Obama’s Hope Campaign

At first glance, there is a lot going on in this image. The fact that it has the word “hope” in big, blue capital letters makes sure the viewer gets the right message that the creators were trying to portray. The man in the picture is our 44th president and our first African American President, Barack Obama. When Obama was running for office in 2008 he included this image in his campaign. Obama is pictured in the “three-quarters view”, meaning he is not turned directly towards the person viewing the image and making eye contact, making him look confident and powerful. At first glance, the bright colors and the contrast makes the image very eye-catching and interesting to look at. But these colors weren’t just chosen to catch someone’s attention, they were chosen meticulously to provide deeper meaning in the image. These colors are obviously the nation’s colors and represent patriotism, but they also represent the combination of democrats and republicans that make up America. In Obama’s eyes, they can coexist and he can be everyone’s present and help accomplish everyone’s goals, not just the democrats. In 2008 only a few days before the primary elections, a lot of the democratic votes were going to Hillary Clinton. It was vital that Obama win over the democrats and the election as well. A very popular and progressive street artist, Shepard Fairey, wanted to help Barack Obama succeed in the upcoming elections. With the approval of campaign managers he created the impactful image below. A lot of the pictures and slogans that candidates use for their political campaigns can be very negative and focus on what America or even specific individuals are doing wrong. For example, Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” is very negative. This type of campaigning often makes people react in the opposite way you would want them to. It could anger individuals or drive them away, resulting in less votes for that candidate. On the other hand, Obama’s image is positive. It doesn’t imply anything and it is hopeful. The way he presents his campaign tells a lot about himself, many people often referred to him as America’s most down to earth and sweet president. We are lucky enough to live in a country where there are multiple candidates running for office and we have a say in whether we like them, don’t or are impartial. This freedom of ours leads to candidates having to prove their worth to the country. Through speeches, slogans, posters, facebook videos, etc, candidates have to prove to the American population why we should vote for them. So, naturally, the intended audience for this image is every US citizen. The original picture that Fairey created had the word “PROGRESS” but after some concern with how people would interpret it, it was later changed to “HOPE”. This word can have a lot of different meanings so it opens up the viewers imagination and lets them put their own meaning to it in a way. This image spreads hope for the future, hope for the present and hope that Americans can work together to reach their goals.

The effects of practicing meditation on anxiety

I would like to research the effects of meditation on anxiety. In my psychology class we watched a video where a person practiced meditation and mindfulness to see if it would change the way their brain functioned. In general, I have heard a lot of people acclaim meditation to have strong positive effects on their anxiety levels. Although there could definitely be a correlation between the two, it might not be the case for everyone. Personally, I definitely believe that practicing meditation has a positive effect on individuals that deal with anxiety, or any other mental health issue for that matter.

Researching this topic is very important because Gen Z and millennials have anxiety rates that are high above the average amount (https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2018/stress-gen-z.pdf). A popular way to help people deal with anxiety is through prescribing medication. Though this can be a great way to help others cope with anxiety, it may not be the answer for everyone. If we can find an alternate solution, like meditation, for people that don’t want to take medication or don’t need it it could be very beneficial in improving their quality of life.

Considering meditation has become a lot more popular over the last few years I would have a lot of evidence from many legitimate sources to support my claim.

The Cost of Space Exploration

When looked at as a whole, space colonization sounds like a pretty cool and intriguing idea. But, if you delve into the specific pros and cons of it, it ultimately could end up doing more harm than good. 

One of the issues with space colonization is it’s extremely expensive. It would cost around $640 per pound to take things to space. A strong reason many people argue for space colonization is it would save the human race from becoming extinct. In turn, spending so much money on it would be worth it because you can’t put a price tag on life. Normally I would agree with this statement, but the human race wouldn’t be completely saved. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that one day the human race will become extinct and considering their is also a limited duration to our solar system. It simply doesn’t make sense to spend so much money on a project that isn’t very promising. 

Considering the US has a huge amount of debt, being able to contribute to a big project like space colonization just doesn’t seem reasonable. Hopefully, in the future it could be explored when we are more economically stable and have more wiggle room for errors. 

Analysis on Maya Walker’s “To Meme or Not to Meme”

In the essay “To Meme or not to Meme” the author, Maya Walker, does a good job of using an array of rhetorical devices to form a strong argument. Her use of Kairos and Pathos in particular really made her writing jump out to you and make the reader feel the need to change the way memes about mental health are not taken seriously. Maya’s usage of Kairos is seen in the quote “Generation Z is the “most likely of all generations to report poor mental health” (American Psychological Association, 2018), and I would contend that the way we talk about mental health online might just be to blame for that.” The writer chose to write her essay about mental health and the struggles that come along with it because it is very current topic that makes up a big part of today’s society. She wants to get the idea across that satirizing depression isn’t healthy before it’s too late. Additionally, her usage of Pathos in the quote “The internet should not be one’s sole source of emotional support, and the idea that it even could be is wildly ludicrous and incredibly dangerous for suffering teenagers” really tugs at the readers emotions. 

Any average person would be affected by the term “suffering teens” in one way or another.

As a reader, the one thing that needs improvement is the repetition of her writing. She makes a lot of valid arguments, but they are repeated or brought up multiple times and seems to jump back and forth between referring to her arguments. If she discussed one argument in its entirety and then moved on to her next claim I think it would make her writing easier to understand. Ultimately, what we learned from Maya’s essay is that if we don’t break the stigma that satirizing mental health by using it as a source of content for memes is acceptable, then the goal of improving mental health won’t be attainable.

To Meme or Not to Meme

Thesis:

  • “The root of this unrecognized internal turmoil was an acclimation to suicidal tendencies, one of the core values in today’s memes. That’s right: internet memes played a role in my depressive spiral.”
  • “That is why broadening awareness to the seriousness of mental health issues online is vital to bringing about a healthier and happier Gen Z.”

Audience:

  • Gen Z
  • Adolescents
  • People who use social media
  • People who joke about mental health

Logos:

  • In a recent study, 21% of teenagers reported feeling more popular when using social media, mainly because of the engagement they receive when something they feel comes off as “relatable”
    • Using this fact to further prove her points

Ethos:

  • “That is why broadening awareness to the seriousness of mental health issues online is vital to bringing about a healthier and happier Gen Z”
    • Using words like “vital” show the importance of the issue and makes the writer sound like they really know what they are talking about
  • “That’s right: internet memes played a role in my depressive spiral.”
    • Writer made this statement sound like a fact and worded it with certainty, builds authority

Pathos:

  • The internet should not be one’s sole source of emotional support, and the idea that it even could be is wildly ludicrous and incredibly dangerous for suffering teenagers
    • Calls attention to the issue through terms like “suffering teens”. The average person would be affected in some way by the term.

Kairos:

  • “Generation Z is the “most likely of all generations to report poor mental health” (American Psychological Association, 2018), and I would contend that the way we talk about mental health online might just be to blame for that.”
    • Writer states that Gen Z reports the most poor mental health. Memes regarding mental health won’t help fix this issue, which is very prevalent right now. The writer chose to write about this topic because it is very current and important in today’s day and age.

The Importance of Making Your Own Decisions

It was a Tuesday, which meant I had CCD. As my mom drove the 10 minutes it took to get from our house to church, I dreadfully looked out the window and felt like a prisoner already. I would have much rather spent the rest of my afternoon playing with Jesse, my childhood best friend, than having to sit in a stuffy and overly-lit basement with a bunch of other bored 13 year olds. Class starts and Father John starts rolling out a TV stand and I switch my attention from blankly staring at my shoelaces to the video in front of me. In the video, a clear cup of water gets black ink dropped into it. A hand appears with a spoon trying to fish the ink out and obviously fails, turning the water dark and nebulous. Father John turns the TV off and proceeds to explain to us the meaning behind the strange video. He said something along the lines of 

“If you have sex before marriage, you will never be able to go back to the pure person you were before and god will be dissapointed in you”. The class clown of my CCD class raised his hand and asked if it’s the same case if you have gay sex. Father John responded by saying 

“It just doesn’t fit, if you know what I mean” while he hit his fists together. I was astonished and disgusted by that comment, while the rest of the class seemed to think it was pretty funny. At this point, my confirmation was a month away and I started to question if I wanted to be a part of the Catholic community. It didn’t take me very long to make up my mind, I decided I didn’t want to go through with my confirmation. You could say my mom wasn’t too thrilled about my decision after 9 years of religious school. I didn’t want to ditch religion completely because I do believe there is a higher power and I feel like it gives me a sense of purpose to do well in life. So, I decided to explore my father’s religion, Judaism. 

The jewish religion is very accepting and holds great value to helping others. By deciding to practice Judaism, I felt like I was being true to my values. Judaism is so big on justice that they even have their own word for it: Tzedakah. This translates to “righteous behavior” and is viewed not as a matter of charity, but rather a moral requirement. With the intent to live a righteous life, you begin to embrace different perspectives and inclusiveness becomes ubiquitous. 

February of my Junior Year of High school I went on a service trip to Nicaragua with my towns youth group, which comprised of my temple and the Presbysterian church. The third day we were there, which was by far the most memorable day of the trip, we went to a church that was in the middle of nowhere called La Iglesia de los Últimos Días. The special thing about this church was that the walls were adorned with not only crucifixes, but Stars of David as well. There was a small band in the front of the church that was accompanying their salsa music with hebrew lyrics. Regardless of faith, everyone was participating in the celebrations and having a great time. 

I layed in bed that night on the bottom bunk understanding that, at their heart, all religions want people to feel welcome and that they have a sense of meaning and motivation in life. Judaism aims to instill good values in its followers through the teachings of the torah. Through this it creates a supportive and virtuous community that prides itself on loving and accepting all. Choosing to practice Judaism was a huge rite of passage in my life because it was the first decision I had made entirely on my own. I was able to change something I wasn’t happy about, while having my values as a driving force.

About me :)

Hi everyone! My name is Sabrina Siles and I am from Westchester, NY (about an hour from NYC). I’m majoring in Psychology with the end goal of becoming a psychologist. At first I thought I wanted to be a child psychologist, but as much as I love children, I don’t think I could work with them all day long. I have two little brothers, Noah (6 years old) and Coby (4 years old). It’s definitely hard having an age gap of 12 and 14 years but I love them more than anything and wouldn’t have it any other way. I spend most of my time hanging out with friends and family. My mom is from Italy and her whole side of the family lives in the Giulia-Friuli Venezia region. I travel there every summer to spend time with my family and hang out with my friends as well (my best friend lives there). Speaking Italian has been really helpful for learning French, which was the language I took in Middle and High School. I’m so excited to be at UD and I hope you all have a great year!