to make known the things that are going on behind the closed doors of prison,  the women's prisons. I do not know if I am in agreement the people do not know what is going on behind the doors of prison. I know that we may not know specific details, but I have always known that women are mistreated in prisons. I do not see that as a secret. Perhaps, I guess she is saying that we dismiss it and don't want to know, there for we ignore it? So she wanted to make it known by interviewing and speaking with people who have been there?

Langue and Parole

Sharon Daniel’s The Public Secret is a perfect example of langue and parole. Langue, as you know, is a system of language that makes speech possible. Parole is the use of that system of language, but it is not the system itself. Many people say that langue and parole are different from one another, but Daniel’s The Public Secret disproves those statements. If you examine Daniel’s project you can see that the stories told by the women prisoners are parole and the project itself is the langue. Each account presented is using the project as a means to externalize their statements. Without the project itself one would not be able to hear these statements, which shows that parole needs langue and langue needs parole. The way this project is presented is quite unique. You never see the faces of the women who tell their stories, but you can feel their struggle. Daniel’s presents the stories as just brief quotes that pop in an out of the screen and strike your curiosity to a point where you have to place your mouse over it to hear the story. Two quotes that really jumped out at me were in the “The Public Secret/Utopia” section. One quote read, “Why does that kid have 60 to life for throwing a beer can?” and the story that was within the quote was shocking. The other quote read, “…Your body, any part of it is state property” and the story that followed talked about how a girl got a sunburn and received a 115, a fine for damaging state property.

Daniel's Heteroglossia

I think that Daniel’s Public Secrets functions as a working model that exemplifies exactly what heteroglossia is, a plurality of voices within a text (or piece of media) that make up the entirety of the piece as a whole, or one unit.  Daniel’s literally accomplishes this plurality of voices through the use of a webtext medium, which I believe enhances the effectiveness of the text.  By allowing us access to each individual’s audio interview/recording we gain a further understanding of the prison system and it’s relation to the world through a variety of perspectives.  I believe this is heteroglossia, if you were to digest a text or piece of media through only one perspective you would only be left with a partial understanding, or fragment of the whole.  

Daniel's Ubiquitous Computing

Sharon Daniel does a compelling job at introducing us into the painful and secretive world of the prison system. Before navigating the modules of "Public Secrets," I obviously thought I had an idea of what prison was like, based off of what I have seen on TV and stories I've read about in various articles. However, hearing the words of real women who are imprisoned has taken my understanding to a whole new level, and I think that if I had merely read about their stories rather than listened to them, it would not have had as great of an impact. In Bolter and Grusin's article, "ubiquitous computing" is defined as the idea that technology has infiltrated into our every day lives so much so that we hardly even notice it is there anymore. It is commonplace in our society, and I think that Daniel's project shows that in various ways.


When Miller was discussing how genres are formed, she basically said that there are similarities that are drawn from the text. The similarities can be in the way they draw the audience, the tone with which they're spoken, the language that's used, the tropes and rhetorical tools that are used (ethos, pathos, logos), and the way it effects a community of people to act on social situations. "Since 'rhetorical forms that establish genres are stylistic and substantive responses to perceived situational demands,' a genre becomes a complex of formal substantive features that create a particular effect in a given situation." (p. 153) Based on this statement, I think the easiest way to note that Daniel's project is a criticism is by the content she provides within it. In the actual project itself, she has compiled it so that every bulletin you come across is a personal statement from an inmate who has been mistreated or felt particularly alienated from the situation they're in. You can also tell it's a criticism based on the introductory recording that is first played as you enter the project's website. From Miller's drawings on what makes a genre, Daniel's project can be placed in the category of criticism because she is trying to make an argument against a certain group and offering evidence to support her argument.

More than just a Critique...

When reading the author's statement for "Public Secrets" by Sharon Daniel, it was something that really pulled me into the text where I wanted to know more. Which is the case with most things. Of course, this form of introduction is a great way to get people's attention. When you tell someone that you have a secret or that you know something that they don't it kills the other person. They want to know. We are, afterall, curious individuals (most of the time). Now I understand that the statement was a way to give the reader an idea of the type of text they will be getting into but I'd like to argue that besides this promoting the text, it also provides a knowledge that we are being open to. Really, the whole text provides knowledge and information to the reader about things they might not be aware of. It's not really part of everyday school/home life.

Framing in Public Secrets

Daniel's presents to us an interesting view of the public prison system in the hypertext of Public Secrets. This could be unpacked in my different ways but one thing that really stood out to me was a term we stated in class. I remember we went over the term framing in a rhetorical sense and how it creates meaning. We discussed the literal aspect of framing as well, relating it with the architecture of four walls, and a window, etc which creates a class room.

There are many different variations of framing within this project. We can start with the literal framing of the prison itself which of course would be the maximum security walls, and prison doors. The mental images of something being enclosed can bring on many different correlations including like an animal being enclosed or someone being trapped. This would translate to something being inhumane or not acceptable. Relating inhumane to a human life form for most people would cause them to have sympathy on a situation. Daniel frames a prison system to get is to have sympathy on the prison system victims in order to get us to call to action.

Heteroglossia, a new definition?

In Daniel’s hypertext essay about the corporate prison system I think the heteroglossia comes from the different interviews in the piece. There is an extreme difference in the way men and women understand what is going on at any given moment and I’m sure that takes on a special look in the prison system. When interviewing, the language between men and women is different in their descriptions of what happened or is happening. However, some of these interviews show the difference between one specific incident and a habitual issue.

I think also the different ways she expresses her concern over the women’s prison system, i.e. text, pictures, audio clips, adds to the idea of heteroglossia. Until recently, I had assumed heteroglossia to mean different voices of the same narrator, author or producer of the work within text. But I do think there is something to be said that heterglossia could mean different forms of information or text within a piece to give it many different voices that the producer of the work wanted the audience to hear.


Daniel defines the separation of voices inherent in the prison system very easily in the first introductory part of her project, by pointing out the features of the visitor’s entrance with its incongruous manicured lawn and rosebushes. Once inside, on the inmate’s side, such greenery immediately disappears. This very neatly demonstrates the permeated heteroglossia of the prison’s “language” without delving into heavy terms or definitions. The evidence is simply offered up and left for the audience to see the disproportion. One of my favorite characteristics of the project was when the smudges began to appear on screen. Those smudges greatly helped my interpretation of the concept of anamorphosis, which would not have had nearly the impact, nor would the term have stuck itself so much in my mind, had the essay not paired it with a visual. Another characteristic of the essay that eases interpretation is the separation of the stark black blocks over the white background, naturally dividing the confessions into inside/outside categories. The closing sequence very neatly and quietly covers the screen in black, edging out all the windows of white. Every visual element of the essay is organized as a metaphor for the subject manor, allowing the audience to fully understand the impact of the content through analysis afterwards, all without having to spell out those concepts she wanted to convey.

Langue and Parole in Daniel's "Public Secrets"

In a society which places such ideals as personal freedom and individual liberty in such high regards, such as our society in the United States, it seems that such industries as the prison industrial complex exist as a manifestation of the contradictions which lie beyond the readily perceived public interpretations of such concepts as freedom, liberty, justice. In her critique of the prison industrial complex, which pays particular regard to the prison system in the state of califorina, Daniel masterfully illustrates how the conceived realities of justice and the "correctional institution" are provided by the misuse of symbolic language and misguided intepretation of this network of signs and symbols by the general public, which neglects the conscious recognition of the real situation. The concept of Langue and Parole are easily applied to Daniel's critique of the prison industrial complex, and through the examination of the manner and method by which the prison system, and he larger conept of justice within our society, and therefore the critique becomes more of a critique of the public perception of the signs and symbols of which we have internalized within our minds as members of the society.

Public Secrets

Daniel's hypertext "Public Secrets" is clearly another example of genre crossing. While we see a central aim for her discourse, that is to better the women's prison system, it is her approach to this goal through this hypertext that needs review. I feel like if this was a narrative to spark action, it lacked in conviction. The visuals, if used needed compliment the text. Her addition of their audio clips along with their transcripts does give us a touch of relativism with these women, because their voices sound less like monsters, which they are normally perceived as, and more like real people. The array of interviews gives her argument depth and strength in numbers. Aside from the content and back over to the context, Daniel doesn't give us bold colors but rather relaxing color schemes that conflict with her purpose. In relation to Miller's "genre as social action," Daniel fails to use a medium with enough accessibility for change. Why had I not heard about this project before? Why was it part of a site with a large number of other projects on it? If this medium wanted to spark change its first task should be to be made aware of.  

Different Interpretations

Daniel’s hypertext essay on the unseen side of the corporate prison system offers a new perspective on what women go through when in these correctional facilities. She criticizes the double standard there is for men, the variations in sentences for men and women who committed the same crimes, and the lack of compassion there is for women who are trapped in negative situations. There are certain themes that happen within the system, or as Miller would say, there are “recurrent situations,” that develop a cycle of unfairness to women in the prison system. The interpretability of the critique varies. She uses a lot of personal interviews that shed light on specific situations that could be seen as a onetime occurrence, and not a representation of the prison system as a whole. This opens up the critique to be more opinionated. It could also be seen as having the specific goal of making the system look poorly. There are no examples or interviews that do allow for the other side of the coin to be seen.

Discourse Through the Medium.

Sharon Daniel's "Public Secrets" project is a compilation of testimony from prison inmates, theorists, and Daniel herself in order to create a mosaic dialogue. That is to say, through a multimedia context, Daniel combines a variety of viewpoints/voices to create a more collective whole. This concept is easily likened to Bakhtin's concept of "heteroglossia" discussed in "Discourse in the Novel." Heteroglossia refers to the idea that different languages/discourses co-exist within any literary work (a sense of plurality in language). Most importantly, Bakhtin's argument emphasizes the concept that "verbal discourse is a social phenomenon," and not a singular, definable concept. For this reason, Bakhtin praises the novel, a medium that can most aptly provide a variety of dialogue.


      In Bakhtin's "Discourse in the Novel" he explained Heteroglossia to be "Another's speech in another's language, serving to express authorial intentions but in a refracted way" (Bakhtin, 324). In Sharon Daniel's project (could I call it an essay?) "Public Secrets" I believe she is using heteroglossia as a way to share her viewpoint through the voices of the prisoners. I'm not saying that told them what to say but she picked which questions to ask and we were only given part of the answers to questions that we don't know. If she had asked different questions would the answers we see now still be the same? It's hard to know.

Public Secrets and Miller's Situated Action

Sharon Daniel’s hypertext essay “Public Secrets” can be viewed as an example of what Carolyn Miller defines as a genre, that is, a “typified rhetorical action based in recurrent situations” (Miller 159). Allow me to unpack this definition before I proceed. A rhetorical action occurs as a response to an exigence, or social need that creates a social motive and gives purpose to the rhetor. A rhetorical situation is referred to as recurrent when it can be commonly defined and categorized (typified) based on its similarity to other situations. Miller refers to these social constructs of situations as social knowledge.

Sharon Daniel and Heteroglossia

Daniel emphasizes heteroglossia throughout her critique much like last the Pine Point case did. Each case focused on the importance and effect of having multiple narrators or "languages" can have on a piece. Daniel states in the author's statement, "The secret of the abuses perpetrated by the Criminal Justice System and Prison Industrial Complex can be heard in many stories told by many narrators, but only when they are allowed to speak." I think she is directly referring to the heteroglossia needed to attain the certain effect she is aiming at here in the work. I think she draws heavily on the claims of Bakhtin that the meaningfulness of discourse can be found in the conflicts between the different types of language. I think Daniel included the personalized voices of the inmates to show the significance in their unity together and how I believe that their uniqueness and vast differences among each others' voice, race, and even reasons for incarceration only add significance to the fact that they can all find unity in a common cause or goal.

Heteroglossia in Public Secrets

There are many narrators and voices heard in Public Secrets, so I think the notion of heteroglossia is pertinent to this case study. There are the voices of the women in both audio and transcript and there's Daniel's narration. I think that, in particular, the audio of the women is the most effective part of this case. The recording sound like real conversations, there's noise in the background and you can hear Daniels (presumably) voicing agreements at some of the things the women say. The text quotes taken from the audio catch a readers attention because they are interesting. This case uses the women's voice to get the reader to see them more as individuals. Even though we don't get to see them, their voices are distinct and they have stories unique to themselves. This is to get the reader to feel a connection with the women, to empathize with them. That, in turn, serves to make the reader more critical of issues like laws, incarceration, prison conditions, and police brutality because those are the issues that many of these women face daily, some of them for the rest of their lives. The heteroglossia of this piece

Heteroglossia in Public Secrets

Heteroglossia, which is the notion that a piece has two voices simultaneously. This ideal, which Bakhtin explored in "Discourse in the Novel," generally refers to the different perspectives and views that are being presented in a piece. In relation to the Public Secret, this term is a perfect depiction of the frame of the work.

Although Daniel may be the one that has organized, edited and presented that piece in the form that we are able to view, the piece itself is really an embodiment of a multitude of different testimonies. This piece serves as a way for the women in the prison to give their first hand accounts of their experiences in the prison. This makes the piece seem more credible of course to an extent because they are and have experienced the very thing that they are reporting.

"...[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.

prompting awareness or strictly a (feminist) critique?

If you weren't aware this project was a critique of the prison system going in, you were readily made aware after Daniel's introduction and various interviews. In one particular interview with inmate Misty Rojo, she says, "You can always remember a point where somebody said, 'I need help' and they didn't get it," as she goes on to talk about her experiences getting busted as a kid. She explains that when she was younger and would get taken home by the police, they would question her why she didn't just "stay home and do what your parents tell you?" She would respond with claims that she was being emotionally abused - but that wasn't enough and she would get mocked and ignored.

Daniel's main critique is not only that we're relying on prisons to fix our society's issues that we refuse to deal with ourselves, it's also the unfair and demeaning treatment of the women in the prisons. Her editors note explains in detail the process that she goes through entering and exiting the prison and the process that the inmates go through after she's gone.

Langue and Parole in Daniel's Public Secrets

After reading and listening to Sharon Daniel's Public Secrets, I could see that a wide variety of modes are used here to create a hypermedia essay. Through the use of spoken word and text, Daniel relays her message of the imperfections of the American prison system, and how there is violence and abuse throughout the prisons. Using the voices of other women, she builds her essay with many first-hand accounts and uses text as a guideline for different pieces of audio clips.

Come together...Over Me

While the Bedford Glossary defines langue and parole as partial opposites of one another, it seemed to me that Daniel used the two as compliments to the other in her hypertext essay "Public Secret." Daniel uses effectively uses langue as she talks through the her project, leading the reader through the sequence while incorporating her visual portion of her project. While the reader is not able to see Daniel, the reader is given a small peek into the personality of the author through the signs and visuals she using through her hypertext. She gives her vivid description of not only the amount of prisons that encompasses a specific section of California but also the inside of the prison that society chooses to block out. 

Daniel and Heteroglossia

In terms of heteroglossia, the multitude of voices that lend themselves to this project are all separate entities working together. We have the voice of Sharon Daniel directing the movement of the text. She created this project, so of course anything that comes out of it is filtered through her. That's not to say that the text isn't truthful, just that it is someone's creation. In that sense, the voice of the author is present even in the voices of other "characters." That is, Daniel has picked who to use for these interviews, and what part of their interviews to use.

Part of me wants to say that because of that, ultimately the voices of these women are actually Daniel's voice, but that's probably not true. Perhaps it would be better to say that the voices of these women are amplified because of Daniel. As individual interviews, they wouldn't as effective as they are in this project where Daniel is framing them in this context. We can see heteroglossia at work there, with the different voices working together to create a more powerful text.

Casting the net wide

I saw Daniel’s using both parole and langue in a way that works together to make the reader feel more like the audience that Daniel is writing towards. For example, she uses phrases such as “The secret of the abuses perpetrated by the Criminal Justice System and Prison Industrial Complex can be heard in many stories told by many narrators, but only when they are allowed to speak.” Which could be interpreted as specific terms that only someone who is familiar with the justice system would understand, however, she uses other language in a phrased way that would allow more accessible to people who may not be completely familiar with the justice system and its inner workings? She uses personal anecdotes to make the text more familiar to a broader spectrum of readers. I found this to be a particularly powerful rhetorical move. By doing this, the author was able to vastly expand her readership. The author also uses both of these in harmony by making her text interactive, which would draw more readers who normally wouldn’t bother reading about this topic. By combining different forms of media, personal anecdotes, and insider phrases Daniel does a great job of casting her net wide.

Public Secrets

"Truth is not a matter of exposure which destroys the secret, but a revelation that does justice to it." At the beginning of Sharon Daniel’s web text, Public Secrets, she already states her disclaimer that the key to living with public secrets is to know what not to know. Acknowledge that it is going to be there but do not think about those things; the injustices of the war on drugs, the criminal justice system, and the Prison Industrial Complex.

“There are secrets that are kept from the public and then there are ‘public secrets’ - secrets that the public chooses to keep safe from itself, like the troubling ‘don't ask, don't tell.’” One of the public secrets that Daniels’ goes into further detail is on the prison industrial complex. What goes on inside a prison that we as human beings, who are true to our words and laws, not see inside?

What characteristics embody a critique??

Before reading the essay concerning Daniel’s project with the Public Secret’s I had really only a general view or assumption about prison. Most of the knowledge I have obtained about the people, and the lifestyle the prisoners must conform to is molded by social media. Some times the image portrayed can be at totally different ends of the spectrum. One prison is depicted as a dilapidated space where fear and anxiety consumes the inhabitants. While the other prison is portrayed as jovial prisoners are friends and play schoolyard football together in harmony. So to read about things such as three million dollar razor wire fence at the California Correctional Women's Facility to me is astonishing. I could have never guessed that amount of money is disbursed to our correctional facilities. I especially thought it to be to the extreme for such a large amount of money for a measly fence. Her essay brought things to the reader’s attention that they may have not known otherwise. With the facts throughout her essay consumes it with characteristics that makes it easy to promote the literary piece as a critique.

Hypermediacy and Daniel's Public Secrets

After examining Daniel's Public Secrets, I found myself not only confused, but overwhelmed as well. I think is what Bolter and Grusin would call a "technological overkill" She really has injected an overwhelming use of media into this, and I don't mean that in a good way. Honestly, I think this project of hers is too overreaching. Who exactly is her audience? Who is supposed to absorb this message?  I know her mission is to "dispel popular misconceptions about the nature of prison and those incarcerated within them," but again, whose popular misconceptions? A man, a woman, the old, young, elite, poor? The "interpretability of her critique" is extremely hard to grasp, unless I'm just being really obtuse.

Heteroglossia in the Genre

The majority of the critique's message seems to deal with the power of the prison/judicial system as power of language itself. Terms and significations are self defeating, and often the simple prescription of "acts of brutality," do in fact brutalize the actor. Why? Because it's socially agreed upon as acceptable by standard of law by the public; as Miller would say it, its a recurrent situation, identifiable by the definition of meaning we associate it with.

This aside, and since it is a "critique," we inevitably have to deal with the question of voice.

Public Secret

I had to look up Langue and Parole  again to get a better since of each term. The Oxford Dictionary defines helped me realize that Langue refers to the language systems. Langue also deals with the rules and conventions of a given language, such as vocabulary, grammar, and things of that nature. Parole on the other hand deals more with speech or the utterance. Parole deals with language as the personal phenomenon of language. 

October 25, 2012

Heteroglossia in Public Secrets: a Two-Part Post

Public Secrets definitely puts an interesting spin on Bakhtin's heteroglossia. Bakhtin considered heteroglossia a multitude of voices, particularly those presented in a novel. When this concept is compared to the heteroglossia in the hypertext essay, though, Bakhtin's ideas appear artificial. How he considered the concept was an author orchestrating the presence of multiple languages (in the sense of world views) into one text, resulting in a sort of conversation between the voices. In this way, the voices themselves aren't true identities, though they must exist in some form inside the author.

Contrarily, the heteroglossia in Public Secrets was a literal multitude of voices. They did not all stem from the "author." These were genuine world views wrapped up into tiny blurbs to catch your attention and set into the backdrop of the creator's project. The juxtaposition of particular interview clips with other clips and the graphics is what actually formed meaning, but this meaning was formed through linking all the world views together.  So, in this sense, Public Secrets exhibits the purest form of heteroglossia -- meaning conveyed through the linking of different world views.