The following pieces were created for my Website Design and Creation class, which I took my senior year. For the class, we created work in multiple different web writing genres. The first article is done in the Op-Ed style. The second article is a client project that I worked on throughout the semester to create a showcase piece for the Loyola University Maryland writing department website. Both are available for download as PDF below.
Can We Still Enjoy House of Cards? And Should We?
I woke up Wednesday, November 29th, to a push notification that said that Matt Lauer was fired for sexual assault and misconduct. If this weren’t 2017, I would have been shocked. I grew up watching Matt Lauer as a news anchor. But it is 2017, and this is the year of reckoning.
Lauer’s just one man in what has been an absolute wildfire sweeping through Hollywood, burning down the forest of people who have gotten away with hurting others, leaving a smoldering forest of ruined careers and confused consumers. When artists that we have liked for decades are being outed as abusers, how can we separate the art from the artists? Can we still enjoy the art people have created?
HBO recently dropped Louis C.K. from their Night of Too Many Stars charity event after the allegations against him came to light. FX also cut ties with the comedian, and his movie release was cancelled. These are the appropriate reactions to an artist median verifying the accusation that they were a sexual predator. No one should be rewarded for abusing another person. The people that are being outed should face every consequence possible for the harm they have caused other people. But HBO also removed all the comedy specials C.K. had with the company off their On-Demand menu.
That is a business decision, and HBO has every right to make that. But that doesn’t mean that C.K. has not created art that was funny in the past. He was a successful comedian for decades. Should we just pan everything he has created and forget about his contributions? I don’t think we should. I think that there is something to be said about separating the art from the artist, appreciating what the artist gave to us in the past, and refusing to support them in the future.
Kevin Spacey for example—he is a sexual predator. That is a fact that we now know and is undisputed. But that doesn’t mean that Pay It Forward has stopped being a good movie. Will I maybe watch Seven again because I think it’s one of the best suspense movies ever made? Yes. Do I hope that Spacey gets blackballed from Hollywood, faces the full consequences of his horrible actions, and never makes anything again? Absolutely.
People have done this before. Everyone knows that Roman Polanski is scum who slept with a 13-year-old. Is Rosemary’s Baby one the most influential movies ever? To some, yes it is. Is it still a movie that we watch even knowing what we know about Polanski? Yes. Because we have separated the two in our minds.
We like being outraged by “problematic” media, especially on the Internet. The culture these days is very black and white. I’m advocating for some gray areas, especially when it comes to art. Should we support these abusers in the future by paying for their art? I don’t think so. Can we still enjoy their past contributions? I hope we find a way to.
 Harrison Jacobs. “HBO is removing Louis C.K. from an upcoming benefit show and removing all his past specials.” Business Insider. November 9, 2017. http://www.businessinsider.com/louie-ck-sexual-misconduct-hbo-removes-from-benefit-show-and-past-specials-2017-11.
 Sarah Almukhtar, Larry Buchanan, Michael Gold. “After Weinstein: The Fallout for 34 Men Accused of Sexual Misconduct, From Lewd Texts to Rape.” The New York Times. November 21, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/10/us/men-accused-sexual-misconduct-weinstein.html?_r=0
The Rhetoric and Composition Library
The Rhetoric and Composition Library is a new resource for all writing students. Located in the Writing Department lounge (Maryland Hall 040), the library is a collection of texts and journals all focused on the study and scholarship of rhetoric and composition. The library has a selection of journals, such as College English, College Composition and Communication, and the Journal of Advanced Composition. The journals have been organized chronologically for easy use. In addition to the academic journals, the library contains other work from writing studies like Teaching Grammar in Context, Cicero on Oratory and Orators, and a variety of other books that cover topics like gender and rhetoric, race and rhetoric, and the actual mechanics of the rhetorical craft.
The texts from the library are largely donated. Dr. Cindy Moore, a professor of writing and now the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, donated her personal collection of books and journals pertaining to rhetoric and composition. In addition to this core collection, new texts are being added regularly as faculty give books and scholarly journals they believe would benefit students.
Rhetoric, which includes the art of argument, is an essential building block in the study of writing, and writing majors and minors at Loyola University Maryland take rhetoric and composition classes in addition to fiction and nonfiction classes. Learning how to analyze and persuade in writing carries into every aspect of the major or minor, and into life after Loyola. The Rhetoric and Composition Library is an excellent new resource available to writing students.