Combating the “Single Story”

Much of my life has been shaped by people who have much the same views and ideas about the world. My parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends, and others surrounding me told much the same story as I grew up: the story of the white American middle class. About these people, their experiences, and their problems I can quote a plethora of stories and examples. In addition, I understand what it means to be a part of that demographic because I have my own story to add to the stories of those that were the closest to me in my most formative years. However, outside of these stories that fit into one category, I am still fairly ignorant about much of the world around me. This is simply due to the fact that I don’t know many people who have stories to oppose the “single story.” So, I have been limited in my access to differing stories from around the world, at least on a more personal level.

In terms of the United States, I’m not sure that it is possible to make a generalization about the rest of the world. In certain areas, it would seem very easy to say that, yes, there is a single story told. For example, the authoritarian government of North Korea has an idea of the American people and government. They then pass on this idea through propaganda that enters the public eye, making it the “truth” for many people without access to contradictory evidence. Other people groups, especially those in Europe, have more personal interactions with those from the United States. They can make their own ideas and formulate their own beliefs about the United States by what they experience themselves and with what those close to them experience. This is not to say, though, that people in Europe are immune to a “single story” of the United States. Sometimes, people simply don’t put in the effort or have the desire to replace old stereotypes or fight against a simplification of a nation, in both the US and in other countries.

Realizing my own lack of experience, I’ve tried my best to broaden my horizons and find stories. The beauty of the internet and organizations like TED Talks lies in the fact that differing points of view can be found at the click of a button. Also, the University offers so many great opportunities for international interaction. At the international student meet-and-greet, my ideas of many foreign countries changed in just an hour. I met students from so many nations who didn’t fit “local norm,” or at least what I believed was the norm. This ranged from differences in religion to differences in social beliefs, and although I knew in my head that those country’s had minorities, I never really gave those people a reality. That is until I met them, living and breathing challenges to the “single story.”

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

Yes prescription glasses wearers, I’m talking to you. I know it’s summer, and I know the daily struggle between wanting to protect your eyes from the sun or wanting to be able to see the person standing in front of you. Which one do you bring? Prescription glasses or Sunglasses? Breathe. You now have one less problem in the summertime thanks to Ray-Bans Prescription Sunglasses. Now you can see what’s going on in front of you while protecting your eyes from the sun with our polarized lenses. All you have to do is add your prescription when ordering. Best of both worlds right? Don’t be afraid of summertime. Embrace summertime. #NeverHide

The purpose of the product is simple. Instead of glasses wearers having to decide if they want to see that day, decide they wanna look cool, or maybe they just decide they’ll carry both pairs around to save their peers from their complaining, they get two benefits out of one product. They no longer have to worry about where they’re going to put one pair if they end up bringing both. I personally wear these glasses all the time and they are a lifesaver. No more not being able to read anything and being the punchline of an “aren’t you blind” joke. I can now see clearly while I’m driving now even when the sun is shining right in my face. This makes a safer road for me and you both so Ray-Ban made an amazing product that I can proudly stand behind.

The American Story

America is the most diverse nation in the world. By 2060, the United States Census Bureau predicts that no single race will have a majority, and 57% of people will be what we now consider minorities.  With no official national religion or language, America theoretically should be a place where different cultures can intermingle and flourish while retaining their individual integrity. And yet, this isn’t necessarily the case.  

Growing up in rural Wisconsin, I had a very limited view of America as a whole. My hometown, Jefferson, was predominantly white with a small Hispanic population. African-Americans and Asians were anomalies. Despite living in close quarters (small towns demand that everyone interacts), the whites and the minorities seemed ideologically separated. I grew up thinking of the Hispanics as “them” and of the whites as “us.” My childhood friends laughingly referred to an apartment complex with mainly Mexican residents as “Little Mexico,” and not in the appreciative way one might say “Little Italy.”  I grew so used to hearing “They’re Mexicans” used as an explanation, a disclaimer, and an apology, that even now I have a difficult time describing someone’s heritage without feeling like I’m being derogatory.

We are not a white country. We are not a Christian country. And that’s something unfortunately easy to forget. I was told that American was diverse, and that was a good thing, but non-whites were always presented to me in the context of immigration. I saw minorities as foreigners that us “True Americans” needed to reach out to,  since they were coming to Our Great Country because we had more opportunities than they did at home. That’s a pretty limited view.

In getting older, my single story of America has changed. I’m proud to say my “us” vs. “them” mentality has eroded, and I’ve adjusted my perception of America to reflect the experiences I’ve had with different races and ethnicities since I was little. Some minorities are immigrants, and some have American ancestors dating back further than I do. Regardless, phrases like “they’re mexicans” or “they’re muslims” say nothing more about people than where they’re from or what religion they are, respectively. To use such labels as warnings or judgments is to classify a category of people outside of logical bounds, just as it is false to say that America is a white country.

Where am I?

I look around in pure awe. Same feeling, same realization each time I’m here. It’s hectic all around me but some how I’m at ease. Theres buildings, sirens, people, signs, stores, music, lights all around me. I hear the banging of quarters in a cup as a man sits, begging for spare change. Noise all around me. There’s diversity here. Not just diverse people, but diverse places. Walk North down Michigan Avenue and you’re on a beach. Not the ocean, but who really needs the ocean when you have a city in the background. Chicago, you have my heart.

Like I touched on in my design post, I’m no stranger to Wrigley Field. Chicago, Illinois is my favorite place in the world and nothing gives me more joy than describing my feelings towards this city. “It’s a cleaner New York,” said anyone whose ever been to the two. Well, I have only been to New York City once, but, “a cleaner New York,” is not the one sentence I would use to describe my happy place. It’s noisy, it’s hectic, and while it’s not the safest place in the world, it holds a special spot in my heart. This summer I went to Lollapalooza, a music festival in Chicago, and the fact that hundreds of thousands of people were able to watch their favorite bands in an area that could accommodate everyone was a beautiful thing to witness. I think the craziness of Chicago is what really draws me to it and I can only hope that I will have the opportunity to live there one day.

Lollapalooza 2016
Lollapalooza 2016

The Flipper

Are you sitting at home? Maybe staring at your TV, flipping through channels with your boring TV remote? Wanting to spice up your relaxation with a device that has a less intimidating name than remote? Look no further. All your problems are about to be solved with The Flipper. I want you to just try and be angry and say, “pass me The Flipper.” You can’t! So why wait? Make the switch and ditch the remote. It’s time to make TV time more fun!

Remote is such a harsh word. The purpose of a remote is simple, so it’s name shouldn’t make it seem scarier than it is. As we all know, a remote is something that you use to control another device. When using the remote to control a television, you are wanting to change the current state that your television is in. When you are watching TV, you flip through various channels, flip input settings, or flip the volume higher or lower. Because of that sentence, that action, I think that the word flipper more accurately describes the remotes purpose. The two p’s roll off the tongue easier than the word remote does, and as I hinted in my copy, flipper is just more fun to say. I’ve personally always known the remote as a flipper/clicker and not a remote so this assignment was a no brainer when I was deciding what thing to rename.

The Changing Tides

In an attempt to help understand what’s going on in today’s political climate, Andrew Sullivan wrote an article for the New York Times trying to explain the election through the eyes of Plato. Just as Plato said “… does not tyranny spring from democracy…”, Sullivan insists that Donald Trump has sprung from America.

Sullivan makes many a good point in bashing Trump for the uncouth, loudmouth that he is; referencing his simple and scathing catch phrase, “You’re fired!”, as part of his evil nature. “The conversation most humane bosses fear to have with an employee was something Trump clearly relished…”, wrote Sullivan. He even compares Trump to the fascist leader in Sinclair Lewis’s novel, It Can’t Happen Here. The resemblances of the two characters are scary.

I do see some problems with Sullivan’s article, though. Sullivan takes a fundamental lesson on morality and applies it to Trump to effectively create a hit-piece. While it’s true that some forms of government turn to others, our climate is not quite the doom and gloom of Plato’s fiction. Reality is much different. America is not a democracy, but rather a federal Republic. It was intended for the people to elect the officials who in turn elect other officials. These are people of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The Founding Fathers plainly wrote that if the people made a mistake in their choosing, they were well within their rights to start over again. If the people feel that there needs to be change in the country, it is our duty to oppose or support that change rationally and through our votes as Americans. Trump is no angel, but neither is Clinton. If the people value their freedoms in this country, then they will vote for who they feel is best. If the government then becomes tyrannical, it is the people’s responsibility to overthrow that system and then start fresh. That being said, The American Revolution was bloody and devastating, all the more reason to stay informed and make wise voting decision.

Typography, Typefaces, and being typically LOST!

Who honestly knew there was SO much to learn about typography? I had no idea there were so many different parts, and characteristics to the different typefaces. Though I was a little overwhelmed at first Seth’s video of typography, though the PDF was very helpful in breaking down “the anatomy” as he called of typography. Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 7.08.52 PMWith some adjustment and note taking I started to feel like I was really getting the hang of spotting out the different ascenders, beaks, shoulders, and other characteristics, which make each typeface family so unique.

I am very thankful that I took the time to watch all of the informational videos before playing the games that were assigned. I thought I was terrible at the games now.. I could only imagine how tragic it would have been before I at least had some knowledge under my belt. Honestly, I would have never thought that there would be so many different types of games that relate to typography, if anything it just established it’s importance to the graphic design and ad copy and layout profession even more.

The first game I played was the Shoot the Serif. Not going to lie I had very low expectations of what these games would entail, because playing a game about typography doesn’t exactly sound like a true thriller. Though I quickly found out I was wrong , and that I might be extremely competitive with an addictive personality haha. My first game was actually MY best, no where close to the high score board, but it was something I was proud of.  I mean come on 212 not too shabby for someone who is typically an Ariel or Times New Roman type of girl! I started to feel like I was onto something good while playing this game, and felt the need to test my knowledge and try to beat my own score… Let’s just say I should’ve only played once! Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 6.33.10 PM  YIKES—–>Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 6.37.58 PM

The second game I played really confused me at first, but ended up being very interesting. Who knew I could be such a match maker? Take a look at my new happily in love font.  It was really interesting to see the two fonts that interested me the most, because whenever I draw quotes or different art designs with typography each one has a resemblance of these two fonts. I guess all along I knew more about typography than I thought?? Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 6.40.26 PM

Last, to finish up my gaming experience I played the game “Type War” I choose this game because this or that games really interest me. I do like having grey areas in a majority of decisions, but for the most part it gives me relief when most things are black or white.  If I thought I was terrible at the Shoot the Serif game,  Type war was 100 times worse. Though after some practice I ended up redeeming myself, and creating a substantial streak of 27! I also found out that I really like the font Optima, so I might just have to throw that one into my casual rotation of fonts.
Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 6.46.44 PM
In conclusion, I feel like I learned a lot from this assignment, and created a strong building block for myself in relation to graphic design. I find a lot of truth in the concept that typography tells a story, and from this moment on I feel like my story with graphic design has just BEGUN.


// sam

Hey y’all!

Welcome! My name is Madison Huffling, but the people call me MaddHuff. That’s been my nickname since my sophomore year of high school. It started as my Twitter and Instagram name and it just kinda stuck. Now it’s evolved to my name. Also my Snapchat and Facebook URL. My superiors in OU Athletics, where I work, address me as “MaddHuff” at sporting events, in emails and on social media.

My job is the main thing that drove me to PR. I work over in Athletics Communications in a little cave tucked under the north video board. My desk rattles on Friday afternoons when they test the videos and graphics before games. I came to OU wanting a degree in broadcast journalism and a career at ESPN. After a year of working with the media on behalf of the university and its student-athletes, I decided that was not the path I wanted to take. I switched to PR and added a Spanish major. Writing press releases and feature stories for the athletic department has been a wonderful hands-on learning experience, although I have no desire to be a Sports Information Director (SID). They are by far the most overworked and underpaid people in sports. All that I’ve learned thus far about writing will help me in law school and in my eventual career as a sports agent. The Spanish will help in every day life considering I want to work mostly with professional béisbolistas, baseball players.

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Telling stories of great come-back victories or the tough growing up of a student-athlete is a big motivator for me. I want to share their lives. Fans want to know, the general public wants to know what’s going on with a team or with an athlete. Being able to share how they got to the stage they’re on now is an incredible responsibility and a great privilege.

Being raised around sports really motivated me to get to this point in my life and set my goals for my future and career. Growing up in Edmond, Oklahoma, the middle of College Football Land, I had crimson and cream and orange and black shoved down my throat. My dad also forced the silver and navy of the Dallas Cowboys upon me, a sad piece of my life that I’m forced to deal with. I grew up donning OSU gear and betrayed a good 75% of my blood relatives when I chose OU. As a fourth-year junior, or first-year senior as some say, I have finally found the degree plans and career path to suit me and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the legacy that is Gaylord College.




Notes from Smith (2) Buddhism

Most of us, given our upbringing, have been exposed more to Christianity than to other religions. Consequently, we were struck by how different Buddhism is from the basic ideas about religion to which we are accustomed:

  • Smith describes Buddhism as a religion of intense self-effort and of looking inward at ourselves, rather than reliance on God’s grace.
  • It does not focus on beliefs.
  • It presents the world as essentially suffering, and religion’s goal is to escape suffering.

Most of us do not find these differences threatening; we are used to encountering new perspectives. But we noticed that Smith is working very hard to overcome those differences, and make Buddhism seem less strange, by drawing numerous comparisons to other religions, especially Christianity, and other aspects of western culture (like science, psychology, etc.).

  • Surely such comparisons must distort Buddhism. Can’t he just present Buddhism on its own terms?
  • But perhaps conceptual understanding is impossible without comparison.
  • And if our goal is not just conceptual understanding but human relationships and conversations, then maybe our own beliefs need to be part of the conversation.
  • But surely this means that we always distort and misunderstand the people we try to understand and converse with. Are we okay with that?

We aren’t yet entirely sure why Smith makes all these comparisons. What is his goal, his bias, or his agenda?

  • Does Smith prefer a certain religion–like maybe his own brand of Christianity–and is he measuring other religions against that standard?
  • Or is Smith a pluralist who believes all religions are equally true or good?
  • Or is Smith just showing similarities between religions, and especially with Christianity, in order to help his American audience understand and respect unfamiliar religions?
  • We can at least tell that he has some definite ideas about what religions should be like: they should not include too much authority, ritual, doctrinal speculation, tradition, grace, or mystery, because too much of these things corrupts a religion (which is what happened to Hinduism before the Buddha purified it, and then happened to Buddhism after the Buddha’s death).

Let’s continue to read between the lines and figure out Smith’s goals, values, and assumptions as we read further.