Essay #2 Options with Signal Phrases and Works Cited Due 3-26-18
One. In an essay of appropriate length, defend, refute, or complicate Cal Newport’s argument from his book excerpt (available online) from So Good They Can't Ignore You that the Passion Hypothesis is dangerous and should be replaced by the craftsman mindset.
Suggested Essay Structure:
Paragraph 1: Summarize Newport's argument.
Paragraph 2: Explain how you've been pursuing your career goals before reading Newport's book. Then explain how his book affects the way you might re-think your strategy and approach to your career plans.
Paragraph 3: Your thesis: Example: "Cal Newport's argument that should should shun the Passion Hypothesis and replace it with a craftsman's mindset is convincing (is not convincing) because ______________, ______________, _________________, and ______________________.
Paragraphs 4-7 are your supporting paragraphs
Paragraph 8: Counterargument-Rebuttal Paragraph in which you anticipate how your opponents will oppose your thesis and your rebuttal to their counterargument.
Paragraph 9: Conclusion: Dramatic reiteration of your thesis.
Sources and Signal Phrases
You must use at least 2 sources and 6 signal phrases for your essay.
Two. Defend, refute, or complicate Kristof’s defense of food stamps as he posits his case in “Prudence Or Cruelty?”
In paragraph 1, summarize the debate of food stamps.
In paragraph 2, write your thesis.
Paragraphs 3-6: Support your thesis with these body paragraphs.
Paragraph 7: Anticipate how your opponents would disagree with you (counterargument) and show why your opponents are wrong (rebuttal).
Typical counterargument goes like this: "My opponents claim that I am wrong because of _________; however, their claim fails to address ___________." Or, "My opponents will take issue with __________; however, their opposition is clearly misguided when we consider _______________."
Paragraph 8: Conclusion, a restatement of your thesis with powerful emotion (pathos).
You must use at least 2 sources and 6 signal phrases for your essay.
Three. Support, refute, or complicate the primary argument in Nathanael Johnson’s “Is There a Moral Case for Eating Meat?” (189)
Four. Develop a thesis that compares Francine Prose’s “The Wages of Sin”(197) with Harriet Brown’s “How My Life Changed with One Sentence” (204).
Important Due Dates:
March 21: Peer Edit due for Peer Edit check to be kept in your portfolio
March 26: Essay #2 is due.
March 26: Homework #8 is due: Read David Brooks' essay "People Like Us" (also available online) and write a 3-paragraph, 350-word essay that explains why people stick to their tribe.
"How My Life Changed in One Sentence"
Harriet Brown is in therapy full of rage about having a fat body that defies her best attempts to be skinny.
She doesn't want to let go of her skinny ideal.
She recoils when her shrink tells her to accept her body as it is: "Are you ******* nuts?"
Investing in Self-Hatred
Harriet Brown teaches us that many of us, for various reasons, invest in our own self-hatred until self-hatred becomes as addictive as alcohol or any other kind of substance.
This internalizing of shame and self-hatred is a comparison point with Francine Prose's "The Wages of Sin."
Society tells us that if we're not skinny, we are abject failures, sloths, gluttons, self-indulgent losers, and, yes, depraved sinners.
As we read in Brown's essay, "The word obesity has become a diagnosis rather than a description, shorthand for a boatload of undesirable qualities: gluttony, lack of self-discipline, laziness, sloppiness, grotesqueness."
Brown defends overweight people in the context of the huge failure rate of dieters in her essay, "The Weight of the Evidence."
Brown's conclusions are partly supported in Alexandra Sifferlin's "The Weight Loss Trap."
Essay Option Four. Develop a thesis that compares Francine Prose’s “The Wages of Sin”(197) with Harriet Brown’s “How My Life Changed with One Sentence” (204).
The above option is very open-ended. I would suggest you develop an argumentative thesis like in the sample essay below.
The High Failure Rate of Dieting Is No Excuse
Stuck at 220 pounds for nearly four weeks, my Inner Fat Man was whispering in my ear, “Give up, dude. Game over. Your metabolism is adapting to your sugar- and gluten-deprived diet. Your metabolism is essentially shutting down. It’s a protest, dude. Don’t you see? Your body is telling you and your diet to go to hell. But no need to feel ashamed. Over ninety-five percent of dieters regain all their weight and get even fatter. Just surrender and admit you’re in the Fat Man Club.”
My Inner Fat Man had a point. The odds were against me. All the research showed that my body would eventually rebel and make my Fat Man triumph over my attempt at gaining control of my tendency toward fatness with all of its related health catastrophes.
Writing for Time, Alexandra Sifferlin in her article “The Weight Loss Trap: Why Your Diet Isn’t Working” describes the findings of scientist Kevin Hall, who doing research for the National Institute of Health, studied the reality-show The Biggest Loser to see if the contestants’ successful weight loss could be studied to help the population at large. Their weight loss was dramatic. Hall observed that on average they lost 127 pounds each, about 64% of their bodyweight. But Hall soon discovered that transferring the rigid training and dieting to the real world was not a realistic proposition. Sifferlin writes:
What he didn’t expect to learn was that even when the conditions for weight loss are TV-perfect–with a tough but motivating trainer, telegenic doctors, strict meal plans and killer workouts–the body will, in the long run, fight like hell to get that fat back. Over time, 13 of the 14 contestants Hall studied gained, on average, 66% of the weight they’d lost on the show, and four were heavier than they were before the competition.
Like other studies I’ve read, people who go on weight-loss programs do indeed lose the weight, but they always gain it back and even get heavier. But worse, after they soar to an even fatter version of themselves before they went on a diet, their metabolism is set at a lower speed, so they’re worse off than before. As Sifferlin explains in her article about Kevin Hall’s research,
As demoralizing as his initial findings were, they weren’t altogether surprising: more than 80% of people with obesity who lose weight gain it back. That’s because when you lose weight, your resting metabolism (how much energy your body uses when at rest) slows down–possibly an evolutionary holdover from the days when food scarcity was common.
With research like this, we can see why any reasonable person would conclude that dieting is not only futile but self-destructive. Driving this point home, Syracuse University journalism professor Harriet Brown in her Slate article “The Weight of the Evidence,” beseeches the 45 million Americans who go on a diet every year to not do so. She warns: “You’ll likely lose weight in the short term, but your chance of keeping if off for five years or more is about the same as your chance of surviving metastatic lung cancer: 5 percent. And when you do gain back the weight, everyone will blame you. Including you.”
In agreement with Harriet Brown is Sandra Aamodt, author of Why Diets Make Us Fat: The Unintended Consequences of Our Obsession with Weight Loss. Aamodt cites studies that show the overwhelming majority of dieters get fatter and mess up their metabolism, making them even more vulnerable to obesity. All one can do is let go of society’s unrealistic body images, eat sensibly, exercise, stop weighing oneself, and let the chips fall where they may. If people eat sensibly and are overweight, we should not demonize them, as Francine Prose observes we are inclined to do in her essay "The Wages of Sin." Prose makes the astute observation that we unfairly look at fatness as a sin and sign of moral depravity. As Prose writes:
In studies that have examined the causes and motives behind the stigmatization of the overweight, such prejudice has been found to derive from the widely accepted notion that fat people are at fault, responsible for their weight and appearance, that they are self-indulgent, sloppy, lazy, morally lax, lacking in the qualities of self-denial and impulse control that our society . . . values and rewards.
I will concede that these intelligent writers make a strong case that overweight people should not be demonized and that dieting usually fails to bring salvation to those who aspire to conform to society’s unrealistic slender body images.
However, I find their arguments that we are doomed to fail to lose and keep our weight off ultimately unconvincing. High failure rates of anything don’t impress me because I am a disciple of Sturgeon’s Law, the belief that over 90% of everything is crap.
Sturgeon’s Law dictates that over 90% of aspiring novelists write crappy novels. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to discourage one of my brilliant students from becoming a novelist.
Sturgeon’s Law dictates that 90% of books that are published today aren’t even real books. They’re just gussied-up, padded short stories and essays masquerading as books. But that doesn’t mean I don’t search for literary gems.
Sturgeon’s Law dictates that if you’re part of the dating scene, over 90% of the people you’re dating are emotional dumpster fires, unctuous charlatans, and incorrigible sociopaths. But that doesn’t you can’t eventually find through dating a legit human being for whom you find true love.
Sturgeon’s Law dictates that over 90% of marriages are cesspools of misery, toxicity, and dysfunction. But that doesn’t mean that I would discourage two people who are both well-grounded with strong moral convictions, sincere motivations, and a realistic grasp of what is in store for them to not marry each other.
Sturgeon’s Law dictates that most home-improvement contractors are hacks, fugitives, pathological liars, and snake-tongued mountebanks. But that doesn’t mean you don’t bust your butt looking for a solid referral to find a credible contractor who will redo your kitchen.
I could go on. The point is that if you are looking to do something that is exceptional and long-lasting, you are going to have to commit yourself to hard study and hard work. You’re also going to have to endure a lot of trial and error. Since Sturgeon’s Law dictates that over 90% of people don't do the necessary groundwork for embarking on any project in a worthwhile manner, then you’re not surprisingly going to have a high failure rate in the realm of dieting.
What we must do to be successful is not point to the high failure rate as an excuse for our own failures. What we must do is study the small amount of successful people and analyze their methods of excellence. There are powerful, life-changing books on this subject. One helpful example is Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers: The Story of Success, which propounds the 10,000 Hour Rule, the principle that you need a minimum of 10,000 hours of concentrated work to achieve a base level of competence in your craft. Other books that help us study the methods of success come from Georgetown computer science professor Cal Newport. He has written Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World and So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love. In both both books, Newport advocates a “craftsman mindset,” in which you achieving mastery in a craft through “deep work.” This mastery is rare and therefore highly marketable and valuable. But only people who have the fortitude, commitment, and proper habits of “deep work,” performing long chunks of focused work on their craft, rise to the top. Newport argues that this kind of achievement is exceptional and therefore highly prized.
Of course it is. Sturgeon’s Law dictates that this be so.
When we look at everything in the context of Sturgeon’s Law, we see we have no excuses for our failures, including our diet failures.
Studying failures is not an excuse for failure. Studying failures is a warning for us not to follow the footsteps of those who fail. Once we’ve examined the don’ts of the failures, then we must study the dos of the successes. To find how to be successful at dieting, we can return to Alexandra Sifferlin’s essay “The Weight Loss Trap.” Sifferlin points out that there are some people, over 10,000 in fact, who successfully lose their weight and keep it off. Their success is kept in The National Weight Control Registry, headed by Brown University professor Rena Wing and obesity researcher James O. Hill from the University of Colorado. To be a member of the registry, one has to have lost 30 pounds and have kept it off for at least a year. Registry members don’t all stick to one diet. They have different diets, but the one common denominator is that whatever diet they’re on, the new diet is making them mindful of what they’re putting in their mouth. They also exercise regularly. So against the odds, regular people, not just contestants being trained for a reality-show by professional trainers, are losing and keeping their weight off.
What separates the successful dieters from the failures is consistency, mindfulness of what they’re eating, and a realistic approach so that they don’t get discouraged and burned out over the long-haul.
Another success factor is to find a reliable mentor, either a person you know or an author whose realistic dieting goals can stick with you for a lifetime.
I have an exceptional mentor, Max Penfold, who embodies the “craftsman mindset” described by Cal Newport.
Max Penfold is a United States powerlifting champion, former Navy Seal, and executive chef for arguably the most disruptive tech company in the world.
Also Max Penfold has lost 70 pounds, and he has kept if off for seven years. That qualifies him for membership in The National Weight Control Registry.
If I lose just five more pounds and keep it off for a year, I too can enter the realm of success.
I say the hell with failure.
The hell with the doomsday prophets who say failure is inevitable.
And the hell with my Inner Fat Man.
"The Wages of Sin"
Study Questions (About Francine Prose's essay "The Wages of Sin," her analysis of attitudes toward gluttony)
One. What is the Nanny State Worldview?
In paragraphs 1 and 2 we read that in the Nanny State worldview people are dumbed-down troglodytes who are so helpless to fend themselves it is necessary for the government to be a Big Nanny that cares for the infantile, incontinent appetites of the people by imposing stringent laws and regulations.
In the NSWV, individuals lack maturity, responsibility, and self-discipline to make smart food choices. Unbridled by the Nanny State, people will gorge themselves to death at buffets and Krispy Kreme.
There are food shows that feature traveling gourmands who devour cheesecake filled donuts dipped in strawberry jam. TV rating spike as these food shows cater to our Id.
Do we need the Nanny State to control the incontinent eating habits of the average American? What's the endgame of such control?
In dystopian nightmare Nanny State, nurses would knock on your door at 2 AM and demand 200 push-ups or else your health insurance would be doubled.
You might get tickets for "being fat" at the beach.
In reality, we are not so dumb as we are surrounded by a consumer culture committed to stimulating our appetites, and we find ourselves maladapted to all the calories we consume.
Two. Why Is Being Fat Perceived as a Sin?
Being fat suggests sinfulness, specifically concupiscence, a spiritual disease in which one, absent God's love, seeks to fill one's vacuum with foolish tokens, delicacies, and sensuous experiences. These desires are never fulfilled, and one finds that one's desires constantly outstrip one's capacity to satisfy them.
Being fat is self-destructive. It leads to diabetes, incontinence, and premature death. Therefore, one is violating the body's Holy Temple with fried peanut butter and mashed banana sandwiches washed down with pitchers of cold beer.
Being fat is a sign of having no discipline but rather the squalid development of a rotund toddler. Failure to grow beyond this stage points to a lack of moral fortitude.
Being fat makes one an imposition on others. Sitting next to a fat person on a bus, a train, or an airplane is a drag. Some airlines charge obese people for two tickets since their girth commands at least two seats' worth of cabin space.
Being fat is aesthetically offensive. There are nude beaches where for tourism sake the police escort fat people off the beach. "Only svelte, beautiful bodies allowed. It's tourism season, big boy."
Being fat is a sign of stupidity. Smart people figure out a plan to deal with this thing called overeating. Obviously, the glutton is still confused, or wants to remain confused, and this willed ignorance is also a sin.
Television reinforces many of the above stereotypes.
Are We Dumb for Getting Fat or Just Vulnerable?
We are not so dumb as we are vulnerable. For example, watching food on TV triggers our appetites.
Chemists work on flavors and textures that stimulate our appetites. Their research is secret. Journalists are not allowed in the lab.
However, consumer culture, which stimulates our appetites, also markets the perfectly sculpted body and wants to sell us products that will get us that body as well.
Thus consumer culture gives us mixed messages, screws up our head, and then shames us for being overweight.
Worse than dumb, many see fat as evidence of a sinful nature: avarice, greed, envy, concupiscence, sloth, laziness, etc.
Many of us, 80% of the country, are losing economic ground. Being low on the economic ladder is the number one risk factor of being overweight.
Three. What does it mean to be paternalistic?
We are speaking of when someone takes on a parental role in a derogatory sense in that the “parent” is assuming control over others. This word often has a negative meaning, for it often suggests someone being presumptuous enough to be an authority over another. “You are fat and you need me to help you become a healthy, productive member of society.”
This is the same mentality of treating citizens like dumb children that we see John Taylor Gatto's essay "Against School."
Some argue though that letting Americans feed "themselves silly" isn't working. The health costs from America's gluttony are staggering. Obesity costs Americans up to $210 billion a year.
Four. There’s a lot of talk about the so-called obesity burden in which tax payers have to absorb half the medical costs incurred by obesity-related ailments. Is that fair?
Answers will vary.
Five. What is the Fat Tax dilemma?
If taxing fat people and putting a “fat tax” on “fatty” items were to be effective, people would live longer and old age increase would put a NEW tax burden on tax payer.
Smokers and obese people lose about ten years of their lives.
But there is a sense of moral outrage and a need to punish "fat sinner" by taxing them.
Six. What curbs fat more, a heavy stigma or the Nanny State?
Neither. Prose suggests that a stigma, a sense of shame, is more powerful than any government regulations. The fear of being an outcast is greater than financial punishments.
But in fact shame usually has the opposite effect: People go down a rabbit hole of shame and depression, which makes them want to "disappear," ironically by eating into a state of fatness. This creates a vicious cycle.
Even the fear of death rarely works.
Seven. What is gluttony?
Gluttony is the sin of overeating as a form of self-indulgence. Most Americans overeat; therefore, most of us are gluttons. If all or most of us are gluttons, perhaps there is less stigma to being a glutton.
Or more realistically, there are different levels of the glutton.
A Stage 1 Glutton is 20 pounds overweight. He gets a pass.
A Stage 2 Glutton is 40 pounds overweight. He is about to lose his pass.
A Stage 3 Glutton is 50 or more pounds overweight. He lives in Shame Hell, either alone or with other Stage 3 Gluttons.
When we speak of gluttony, we make fat a moral issue: Gluttony shows a disrespect for the body and an excessive pandering to one’s ego.
Eight. How do we see latent hostility against obese people?
We claim to be compassionate towards the obese but in reality we are not when obesity inconveniences us. Airplane seats, for example, are a source of strife because the obese are taking more than their share of space.
Perhaps most significant is fat discrimination in the workplace. Employers know the cost of obesity at work.
Another form of hostility is the connection, real or not, of obesity and poverty. We call this guilt through association.
Nine. Is obesity as simple as saying it’s a moral issue or a sin?
Perhaps that’s an oversimplification: Attributing complex problem to simple cause: to blame obesity on sin or indulgence or ego is absurd. Obesity may be partly these things, but they don’t tell the whole story.
Ten. Fat Has Become Entertainment and Grotesque Spectacle
We read in "Beating Obesity," by Marc Ambinder, whose own struggle with being overweight led him to getting bariatric surgery:
For the average fat person, life can be an endless chain of humiliating experiences. On a flight to Denver not too long ago, I watched as a very large woman struggled to settle into her seat. Next to her, a much skinnier man curled his lip in disgust. The woman softly asked a passing flight attendant for a seat-belt extender. The flight attendant didn’t hear her over the roar of the engines, so the woman had to ask again, and this time, everyone looked at her. Grocery shopping, eating at restaurants, going to the movies, having drinks at a crowded bar—for the fat person, these are situations to be negotiated and survived, not enjoyed. The workplace is no different: a television executive once remarked to me that my career as a political analyst would “really take off if [I] would just lose a few pounds.” When I was fat, I avoided meeting people’s eyes. I didn’t want to subject them to my ugliness.
Unfortunately, our culture reinforces this anxiety by turning obesity into pornography. This is not surprising. Obesity has become not just a scientific fad of sorts, generating intense research, curiosity, and public concern, but also a commercial gold mine that draws on the same kind of audiences that used to go to circus carnivals a century ago to peer at freakishly obese men and women. The TLC network, which long ago transcended its “Learning Channel” origins and gave the world Jon and Kate, now features obesity-programming blocks. One recent special followed the progress of an extremely obese teenage boy who struggled through bariatric surgery and its aftermath. Another special chronicled the life of the fattest man in the world. In addition to The Biggest Loser, NBC’s popular weight-loss boot-camp competition, and Fox’s More to Love, a dating show for larger people, the Oxygen network now has a dancing competition called Dance Your Ass Off. Fat people are funny.
The impact of “fat porn” on fat people is counterproductive. It’s true that stigma can restrain obesity rates. Researchers speculate, for example, that black men are less likely than black women to become obese, in part because within the black community they would face a higher stigma. In general, overweight young people tend to be socially marginalized. But there is little evidence that increasing stigma actually reduces obesity rates. And plenty of evidence shows that stigma makes fat people more likely to feel depressed, to experience stress, to receive poorer medical care, to experience discrimination in the workplace, to go on eating binges, and to duck exercise.
Stigma might be more bearable—an unpleasant way station on the path to a thinner, healthier life—if diet and exercise, the most prescribed solutions to obesity, worked. But they don’t. Qualification: if you eat less and exercise more, you’ll lose weight. But the chances that you’ll stick with that regimen are slim, and the chances that you’ll regain the weight, and then some, are quite high. A systematic review of weight-loss programs, by Thomas A. Wadden and Adam Gilden Tsai of the University of Pennsylvania, found that the evidence that commercial and self-help weight-loss programs work is “suboptimal.” People who diet often regain more weight than they lose.
Much of the solid advice society imparts to people who want to lose weight is best suited, intentionally or not, for well-off Americans. As I was Googling obesityearlier this year, an ad for a book by Jillian Michaels, the take-no-prisoners strength coach on The Biggest Loser, popped up: “Weight-loss expert Jillian Michaels has been there too. After years of exercise and painstaking dieting, she figured there had to be an easier and more effective way to become healthy and stay slim. And there is!”
Later, I flipped through Michaels’s book, and discovered that the real secret is … exercise and painstaking dieting. Michaels’s book argues that our physical environment messes up our hormones, which in turn affect our appetite and energy level. Eat a little of this and some of that, she tells us, but never this and only a smidgen of that. Don’t let stress rule your life. “GO ORGANIC.” “Prepare food to minimize toxins.” You want to know her secrets, but you quickly realize that her day job is her secret; her celebrity status, which lets her see top-flight endocrinologists, is her secret; the freedom her status and position in life give her to follow a diet, that’s her secret. On The Biggest Loser, contestants are plucked out of their environment and social circle, sent to a weight-loss boot camp, and forced to radically change their calorie intake and output for several months. That’s one way to lose weight. But who, besides the very rich, or the very idle, can replicate the show’s setup?
Is Obesity a Sin?
When we use a disease model of obesity, we interject, wrongly or not, a moral component because there is an implication that only through rigorous moral scrutiny and inventory can an eating addict find freedom from overeating, and overeating, it is assumed, is the primary cause of obesity. In fact, overeating may not be the primary cause. The causes can be complex and many:
The 15 Causes of Obesity:
- There is an abundance of convenient, cheap, calorie-rich food everywhere we go.
- We move less than we did generations ago. Do we chase the animals we eat? No.
- Mindless eating; not even knowing the quantity of what we consume every day, much of it done while talking, watching TV, or surfing the Internet, all forms of Mindless Eating. See book of same title by Brian Wansink.
- Poverty; there is a relationship between poverty and obesity. This is due to a lack of education combined with reliance on cheap fast food.
- Parents. Children eat what their parents eat. If the parents eat a “fat lifestyle,” so will their children.
- Friends. We eat and look similar to our friends. We often call this “social eating.”
- Eating processed foods instead of real foods and not knowing the difference. Please see In Defense of Eating: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan. In short, only shop at the far left and right of supermarkets; avoid the middle; or shop at the Farmer’s Market.
- Super-sized portions are marketed as a “good deal.” See the film Super Size Me and read the book Fast Food Nation by Erich Schlosser
- Boredom; stay at home with nothing to do and you’ll overeat
- Emotional eating; eating to feel “love” or “self-esteem” or because you feel lonely.
- Lack of sleep. The more tired you are, the more you feed your blood sugar to compensate.
- Education; knowing how to enjoy good healthy food should be very practical but too few people know how to prepare food for themselves that they both crave and that is good for them.
- Learned helplessness: You convince yourself that you are too ignorant to make your own food and become dependent on fast food and junk.
- Dieting; it leads to weight gain, splurging, neuroses, and messes up the metabolism, which rebels and goes on “shut down.”
- Fast food is marketed to children in an aggressive way; see Fast Food Nation.
Sample Thesis Statement and Outline
Both Francine Prose and Harriet Brown show that to stigmatize overweight people as gluttons, a morally bankrupt pariahs, is a grossly unfair judgment when we consider that it is not a lack of morals or "sin" that makes people fat but biological and social factors evident in "The Weight Loss Trap" by Alexandra Sifferlin and "The Weight of the Evidence" by Harriet Brown.
Paragraph 1: I would summarize major points of Brown's essay, "How My Life Changed in One Sentence."
Paragraph 2: I would summarize major points in Francine Prose's essay, "The Wages of Sin."
Paragraph 3: Thesis
Paragraphs 4-7, supporting paragraphs
Paragraph 8, conclusion, a powerful restatement of thesis
Can Overeating be Cool?
Yes, if certain conditions are met.
The eater isn't fat.
The eater is making money on social media.
The eater makes overeating a competitive spectacle.
The sins of gluttony are cancelled by the American love of money.
Society's Mixed and Contradictory Messages on Eating:
Brainstorm for Prewriting
Both essays address the way we are a culture obsessed with food.
We tend to binge with food and we tend to purge with food.
We are two extreme regardless if we are bingeing or purging.
We have internalized shame in regards to eating.
We have internalized rules in order to conform to a quasi religious order of what makes us “bad” or “good.”
We internalize these eating rules from the food police and in essence create our own food religion and the result of this religion is a form of control.
This form of control is deceptive. Some of us, like Caroline Knapp and others, can be so obsessed with control that we’re controlled by the need to control.
Obsession with control leads to out of control behavior.
Bingeing leads to purging and purging leads to bingeing. Or in other words, self-denial leads to self-indulgence and self-indulgence leads to self-denial. For example, after a Christmas-New Year’s binge, many start the New Year with a New Year’s resolution of denials.
A lot of internalized food rules, it seems, disproportionately affect Anglo middle and upper class people, so that we might say eating disorders are largely a “first world problem” of the privileged class.
However, being fat is a stigma that affects people of all classes, especially in the workplace.
Being fat is being “a monster,” a drain on society, “Los Otros,” the Other. A fat person is demonized as taking up space and costing us billions in sick costs at work and in hospitals.
Dieters use “religious language,” we read in Prose’s essay. “That chocolate cake was sinfully delicious.”
Dieters adopt 12 Step programs and embrace a Higher Power to free themselves from their bondage to eating.
Develop a thesis that compares or contrasts (or both) the social pathologies that inform the type of eating disorders and neuroses described in “The Wages of Sin” and “How My Life Changed in One Sentence.”
Both Prose and Brown capture the analogy of strict food rules with unhealthy, diseased religious compulsion, which is comprised of ____________, ___________, _____________, and _____________.
While the food police would label us as helpless eaters and Knapp would consign some sort of disease to anorexia, in truth most eating disorders are not so much a "disease" as they are the products of economics, family influences, and habits.
To demonize or stigmatize people with eating disorders as being ignorant, sinful, or diseased is a dangerous exercise that obscures the root causes of eating disorders, which are born from economic deprivation, family influence, and bad habits.
Correct the faulty parallelism by rewriting the sentences below.
One. Parenting toddlers is difficult for many reasons, not the least of which is that toddlers contradict everything you ask them to do; they have giant mood swings and all-night tantrums.
Parenting toddlers is difficult for many reasons, not the least of which is that toddlers contradict everything you ask them to do, they have giant mood swings, and they have all-night tantrums.
Two. You should avoid all-you-can-eat buffets: They encourage gluttony; they feature fatty, over-salted foods and high sugar content.
You should avoid all-you-can-eat buffets: They encourage gluttony, they feature fatty, over-salted foods, and the lard everything with sugar.
Three. I prefer kettlebell training at home than the gym because of the increased privacy, the absence of loud “gym” music, and I’m able to concentrate more.
I prefer kettlebell training at home than the gym because of the increased privacy, the absent gym music, and the improved concentration.
Four. To write a successful research paper you must adhere to the exact MLA format, employ a variety of paragraph transitions, and writing an intellectually rigorous thesis.
To write a successful research paper you must adhere to the exact MLA format, employ a variety of paragraph transitions, and write an intellectually rigorous thesis.
Five. The difficulty of adhering to the MLA format is that the rules are frequently being updated, the sheer abundance of rules you have to follow, and to integrate your research into your essay.
The difficulty of adhering to the MLA format is that the rules are frequently being updated, the rules are hard to follow, and the MLA in-text citations are difficult to master.
Six. You should avoid watching “reality shows” on TV because they encourage a depraved form of voyeurism; they distract you from your own problems and their brain-dumbing effects.
You should avoid watching "reality shows" because they encourage a depraved form of voyeurism, they distract you from your own problems, and they dumb you down.
Seven. I’m still fat even though I’ve tried the low-carb diet, the Paleo diet, the Rock-in-the-Mouth diet, and fasting every other day.
I'm still fat even though I've tried the low-carb diet, the Paleo diet, the Rock-in-the-Mouth diet, and the fasting diet.
Eight. To write a successful thesis, you must have a compelling topic, a sophisticated take on that topic, and developing a thesis that elevates the reader’s consciousness to a higher level.
To write a successful thesis, you must have a compelling topic, a sophisticated take on that topic, and a thesis that elevates the reader's consciousness to a higher level.
Nine. Getting enough sleep, exercising daily, and the importance of a positive attitude are essential for academic success.
Getting enough sleep, exercising daily, and maintaining a positive attitude are essential for academic success.
Ten. My children never react to my calm commands or when I beg them to do things.
My children never react to my calm commands or my lugubrious supplications.
Commas are designed to help writers avoid confusing sentences and to clarify the logic of their sentences.
If you cook Jeff will clean the dishes. (Will you cook Jeff?)
While we were eating a rattlesnake approached us. (Were we eating a rattlesnake?)
Comma Rule 1: Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS) joining two independent clauses.
Rattlesnakes are high in protein, but I’d rather eat a peanut butter sandwich.
Rattlesnakes are dangerous, and the desert species are even more so.
We are a proud people, for our ancestors passed down these famous delicacies over a period of five thousand years.
The exception to rule 1 is when the two independent clauses are short:
The plane took off and we were on our way.
Comma Rule 2: Use a comma after an introductory clause or phrase.
When Jeff Henderson was in prison, he developed an appetite for reading.
In the nearby room, the TV is blaring full blast.
Tanning in the hot Hermosa Beach sun for over two hours, I realized I had better call it a day.
The exception is when the short adverb clause or phrase is short and doesn’t create the possibility of a misreading:
In no time we were at 2,800 feet.
Comma Rule 3: Use a comma between all items in a series.
Jeff Henderson found redemption through hard work, self-reinvention, and social altruism.
Finding his passion, mastering his craft, and giving back to the community were all part of Jeff Henderson’s self-reinvention.
Comma Rule 4: Use a comma between coordinate adjectives not joined with “and.” Do not use a comma between cumulative adjectives.
The adjectives below are called coordinate because they modify the noun separately:
Jeff Henderson is a passionate, articulate, wise speaker.
The adjectives above are coordinate because they can be joined with “and.” Jeff Henderson is passionate and articulate and wise.
Adjectives that do not modify the noun separately are cumulative.
Three large gray shapes moved slowly toward us.
Chocolate fudge peanut butter swirl coconut cake is divine.
Comma Rule 5: Use commas to set off nonrestrictive (nonessential) elements.
Restrictive or essential information doesn’t have a comma:
For school the students need notebooks that are college-ruled.
Jeff’s cat that just had kittens became very aggressive.
For school the students need college-ruled notebooks, which are on sale at the bookstore.
Jeff Henderson’s mansion, which is located in Las Vegas, has a state-of-the-art kitchen.
My youngest sister, who plays left wing on the soccer team, now lives at The Sands, a beach house near Los Angeles.
Grammar: Dangling Modifiers
Rewrite the following sentences to correct the dangling modifiers:
1. Larded with greasy fries, the waiter served me a burnt steak.
2. Mr. McMahon returned her essay with a wide grin.
3. To finish by the 4 P.M. deadline, the computer keyboard blazed with the student's fast typing fingers.
4. Chocolate frosted with caramel sauce, John devoured the cupcakes.
5. Tapping the desk with his fingers, the school clock's hands moved too slowly before recess.
6. Showering the onion rings with garlic salt, his sodium count spiked.
7. The girl walked her poodle in high heels.
8. Struggling with the tight jeans, the fabric ripped and made an embarrassing sound.
9. Turning off the bedroom lights, the long, hard day finally came to an end.
10. Piled high above the wash machine, I decided I had better do a load of laundry.
11. Standing on the hotel balcony, the ocean view was stunning.
12. Running across the floor, the rug slipped and I collapsed.
13. Writing anxiously, the essay looked littered with errors.
14. Mortified by my loss to my opponents, my baseball uniform sagged.
15. Hungry after a day of football, the stack of peanut butter sandwiches on the table quickly disappeared.
McMahon Grammar Exercises: Pronoun Errors
Vague Pronoun Reference
Possible reference to more than one word
Transmitting radio signals by satellite is a way of overcoming the problem of scarce airwaves and limiting how they are used.
In the original sentence, they could refer to the signals or to the airwaves.
Reference implied but not stated
The company prohibited smoking, which many employees resented.
What does which refer to? The editing clarifies what employees resented.
A pronoun should refer clearly to the word or words it replaces (called the antecedent) elsewhere in the sentence or in a previous sentence. If more than one word could be the antecedent, or if no specific antecedent is present, edit to make the meaning clear.
Lack of pronoun/antecedent agreement
Every student must provide their own uniform.
Pronouns must agree with their antecedents in gender (male or female) and in number (singular or plural). Many indefinite pronouns, such as everyone and each, are always singular. When a singular antecedent can refer to a man or woman, either rewrite the sentence to make the antecedent plural or to eliminate the pronoun, or use his or her, he or she, and so on. When antecedents are joined by or or nor, the pronoun must agree with the closer antecedent. A collection noun such as team can be either singular or plural, depending on whether the members are seen as a group or individuals.
Incorrect pronoun case
Determine whether the pronoun is being used as a subject, or an object, or a possessive in the sentence, and select the pronoun form to match.
Castro's communist principles inevitably led to an ideological conflict between he and President Kennedy.
Castro's communist principles inevitably led to an ideological conflict between him and President Kennedy.
Because strict constructionists recommend fidelity to the Constitution as written, no one objects more than them to judicial reinterpretation.
Because strict constructionists recommend fidelity to the Constitution as written, no one objects more than they [do] to judicial reinterpretation.
Confusing subject with object
Please give the chocolate to Randy and (I, me).
Between you and (I, me), the fat cats have all the cheese while the rest of us fight for the crumbs.
Rewrite each sentence below so that you’ve corrected the pronoun errors.
One. Between you and I, there are too many all-you-can-eat buffets mushrooming over southern California because a person thinks they’re getting a good deal when we can eat endless plates of food for a mere ten dollars.
Two. When children grow up eating at buffets, they expand their bellies and sometimes you find you cannot get “full” no matter how much we eat.
Three. As thousands of children gorged on pastrami at HomeTown Buffet, you could tell we would have to address the needs of a lot of sick children.
Four. Although I like the idea of eating all I want, you can sense that there is danger in this unlimited eating mentality that can escort us down the path of gluttony and predispose you to diabetes.
Five. When a customer feels he’s getting all the food they want, you know we can increase your business.
Six. If a student studies the correct MLA format, you can expect academic success.
Seven. It’s not easy for instructors to keep their students’ attention for a three-hour lecture. He or she must mix up the class-time with lecture, discussion, and in-class exercises.
Eight. It is good for a student to read the assigned text at least three times. When they do, they develop better reading comprehension.
Nine. The instructor gave the essays back to Bob and I.
Ten. We must find meaning to overcome the existential vacuum. Otherwise, you will descend into a rabbit hole of despair and they will find themselves behaving in all manners of self-destruction.
A person who doesn't plan ahead finds they cannot go to the big party.
Consistent point of view
When one ponders the state of education, we can't help wonder why you are lagging in critical thinking skills and one has to ask if there need to be improvements in this regard. Therefore, a person taking a critical thinking class should be prepared when they are asked to identify logical fallacies and other elements of critical thinking.