PictureOne has an i. One has a g.
What’s the difference between i.e. and e.g., you ask? Well, it’s quite simple, really. The abbreviation, i.e., stands for a Latin phrase, id est, and the abbreviation, e.g., also stands for a Latin phrase, exempli gratia. Okay, got it? Blog post=done!

Oh, not good enough for you, huh? Need a little more explanation, do we? Well then, to further elucidate the point, I call upon another famous “i.e.”

A handsome fellow.
Idris Elba has set the television world ablaze with his work in great TV shows like The Wire and Luther and has transitioned to the big screen with roles in the Thor movies and Pacific Rim. Mr. Elba, of course, knows that i.e. essentially means “in other words.” Here are a few examples:

·  Idris Elba’s favorite vacation spot is the “Show Me State” (i.e., Missouri).
·  Idris Elba’s character is Pacific Rim, Stacker Pentecost, has a brilliant quote in the movie (i.e., “Today we are cancelling the apocalypse!”).
·   In The Wire, Stringer Bell runs into two tough customers (i.e., Omar and Brother Mouzone).

So are i.e. and e.g. interchangeable? Not so fast. There is a considerable difference. Just ask another famous “e.g.”

Oh, the charisma!
Eliot Gould, star of Robert Altman movies, MASH, The Long Goodbye, and California Split, knows all about how to use e.g. properly. He knows that e.g. essentially means “examples given,” and thus it introduces a list of examples. Check out these Eliot Gould fun facts:

·  Eliot Gould’s favorite Pokémon are psychic types (e.g., Alakazam, Espeon and Reuniclus).
·  Eliot Gould has enjoyed a late-career renaissance with numerous films (e.g., Ocean’s Thirteen and Contagion).
· Eliot Gould has an uncanny celebrity look-a-like (e.g., Anthony Bourdain).

Usually, you are going to use e.g. more than i.e. Also, notice the comma that immediately follows each abbreviation. Now as you further ruminate on the differences between the two, consider which man is more dapper.

PictureA brilliant man.
Yesterday, I was waiting at the bus stop, and lo and behold, David Lee Roth, the best front man of the legendary band, Van Halen, appeared. Removing a tiny gold comb from his pocket to groom his immaculate chest hair, Diamond Dave gazed into the middle distance with a Zen-like tranquility. Nevertheless, being such a huge fan, I had to take my chance to talk to the rock and roll hall of famer.

“Oh, my god, David Lee Roth, I am such a big fan. I am just so enamored with your music.”

“Let me cut you off right there, sonny,” David Lee Roth said. “You can’t be enamored with something or someone. The proper grammatical construction is that you are enamored of my greatness. Yeah!”

Nearly decapitating me with a mid-air scissor kick, I begged Roth to forgive my faux pas. “Hopefully,” I continued, “I will not make that mistake again.”

“But you just made another one,” Roth replied, strutting up and down the street. “Hopefully means to be full of hope. While you do indeed hope that you will not make foolish grammatical errors again, you are not full of hope when making that statement. Woo!”

PictureTitle says it all!
At this point, I was quite miffed by being corrected back-to-back in such a fashion. I told that glorious one as much: “Listen, there’s no need to keep correcting my grammar, Diamond Dave. The whole point is a little moot.”

“One grammar correction, coming up!” Roth screamed. “Moot means that something is debatable, not superfluous. You should really check yourself before your wreck yourself, baby!”

“Oh man, all this grammar correcting is making me nauseous,” I cried.

“You mean, nauseated,” Roth retorted.

PictureDiamonds are not forever.
At this point, I fled in a grammar-corrected rage, bumping into Eddie Van Halen. The guitar virtuoso stopped me and said, “Oh, I see you ran into Roth. He kept correcting your grammar, didn’t he?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, he did.”

“What a jerk. It is one of the reasons the band broke up, besides the massive ego clash,” Van Halen said, reaching into a nearby mailbox and pulling out a guitar. “How about I cool your nerves with an outstanding guitar solo?”

PictureYour paper in human form.
I ran into my English essay the other day and greeted him with a hardy, “Hey, English paper, what’s up?” Titling the monocle hanging ever so pretentiously from his left margin, my essay replied, “I shall not respond to such vulgarities.” Naturally, I was taken aback by his curtness, for this was the paper that I had worked so hard to complete, and yet, seeing him there, smoking his large full bent billiard pipe, I could scarcely recognize my creation.

PictureYour paper is bourgeois.
I told him, “Well, what’s your deal? When did ya become so pompous?” Blowing a perfect smoke ring from his pipe, the paper replied, “If you wish to engage in proper discourse on the matter, I have no qualms with that intention. However, I will again ask you to refrain from such crude speech when addressing me, for I am English paper. I am not one of your chums with whom you waste hours playing Call of Duty. Nor am I your girlfriend who your ceaselessly text your absolute rubbish. I am no agent of conversational tonalities. I respond only to the most sophisticated, carefully crafted discourse.”

PictureLet's settle this.
“How dare you…” I cried, but before I could respond further, my English paper challenged me to a duel, which I readily accepted. The following morning, the stage was set: pistols at dawn. Our seconds by our side (my English paper predictably chose my Master’s thesis to be his right hand man), pistols were primed; we walked 10 paces, turned and fired. Unfortunately, while an undisputed purveyor of high discourse, my English paper did not have hands, and therefore, could not fire his blunderbuss. My aim, however, proved true, and my bullet found a home in the center of the page.

PictureBehold the fallen page.
“I am bested,” my English paper gasped. “However, I will conclude on this note: bullets are not the material by which elegant arguments are forged. Words and their deft employment will strike the mark truer than any firearm ever could. With this, I bid you farewell.” Revolver smoking at my side, I shed a tear for my fallen foe, for he, despite his snobbish behavior, was a true gentleman, valiantly vanquished. But the world belongs to the living, and my second and I promptly traveled homeward to play several hours of Call of Duty, leaving my English paper to blow lifelessly among the inarticulate fallen leaves.

For their divisional playoff game against the Carolina Panthers, the San Francisco 49ers needed a little extra motivation, which is why Coach Jim Harbaugh called in the 16-time heavyweight champion of the world and self-professed “dirtiest player in the game,” Ric Flair to provide his team with a pep talk, a pep talk that would undeniably be the deciding factor in the 49ers' subsequent victory.

PictureLooks like my bath robe.
Now some may wonder why Coach Harbaugh would call a fake wrestler, albeit the greatest fake wrestler of all time, to speak to his team. The answer is quite simple: Ric Flair is a master rhetorician. Let us consider the facts. Ric Flair was considered the greatest heel or bad guy in wrestling history; therefore, his job was to utilize various rhetorical appeals to get the audience to despise him enough to pay money to see Ric Flair dismantled by heroes of wrestling such as Dusty Rhodes, Sting, and Ricky Steamboat. How did he achieve this so flawlessly?

Picture"My shoes cost more than your house!"
First, Flair was a master at understanding his audience whenever he spoke. Most notably, he would rant and rave about all his material possessions: the fact the he only wore custom-made clothes, lived in the most lavish of homes, and owned diamond-encrusted Rolex watches. These materialistic verbal rampages would offend the more humble sensibilities of the average wrestling fan, sparking all sorts of outrage.

PictureFerrell has never looked better.
Ric Flair was also operating at the vanguard of popular culture. While most professional wrestlers would ineloquently bark about how they were going to throttle their opponent, Flair would populate his promos with phrases appropriated from the world outside of professional wrestling. For instance, referring to himself as a “the Limousine riding, jet flying, kiss stealing, wheeling dealing son of a gun” was an allusion to a Jerry Lee Lewis song. Flair, himself, is now entrenched in the popular culture as Will Ferrell lifted his look and mannerisms on the provocative show, Eastbound and Down.

PictureSomeone is in for a world of hurt.
Most importantly, Ric Flair—despite saying off-the-wall things on a daily basis—was passionate about what he said, and that passion was nearly palpable. So many writers struggle with their writing because they are not passionate about the topic or the writing experience itself. To all those people, I tell them to, like the 49ers, take some inspiration from Ric Flair. Find something personal in your topic and maximize it, so the reader believes you care about the topic. For 40 years, Ric Flair believed in himself and what he said, even when he was bashing someone in the skull with a steel chair. Woooooooo!

PictureThat's some sick 64-bit air!
2013 has come and gone, and here on the blog, we’ve had fun talking about all sorts of writing concepts interspersed with pontifications about video games, Batman villains, Big Macs, Pokémon, and Charles Barkley. Today, I thought I would be a bit more serious and offer you some Writing Resolutions for 2014 to consider as you compose reports and essays for your various classes. These five suggestions are not necessarily as fun as playing Wave Race 64, but will pay huge dividends in your writing.

PictureWe've all been there.
1. Don’t Procrastinate

This may be the hardest resolution to keep. The typical college student stereotype is the one who stays up all night, chugging Mountain Dew to stay awake, in order to complete a 10 page paper due the following morning. How does that work out for the majority of students? Not so well. Giving yourself as much time as possible to compose an essay not only reduces your general stress level, but also gives you more time to think about what you’re writing, which always leads to a better paper.

2. Brainstorm and Outline

Once you eliminate procrastination, you can spend more time planning your papers. Brainstorming and outlining your papers in advance are excellent ways to generate content, build organization, and establish cohesion in your essays as opposed to writing it on the fly. Just a few minutes of planning before composing often makes a world of difference in terms of the essay’s quality.

PictureFyodor Dostoevsky, a scary man.
3. Read

You’ve probably heard it many times before: Good readers make good writers. Reading improves your vocabulary and understanding of sentence structures. It also builds your collection of knowledge that you can subsequently pour into your essays. Impress your Sociology teacher with a reference to Dostoevsky. Wow your English teacher with a discussion on Principia Mathematica. Read often and read different types of texts.

4. Proofread

One text you always want to read is your own writing. You spend hours composing your essay, but will you spend a few extra minutes reading through it for grammar, content, and clarity? Many students do not and get their papers back, bleeding red ink. Proofread every paper multiple times. Read your papers aloud. Just like brainstorming and outlining, proofreading serves a relatively quick process that has a substantial impact.

PictureThe AWC Staff, a handsome bunch of devils.
5. Collaborate

Last, but not least, share your work. Collaborate with other people and have them read it. Have your roommate or friend read through your paper. Share your work with your classmates in a study group. As always, you have the Academic Writing Center on campus where you can have a writing tutor read through it. Another set of eyes and a new perspective usually means considerable improvement.

I know it’s tough, but see if you can keep a few of these resolutions in 2014. If you do, your writing will undoubtedly improve. Have a great start to a new year!

PictureBehold the majesty!
Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun—such are the ingredients of the colossal, legendary burger known as the Big Mac. Before the mass invasion of sandwich shops (I believe there are ten in close proximity to UC’s campus. Insane.) and burrito joints (in which there are three), there was only the Big Mac. Oh, what a milestone, a step into adulthood, when I—weary of the singular cheeseburger and small fry in the Happy Meal—was no longer tempted by the cheap plastic toy and instead opted for a real meal: A Big Mac.

PictureA tasty tortoise.
Yes, the Big Mac has fallen on hard times since then due to the massive amount of competition that I alluded to earlier as well as the general realization that some of the more health-conscious among us may have acquired: that our bodies really aren’t made to scarf down this saturated fat stack. Nevertheless, the Big Mac still serves as a fine metaphor for college writers everywhere for what is known as source synthesis.

PictureThe left one is made from plastic.
Source synthesis is a practice commonly applied in research papers where multiple sources are integrated in the same paragraph. Now a little known rule in the burger biz is that the bread makes the sandwich. This is obviously true in regards to the Big Mac with its sesame seed bun (although I am not sure what difference it actually makes). However, in the compositional counterpart, the “bread” in this case is your own analysis and the “meat” is the quotations you employ to back up your analysis. Let’s take a look at the example below:

The role of a commercial artist is integral to food advertisement. If fast food organizations offered truthfully rendered images of their food options, the result could be disastrous. In “Food Facsimiles,” John Dreiser argues, “Commercial artists access the Platonic ideal of the food we consume” (32). Indeed, the real-life smashed-up burgers offered at your local fast food joint are often in grave need for a drastic reimagining, thus distracting us from the fact the food is not only bad for consumers in terms of health, but often just looks disgusting. Wilson Graves, in “Fast Food Simulacrum,” argues, “Marketing in fast food is all about deception. Consumers must be deceived into thinking there is some positive benefit from eating it” (99). Commercial artists thus remain a staple of the fast food landscape. They serve as convincing answers to the argument that we should probably not being eating fast food, even if their answers are often laden with trickery.

PictureSuper Big Mac? Don't do it.
Notice the interplay between the content of the paragraph and the quotes. First we have a statement, then a quote supporting it, followed by analysis (the mysterious third hunk of bread in the Big Mac), another quote, and lastly, some concluding thoughts. Ideally, your paragraphs should follow a similar model, incorporating different ideas and combining them with your own analysis. When writing, follow the way of the Big Mac, friend. When seeking lunch, perhaps consider something else.

PictureAre your threatening me or asking me directions?
In the second part of our installment, Fallacies and Batman Villainy, I am covering the next set of devious fallacies and the Batman evildoers that best represent them. I pray that this post will not lead to Bane giving me a stern talking to.

PictureGood career move.
One common fallacy is the faulty appeal to authority in which the author of the argument appeals to an authority that is well-known, but is not an authority on the manner. Consider this example: “When one considers the treachery of Batman villains, many people, such as Lex Luthor, think them chumps.” Although Lex Luthor is something of an expert on treachery, he is also somewhat biased against Batman villains. If you were to ask a true authority on these matters, you should instead consult The Riddler who is an expert in all things.

PictureClocks? I have a cell phone, thanks.
Another fallacy is known as the hasty generalization. This fallacy typically revolves around stereotypes or generalizing one example as the norm. An example of this fallacy would be “Bane got the better of Batman in the first half of The Dark Knight Rises. I guess Batman villains win more often than not.” You never want to be too hasty when it comes to generalizations. Instead, learn how to be cool, calculating, and always on point like the villainous Clock King.

The final fallacy of this post is known as the red herring. In this fallacy, the author of the argument employs a tangent to distract the audience from the primary argument. For instance, we have this example, “Batman is a big jerk. He’s supposed to be this great hero, but look how many villains hurt Gothamites on his watch!” Clearly, a villain who has a taste for herrings, like The Penguin, is behind such fallacious comment. Then again, it could be The Joker who is no stranger when it comes to using fish as chemical weaponry.

I'll have the steak.
PictureNot remotely nutritious.
In honor of Halloween, I thought I would ruminate on the haunting parallels between compositional fallacies and Batman villains. Let’s look at the villainous dossier, so you can trounce these fallacies in your writing like the Cape Crusader vanquishes his foes on the big screen, the small screen, comic books, and on the back of the Batman cereal box.

Fallacies are wicked things. They are weaknesses in your arguments, and they are as numerous as the depraved evildoers in Arkham Asylum. The first fallacy we’ll look at is known as a false dichotomy. False dichotomies occur when the author sets up a scenario where there are only two choices, and then proceeds to construct an argument such a way that there is only appropriate choice: the author’s belief.

PictureCan I borrow that quarter...Nevermind.
Take a look at this example: “Kids are pretending like they are Batman and jumping off the roofs of houses. Either we get rid of Batman forever or all of our children will have broken legs.”

In this absurd example, the author, who clearly wants to get rid of Batman, has set up an argument where the audience has to choose between Batman and saving the injured children. I would still choose Batman in this case, but more mature audiences, tricked by the fallacy, may choose to save the injured children. Clearly, such as a fallacy is the work of the Two-Face, the dichotomous villain who can either be good or evil (mostly evil) instead of just a good-natured slacker who watches Batman: The Animated Series well into his thirties.

PictureNo salt for California!
Like that fallacy? How about another? The slippery slope fallacy is often used in political rhetoric. The slippery slope is based around a faulty chain reaction in which the author makes a claim that we must do something or there will be dire consequences.

Take a look at this example: “Our city needs to be sure that we purchase the necessary amount of salt for the winter. If we do not and a blizzard occurs, we will not be able to drive to work. We will be locked in our houses for days at a time. The entire city will shut down, and Mr. Freeze will take over and lord over us with his icy fist!”

No slope is too slippery for Mr. Freeze, my friends.

PictureMore smelly than scary.
In the last fallacy of this post, I point to the straw man fallacy. The straw man fallacy essentially works in the following manner: an author disagrees with a certain party, so he or she puts depicts that party in a weakened position that is often untrue or exaggerated.

Take a look at this example: “Batman is not a hero, but a vigilante! He just drives around town (not paying attention to the speed limit, mind you) in his bat mobile and causes a ton of damage to our city. Last week, he blew up my favorite vegetarian restaurant. What a menace!”

Yes, Batman may have wrecked that restaurant, but the author, in this case, is neglecting the fact that he did so in order to capture the villainous Scarecrow, the undisputed master of the straw man fallacy!

That wraps up this edition of fallacies and villains, all composed without the help of Robin, the Boy Wonder! Happy Halloween!

Yeah, don't need your help...AT ALL!
PictureAt least Pigpen has manners.
The five page argument paper is a bit of a bear. So many words to write, ugh, and you have to incorporate all that research. In that research, you found a beautiful long quote, totaling some 53 words. You could just slap some quotation marks around that bad boy and stick it in your paper, but before patting yourself on the back and congratulating yourself on the 53 words you didn’t have to write, you may want to keep some tips in mind regarding long quotes. Lest you become a blockhead.

PictureThe prophecy is realized!
First, remember that writing is the product of numerous rhetorical choices, and while placing long quotes in your paper is easy, you should probably have a stronger rationale for choosing to do so. Ask yourself: what purpose does this quote serve and can it be shortened in any way? If your quotation has a lot of fluff in it, then you’re probably better serve to trim it down a bit.

PictureI am just gonna walk under ya. Man!
If you find that all that quoted information is vital to your paper, then you can incorporate it as a block quote. Block quotes are typically quotes longer than four lines and are formatted differently than regular quotes. You do not include quotation marks, but rather indent the entire quote one inch from the margin. Block quotes are double spaced like the rest of your paper and the period placement goes before the parenthetical citation.

PictureLess block quotes. More wood blocks!
Block quotes are helpful rhetorical choices that incorporate substantial blocks of research to bolster your argument. However, use them sparingly. Although there are no strict rules regarding the number of block quotes, I would limit their use to one block quote per every few pages. Using too many block quotes is usually a signal to your professor that you may not be giving your best effort in the paper. Write the best paper you can. Then you can play the wood block all you want!

PictureOak, just give me squirtle AND charmander, jerk.
You have a choice, and it is an important one. There, sitting on Professor Oak’s desk, are three pokeballs, containing a bulbasaur, a charmander, and a squirtle. Now is the time to make the most important decision of your life.

You have another decision, and it is an important one. There, sitting on your desk, is your laptop. You have to write a paper, and you can emphasize logos, pathos, or ethos. Now it is time to make a somewhat important decision in your life.

Bulbasaur is a logical choice. The grass-type pokemon employs a balanced attack and will serve you well against the rock-type pokemon in the Pewter Gym and the water-type pokemon in the Cerulean Gym. But who wants a pokemon with an onion on its back?

Logos is always a strong tactic to utilize. Hard facts and statistics along with a strong logically-argued setup yields great success in numerous paper situations. But who just wants to write a paper populated with a bunch of facts?

Charmander, now that’s a pokemon. The fire-type struggles initially against the initial gyms, but has a fiery personality to overcome virtually all comers. Also, charmander evolves into charizard, a straight-up fire-breathing dragon. Don’t be a fool. Choose the dragon!

Pathos is a powerful rhetorical tactic that employs strong emotional appeals. No matter how logical an argument may be, if the conflicting argument’s pathos is strong enough, it will incinerate it since humans are emotional creatures who tend to think dragons are cool.

PictureLeonardo always was a jerk.
Squirtle, now there’s a dark horse. The water-type pokemon can immediately douse charmander’s flame, reducing him to a puddle of wet ashes. Also, with his strong defensive shell, squirtle proves quite sturdy against blunt physical attacks.

Ethos can employ a fortress of credibility to protect itself against strong bursts of emotion. Although arguments heavy with passion can appeal to human nature, a credible author often quells even the fieriest emotions.

PictureSquirtling ain't easy!
Of course, with all things, balance is key. Sure, ethos can quell pathos, but can a low-level squirtle beat a mighty charizard? I think not. Ideally, you want to ensure that your paper represents all three of these elements, not to mention a sense of chairos, best represented by the awe-inspiring Gengar.