Narrative As Technology

Forms of Information


Assignment 1

In-Class Writing Assignment #1:(1)


Get into groups of three. One of you in the group should think of someone, perhaps a family relation or a close friend, with whom you need to be a little bit insincere when you interact – perhaps to protect yourself from his or her criticism, or perhaps to avoid being subjected to one of his or her favorite diatribes – and to whom you need to convey some information (this scene could have already happened, or it could be a scene that will play out later concerning something you need to tell them in the future). Explain the situation in which you have been or will be insincere to the other two group members. Remember, as the three of you discuss it, that being insincere isn’t the same as either being emotionally detached nor as lying: when one is insincere, something true is stated but how the speaker really feels about it is hidden. Together as a group write a one-paragraph email to that person, insincerely conveying whatever information you need to get across; let your classmates help you come up with the best way to say something insincerely to this person. Now, all three of you together, revise that paragraph to make it sincere. Pick out one sentence, written in two versions, sincere and insincere, to show to the class.


(1) This assignment comes from Thomas Ogden, Reverie and Interpretation: Sensing Something Human (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1997), 203.




Assignment 2

As you read through Edward Tufte's The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint, define the following terms:

visual reasoning

low versus high spatial resolution

architecture of thought


high resolution method of data transmission

hierarchy / bureacracy / hegemony

thin data density

What single term is unstated in Tufte's essay that might be considered central to his point, given that he continuously compares the quality of information typically conveyed in PowerPoint presentations to the quality of information produced by newspaper Pravda, an organ for distribution of communist-controlled news in Soviet Russia from the communist revolution on through to the end of the Cold War (between 1918 and 1991)?


Assignment 3

As you read through the essays in the book Eloquent Images (edited by Mary E. Hocks and Michelle R. Kendrick) that is on reserve at King library (P93.5 .E56 2003), answer the following question: in what ways are images "eloquent"? That is, how do they speak to us in ways that text (or text alone) cannot?