Describe the blog and rhetorical context
Describe each blog and the rhetorical context. Draw on what we've been doing so far, but also on Myers, chap 1 and 2 for describing the blog itself and determining the genre of the blog. (see 2.2, pp 18ff). Myers gives you some descriptive terminology throughout chapters 1 -2 to draw on. Don't spend too much time on a description of the layout: those are now pretty standard. Instead, describe

The last two above demand that you describe some representative postings of text. Myers mentions stylistic markers on p 19. But you also want to draw on the stylistic devices S&P mention in chap 9.

Next, describe the rhetorical context: the "relevant and significant social conditions, needs, [and] symbols, which serve as guidelines for interpreting [the rhetorical] messages" pp 53ff, as well as the implied and actual agents involved.

Obviously you're not going to read every post, and you are watching for patterns - some regularities that characterize this blog as set against another.

Notes
Spend some solid time on this task: the description is vital to analysis. Maybe 1-1/2 - 2 hrs on each. Length is difficult to gage: 500 concise words for the blog and the same for the context is good. But you continue to refine the description until you can confidently characterize the site and circumstances for someone who isn't looking at it. These descriptions will probably be more detailed than the work with the text-context sites. You're descriptions should be getting more concise, more observant with each new pass.



Amy Thielen Food Blog


[Need a link to the blog] http://amyrosethielen.tumblr.com/
I chose a food blog from a Chef named Amy Thielen. She grew up in northern Minnesota and went to culinary school in New York City. After working at some prestigious find-dining restaurants in the Big Apple she moved back to Minnesota and won a James Beard Award for journalism in 2011 for a series of articles about cuisine, and in 2013 she won another James Beard Award for broadcast and new media television show called the Midwestern Table.

The layout of her blog is that of a white background, links to like and follow her blog in the upper left hand side and a search bar and tumbler advert in the upper right hand side. Her name is drawn in cursive black at the top of the body of the blog which consists of two columns. The column on the left contains her prose and pictures and recipes and highlights of her family. The column on the right has a navigation bar with options for her cookbook, tv show, pics, appearances, and an 'about her' tab.

The features appropriate to Mrs. Thielen's blog are that of monthly posts [monthly! interesting] consisting of pics and commentary from her under the pics, describing the pics. They range in length from a few sentences to several paragraphs. Her topics range from her garden and what she has planted or wants to plant, depending on the time of year, to recipes and how she came to like the recipes she likes. Her family is a perennial topic she engages with. Her son and her husband as well as her immediate family sometimes make it into her writing. The images that are used are that of her home, which is just north of Park Rapids MN, that of her garden, that of her family, and that of the recipes she features. The links that are on her page are to follow her RSS feed, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. There are no comments on her posts that I can find. [Interesting again.]

The kind of prose that she uses in her blog is highlighted by vivid descriptors such as, "The fruit is slow-growing, dense, never watery or seedy, almost meaty" and, "That smoky putty-gray stuff will be like gold this winter" also, "At full ripe, it will be bumpy and more gnarly-looking". [using highly descriptive prose in this way is called ekprasis.] Her stylistic devices used include metaphors for how she feels before her garden ripens "That’s the way it is with boiling water—never hotter than when it seethes before the boil". Personification regarding how her egg-plant is "colonizing" the area around her cucumber "territory". [well observed here]Amy's word choice patterns exist mostly within the simile, metaphor, and personification of the food that is growing in her garden. She refers to the vegetables as having "flesh" and its "skin", some of them "walk around the garden" meaning that they spread out as they grow. [well observed here] The word choice is appropriate for the audience as the[suggests that the]blog seems to be tailored around the food-lovers interests. [be neutral rather than evaluative] .

Although there are recipes included in the blog, the unexpected choice I found here is that the recipes make only a small portion of the blog. If I would have been put to describing the blog before reading it and seeing the pictures within it I would have guessed that the recipes would dominate and the garden, family, and other happenings considered therein would play a tertiary role. [well seen] This does make a difference in how the message works as lending her name (and, more importantly her reputation as a nationally renowned Chef) lends the context to a more process-of-cooking and end-product-on-the-plate expectation. With featuring the garden and what chefs call "the product" the process of cooking and equations of recipes play second fiddle to the prequel of the entree.

[again, well done here] The implied rhetor [is] a classically trained Chef, is behind what we find at Amy Thielen's blog. The implied audience could include: people generally interested in food or "foodies" as they are being called more and more; people interested in gardening; those that like scenery from northern Minnesota; people interested in an "outdoorsy" lifestyle. The relationship between the rhetor and audience seems to exist within what our text (Myers p.24) calls a "sphericule" or one of a couple possible sphericules. These sphericules are the mini blog-communities whose focus is around cooking, food, gardening, outdoor interests, and northern Minnesota. The relationship herein between rhetor and audience is that of a background, experience, or general knowledge or interest in cooking, food, gardening, outdoor interests, and northern Minnesota as such. The circumstances or events the blog posts tend to address are experiences by Mrs. Thielen throughout the year as the posts are mainly on a monthly basis. From the fall harvesting of the garden to Halloween, deer hunting season, Thanksgiving and the holidays, the posts address cooking for family and friends, planting or harvesting or maintaining the garden (depending on the month slash post).

Social values the posts tend to work with are those of a familial nature what with all of the pics and commentary regarding getting together with loved ones during holidays, birthdays, hunting seasons etc. There is a communal ethos herein as she relies on others for certain aspects of help with her garden and harvesting as well as cooking for others with the literal fruits of her labors. Expectations the posts tend to set up by the rhetor for the audience is that of a vivid picture display of her recipes, garden, home in the woods, food on the table accompanied by friends and family that is seasoned with colorful and passionate prose between the pictures that bring them to life with their depth of feeling and breadth of emotion.

Tim Talks Alot Blog

[need a link tp the blog!] http://timtalks-alot.tumblr.com/
The second blog I chose was TimTalksAlot. Both are on Tumblr. This blog is authored by a little brother of a good old friend of mine. Tim grew up in northern Minnesota the son of a Doctor and a mother who stayed at home to raise the kids. He attended the University of Minnesota in the early 2000's. He married his high school sweetheart; he played sports and he was in choir.

The color scheme is much the same as the previous; a white background with black text in a two column format. However, this time the smaller column on the left is the informal informational aspect with an "about" paragraph explaining the why's of the blog. There are some tweets from his twitter account under that with links to Get his RSS, Browse his Archive, Random posts, and a Mobile version to chose from.

Features appropriate to the blog that are consistent herein are posts that expound on his opinions, a couple of videos and a pic or two. The blog is largely just text that he has written mostly opinions, but one is a work of fiction - a telling of a murder on Holloween. A majority of it is non-fictional ranting on various subjects from corporal punishment, personal experiences, and events from his childhood. The posts are quite infrequent; they occur about every couple of month to six months in duration. Their length is anywhere from 700 to a couple thousand words. Topics include: corporal punishment (naming the Adrian Peterson story that has been in the news recently), nostalgia evoked through music, random visitors to his house to name a few. The few images that are used are that of a timely nature, meaning they are used to remind the audience of the year to which the author is speaking. His links are to his twitter feed, facebook and to the archived blog posts. the responses to his posts are basically non existent except for a couple "likes".

The kind of prose used here is not really based in a "sphericule" as discussed in our text. Rather exists within a subsphericule or microsphericule where not a genre of foodies, or cinaphiles (movie goers), or pet enthusiasts exist. I would say that the sphericule created here is that of Tim himself. A Timhericule if you will, as the prose is structured around his experiences, which are stated as random and can't be encapsulated by a genre of foodie or pet enthusiast. The stylistic devices employed are that of feeling and tone of the message through a story, i.e. visual imagery.

His stylistic devices revolve around humor and sarcasm, often in the same trope. The implied rhetor is that of a first person exposition of personal opinion or experience, and fiction on occasion. The implied audience is that of friends, family and acquaintances that are familiar with Tim as least a little bit. The relationship between the rhetor and the audience is informal, humorous, and based on what I described above as the sphericule of Tim himself. There is an assumption of previous knowledge on both parts, save for the fiction, and this lends itself with reliability and trust from the audience towards the rhetor as believe what he is stating in his non-fiction writings. The circumstances or events the blog posts tend to address are personal to the rhetor. From past experiences as a kid, to those of an adult, to those of feelings regarding recent events in the news. The events the blog posts tend not to address are those of a deeply intellectual spectrum. He does not discuss metaphysics or epistemology, religion or the like. The social values the posts tend to work with are in fact of a moral plane, noting his example regarding corporal punishment and his feelings against. The expectations the posts tend to set up are those of a story from Tim. Be they opinionated, sarcasm, exposition, fiction, or flippant. These are the stories of Tim, and what he thinks of them. [stay with description and analysis: you're not writing an essay, and here you're jumping conclusions.]]


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