To the Class of 2018,
Welcome to Fordham College at Lincoln Center! And welcome to the world of college writing. This year’s issue of EP collects eleven essays, each written by a Fordham student last year in Composition and Rhetoric I, II, or Texts and Contexts. Their work represents some of the best Fordham has to offer, and we hope that it impresses, instructs, and inspires you to excel in your own writing. We congratulate the class of 2017 on the great writing represented here. We hope that in reading these essays, you will be moved to find your own voice, to ask your own questions of what you read and of the world around you, and to engage your mind with the rich and moving ideas and texts that college allows you to explore.
What is EP? EP is short for eloquentia perfecta, a Latin phrase meaning the right use of reason combined with eloquent expression. This idea of eloquentia perfecta has long been central to Jesuit education, and, we hope, EP draws on the best of that tradition while bringing it into the 21st century. You will find perfect eloquence here in this expository prose, and you will also find extended play: essays that take an idea and break it apart, look at it from a new angle, and remix it, showing it to us anew.
In preparing for our ten year anniversary edition, the editors of EP have reflected upon where we have been as a journal dedicated to promoting excellence in first year composition as well as where we are going, and we have found our cover image of a 1946 map of lower Manhattan fitting for the occasion. Although the composition of the city has drastically changed over time, the objective of the map, much like EP itself, has stayed committed to functioning as a guide for its reader. Maps are vital not just in navigating our school’s campus, New York City, but also to the writing process: where do we locate ourselves in relation to our texts? Our interlocutors? Our audience? The eleven essays in this edition guide us efficiently and effectively through considerations about our country’s obsession with celebrity in Kiran Singh’s “Dark Fantasy,” and yet remind us that not everyone can travel the same roads in the same way as Brilynn Rakes details in her personal narrative about depression among the visually impaired in “Live in the Light.” As with bodies, then, maps come in different shapes and forms, which Terry Zeng demonstrates as he traces his tumultuous relationship with his grandfather, Gong, through the family’s dinner menu.
Indeed, we hope that EP serves as a map throughout the semester insofar as the class of 2018 can learn from the different routes the class of 2017 embarked upon during their first year of college writing. In that manner, the next three essays demonstrate the shift from the personal to the argumentative. Cathlene Centeno closely analyzes a financial commercial to uncover hidden gender assumptions masked through humor in “Um, does anybody know whose phone this is?”; Cristina Ferretti considers the effect that smart phones have had upon conversational skills in “Conversations No More: The Cell Phone Revolution”; and Miguel Santa Maria canvasses cityscapes as he analyzes the rise of “food deserts” in his essay “Dieting an Obese America.” Although maps do direct us to our desired ends, whether geographically or rhetorically, sometimes it is nice to take a detour and relish in the hidden beauty of a street corner or piece of art. Our next three entries all remind us of the virtues of the scenic route as they demonstrate beautiful close readings necessary for their individual arguments. In “Crtl+Alt+Del,” Ben Moore revisits Radiohead’s O.K. Computer to discuss how the album critiques the alienation of the modern world while nevertheless providing solace for the listener; Jason Boit examines the community of street artists in New York City and discusses how they have positioned themselves in opposition to societal acceptance in “A Culture That Might Not Want Acceptance”; and, in “Surface: The Liquid Ontological Barrier in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,” Margaret Fischer provides a close reading of Victor Frankenstein’s descent from Montanvert wherein he renegotiates the boundaries of what it means to be human.
Finally, as maps need to be revised to account for changing demographics, so, too, do our representations of identity within mainstream culture. Our final two entries remap popular genres in order to account for persistent marginalizations: in “Whatever Happened to Uhura?: The Absence of Color in Science Fiction” Kamillah Brandes foregrounds the discrepancy between a growing body of diverse sci-fi literature and the white-washed adaptations that proliferate in Hollywood cinema; Gabbie Liberetti also takes issue with Hollywood’s lack of diversity in “To Be Seen and Heard: The Importance of Lesbian Visibility in Film” wherein she considers the problematic portrayals of lesbian couples and the tendency to isolate lesbian characters in film.
Before closing our welcome to you, we want to extend thanks to Dean Robert Grimes, S.J. for his generous support, financial and intellectual, of this endeavor. Simply put, without it, there would be no EP. Professor Glenn Hendler, Chair of the English Department, and Professor Sarah Zimmerman, Associate Chair of English for Lincoln Center, continue to enthusiastically support our work on this journal. Our wonderful professors and instructors—Shoshana Enelow, Mary Bly, Samantha Sabalis, Garth Hallberg and Laura Greeney —taught the courses from which this great work emerged. We thank these instructors, and all of our instructors, for helping our students reach their potential.
We hope to see your work here next year. Enjoy! And enjoy writing!