Yesenia Montenotte Team 16-Final Paper

Hi Yesenia,

Wonderful and explicit images! You tackled a complex topic and really investigated the cause of the event.  Well-done!  Good writing style, good incorporation of class concepts, and excellent work.  I am so pleased that you did so well on this assignment.  Good intro and conclusion, good body of essay. 

one note: anti-government not antigovernment

 

 

When Nicolás Maduro was reelected as the President of Venezuela, despite the country being in a major financial and humanitarian crisis, it was reported that the election was rigged. Many believed that the election proved that there was a power vacuum within the country and constituted for the National Assembly Leader to step in. Due to this, Juan Guaidó declared himself president of Venezuela in an attempt to bring democracy to the country and improve the quality of life for all citizens (Specia). Delivering the news is important because the outlet’s perspective is the main factor that influences how that information is portrayed. When the Venezuelan presidential crisis occurred, and Juan Guaidó declared himself the interim president, the presentation of this news around the world through social media and major news broadcasts was noticeably influenced by whether the country is opposed to systems resembling communism, their perception on basic human rights, and future plans that would benefit their country’s agenda.

Many countries, including the United States and Russia, have given their opinion on the Venezuelan presidential crisis. The main difference that distinguishing all of the countries positions is the country’s governmental system that is currently employed. The United States, for example, is a democracy and is in favor of Juan Guaidó, while Russia, who has more of a dictatorship, is supporting Nicolás Maduro. The United States and Russia have been the countries most involved in the crisis, but for what reason?

The United States and Venezuela established diplomatic relations in 1835. They had a very healthy relationship, especially since Venezuela has the largest oil reserves and was a source of oil for the United States. However, once the Cold War was on the brink of ending, their relations began to wither (Corrales, Romero). Once Hugo Chavez came into power to Venezuela in 1999, the relationship between the two countries worsened as the international environment was also changing (Corrales, Romero). Their relations have since then have not improved and continue to be strained despite the United States supporting the people of Venezuela. This strain has caused the United States to support Juan Guaidó during the current presidential crisis in hopes of improving the issues that Venezuelan citizens are currently experiencing. The United States’ involvement has caused countries such as Russia and China to step in and support Nicolás Maduro, the president in which many democracies do not support.

It appears as though the countries that support either Nicolás Maduro or Juan Guaidó choose sides depending on if their own current governmental system resembles communism or not. Other factors such as their perception on basic human rights and the country’s future plans that would benefit their country’s agenda are also taken into account when they announce whom they support.

However, the issue with this is the deliverance of information. Many individuals in the United States were under the impression that Nicolás Maduro burned a convoy that was filled with aid for the millions of citizens who were suffering from illness and hunger in Venezuela. This news was distributed in major news outlets and social media within the United States, but footage obtained by The New York Times claims that the information was entirely false (Casey et al). Based on the information obtained by The New York Times, they came to the conclusion that an antigovernment protestor accidentally set fire to the convoy with a Molotov cocktail. This situation is a perfect example of the course How We Know What We Know and how important it is to ensure that the information that we are given is as accurate as possible.

Russia has been very influential in Venezuela since the diminishing of the relations with the United States. In order to have influence in the country today, Russia has invested money, military weaponry, implemented aggressive foreign policies, and promoting anti-Washington governments in not just Venezuela, but many countries in Latin America (Sanchez). Russia has done this in order to cause the United States to have very limited, if any, influence in the country to their own advantage.

Countries present the news around the world through social media and major news broadcasts with their perception of the crisis based on their environments. In a TIME magazine titled “Venezuela’s Crossroads,” Ciara Nugent describes the issue from the stance of not supporting Nicolás Maduro. Nugent writes the article with both logos and pathos. Nugent is capable of providing statistics that prove her stance is not solely based on emotion. In the article it mentioned that Guaidó “appears to have given Venezuela its first real chance to restore democracy since its socialist experiment collapsed” (Nugent). The article is written from the perspective of an individual who does not support governmental systems opposite of democracies.

A Chinese website, China Daily, looks at the presidential crisis from a completely different perspective. The article is written from the perspective of an individual who believes Guaidó is in the wrong for declaring himself as president. The article states that Venezuela’s future should be decided by its own people, not outside powers” (Xiaowei). Xiaowei believes that the United States is only involving itself within the presidential crisis so that they may install a government that is US-friendly like it once was. The author also claims that Russia does not want to be involved in any other current affairs, but is only involving themselves because the United States has.

The crisis in Venezuela has escalated to the point where countries like Russia have made threats to the United States. The article written by Ana Vanessa Herrero and Neil MacFarquhar shows the severity of the situation due to their use of ethos. The authors do not take a side in their article; they are just explaining what is going with China, Russia, Venezuela, and the United States. Within the article it is said that after the military leader in Venezuela gave his support to Maduro, Putin and Russia “dispatched a small group of aircraft to Venezuela in a show of solidarity with Mr. Maduro, including two Tu-160 nuclear-capable bombers that flew more than 6,000 miles” (Herrero, MacFarquhar). Russia used their aircrafts as a message to the United States saying their military also supports Maduro so it they should not intervene using any military forced of their own.

In conclusion, countries involved in the Venezuelan presidential crisis take sides that will benefit their country’s agenda in the long run. Each country has a different take on the issue because of their own governmental system and this translates into how that information is disseminated.

Casey, Nicholas, et al. “Footage Contradicts U.S. Claim That Nicolás Maduro Burned Aid Convoy.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 10 Mar. 2019 

Corrales, Javier, and Carlos A Romero. U.S.-Venezuela Relations Since the 1990s: Coping with Midlevel Security Threats. Routledge, 2013.

Sanchez, W.Alejandr. “Russia and Latin America at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century.” Journal of Transatlantic Studies (Routledge), vol. 8, no. 4, Winter 2010, pp. 362–384. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/14794012.2010.522355.

Nugent, Ciara. “Venezuela’s Crossroads.” Time, vol. 193, no. 6/7, Feb. 2019, pp. 42–47. EBSCOhost.

Herrero, Ana Vanessa, and Neil Macfarquhar. “Russia Warns U.S. Not to Intervene in Venezuela as Military Backs Maduro.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Jan. 2019.

Xiaowei, Wang. “Intervention Won’t Resolve Venezuela Crisis.” China Daily, China Daily, 9 Mar. 2019.

Specia, Megan. “What Is Happening in Venezuela? How It Got Here and Why It Matters.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Jan. 2019.

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Team 16 Assignment #3- Yesenia Montenotte, Lailah Johnson, Shantall Suarez, Alexandra Bello, Laurenth Espitia

Senate Proposing Law That Will Turn Parents Who Do Not Vaccinate Their Children Into Criminals

A new law has been proposed in the Senate that will punish the parents of unvaccinated children. The bill is due for review in the upcoming weeks and is coming out following the county-wide public ban on unvaccinated minors in Rockland County, New York.  The ban was in result of a measles outbreak in the area consisting of 157 reported cases. So far the public-ban has led to 500 reported vaccinations within the first 24 hours alone.

The potential law will see that parents who have not vaccinated their children after they have reached the age of one, will be faced with criminal charges including negligence and reckless endangerment. Punishments will range from fines or jail time to the placement of children into Child Protective Services.

The “anti-vaxxer” movement is full of parents that are knowingly withholding their children from receiving any vaccines. According to them, there is a link between autism and childhood vaccinations. They also believe there is a connection with other brain disorders, although there is no evidence to support their claims.

Some parents are unhappy with the amount of vaccine their kids receive at such young ages. By the age of two, some kids have gotten as many as twenty-three shots. Studies show that the reasoning behind the multitude of shots is that young children are much more vulnerable to diseases and the immunity acquired from their mother’s breast milk has worn off.

According to Center for Disease Control (CDC), if only a few people get vaccinated it is much easier for a disease to spread causing a possible outbreak versus more people being vaccinated and making it easier to contain a disease.

Vaccines are used to prevent certain diseases, such as pertussis and chickenpox. Due to vaccines keeping the number of cases in the country low, some diseases have successfully faded from relevancy. Government officials fear that if we stop using vaccines altogether, those few cases that exist will quickly turn into hundreds and thousands of cases across the United States.

The “anti-vaxxer” movement also puts into question whether or not vaccines are necessary if a person finds themselves perfectly healthy without them. While there is no evidence to prove that the lack of vaccines causes harm, there is still doubt concerning its’ effectiveness.

One must also consider other factors when referring to a weak immune system other than not being vaccinated. Some examples include weather conditions,  surrounding environment, allergies, and DNA play a role. Many are reconsidering following their government blindly based on their current excellent health status due to not vaccinating. But, this new law will not give a choice to those not abiding by the law.

While many parents feel that their children should not be obligated to receive vaccinations, government officials predict that without proper reinforcement, the circumstances may become life-threatening. The end result of this looming threat to public health is a governmental intervention that will see U.S citizens be forced to vaccinate their children or face the consequences.

Reflective paragraph

The topic of this article was chosen because of the popularity of the “anti-vaxxer” movement. There is a growing problem with anti-vaxxers that is causing an outbreak of seemingly eradicated illnesses such as measles and chickenpox. The rhetorical appeal is ethos when mentioning that the ban was a result of a measles outbreak in the area consisting of 157 reported cases. Americans are the principal audience because of the prevalence of these issues in today’s society. The true events Rockland County, NY gives credibility to this story and shows that government intervention is possible. This is likely to go viral and grab the reader’s attention since it such a prevalent topic and it affects almost everyone in the country or indirectly so everyone will be interested. The article would go viral because I would enrage many groups of people, it would enrage the “anti-vaxxers”  because they would be forced to “poison” their children and it would enrage libertarians who believe the government should have as little control of society as possible.

 

Yesenia Montenotte: Edited paper, wrote paragraphs 3-6, and added images to news story.

Lailah Johnson: Edited paper, wrote first two paragraphs, and did part of reflective paragraph.

Shantall Suarez: Edited paper and wrote paragraphs 7 & 8.

Alexandra Bello: Wrote last paragraph.

Laurenth Espitia: Found pictures and did part of reflective paragraph.

 

Very good images, good reflective paragraph, well-done!  Good writing style and incorporating concepts from readings. Good work

Yesenia Montenotte Team 16- Annotated Bibliography

Good work Yesenia, let me know if you need help with your essay. Good sources, good annotations, well-done!

Thesis: When the Venezuelan presidential crisis occurred, and Juan Guaidó declared himself the interim president, the presentation of this news around the world through social media and major news broadcasts was noticeably influenced by whether the country is opposed to systems resembling communism, their perception on basic human rights, and future plans that would benefit their country’s agenda.

1. Book published in 2013, found in FIU Library Catalog.

Corrales, Javier, and Carlos A Romero. U.S.-Venezuela Relations Since the 1990s: Coping with Midlevel Security Threats. Routledge, 2013.

Corrales’ book provides a thorough examination of the relations between Venezuela and the United States from an unbiased point of view. The author discusses Venezuela and their importance to the United States when it comes to oil by providing tables and figures. The book focuses on how the relationship between the two countries changed in the 2000s. The book allows for a better understanding of the United State’s involvement in the current presidential crisis in Venezuela.

2. Journal article in a scholarly journal (Peer Reviewed), found in Academic Search Complete

Sanchez, W.Alejandr. “Russia and Latin America at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century.” Journal of Transatlantic Studies (Routledge), vol. 8, no. 4, Winter 2010, pp. 362–384. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/14794012.2010.522355.

In this journal, Sanchez and researchers discuss how and why Russia has become so close to Venezuela in an honest manner. Sanchez is descriptive throughout and talks about the origin of the relationship between the two countries. The journal is important for the subject at hand because it gives insightful information as to why Russia is involved and supports Maduro’s regime.

3. Article in a popular magazine, found in Academic Search Complete

Nugent, Ciara. “Venezuela’s Crossroads.” Time, vol. 193, no. 6/7, Feb. 2019, pp. 42–47. EBSCOhost, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=134571138&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

In the magazine, Nugent addresses the current political, social, and economic issues that Venezuela is facing from a perspective of an individual who lives in a democratic country. Nugent writes about how both Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaidó are the Presidents of Venezuela and why it is said that Maduro is corrupt. This magazine is important because of the relevance it carries throughout and provides information on both of the individuals involved in the current crisis.

4. Article from a newspaper, found in The New York Times

Herrero, Ana Vanessa, and Neil Macfarquhar. “Russia Warns U.S. Not to Intervene in Venezuela as Military Backs Maduro.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Jan. 2019, http://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/24/world/americas/venezuela-news-maduro-russia.html.

The authors of this newspaper discuss Russia and Venzuela’s current relationship and the statements that Russia has said. Herrero and MacFarquhar include quotes from Russia’s President, Vladamir V. Putin, which show the severity of the situation at hand. The authors include statistics and quotes, which increase their legitimacy. The magazine is important since it shows how much influence Russia and China have in Venezuela and the potential issues that may arise due to the United State’s involvement.

5. A good website, found in China Daily

Xiaowei, Wang. “Intervention Won’t Resolve Venezuela Crisis.” China Daily, China Daily, 9 Mar. 2019, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201903/09/WS5c83113da3106c65c34eda62.html.

Xiaowei’s article offers an insight on the perspective of an individual who lives in China. The article talks about the current state of Venezuela and how no country should intervene in the issues they are having. Xiaowei believes the United States is only attempting to intervene so that they may implement a US-friendly government and that Russia does not want to be involved at all. This article is needed in order to realize how different countries feel about those involved in Venezuela and what is going on in Venezuela.

6. Good source of my choice, found in The New York Times

Specia, Megan. “What Is Happening in Venezuela? How It Got Here and Why It Matters.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Jan. 2019, http://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/24/world/americas/venezuela-news-protests-noticias-guaido-maduro.html.

Specia’s article provides condensed, yet useful information about what is currently happening in Venezuela. Specia writes about all parties involved with some background information with little to no bias. The article is able to give enough information to understand what is happening, why it happened, and what is the next potential step. This article is important because of the general, but beneficial information that it provides.

Yesenia Montenotte Team 16- Final Paper Thesis

When the Venezuelan presidential crisis occurred, and Juan Guaidó declared himself the interim president, the presentation of this news around the world was noticeably influenced by the country’s governmental systems, views, and agendas. 

When the Venezuelan presidential crisis occurred and Juan Guaidó declared himself the interim president, the presentation of this news around the world was noticeably influenced by the country’s governmental systems, views, and agendas. (how was this information transmitted, incorporate class assignment concept into your thesis, a little vague “governmental systems, views, and agendas” be more specific, see comments below. What about the crisis and its aftermath was important?

How to form a thesis statement for an informative essay?
  1. A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand. Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. …
  2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion. Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. …
  3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea. …
  4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

The Insider Assignment- Alexandra Bello, Lailah Johnson, Laurenth Espitia, Shantall Suarez, and Yesenia Montenotte- Team 16

Hi Team #16,  Good work, very coherent post. Good persuasive argument, good detail and writing. Excellent points throughout the essay. Well-done!

 

1. Lowell Bergman is a man who has moral values and wants nothing more than to showcase the truth. Throughout the movie, he is shown working around the clock in order to get the story out about Brown and Williamson Tobacco company. When Bergman receives the box of stolen information regarding confidential information about a tobacco company he tried to contact Wigand. Although Wigand was hesitant at first, Bergman finally was able to get through to him. The film shows Bergman’s persistence and drive to always try to do the right thing. The executives at CBS were essentially threatened by the legal team. They were told that if they aired the Jeffrey Wigand interview in its entirety, they would potentially face litigation from the tobacco company. When the president of CBS News, Eric Ober, decided not to air the full interview Bergman became suspicious and went on to find out about Ober’s desire to sell CBS to Westinghouse. The executives at CBS decided to conceal the information that the public needed to know about in order to preserve a $5.4 billion merger between the two companies. The information that would have been revealed if the full interview had been aired was of public health concern but they were still willing to omit the facts that could save millions of lives. “60 Minutes” decided to air an edited version of the interview that did not reveal all of the harmful practices taking place within the tobacco company. Bergman fought for the full interview to be aired showcasing his dedication to their duty as journalists and not as businessmen.

When it became clear to Lowell Bergman that CBS was not going to air the story that needed to be told he contacted a friend he had at The New York Times. Bergman gave them all of the information on Jeffrey Wigand’s case as well as the situation at CBS and their unwillingness to air the full interview. The article titled, “Self-Censorship at CBS” was published and profoundly ridiculed the staff of 60 minutes for bowing under corporate pressure. The article explains that the First Amendment freedom of press protects newspapers and allows them to put out information if it is factual and especially if it concerns the safety of the public. It basically explained that CBS executives are a group of greedy cowards. The New York Times article concludes by saying that the failure to air the interview due to corporate pressures has tarnished the legacy of Edward R. Murrow, a pioneer of radio and television news broadcasting. This was the true intent of Lowell Bergman. (period) capital He he had the ethics of Edward Murrow etched into his brain and was disgusted by the realization that his colleagues were willing to forgo their morals and journalistic duty for the sake of money and money alone.

2. Jeffrey Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement (NDA) was a legal document signed by him and his former employers preventing him from sharing sensitive information related to the addictive nature of tobacco products and nicotine. Therefore, he could not talk about the medical effects of tobacco or any other information that could reflect his former company employer in a bad light. He was restricted in just how much information he could divulge about the true nature of the company’s products.

NDAs are meant to protect specific information usually in the corporate industry related to the performance or effects of specific products or services. While Brown and Williamson were engaged in the manufacture of harmful products, the NDA ensured that Wigand could not harm the business by exposing the nature of its products (Mann, 1999). Therefore, they could justify their agreement with him based on the effects of his sharing that same information would have on their company.

Recently, Harvey Weinstein who is an affluent film industry investor in the United States used NDAs to silence some of his past employees about issues related to his behavior while contractually bound to them. Harvey’s company employed several actresses and other female employees such as Zelda Perkins who is his assistant. She along other women came forward to report him after their contracts expired for sexual harassment. Harvey used NDAs to silence them stating that his relationship with them was not open to the public or private investigation.

Based on the developments of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment case, alongside the perspective created by the film ‘The Insider,’ the implications of NDAs for government employees are serious. Government employees must refrain from breaking NDAs because some of the secretive information related to governments can be life-threatening. Additionally, governments seek to conceal specific information for the sake of their security and that of the citizens.

3. At one point people religiously depended on the radio, TV and the newspaper for their daily news. However, being in a technology advanced generation, people have become authors, editors, and publishers of their own work from having the ability to access anything at their own fingertips. Both investigative teams utilized the forms of media that they had available to them at the time. They used the traditional methods of digging up one’s past which is usually easy as most information is kept as public record. They simply had to go to a library to find any legal records on Jeffrey Wigand or they would have to go to a city hall or district court to request any information they wanted. In 2018, it is even easier with the advent of Google. Each time a character uses a medium, it creates an even more impactful message on the importance of the media and the role it plays for society.

If this war over Wigand’s reputation would have occurred in 2018, today’s media would’ve completely had a different effect and reaction. Due to the amount of exposure that currently exists today, it is difficult to determine what and who is reliable and credible. Whether a person is educated or not, everyone has the ability to share their opinions. This allows anyone to publish fake news. With this in mind, the United States has laws that protect citizens from defamation, libel, and slander. Exposure isn’t always bad, it can also have a positive effect on people. In Wigand’s case, the war over his reputation would have become a trial of public opinion. The news often publishes whatever they get their hands on for the sake of ratings and this mad dash for content would have had a profound impact on the trial. It could also cause people to be aware of the cause in action. In this case, a larger amount of people would’ve considered quitting smoking, protesting, petitioning, creating a movement and a hashtag on Instagram. Wigand’s whistleblowing could’ve created a name for this wave of change in society.

4. The meeting with CBS corporate results in Bergman and Hewitt getting into an argument over tortious interference and its implications. Bergman uses the rhetoric logos, to assert his point that there are vested interests to sell CBS to Westinghouse. He does so by using evidence found supporting his assertion, quoting lines from an SEC filing. Reading the lines from the document, Bergman then goes onto apply logic to his argument, saying how there is potential vested interest to push for this motion of selling CBS. Bergman continues to build onto his argument by going further on to mention how the company is illogical and bends the truth by refusing to air Wigand speaking the truth, adding in how “the more truth he tells, the worse it gets”. From this, it can be said that Bergman’s audience is the public and the newsman, as he is defending what he does for a living, which is preserving the truth to any situation so he can report it.

On Hewitt’s side of the argument, he defends himself by using the rhetoric ethos and focuses his attention on the reputation of the company talking about how Bergman is a “fanatic” and an “anarchist”. Hewitt also questions Bergman in terms of CBS’s journalistic integrity. Rarely speaking throughout the conversation, Bergman mainly tries to justify the actions taken through the reputation of the company while he constantly denies Hewitt’s argument and focuses on bashing him. Hewitt then begins talking about the future events and conversations that will take place if CBS is sold, where Bergman denies it, saying that Hewitt is “exaggerating”.  Bergman implies that Hewitt will not be satisfied unless he puts “the company at risk”. Based off of this situation, it is clear that Bergman’s audience is mainly Hewitt, as he aims to battle against Hewitt’s argument through his character. Overall, they use different modes of rhetoric to go against each other in the meeting.

 

Works Cited

Brenner, Marie. “Jeffrey Wigand: The Man Who Knew Too Much.” The Hive, Vanity Fair, 31 Jan. 2015.

Dean, Michelle. “Contracts of Silence.” Columbia Journalism Review, 2018.

Ebert, Roger. “The Insider Movie Review & Film Summary (1999) | Roger Ebert.” RogerEbert.com, Brian Grazer, 5 Nov. 1999.

Mann, M. (Director). (1999). The Insider [Motion picture]. United States: Touchstone Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment.

Myers, Scott, and Scott Myers. “Great Scene: ‘The Insider’ – Go Into The Story.” Go Into The Story, Go Into The Story, 3 May 2017.

“Self-Censorship at CBS.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 12 Nov. 1995.

 

Alexandra Bello– Responsible for question #4 and edited the whole paper.

Lailah Johnson– Responsible for question #1 and edited the whole paper.

Laurenth Espita– Responsible for question #2.

Shantall Suarez– Responsible for question #3.
S
Yesenia Montenotte– Responsible for question #1, edited the whole paper and added media and citations.

48- Hour Blackout Assignment- Yesenia Montenotte Team 16

Hi Yesenia,

Interesting to begin an essay with an interrogative sentence! It shows originality and instantly takes the reader to pause for a moment and consider the question. (and to look forward to what comes next) I broke down some of your sentences and rewrote them in blue much in the same way we did the other day. Overall though, your writing was good and your post made some excellent points.  Good job all around and keep up the good work. I can see improvement so keep up the good work.  Be sure to read good writing for structure and form, not just content. Well-done!

 

Is total solitude possible in today’s society? In William Deresiewicz’s article “The End of Solitude,” he argues that in our modern societies  solitude is seen as a scary prospect, especially for younger generations., (no comma needed)(read it aloud and see how it flows both with and without comma, especially since you have another comma after ‘prospect’  solitude is seen as a scary prospect, especially for younger generations.

Individuals have become dependent on their electronics as a pastime and to be kept up to date on current events.

“This generation has become dependent on their electronic devices, not only as a pastime but also to stay up-to-date on current events.” 

Much of our time is wasted, but solitude can be achieved if one allows themselves to disconnect. (These two phrases don’t exactly ‘hang’ together) 

While much of that time is wasted, it important to realize that solitude can be achieved if one simply disconnects. 

In the beginning of the blackout, I found it challenging because the thought of isolating myself from any type of news was nerve-wracking. Once my anxiety started to disappear, it was easier to disconnect myself from my normal routine. During the 48-hour period, I found myself reading my favorite book, working on my assignments for school, and even working out in the park near my house. I noticed that I was isolating myself from my friends, barely texting or calling them and focusing on being productive with my time. (terrific!)

At the start of the second day, I put my phone on silent and even muted all of my group chats with my friends. On the second day of the blackout I had to work, and since I had no distractions from my phone I solely focused on the work I had for the day. I found my drive to and from work a bit challenging that day. I normally listen to the radio when I am driving, so in order to avoid hearing any news, I created a playlist of my favorite songs to listen to. Listening to my playlist was refreshing for me and I preferred it a bit more, especially for my drive back home from work because it put me in a good mood.

After the 48-hour blackout was over, I looked back on my experience and realized a few things. (it’s good to reflect on this experience, and for that matter, most all of our experiences – something we don’t always think we have time for because we are so intent on being ‘connected’)

Although the first day I was anxious because I was disconnecting myself with what was going on in the world, I realized that it allowed me to focus on other things I enjoy doing. Solitude is possible if we allow ourselves to disconnect from time to time. (true!)  I also realized that the news has (had)  been an “intrusion” to our (my) solitude. There is an urge to constantly be up to date with what is going on in the world. Deresiewicz mentions how solitude “isn’t very polite,” and I noticed how true that is. Since I had my phone on silent, my friends could not get a hold of me as quickly as they normally would and this made some of them angry. This experience made me realize how dependent my friends are and how it bothered them that I would not answer for long periods of time. (it really is important to take charge of one’s own life and not worry quite so much about what other people do or think – your true friends will always be your friends)

Furthermore, Lastly, the blackout was an experience that not many seem to have today. Many, including me, depend on our electronics for everything, but solitude can be achieved if you allow yourself to disconnect. My experience shows that there is still hope that people can find their own solitude. 

Ghost Group Assignment- Alexandra Bello, Lailah Johnson, Laurenth Espita, Shantall Suarez, and Yesenia Montenotte- Team 16

Team #16

Really good work everyone. Good detail in responses, good use of images in relation to text, and appropriate demonstration in understanding the film. I would have liked to have seen more integration from Deresiewicz and Critical theory and less summary of film, but all in all a fairly good analysis. There is a nice cohesion in this post and the editing reflects this as a group endeavor. Good writing quality, visually appealing, and well-organized. 

1a. I believe that Section 9 went as far as they needed to for the sake of national security. The Puppet Master had the ability to hack into a person’s mind, endangering the community. For example, the Puppet Master used a garbage man to do his dirty work by brainwashing him. He made this man believe he had a  family and had a personal motive to hack the android of his wife. However, the reality is that this family did not exist. Section 9 goes above and beyond to capture the culprit when they realize the Puppet Master’s power. There are laws in place for a reason but with the Puppet Master in mind, I believe that possibly endangering or sacrificing a few lives to save many, allows for some covert operations to take place.

1b. A government is justified in violating its own law if it is for the purpose of ensuring the safety of its citizens. A government has laws that are meant for everyone to abide in order to keep the peace, but if innocent lives are at stake then a few should be broken. There are laws for everyday life, for conflict and for maintaining international peace. These type laws are for groups like the military or police so that civilians do not have to get involved. While it is illegal to kill someone in the United States, there are hundreds of thousands of soldiers have killed people in the name of national security.

1c. Governments are justified in keeping their operations a secret because they understand that the public perception of these events would be less than ideal. Governments can choose to keep things secret in order to maintain peace and keep society in blissful ignorance by not ensuing panic. Keeping the government’s violations of the law a secret can cause a multitude of issues just as shown in the movie Ghost in the Shell. Puppet Master is a good example of this, as it was meant to be kept a secret from the public. The project was created for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign affairs to use so that they would be able to alter certain databases and even the minds of certain individuals in order to help benefit them. If civilians were to find out that something like this was taking place in their country chaos would ensue. It is better for a government to not be transparent in cases such as the Puppet Master since it malfunctioned and began to control itself. It is possible that something worse could have happened, but in order to provide the most safety and least amount of public outcry in a situation like that, keeping the violation a secret would be the best option. The government would have been under extreme scrutiny after it came to light that they had created a program with the intent to infringe on individual liberties.

2a. Information technology is used in Ghost in the Shell in various ways to influence, manipulate and control the behavior and perceptions of the characters in the world around them. The technology is used to show truth or hide information from the government, as well as to question the technology and the advances it has made to improve society and its people.

Ghost in the Shell is full of characters that cannot distinguish between what is fantasy and what is reality. An example of this is when the Puppet Master hacked the ghost of a man to do his bidding for him. The victim was a garbage worker who was hacked by ghosts to believe in a fake life where he had a wife and child, however, this man was only being manipulated by the Puppet Master to hack systems throughout the city.

The Puppet Master is considered a “definitive hacker” and throughout the film he is looking for a deeper understanding of how the government controls people. The technology in the film made it hard to distinguish between reality and fiction causing many to question their existence.

3a. In the film, Major Kusanagi goes scuba diving in the river where she allows herself to sink to the bottom before initiating the flotation devices and rising back to the surface. There she lingers and “meditates.” Batou asks her if she is scared of her floaters malfunctioning, leaving her stranded at the bottom of the river, she says “ I guess I’ll just die then”. Batou asks her what she feels while diving and she replies “ Fear, anxiety, loneliness, darkness and even hope.” She says floating to the surface makes her feel “as though she could become anything”. This hints towards her desire to become a more sentient and independent being, which foreshadows the finale when she combines ghosts with the Puppet Master https://youtu.be/TJ6hkzKVYQg. Themes of consciousness and individuality are prevalent in the film and her desire for both can be tied into to Deresiewicz’s theories.

3b. Deresiewicz is correct in his statement about approaching a time when information technology makes solitude socially undesirable and even impossible. We currently reside in an environment that is so interconnected it is virtually impossible to be completely alone. We could try to do this by shutting ourselves away from all sources of media, but in this social climate it feels almost dangerous not to be informed of everything that’s happening. It’s evident that many people feel negatively about someone who doesn’t have a plethora of social media accounts, doesn’t watch the news or who isn’t watching current trending shows. Many people need a break from the constant free flow of information but they have been pressured into being afraid of missing out on something so they continue on.

In the film, privacy is obsolete. With a multitude of technological advancements and upgrades available for humans, the idea that anyone would exist while not connected to some sort of software is no longer a reality. Every character we were introduced to in the film possessed a ‘cyber-brain” which meant that they were connected to the internet 24/7 with access to databases from around the world. The only way to find solitude in that state would be to die.

4a. Books were the original form of media and centuries ago books were used to spread religion and religion is used to shape society. To exemplify this notion, the Holy Bible for Christianity, the Quran for Islam and the Veda for Hinduism, which was printed in 1700 BCE, are being used to this day to preach, share wisdom and to interpret the word of “ God” unto others. These books are the most accessible yet. You may find them in the drawers of motel/hotel rooms, the glove compartment of rental cars and even by the hand of those who wish to share their enlightenment. The idea of sharing is almost the simplest way to explain the extension of our own beings. The next form of media I chose is the radio, the medium that told us the news, the stories, the jokes, the weather and so much more. This was easily accessed information you can tune into at any time of the day. Technology continued to advance resulting in personal cellular phones. The first cellular device created in 1973 has morphed into a miniature flat screen that we can rapidly scroll through with our fingertips. Everything we’ve created can be understood to be an extension of ourselves when we put our hearts and minds into the creation of it. We store and access our memories and knowledge in text, in forms of pictures and even a recording.

4b. Technology itself has been evolving as far back as the 1800’s. (comma needed) The level of communication has progressively advanced in this society by so much ranging from the discovery of electricity, to the radio, afterward the television and eventually, the internet. Soon after, cellular communication came into use and many people (nearly the whole planet?) gravitated towards this creation. In the year of 1993, the IBM Simon was also known as a “Personal Communicator” (The Telegraph, 2019), was introduced and considered to be the very first smartphone. What appealed to buyers of the personal communicator, was the fact that it was hand sized, included many features that came in handy such as a calendar, clock, email etc. and most of all was the fastest form of communication at the time. Preceding this invention was the Nokia 8810 that came out in the year 1998 (The Telegraph, 2019). The Nokia 8810, became very renowned for its aesthetic quality and was the first cell phone without an antenna. Being small and compact, it is what people were seeking for specifically when living a busy lifestyle. Overall, the cellular telephone has made a huge impact worldwide. What has attracted the public, even more, today is the features that cell phones now carry such as being lightweight, portable and performing many tasks as that of a computer and professional camera.

4c. The film, Ghost in the Shell, is based on a female cyber-human, in a technologically advanced universe who is wired to chase after an evil hacker known as the “Puppet Master”. Due to the fact that this film entails all forms of technology in a futuristic generation, a device such as the iPhone, would not have much of an impact. If anything, the iPhone for this era would already have become obsolete.

Works Cited

Meyers, Justin. “Watch The Incredible 70-Year Evolution Of The Cell Phone.” Business Insider. 06 May 2011. Business Insider. 03 Feb. 2019


Mobilecollectors.net. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mobilecollectors.net/phone/988/Motorola International 3200. 31 Jan. 2019

 

Alexandra Bello: Responsible for questions 4b and 4c, edited the whole paper and was responsible for citing the paper.

Lailah Johnson: Responsible for questions 3a and 3b and edited the whole paper.

Laurenth Espitia: Responsible for question 2a.

Shantall Suarez: Responsible for questions 1a and 4a.

Yesenia Montenotte: Responsible for questions 1b and 1c, edited the whole paper and added the media.