Morning all!

I awoke to a really interesting article posted on Twitter by the New York Times, apparently rescinding their recent apology to Mr. Trump for making defamatory statements about him during the election campaign. Here’s the link if you’re interested: ‘A Time for Refusal’. I was flirting with the idea of writing a post about it. The premise of the article then got me thinking about gender inequality and how it is the most pervasive, and most socially normalised form of prejudice there is, and on a global scale. There is another post right there that I have also been toying with for a while now, and the very interesting case that there may indeed be more than just two genders. The evidence is most interesting, but that post will have to wait despite being highly relevant right now given the disappointment many are feeling about the recent election.
Bill and I had a lengthy discussion yesterday about gender inequality, it was very interesting as it brought up the argument that sexism is the last bastion of social inequality, that we both agreed may never be dealt with adequately given the conviction of belief many have towards the subject.
However, as I was thinking about this while making my morning coffee, my brain went off on a slight tangent, as it does often, along the well trodden track of how one goes about presenting such information within an essay or article in a way that reads well and is both informative and enjoyable for the reader.
Drawing on my many years of writing experience, and academic study, below is a summary of how to write such a piece. Not only is this the standard convention for writing a successful essay, but it is the format that pervades all of our verbal interactions with one another, whether formal or casual, from discussions to arguments, to making new friends and strengthening existing relationships. It also very clearly outlines how we accept ideas and concepts as a part of our normal everyday experience. The process known in academic speak as, ‘Normalisation’. You can perhaps see now how my previous trains of thought and the article cited led to this.

The format to presenting a successful argument.

1. What are you claiming? – Outline your premise.
2. How do you know? – Explain why you believe your premise to be valid. Define and clarify your statement – Why do you think this is the case?
3. Prove it. – Give examples validating your premise – Is there supporting evidence?
4. Yes, but what about…? – Cite potential weaknesses to the argument – Are there any omissions or potential contradictions that may weaken the argument?
5. So, what are you saying? – Conclude by reinforcing your premise based on the evidence you have.
6. Ok, what does this mean and what are you going to do about it? – Include a brief note on further developments that may evolve as a result.

Aim to balance the word count of the whole piece, so that each section is evenly weighted, even if it is a verbal argument. The aim is to write a piece that flows and presents a strong and persuasive argument. Persuasion is the name of the game here.

Summary of Points:

1. Your introduction should form around 10% of the whole piece. It should be short, sweet, and to the point, and summarise in brief the content of the following body of work.
2. Your definitions should form around 20%.
3. Examples of supporting evidence should be around 35-40%, and should include at least two separate sources.
4. Pros and cons of your argument as presented by existing evidence should be around 20%. Points 3 and 4 form the main body of your piece.
5-6. Your conclusion should form about 10-15% of the argument. Again, short, sweet and to the point. It should summarise the argument once again and suggest further implications and potential developments.

Of course this is a loose guideline, but you should aim for the proportions given.

The following hypothetical example is a demonstration of how this format works:

Woman> I’m female.
Man> What did you say?
Woman> I said, I’m female.
Man> How do you know?
Woman> Well, when I look in the mirror I see a woman.
Man> Yes, but how do you know, can you prove it?
Woman> Um, because my mum and dad told me I was a female… oh and because females usually have defining features likes breasts and a vagina, unlike a man.
Man> Yes, but can you prove it?
Woman> No! You perve! Well, actually the only way to really prove it is to do a genetic test that defines how many X and Y chromosomes you have.
Man> Oh ok. So what are you saying?
Woman> I’m saying that in theory, based on certain obvious assumptions such as my appearance, that it would seem that I am a female. However, there is no way to prove it just by assumptions alone. I could be a genetic male in a woman’s body for example, or I could in fact be something else entirely that is yet to be defined by medical science, but that the only way to confirm this currently is through scientific investigation.
Man> Is that possible, that you could be a man in a woman’s body, or something else even?
Woman> Apparently it is, in this particular instance. But you or I would be none the wiser. However, even the scientific evidence wouldn’t be absolute as apparently genetics form only part of the story in the formation of gender, and that a number of permutations inside the womb are possible depending on the genetic make-up of the parents and the hormonal environment within the womb at the point the foetus begins to develop sexual organs.
Man> Yes, but how do you know all this?
Woman> I read some articles and medical journals on the internet about it.
Man> Oh ok. So, what does this mean?
Woman> Well, knowing this is interesting and potentially eye-opening, simply because of the implications it might have on social dynamics and issues of gender equality, not to mention how medical science might treat people in future should this evidence become widely accepted. But in reality, it makes little difference, at least to me. I’m still a female as far as I’m concerned because I’m comfortable conforming to the social stereotype.
Man> Fair enough.

_________________________

Once you’ve structured your argument/article/essay, giving it a strong catchy title is important. A strong hook will generate interest and hopefully encourage others to engage and read further. It helps to make the title relevant, unlike the title I have used for this post. Even though it got your attention. Still, it’s bad practise to have a title that is unrelated to the piece it supports, as is the wont of many online media hosts these days, as it actually undermines the validity of the evidence being presented by including elements that are unnecessary and irrelevant. Your title should clearly summarise the premise of the piece. Everything within a written piece especially, from title to conclusion should be relevant and coherent, which means being concise and to the point, whether you are writing a story, article, essay, proposal, or a blog post. Also, if you are using photography or images to support your argument, they should help exemplify your premise and or/provide further visual supporting evidence.

And with that, I shall take my leave for the day. At least on this channel. Time to post some photos over on Phi.

Enjoy the rest of the day!

M 😉

 

Resources:

The above image was sourced on the following website, Olive and Zipper, and is the work of Japanese artist Tadanori Yokoo. You can visit the artist’s website here.

Advertisements

19 thoughts on “Writing 101 – How to insult an olive.

  1. So, just saying, “Show me dem titties,” won’t necessarily provide proof of one’s womanhood? That’s disappointing.

    I was wondering where you were going with the introduction, but I must say, you pulled all the pieces together in an interesting and clever way. Excellent piece.

  2. Perfect timing… I needed that reminder for argument structure. Copy and pasted!

    If panpsychism is true, then gender is just a momentary distraction.

    How are you, my friend… been a while.

    1. Ha! Happy to oblige, John. Yes, it has been a while. I’m good, despite the hugely disappointing reality of living in a burgeoning Trumpistan. How are you my friend?

      I hope you’re right with regards to gender being a momentary distraction, however, cultural affectations run very deep, so I think it will take a while to change it so that we look upon one another as human beings rather than as members of a qualified or disqualified hierarchy. Attitudes are shifting, but not quite in the way that will make any real difference at the moment. A few generations to go maybe.

      1. Been pouring through Greg Egan’s books, and he has a fascinating take on gender/sex in the post-singularity future. It’s maleable as people are essentially digitised, so we try on different forms. Interesting stuff.

        We’re good. We got rid of an idiot/useless/dangerous president, but it appears the universe had to balance itself, and you got one.

        Hope nothing too precious gets broken up there.

        1. Sounds like an interesting read. Maybe I’ll take nose.

          Yeah, the universe has an odd way about sometimes. I think we’re all bracing ourselves for the forthcoming assault. It fills me with a deep sense of unease that’s for sure, which is never a good sign.

  3. Yukio Mishima … if I remember correctly he tried to foment a revolution (for a return to the Samurai tradition) in Japan. Harangued naval cadets and when they laughed at him he committed seppuku. (IF that was him …)
    Poet or artist or something; a wee bit out of time and place.

    1. You are probably correct. This particular artist likes to make light of all the things Japanese people might find uncomfortable and taboo and wave it in their faces. A bit if a chance find while doing a web search for ‘angry olive’. Who knew the result would be so relevant to my article?
      I like it when that happens. I like the art too, subversive is always good. Cracks people’s shells.

      Thank you for the bit of history, very interesting. I might now have to do a bit of research on Yukio Mishima…

  4. When young I sat at the feet of wise men (and ladies) and imbibed wisdom. Part of it in the form ‘How to Write’ (title was usually followed by the words ‘for tiny tots’.

    Then after I got married I changed my inculcated views about females (once ladies, now females—did you notice?).
    And as the years went by I changed further so that I no longer consider wimmin the Opposite Sex (I prefer to think of them as the adjacent sex).

    I still like wimmin—even though the average Southland Battle Maiden could have me for lunch and spit out the pips (formidable damsels down here, I tell you~!) but then I never really went much on the traditional male ‘superiority’ bit.
    To me people are just people—but it would be a tragedy if we were equalised too far. Equal rights for all, a given ideal to be worked for where needed.
    But everyone in a man’s suit at the ball? No, thanks. I like women to glitter femininely (and men in miniskirts and panty hose won’t do much for me either).
    Vive la difference! Aux armes!

    As for writing: I did follow the rules, for a while, until in the end I just let it flow from the mind down through the arm and dribble out onto the page.

    (And yes, that ‘dribble’ was deliberate …)

    1. No two ways about it, I’m going to have to write this post of mine on gender. Some of my findings are most interesting indeed.

      Having been a female my whole life, and I use the term ‘female’ as opposed to ‘lady’ or ‘woman’, because it is less age specific. I wasn’t a woman or a lady when I was a child for example. Referring then to my whole life, as a female I have witnessed and been at the brunt of that often very blunt social weapon branded by gender conformists pretty much on a daily basis to one degree or another. Personally I don’t think that my gender should be anybody’s concern, except for when it comes to receiving appropriate healthcare that is gender centric in nature.
      How I express myself through dress, comportment, language, whatever, shouldn’t be anyone’s concern either. I have only ever wanted to be judged on merit, and not unduly disadvantaged by my apparent gender as dictated by others.
      Individual views of course wax and wane in political strength. Yet even the most dyed in the wool humanist conforms to the social stereotypes of the bi-partisan gender roles that very much form the foundation of our societal rules and personal expectations.
      It causes more torment than not from what I’ve seen throughout my life, and dictates rules of conduct that are often ridiculous and extremist.
      I have absolutely no issue with seeing a young man in a skirt or dress, wearing make-up or jewellery. I like people’s sense of creativity and bravado in the face of adversity. That’s what I look for and value in others. I find it very hard to be a hypocrite by passing judgement on others, given the torment that I’ve been subjected to in my life because of the way I look especially. Explaining this to those who have never experienced this kind of oppression is really difficult. It’s difficult to qualify the kind of deep seated anguish it causes, or the sensitivity one feels when repeatedly hit with that particular stick, even if they are subtle taps on the hands. Love taps as some would call them.
      However, such affiliations to gender are difficult to evade when our culture is for the most part unbending in its observations and practises. When a skirt or trousers are your only options of dress, it is tricky to break free of the restraints it places on you socially.
      You know you’re in trouble when medical science tries to prove that men and women are genetically different, despite studies proving that to be an insufficient marker. The only real difference between the genders is chemical in nature, and that can be altered very easily and quickly. Gender for the most part is notional, a cultural affectation that as it stands has outlived its day in my opinion. But what do I know, I’m just a woman.

      On another note, agreed when it comes to writing. After a while it tends to happen fairly naturally. Those rules are absorbed over time until they become second nature.

      1. Men and women are different.
        Can’t argue that and wouldn’t bother even trying.

        But (and it’s a huge ‘but’) both sexes/genders/whatevers are human.

        As far as human rights go, there should be* only one size fits all (r) all.

        * Should be. Like most ideals it boils down to strength and force, always. (As sweet as we all are, it’s the strong that set the rules for the rest of us to obey.) (Might does indeed make ‘right’.)

        1. But might is necessarily universally male. There is nothing mightier than a mother. That takes a strength most men would balk at.
          I think there are marked differences between people, but you cannot make such an easy distinction between sexes. You can try to argue that one either. I think our experiences are vastly different. I’ve met all kinds of people who simply do not conform to the accepted rule.

          Human rights is what is at stake, rightly said. You still should not judge a book by its cover, irrespective. No amount of trying to convince me that I am different than you because of my gender will ever make me like you any better.

  5. Hah! That was him. I remember especially that Kris Kristoffersen’s movie ‘The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea’ was based on one of Mishima’s. (Enjoyed that film but not the ending, if I remember correctly.)

      1. If you have a low threshold don’t watch his version of ‘A Star is Born’ with Miss Streisand. Brrrr … especially her song near the end.

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s