Reading Response, 9/4

Quick list of the reading, since it’s a little different than what’s on the course calendar:

“Music Television Mike” (On Writing p 603)

“Take the Cannoli” (Blackboard PDF under “Course Library”)

“The Braindead Megaphone” (Blackboard PDF under “Course Library”)

Here’s a sample QQC to get you going:

How have things changed on MTV since “Music Television Mike” was written?

What made Sarah Vowell so obsessed with the Godfather movies in “Take the Cannoli?”

I would argue that even if you do not agree with George Saunders’ left-leaning politics in “The Braindead Megaphone,” you could find common ground in his arguments about the detrimental effects of mass media.


Post by classtime on Wednesday. Happy reading.


47 thoughts on “Reading Response, 9/4

  1. Why does the main character in “Take the Cannoli” not share with her boyfriend and family her addiction to The Godfather? How come she is so scared of what they might think of her?

    How come in “The Brain-dead Megaphone” the author places the person with the megaphone in a party? He could have influenced others with his words anywhere else.

    In “Take the Cannoli” I loved how in the beginning the main character had fear of speaking to her family and was very introverted; until she finally realizes that communicating is “part of life.” In “The Brain-dead Megaphone” the author has some great ideas I agree with, such as the influence of the megaphone and the failure of the Iraq war.

  2. Did you feel like you connected with Music Television Mike and his depiction of the “MTV Generation”?

    How do you think Saunders’ protrayal of the Megaphone Guy, who is so loud that you are forced to listen to what he has to say, relate to his own obvious left winged sense?

    In “Take the Cannoli,” the main character expresses how her secret infatuation with the lifestyles of gangsters in “The Godfather” has helped to show her who she really is, proving that the film is rich in rhetoric.

  3. Renee Lemire
    Why does the author feel so suffocated by the fact that he is apart of the MTV Generation? Does he know he doe not have to be particularly defined as that?

    In the “Braindead Megaphone,” how did you like the overall tone of Saunders’ when he addressed the way the news correspondent talked about the mall overcrowding during Christmas?

    “Take the Cannoli” was my favorite reading. One being I am Italian and understood a lot of what the author was saying and two it showed a persons way of figuring out their life and what their purpose was here on Earth.

  4. Palmer Harper

    Why in “Music Television Mike” does to the narrator feel ashamed to be apart of the “MTV generation”?

    In “The Braindead Megaphone” why does the man with the megaphone barge into the party in the first place?

    In “Take the Cannoli” is my favorite because of the movie the narrator is obsessed with and is hiding from her loved ones and family.

  5. How could Sarah Vowell, author of “Take the Cannoli,” become content with herself and her world around her?

    Whether you lean left or right politically, how do we stop ourselves and others from blindly following people?

    As evidence in “Music Television Mike” similes are great in writing as they keep the reader interested and help paint a picture which can greatly add to one’s writing.

  6. How does the braindead megaphone theme apply to part one of “The Braindead Megaphone”?

    Why did the people in Cefalu find the main character’s appearance in “Take the Canoli” so amusing?

    Sarah Vowell’s use of humor in “Take the Canoli” was a refreshing change of pace from the gruff and hostile feel of “The Braindead Megaphone”.

  7. Could the reason Mike is so concerned about his association to the MTV generation be because MTV influenced him to be concerned about the how others view him?
    How do we distinguish between information coming from a ‘microphone-guy’ or actual fact in a world filled with endless information?
    I like how it took until the narrator was unwelcome and uncomfortable in “Take the Canoli” to understand the world around her.

  8. In “The Braindead Megaphone”, why does the man with the megaphone have such a strong influence on the guests?

    Why does the main character in “Take the Canoli” feel as though her faith eroded slowly over the years? Why did this happen to her?

    I really enjoyed reading “Music Television Mike” because I feel like MTV has had a strong influence over kids in our generation.

    Kathryn Kennedy

  9. Music Television Mike
    Why does the author hate popular media so much?
    Does he get the hatred from his parents?
    The author talks his way through his issues with MTV and TRL and simply agrees to disagree with society.

    Take the Cannoli
    Why is the author so obsessed with “The Godfather”?
    Why does the author tend to use so much rhetorical questioning?’
    The author goes about life with “The Godfather” being the holy book of lessons.

    The Braindead Megaphone?
    Why is the name “The Brandead Megaphone”?
    Why does the author think that the media is making the american people “dumb”?
    The author of this text blames the major media companies for implanting fear into all their viewers.

  10. In “Take the Cannoli” , does the author see The Godfather as a bible of sorts until she realizes that it is just a movie and that she is insignificnat?

    In “The Braindead Megaphone”, does the author really believe that all people with “megaphones”, or voices of influence, are braindead?

    In “Music Television Mike”, I believe that Mike actually is proud of being in the MTV generation because it has shaped him into the person he is today, whether by supporting the uniformity and conformity MTV inspires, or by rejecting it.

  11. “Music Television Mike” : Why does the author feel both proud and unhappy about his involvement in the MTC generation?

    “Take the Cannoli” : What does it mean when the author said that it is her living to ignore the people around her?

    In “The Braindead Megaphone”, the author seems to have a grudge on megaphone guys because he says that they comment on irrelevant ideas and contain little intelligence.

  12. “Music Television Mike” (Michael Hendrickson) – Hendrickson says that MTV is what told teenagers what was “cool” or “in.” Does television (not just MTV) do this today, or would it be something else now (movies, magazines, etc.)?

    “Take the Cannoli” (Sarah Vowell) – Do rules and guidelines help us establish where we need to go/what we need to do or do they restrict us from what we truly yearn for?

    “The Braindead Megaphone” (George Saunders) – I like the cycle (in regards to speech) that Saunders establishes towards the end of Part 2. Speech comes from thought, but thought also comes from speech – It’s almost like Newton’s Third Law of Motion, but instead of being for motion, it’s for thought and speech.

    -Becky B

  13. -In the “Braindead Megaphone”, why is the author so critical over what others express to the public?
    -In “Take the Canoli”, why does vowell keep her love for the godfather a secret, especially from those who are close to her? (isnt the godfathers rule not to keep secrets from the family… just everyone else?)

    -I completely agree with Mike in “Music Television Mike”. MTV hasn’t changed much since his generation, i mean his reality TV was Parental Controls and Next, and it would kinda teach society what not to act like that, and today on MTV we have the show Jersey Shore (so we don’t act like “guidos”) and Teen Mom/ 16 and Pregnant.

  14. Why do you think that Mike Hendrickson was so hesitant at first to admit that he is part of the MTV generation?

    In “Take the Cannoli”, why is the author so scared to experience the hometown of the Corleone’s, even though she is so intrigued by them?

    I think that the way the guy with the megaphone expresses his opinions at the party is directly related to the ways that politicians, news stations, and even the tabloids give their information to us; often forceful and overwhelming.

  15. Lauren Anthony
    Does MTV influence our generation as much as it did when Mike was in high school?
    In “Braindead Megaphone” why is George Saunders trying to find an antidote to mass media?
    It seems like the narrator in “Take the Cannoli” lives through the life of Al Pacino in The Godfather because she is unsatisfied with her own loneliness and un-amusing life.

  16. In “Take the Cannoli”, if the author lost her religious faith why does she create a new guideline for life from the Godfather?

    In “Music Television Mike”, Henderson’s generation shaped themselves to conform with what MTV wanted their viewers to become. What does our generation shape themselves to be and who is making the mold?

    In all the readings there is a common characteristic of media that has a negative impact on either an individual or a whole society.

  17. In “Take the Cannoli”, why did Vowell try to her Godfather obsession?

    In “The Braindead Megaphone”, why would the author say that technology lessens our abilities to communicate?

    In “Music Television Mike”, I agree with Hendrickson that shows like Next and Parental Control are degrading and people should learn to treat others with dignity and respect.

  18. To this day, it seems like many teenagers share the same criticism for television shows, especially MTV, as Mike did. That being said, these same teenagers cannot seem to change the channel when they see “Jersey Shore” or “South Park” is on. What are possible reasons for this, and what exactly is it about these shows that forces teenagers to fiend for more episodes?

    In Sarah Vowell’s “Take the Cannoli,” for what reasons could she have been secretively unhappy with her seemingly perfect and desirable life?

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Braindead Megaphone,” because I could so easily relate to it. I have a good friend who is so loud and influential that as soon as Saunders wrote about the party scenario, this kid immediately popped into my head.

    Louis Copley

  19. Why in “Music Television Mike” did the author end his paper with “Hello, my name is Mike, and I am apart of the MTV” generation if in his opening statement he denied being apart of it?

    In the “Braindead Megaphone”, what does the megaphone symbolize? Does it only have one symbol, or more?

    In “Take the Cannoli”, it is funny to relate to a story like that. In this generation, teenagers and even adults get an unhealthy obsession with shows they watch on Netflix, which is relatable to her obsession of the God Father.

  20. In “Take the Cannoli” why is the author so embarrassed about liking a movie?

    In “The Braindead Megaphone” why does the author have no train of thought and just babble about nothing?

    “How Reading Changed My Life” was really cool because the author made so many references to books he read before.

  21. Why does the author of “Music Television Mike” change his opinion of the MTV generation over the course of his paper?

    Why does the author of “Take the Cannoli” insist on hiding her obsession with “The Godfather”?

    In “The Braindead Megaphone,” I understood the “megaphone” to be the information we receive randomly throughout the day that shape our opinions.

    -Christie Gleason

  22. Why is the author of “Take the Cannoli” so ashamed of her obsession with The God Father?

    Why does the author of “Music Television Mike” deny being part of the MTV generation in the beginning of the story but accept it at the end?

    I think “The Braindead Megaphone” accurately demonstrated how loud, opinionated people can be so influential.

  23. What other means or forms of media influence today’s teenagers like MTV influenced teenagers of Hendrickson’s generation?

    In “The Braindead Megaphone,” the author speaks about a battle against the “megaphone.” He proposes that awareness of the “megaphone” and its evil ways is the “antidote,” but how can we spread awareness effectively? And how can we spread awareness without using the same techniques the megaphone uses?

    Well, after reading Anna Quindlen’s excerpt from How Reading Changed My Life, I realized it was not required for this blog post. I absolutely loved it, though and it made me think so much about how inspiring and amazing books can be and what a shame it is that they are plummeting because they “can’t compete with cars, the movies, television, and liquor.” Ironically and unfortunately, I would not have read this if I didn’t forget that it was an optional reading. That made me very sad because I know I am not alone. I wish I had the desire to read like Quindlen, but, sadly, “I guess I am [not] what some people would call a bookworm.”

  24. Why does Mike in “Music Television Mike” convince himself that what he thought was bad (MTV) was actually good for him growing up?

    Why does Sarah Vowwel in “Take the Cannoli” originally think she needed rules and structure in her life like in the Godfather?

    I agree with Mike that MTV isn’t about teaching moral lessons, but trying to appeal to the masses in an attempt to make money. To this day MTV is still playing the tv show parental control and other equally horrible programs. I believe Mike is trying to hard to make MTV out as a good thing,

  25. Do you feel the same way Mike does about MTV? (Do you feel as though it has made an impact on you even though you didn’t want it to?)

    In “Take the Cannoli” do you feel as though the author is trying to convey to the readers that you have to get out of your comfort zone to learn more about yourself?

    I found some of the lines in Music Television Mike to be hilarious. I was in the library reading and actually “LOL’d”. (That is how MTV has impacted me… I use abbreviations like “LOL”)

  26. In the story “The Braindead Megaphone” is the media only seen negatively and as brainwashing?

    Why does Mike feel like his “masculinity is robbed” (Mike) when he brings up he works for MTV at the beginning of “Music Television Mike”?

    I realized in all the readings the authors were telling us and giving examples of how we humans learn, interact and find ourselves through watching others.

  27. Le’otis Boswell-Johnson

    While reading George Saunders “The Braindead Megaphone,” did anyone else sense a connection to George Orwell’s 1984? The theory of “Big Lie” and the language “newspeak.”

    So am I the only one who never saw The Godfather? Even though I didn’t see the movie I still completely understood what Sarah Vowell’s point.

    Michael Hendrickson’s “Music Television Mike” was my favorite out of the three, this was freaking hilarious. Like I felt as if I knew him and we were sitting at a table eating lunch.

  28. In “Music Television Mike” he claims that MTV taught him how not to act, but how many of the stupid people act the way they do because of the television shows they watch?
    Why does The Grandfather in “Take the Cannoli” have such an influence on the narrator’s life yet she chooses to hide it?
    From “The Braindead Megaphone” I love the line “We still have the ability to rise up and whip our own ass”.

  29. In “Music Television Mike”, why does Mike push away and neglect the “MTV generation” throughout the paper before ultimately stating that he IS part of the generation?

    Why does the author in “Take the Cannoli” hide her love/addiction for the “Godfather” even though it is a great American film that millions and millions of people have the same obsession for?

    “The Braindead Microphone” has a simple message with a lot of meaning that really makes me start to think about how crazy mass media really is and how somewhat brain-washed the American people are from whatever information radios, TV shows, magazines, etc. put out for us to hear.

  30. What other meanings could be represented in the “cannoli”?

    why does the author “Music Television Mike” use so many references of a generation he no longer wants to be associated with?

    The style of writing separate essays and forming a text used in “The Braindead Megaphone” gave it a sense of being broken, like it was taken at different points of thought and thrown together into one mixing pot of a single idea.

  31. Why did Micheal Hendrickson choose to make “Music Television Mike,” start as a negative view of MTV and turn positive?

    In “The Braindead Megaphone,” why does the other write in a stream of conscience fashion?

    I like how in “How Reading Changed My Life,” it was the Godfather that influenced her most.

    William Dell

  32. Why did the author of “Take the Cannoli” have such a difficult time finding herself when everything she needed in life was right in front of her?

    Why wouldn’t “MTV Mike” address himself as a part of the MTV generation in the beginning, but admitted after ranting about the downfalls of the network at the end?

    “The Braindead Megaphone” explained every way that a story could be told or a thought could be engrained into the mind of a reader. The “Megaphone Guy” at the party had many different roles and personalities. It delivered the message that you can be anyone in your writing and it is all about how you use your words.

  33. Andrew Miller-

    In “Take the Canolli”, why does Vowell seem to disregard what is going right for her, focusing on the negatives?

    Why does Hendrickson lead readers on with such negativity, much like Vowell’s piece, only to make a complete 180 and accept his place in the MTV generation? Or was this his intention all along?

    I enjoyed “The Braindead Microphone” the most of the three. I believe it was a perfect allusion to how technology has strengthened the voice of many- including those who abuse it.

  34. In “Music Television Mike” why does Mike generalize the people that watch MTV as one “type” of person when it’s just a channel with a hundred different shows on it?
    Throughout “Take the Cannoli” it’s notable that being interested in something so different from one’s life can inspire them to take risks and to want to explore a different way of life.
    In Quindlen’s “How Reading Changed My Life” why is reading a lot and having a huge love for it even an issue?

  35. In Music Television Mike he talks poorly about this MTV generation but why does he associate with this generation?

    In Take the Canoli why does is the author so obsessed with the Godfather?

    I agree with Mike about this MTV generation being a bad influence as I too have tried some stupid stuff watching the MTV movie Jackass.

  36. How come in most of the reading the media played a huge effects on the characters ?

    Why is so Godfather so important to the author in Take the Cannoli ?

    Why does mike think so negatively towards mtv ?

  37. If Mike grew up in the MTV generation, what generation are we and how has that had an effect on us?

    In “Take the Cannoli” why did Sarah Vowell feel the need to hide her obsession with the “Godfather” from her friends and family?

    I do not agree with the stance George Saunders takes in the “Braindead Megaphone” because one can choose to research anything. People are not forced to watch the mainstream media.

  38. Why in “Take the Canoli” why out of all the lines does that one standout to her, so much that she would name her essay after that line.

    Did MTV ever teach Mike anything he could use in the real world?

    MTV now is straight trash and MIKE realized that out before a lot of people did and because of that he saved his brain from becoming a blob of nothingness.

  39. Why did “Take the Cannoli” begin with so many questions?

    Why was “The Braindead Megaphone” separated into nine parts?

    I really enjoyed the humor of “Music Television Mike” and how the author views the show on MTV.

  40. Why in “Take the Canoli” was her friends and family so worried about her if she was in a steady relationship and getting straight A’s?

    In “Music Television Mike” why is Mike so conflicted about MTV?

    I agree with George Saunders in saying that not all of our media is stupid but a large portion of it is very dim witted such as TMZ and E news. Programs like these thrive off others failures or embarrassments which in my opinion should not be aired in the first place.

    -Zachary Anders

  41. In “Take the Canoli” why does the author obsess over “The Godfather” and why does she hide her obsession?

    If Michael Hendrickson was apart of the MTV generation then what is our generation considered? The teen pregnancy generation with “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant?”

    “The Braindead Megaphone” was my favorite story. I think many people are swayed on important topics nowadays by the mass media and they don’t receive the entire truth.

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