Summary/Synthesis Response 3
Chapter 11 of Scrolling Forward concludes the entire book with a rough timeline of the world’s technology. There has been great growth in the efficiency and speed of documents and the spread of information overall. The author, David M. Levy, shares personal anecdotes to share his experiences through the changing times. However, he noticed one characteristic remains unchanged: the ability of documents to clearly and accurately represent oneself as the creator of the document. He stated, “For to look at our written forms is to see something of our striving for meaning and order, as well as the mechanism by which we continually create meaning and order” (Levy 202). With this quote, Levy presents documents, and written words in general, as creations that reflect the growth, intentions, function, and thoughts of the people.
Chapter 9 of Scrolling Forward credits people for creating culture and refers to this process as a business in which documents are the greatest partners. Levy stated, “Virtually all the cultural institutions and practices that help us make order, that help us bring meaning and intelligibility to our lives, draw heavily on documents for support” (Levy 159). In this statement, Levy distinguishes documents as a reflection of the people. Documents present the “meaning” and “intelligibility” of the people in an orderly fashion hence eventually capturing the growth and integrity of the people during a specific time. Technology, a relatively new application to documents, has also allowed documents to be accessed anywhere virtually. This change in platform itselfs presents a change in the public. Technology has become so conventional that it has even begun to be involved with documents which are notoriously known to be accurate representations of people.
Chapter 11 of What Writing Does and How It Does It focused on social facts, activity systems, genres, genre systems, and speech acts. The chapter concluded that all of these ideas suggest, “how people using text create new realities of meaning, relation, and knowledge” (Bazerman 309). These ideas directly address that people create their own culture with their social cues, knowledge, and behavior; they use documents to establish and confirm changes in societal perspective and/or behavior. These documents therefore reflect the people and their thoughts, intentions, and knowledge at a specific time. People organize these documents according to genre and utilize genre systems. Genre systems show a conscious pattern of similarities between documents; the documents are categorized by their meanings. This shows that like ideas indeed coexist and are grouped together to represent a popular thought.
Chapter 10 of Scrolling Forward claims that all documents address the questions that naturally emerge out of living human life. Levy sees that classic documents are typically believed to present higher, enlightened beliefs, “So it isn’t hard to see great documents like the Bible, the Constitution, or the works of Plato and Shakespeare as sources of stability, providing meaning, direction, and reassurance in the face of life’s uncertainties” (Levy 183). Life’s uncertainties harvest on an undying fear of all humans. Anthropologist Ernest Becker claims that each document is fueled by the base of human culture: the fear of death. Becker interprets, “human anxiety as the result of our inability to come to terms with our finitude” (Levy 184). And so, humans create documents as artifacts of their own lives and expect documents to preserve their lives, or in the least, their characters and thoughts; in other words, documents are used to capture the thoughts and essentially the entire lives of people. Documents serve as proof of life to both its readers and the writer him/herself.
Feminism and Affect at the Scene of Argument addresses the wrongfully discredited feminist position. Feminists are often seen as stereotypically dramatic, angry man-haters. Because of how documents, reflectant of the people’s interpretations of feminists, inaccurately represent feminist movement, the actual intentions of feminists are overlooked and often ignored. The author, Tomlinson, proposed the use of feminist socioforensic discursive analysis when reading in order to aid the bad behavior that is assuming incorrect information about feminism. The book discusses the relevance of binaries such as male/female and sun/moon in our culture, “Binaries have long been recognized as a central and damaging way of structuring Western thought, so feminists and other thinkers have provided us with tools for reconsidering them” (Tomlinson 11). The idea is that whatever word is listed first in a binary is valued more by society. In other words, the constant use of “he” before “she” in documents reflects the people’s overall belief and thought that men are more valuable than women. Because of the shifting societal perspective that is the feminist belief that men and women should be valued as equals, feminists aim to adjust this binary in future documents.
Feminist Research in Theory and Practice brings attention to the lives of women. This document intends to normalize and share the lives of women. Author Gayle Letherby explains that this is necessary, “This is important because historically women and women’s concerns have not been given much attention by researchers and when women were included they were presented as ‘not male’ and therefore as ‘other’, as not the ‘norm’, as deviant” (Letherby 6). With this statement, Letherby suggests that the lack of attention to women in documents, again, reflects the people’s belief and shared thought that men are more valuable than women. It also states that when women were addressed in documents as “not male”, this reflected how people thought of women as, not their own individuals, but rather as deviants and inferiors of men. However, presentation of women in today’s documents showed the changed people’s perspective which sees women as individuals independent of men.
- Do you think the fear of death underlies every human action and thought as Becker suggests? If so, can you think of any behaviors of your own that subconsciously reflect this natural human fear?
- People are said to create their cultures. What do you do to contribute to a bettered society and help adapt our culture?
- Do you think there is a misalignment between how people perceive their culture and how it actually is? Why or why not?
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