Writing Prompt 125
Which personal traits or distinguishing factors do you feel are needed for a person to become a top advisor for President Barrack Obama or for any president?
Today’s writing prompt is inspired by a recent news story describing the possible nomination of a new secretary for the Homeland Security Department. It is suggested that Jeh C. Johnson will soon fill the position that became vacant when former secretary Janet Napolitano took a new position in another state.
Johnson has a distinguished career so far, having served as Assistant United States Attorney and General Counsel for the United States Department of Defense. Interestingly enough, the thing that seems to set Johnson apart from others is his race. He is African American. Perhaps President Obama is seeking to assuage critics who have chided him for “not having enough blacks” as his top advisors. I don’t know.
That calls to mind an interesting question: How many blacks should be within the ranks of President Obama’s top advisors? Enough to silence the critics once and for all? And when “enough” is reached, will the Latinos begin to make a fuss? Are the Asians going to cry foul play? Will Middle Easterners use this as fuel to claim they should be part of the presidential cabinet?
And what about homosexuals? Do homosexuals stand a chance of being considered one of President Barrack Obama’s must trusted advisors, or will their sexual orientation be a constant source of unwanted attention? Notice how no one talks about women. Though it may be true that there aren’t “enough blacks,” it is certain that there are even fewer women listed as top advisors.
So what do you think of all of this? What personal traits do you think are needed for a person to be nominated as one of President Barrack Obama’s top advisors?
Nonfiction Writing: Analytical
Analytical writing is my favorite form of nonfiction writing. Out of all the forms of nonfiction writing we’ve discussed so far, I know the most about this type of writing. Over on my blog, I weave back and forth between calling myself a gal with lots of ideas and an analytical writer. Analytical writing involves writing about an event, a fact, or an opinion, and dissecting it with thoughtful questions and propositions.
One of the most popular subject matter that could use a little more analysis are movies. The people who watch movies and analyze them often refer to them as films. They are not just people, but movie critics, and they provide movie reviews. The term “critic” is important because the person is providing a critical a-n-a-l-y-s-i-s of the movie. A critical analysis involves watching or reviewing something and providing honest, thoughtful discussion on why something may be good or bad.
It is not enough to say, “Justin Bieber is good because he is sexy,” though I’m sure you’d see that popular message plastered all over Twitter and Facebook. A more thoughtful analysis would be of Justin Bieber’s singing talent, musical choices, wardrobe and personal style, and the like. Pop culture analyses of singer Miley Cyrus’s recent sexually charged music performance are inescapable. I’m sure you’ve read varied opinions of that single performance that has potentially changed the course of feminism and highlighted the rampant sexualization of selling music in today’s society.
That’s the stuff I’m talking about.
Analysis often involves reading someone else’s analysis of something and taking apart that writing in a dedicated and thoughtful way. In the example of Miley Cyrus, your ultimate opinion of her or her music or performance is almost irrelevant. What counts the most is how you got to that opinion. Put another way, it’s not the destination that counts, but the journey. I’m sure you’re well versed in that expression.
A lot of the analysis I make happens to be in the form of social media tidbits, which I often refer to as “sound bytes.” Now that instant gratification and short-attention spans are common everywhere, shorter is always better, hence the character limit in Twitter and the popularity of short viral videos. In other words, most people don’t want to read your long-winded writing (though I do!) because you may be scolded to “not write a book.”
In social media, yes, it is true. There is no need to write a book, though you want to keep your points short and thoughtful. I often read comments from others that I view as controversial, incomplete, or downright moronic. What do I do? I question it. I do not necessarily accept statements as truth, even if they come from supposed social media gods or giants, as they like to call themselves. It is in this line of questioning that we get closer to the truth and engage people in a peaceful, thoughtful debate.
After you make your social media comments online, why not go back and collect a bunch of them and publish them as a book, such as “Suzanne’s Analysis of Social Media…” It doesn’t hurt, it is an interesting exercise, gets your brain to work, and is an excellent, creative way to produce analytical writing.
The next time, we’ll focus on more formal types of analysis.
It’s almost time for National Nonfiction Writing Month. Are you ready to take the WNFIN challenge?
Amanda M. Socci is the creator of the 10-month training program for Write Nonfiction in November called “I Know I Can” WNFIN. The first two blog posts of the series explain more about this program and its benefits.
Amanda refers to herself as the Creative Idea Gal because she comes up with original ideas for herself and others. Based in Alexandria, VA, she is a devoted mother of two and a hopeless fanatic of all things creative. Connect with Amanda on Google+ or Twitter.