Why the Fries Taste Good

I have often found myself wondering why french fries taste so good, and why they are so addicting. I also often think about where my food comes from, and the people who are behind my being able to eat said food. I found it very interesting to see the backstory of J. R. Simplot, and his rise in becoming the “potato king” of the Midwest. How freezing food became Simplot’s way into making french fries a major market, was also interesting. 

What was telling about Simplot was his desire for success. Even though he hit many road-blocks in his way to success, he continued to persevere. And this perseverance ultimately led him to meet Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds. This is where the advent of freezing his potatoes, and the desire for fast food merged. 

Simplot’s history just goes to show you that dedication to an idea is truly what provides individuals with the ability to succeed.

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If Black English Isn’t a Language, What Is?

“I DO not know what white Americans would sound like if there had never been any black people in the United States, but they would not sound the way they sound.”

This excerpt struck a chord with me. Is our language, or the way we use our language, based in the use of the language by other groups? Something I found interesting while researching this topic was how the English language (and it’s pronunciation) was spoken by the people of Great Britain compared to today. The Patriots and the Redcoats spoke with accents that were much closer to the contemporary American accent than to the Queen’s English. But, upper class Brits wanted to distinguish themselves from the “low class” colonists, so, non-rhotic speech took off in southern England. It was a signifier of class and status. Clearly, there was a time where the British listened to how we all spoke, and changed their accent to show a clear distinction between the two groups. 

In the case of the article, the reason behind “Black English” is slightly different compared to why the British “changed languages.” Black English was “created” out of necessity  and allowed blacks to communicate without white slave-owners understanding them.

The Language of Advertising Claims

In The Language of Advertising Claims Jeffrey Schrank gives a list of the techniques advertisers employ to make claims for their products. The idea that people think they are immune to these techniques is ridiculous, as these techniques are used for advertising for almost every product imaginable. I found Schrank’s assumption of naivety in terms of advertising effectiveness on the population to be spot on; not many people admit to advertisements swaying their opinion, but it clearly happens and is effective.

While I knew of ads that use the wesel claim, I never actually knew what it was called, so it was good to have clarification on that. The wesel claim is very interesting to me because it is so highly dependent on the language used in the advertisement. The placement of words and the proper choice of words (such as “virtually” or “better and best”) is so crucial for the ads effectiveness.

The “We’re different and unique” claim always made me chuckle as well. Clearly, if you have a product, it has to be different enough from others to be successful, so this whole different and unique thing is such a cheap ploy to get consumers to buy a companies goods.

Advertizing’s 15 Basic Appeals (by Jib Fowles)

I have always found it interesting how writers go about creating captivating and tantalizing advertisements. But, I never fully understood the appeals writers will use when designing these ads. I knew about sex appeal, the need for attention and the need for nurture and guidance, but I was not aware of the appeals to dominance, prominence, aggress or escape. What I found most interesting was that only 2 percent of the television ads he surveyed used sex appeal. I would have thought it would have been a much higher number, but, as was stated in the article, it may be too blatant of an appeal, and may detract from the actual product in the advertisement. I also found it telling that the most used appeal is the need for affiliation, clearly, Americans are very concerned with conformity and being included, and advertisers take advantage of this.

Politics of the English Language

The English language has become adulterated. “Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble.” Modern writers are becoming less concerned with the use of actual proper language and more concerned with the idea of just conveying what they believe is proper English. “As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else…” No longer are we original as writers; instead modern writing involves recycling ideas and styles. No longer are we accurate as writers; instead modern writing involves using less than ideals words to explain ourselves/ our point of view. Today’s writers are more concerned with the ease of writing than the actual content and formatting of said writing.

“Wat up wit u”

Texting has certainly changed how we use the English language. I can remember the first time I used text messaging; typing out full words and using proper grammar and punctuation. But, times have changed, and this texting revolution has altered the way we informally speak to one another. Gone are the days of typing out full words. Gone are the days of proper spelling and punctuation. Welcome to the new world, where four letters (ttyl) can convey an entire sentence, where commas do not exist, where understanding what someone is saying is a challenge.

Do I feel that this texting revolution has changed how we communicate? Mildly. While I do see the spread of “txt speak,” I do not think it has displaced proper english entirely. But, I speak from the demographic of 21-27 year olds. Today’s youth is an entirely different animal. Having spoken to several young Americans, I found that they lack the ability to concisely express themselves. Can this be solely attributed to this texting revolution? Probably not. But, it is very evident that the use of this short-hand “txt” writing style has changed the youth’s ability to properly convey their feelings. I feel as if it has limited their vocabulary and speaking skills, almost to a point where they simply cannot explain themselves properly. We cannot let the use of proper english die-off.

Mother Tongue Reaction

In this piece by Amy Tan, the idea of language and language skills are key. After reading through the excerpt, I found it to be eye-opening. Having grown up in an English speaking home, I never had to worry about speaking in different tongues to different people. My native language is English and my inner dialogue is English. I couldn’t imagine the frustration in not being able to express myself eloquently; not being able to express how I feel, not being able to explain to others what I might have seen. Unfortunately, you become forced to deal with individuals who view you differently, who view you as a lesser individual. This is why language comprehension and expression is such a large part of who you are socially. In this country it isn’t about the content of your thoughts, but your ability to express these thoughts to others clearly. Without this ability, no matter how smart you might be, people simply do not take you seriously. Linguistic capabilities go hand in hand with how much credibility you carry within society. And credibility is what affords you opportunity in this world.