Farewell Freedom – Aloha Adulting

The time has come to say goodbye to the University that has fostered my knowledge for the past four years. The bittersweet send off of graduation is in two weeks, then it’s farewell freedom – Ahola adulting.

Image Credit: https://pixabay.com

The most memorable moment at graduations is the commencement speech. Commencement speeches are meant to inspire graduating students as they depart from all that they know to follow their dream. Some commencement speeches succeed at this task while others miss the mark falling short on the inspiration. However, here are five favorite commencement speeches that truly inspire:

Hours, days, months. Crafting a commencement speech takes time and thought. Using every rhetoric trick in the books, speakers engage graduating students through the power of speech, and ultimately help steer us in the right direction. So, good luck to everyone as we part ways, it’s been a pleasure and an honor.




Fresno Shooting: Reporting Tragedies

On Tuesday, April 18, 2017, three men were fatally shot in Fresno, California, by a man named Kori Ali Muhammad who was “already the subject of a manhunt in the death of an unarmed security guard last week.”

Image Credit: http://www.cnn.com

When a crime such as this one occurs, law enforcement has a difficult job, not just in regards to investigating the crime, but also when speaking out to the public about the situation. It is very important for law enforcement not to give wrong information about a case, especially this day in age when the level of trust in law enforcement is lower than normal. Police must avoid providing absolutes too soon until all details about a case are known; however, the public also demands information immediately and it looks poorly on the police if they don’t respond in a timely manner. This is why it is crucial for law enforcement to employ delicate wording in their public statements.

In reference to the shooting that occurred this week, police describe the incident as an alleged hate crime. Fresno Police Chief, Jerry Dyer, stated that

“one apparent motive in the downtown killings was that Muhammad had learned he was wanted in Williams’ death.”Dyer also stated that “investigators do not know what Muhammad’s religious beliefs are, but it doesn’t appear he targeted anyone based on religion.”

Use of the words “alleged” and “apparent/appear” may seem simple, but they hold an enormous impact on how the statements are perceived. Such wording allows law enforcement to avoid backing themselves into a corner. If instead the police were to say “it was a hate crime….the motive was this…he did not target anyone based on religion,” then they become accountable for the information they provided to be 100% certain. This is fine to say at a later time when all the evidence has been examined, but not as an initial statement about the incident. Not using words such as “alleged” and “apparent” presents a public statement as THEIR determination and requires admittance of being wrong if further evidence indicates otherwise. On the other hand, using such wording presents a statement as an objective view that can easily be dismissed if further evidence indicates differently. Solving a crime is stressful enough on law enforcement; cautious wording when addressing the public helps to reduce the additional stress of the public and media hounding them for what they say.


Cayla R. Nolder

Did Your Cat Get in the Square?

Welcome to the generation of expressing emotions or thoughts through the use of memes, GIFs, and emojis. Be honest, how frequently do you find yourself sitting next to a person who randomly bursts out laughing and you ask, “what’s so funny?” Then their response is to flip their phone around to show you a meme? All the time.

Believe it or not, memes, GIFs, and emojis are forms of visual rhetoric. In a brilliant study, Subversive Memes: Internet Memes as a Form of Visual Rhetoric, conducted by Heidi E. Huntington, it was found that “internet memes may be viewed as a form of subversive communication in a participatory media culture.” Meaning that our culture now has evolved into using visual images and quirky phrases as a form of conversation and communication. Likewise, images and cartoons have been used as symbols throughout our culture to portray deeper meaning. Thus the concept is not a novelty but the context in which our culture as began communicating (memes) is. Memes are typically humorous but often times you’ll come across a meme that also communicates a problem or hard truth that is considered a current societal issue. For example, this meme about United Airlines after the forceful removal of Dr. David Dao,

The conclusion of this study was that,

Memes are more than internet humor; research shows them to function by appropriation and resistance to dominant media messages. By examining how memes can operate in subversive and representation always, this paper offers scholars a framework for the study of memes as symbolic, persuasive texts. Just as the application of visual rhetoric expands general rhetorical theory by acknowledging “the role of the visual in our world” (Foss, 2004, p. 310), examining memes as a form of rhetoric can expand understanding of the way memes function in a participatory media culture.

Recently this week, one meme, in particular, caught my attention. I’ll give you a hint: it involved a cat and a square.

Twitter turned this tweet into a moment that captured cat lovers alike.

Danielle Matheson’s (@prograpslady) viral Tweet about her mom’s feline home experiment has inspired plenty of imitators and silenced dozens of doubters along the way.

As you can see, the tweet received a massive response because it spoke to cat lovers who were curious about the square. Would their cat crawl into that square on the floor? We all know cats love to be in boxes but…this challenged cat logic! This sparked engagement from the cat lover audience who rapidly began testing the theory.

Those were just a few of many, you can view more reactions here. The point is that visual rhetorical devices such as memes, GIFs, and emojis can be used to communicate *successfully and effectively.

*If your audience responds to whichever form you use to communicate, then it has been successful. For instance, I fell victim to the cat in the square movement…therefore, it successfully communicated to me.


My black cat, Killian, fell for the square but my Tortoiseshell, Atlas, not so much.

Warmest Regards & Mahalo,


Holding Hands Makes You The Man

Dutch men joining hands in solidarity to show support to the young gay couple that was brutally attacked in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

men holding hands

Image pulled from https://www.nytimes.com. Alexander Pechtold, left leader of the liberal-democratic party D66, and Wouter Koolmees, a lawmaker in the party, held hands in The Hague on Monday in a show of support for gay rights. Lex Van Lieshout/ European Pressphoto Agency

According to Dan Bilefsky, a writer for the New York Times, the young couple was holding hands when they were attacked by a group of youths wielding bolt cutters. What motivated the youths to engage in such brutality is still unknown by investigators but one of the victims characterized the attack as a hate crime.

Understandably, this sparked outrage in the Netherlands — a capital known as the gay capital of Europe  — because homosexuality was removed from the Dutch code in 1811, and it’s considered a haven for LBGT couples.

For the full story click hereSince the story broke, people from all over the world have joined in on the protest, showing support with the simplest gesture of holding hands. The movement depicts men from all professions such as politicians, police, actors, soldiers, and athletes holding hands. Gay and straight men expressed their support. Supporters wanted to spread awareness have been posting on Twitter using #allemannenhandinhand

This movement is a powerful statement but in this case, people are speaking out without even using their voices! Actions can speak louder than words. By holding hands, men are sending the message that there is zero tolerance for homophobia — love is love — through the use of their body language.

The goal of spreading awareness as well as protesting against violence directed toward LGBT communities is being achieved because this kind of speaking out relies on emotional input and output. Meaning this movement heavily incorporates pathos when addressing the audience which allows for a deeper connection as well as a call-to-action response from the audience. Overall, a wonderful response to such violence.

Love is love. Don’t you agree? Please comment and share your stories with me or follow me on Twitter @cayla_redlon.

Warmest Regards & Mahalo

Parody of Emo Trump Receives Spotlight

On March 27, Super Deluxe gave the Twitter-sphere a golden parody which showcased snippets from Trump’s campaign and presidency speeches transformed into a 2000’s-style emo song.

If you don’t already know, a parody is a literary device that imitates the work of another while deliberately altering the material into something that is comical.

Gif Credit: https://giphy.com

No doubt a public speaker’s use of parody would be to illicit laughter from an audience which can lead them to be more engaged. The engagement is a response to the spike of endorphins being received, creating emotions of happiness. Generating this response in an audience will make the experience memorable which is a key goal when giving any form of speech. The more memorable, the more likely an audience will talk about your speech with other people.

However, parodies are often confused with satire but they are not synonymous. For instance, both are viewed separately in the courtroom when regarding fair use in copyright infringement cases. In an ABA Section of Litigation Intellectual Property Committee Roundtable Discussion regarding parody versus satire,

The Court explained further that while a parody targets and mimics the original work to make its point, a satire uses the work to criticize something else, and therefore requires justification for the very act of borrowing. See id. at 581. As a result, the Court appears to favor parody under the fair use doctrine, while devaluing satire.

Although the video was making fun of President Trump, legally Super Deluxe is in the clear because the fair use of copyrighted material allows for transformative works such as parody. Therefore, it would be difficult for Super Deluxe to be sued for copyright infringement.

In a previous post, ‘Zootopia’ Lawsuit — Talk your way out of this one Disney, copyright infringement was touched upon but in the case Goldman v. Disney, the work was not transformative enough to be free of infringement allegations.

According to the Court,

“parodies can be considered “transformative” works, as opposed to merely “superseding” works. Since transformative works “lie at the heart of the fair use doctrine’s guarantee of breathing space within the confines of copyright,” the more transformative the parody, the less will be the importance of other § 107 factors that may weigh against a finding of fair use.”

All things considered, the video Super Deluxe created legally fits into the category of parody. Click on the video below to watch emo trump:

As you can see, the video received high impressions,

  • 672 responses

High impressions mean that Super Deluxe’s parody successfully engaged their audience, making the experience memorable enough to generate buzz. Here are a few responses:

While there were many responses to this video, the few selected received the most buzz from other Twitter users which generated positive word of mouth for Super Deluxe (e.g., free publicity).

Let me know what your reaction was to Super Deluxe’s video in a comment below or follow me on Twitter at @cayla_redlon.


‘Zootopia’ Lawsuit – Talk Your Way Out of This One Disney

Disney is usually the one suing – PLOT TWIST – now they’re being accused of stealing Gary Goldman’s ideas for the hit animated movie “Zootopia”.

Image Credit: https://cdn-ssl.s7.disneystore.com The fox (Nick) left, The bunny (Judy) right.

Nick’s facial expression sums up the situation perfectly in this photo, yikes. Variety Senior Media Writer, , reported on the story (I encourage you to read the whole story there because this post touches only on the high points). Goldman, screenwriter of “Total Recall”, allegedly claimed that he brought forward the idea of “Zootopia” back in 2000, and again proposed the idea in 2009, but Disney turned down his pitch. Allegedly, Disney stole everything including the theme, the character designs, some lines of dialogue, and the name “Zootopia”.

This is a serious accusation because copyright infringement is a serious crime. It involves stealing creative work that is not your own and putting your name on it (long story short). An artist expresses their voice and ideology within their creations. Similar to public speakers, each one is unique in the way they present or write a speech. For example, standing up in front of a crowd and giving the iconic Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have A Dream” speech as your own would be copyright infringement. Don’t believe me? The Atlantic had this to report in 2012,

If you weren’t alive to witness Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the Washington Mall 48 years ago this week, you might try to switch on the old YouTube and dial it up. But you won’t find it there or anywhere else; rights to its usage remain with King and his family. …

At the family’s Web site, videotapes and audiotapes of the speech can be purchased for $10 a piece. The family controls the copyright of the speech for 70 years after King’s death, in 2038.

Needless to say, a violation of creative work is a serious accusation which is what Disney is facing today. Disney of course straight up rejected the claim. However, the evidence that Goldman is bringing to the table is hard to deny – good luck getting out of this pickle Disney.

Like any major player, Disney came forward and said,

“Mr. Goldman’s lawsuit is riddled with patently false allegations,” the spokesman said. “It is an unprincipled attempt to lay claim to a successful film he didn’t create, and we will vigorously defend against it in court.”

In brief, Goldman’s live-action film “Looney” included animated animals living in a complex human society which included a hierarchical structure based on characteristics of species. This was registered with the Writers Guild of America, West, in August 2000. Disney’s character designs bear a strong resemblance to Goldman’s character designs, and as for the stolen dialogue, Maddaus reported:

In Goldman’s treatment, a character says, “If you want to be an elephant, you can be an elephant.” In Disney’s version, Judy says: “You wanna be an elephant when you grow up? You be an elephant. Because this is Zootopia. Anyone can be anything.”

As the evidence begins to build against Disney, other comments are being made on the internet about Disney’s authenticity. Here are a few, out of the many, responses to this story:

And let’s not forget our skeptics:

Since the story broke this morning, select reporters who have Tweeted the story are receiving high numbers of engagement. For instance, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety:

So what are your thoughts? Is this copyright infringement? A blatant violation of creative work? Please share your thoughts below or Tweet me @cayla_renee

Warmest Regards & Mahalo

WVU Budget Cuts: Students and Leaders Speak Out

West Virginia University (WVU) campus has been buzzing with news regarding GOP budget proposal and for good reason! Some students are shocked, outraged, and concerned about the harmful impact the budget cut will have on the University’s programs.

WDTV covered the story which can be seen if you click the link below:


Three students were interviewed (a form of public speaking that includes meeting face-to-face to discuss a topic by being asked questions by an interviewer) and this is what they had to say:

“Students already struggle financially so I don’t think a budget cut would benefit anybody,” said Andrew Aluise, Sophomore at WVU.

“As an English major. I know English and the humanities are always usually the first to go when they make budget cuts, so that really concerns me since I am not a science major or anything,” said Lindsey Zirkle, Freshman at WVU.

“For future students, I feel like it might impact enrollment because people feel like they can’t afford it,” said Kirsten Beverage, Senior at WVU.

Live interviews are not always rehearsed but run more along the lines of impromptu speaking, meaning that an interviewee responds in the moment what their opinion is with regards to whatever they were asked. The report stated that the emergency meeting held on Tuesday to discuss the new budget proposal was not open to the public but officials did make a statement expressing concern about the proposal.

WVU News also covered the story, posting it to Twitter.

The post has received at least 18 retweets since 6 a.m. and 13 likes. Further information was provided by WV MetroNews, Jeff Jenkins, reporting that

“WVU’s budget has been cut by $96 million over the last five years including $29 million in base funding and it’s possible more cuts are coming as indicated by Republican legislative leaders earlier this week when they outlined their budget framework.”

Senate Education Committee Chairman Kenny Mann (R-Monroe) made this statement:

Mann said he believes because the way the bill is written classified staff members “will see the sun will come up tomorrow.”

“It won’t be as bad as it looks,” Mann said.

Jenkins story received 14 likes on Facebook and 4 shares total:

Image Credit: WV MetroNews

In an article just posted today by Joselyn King, WVU’s President E. Gordon Gee attended Higher Education Day at the Legislature in Charleston, WV. 

“Our message is a simple one,” Gee said. “In times of limitation … you have to support the things that will create jobs, create opportunities and create prosperity. And as for those things in this environment that don’t do that — then we have to make different kinds of decisions. The notion that cutting anything across the board — whether it be higher education or anything — is a formula for mediocrity.”

President E. Gordon Gee’s words could not have been more well spoken. Using rhetorical devices such as repetition (e.g. “..create jobs, create opportunities and create prosperity.”) to make a point.

Share with me your concerns regarding WVU budget cuts in the comments below or via Twitter @cayla_redlon

Warmest Regards & Mahalo