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