A Sample Essay: Argumentative Essay Who Says?

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Argumentative Essay Who Says?

Who says? I see the question as a much more extensive investigation of authorship and authority over the status quo. “Who says?” asks who defines the Mona Lisa’s meaning. “Who says?” asks who mandates the architectural style of government buildings. “Who says?” is asking who has the power within society. For me, the question of “who says?” does not have one linear or binary answer. The question prescribes responses and interpretations that split and intermingle between higher and lower truths.

These higher and lower truths can be seen as separate and entangled within each other, almost as if it is a loose knot. I define the split by the top half representing the higher truths that are more philosophical. These higher-level truths are a matter of discovery and not creation. For this instance, no one entity says anything; in fact, no one “says.” A framework is just facilitated that gets interpreted. Now, the dominant culture or establishment answers the bottom truth, the created portion (the contingency of language), “who says?”. 

Within the area classified as bottom truths (created truths), the dominant establishment grants authority and authorship. A few examples of what can be seen as created truths are capitalism, racism, and patriarchy. To fully understand this relationship, you must look at the repercussions of such an association. Due to the establishment’s influence, you begin to get a culture where we live within a binary.

We get a culture where we worship only one truth—when the truth is a construct in reality. We also get a culture where the language is seen as black and white. (the contingency of language) Continuing with language, one begins to see the direct repercussions of the relationship by the implicit biases and innate prejudices within a language. In the U.S, the dominant establishment dictates what is “Standard American English,” which are the grammar rules and pronunciation that people must follow.

Consequently, people who speak English differently due to accent and cadence are seen as uneducated or lesser than in society. (Wallace) Keeping that in mind, you would think there must be some correlation between language and intelligence. However, there is no actual correlation between an individual’s accent and intelligence; it is just due to the establishment’s influence on their created truths that prejudices are formed. (Northern = smart and Southern = friendly: The development of accent attitudes in the United States) 

Now let us discuss who has the authority over the higher truths, the truth over the world based on discovery. Here, no one entity says anything. No one “says.” A framework is just facilitated that gets interpreted. So, the author does not command anything. The author provides a structure in which the reader gains control by being the destination. (The death of the author) In “Death of the Author” by  Roland Barthes, “consumption” is an excellent point of discussion. Who has authority over the meaning of abstract modernist oil painting? Some would say it is the Artist because of the plaque on the side defining it. In reality, the consumer of such canvas prescribes their definition onto what they believe it means.

Another great example is in architecture, stated that Peter Eisenman likes to play with deconstruction within his buildings and designs. From his perspective, putting a steel column grid running through stairs is a thought-proking design choice. However, many tenants who walk the Wexner Center for the Arts on Campus stairs would consider it inconvenient. This example shows how a literal framework is provided that, in return, is deciphered. 

To conclude, you may question the very choice to split the definition of “who says?” I did this because, in reality, truth is just an interpretation (Suzan Sontag). As I stated, the question of “who says?” prescribes responses and interpretations that split and intermingle between higher and lower truths. In many ways, this split can express the same truth. So, is it possible for the dominant authority to be the “one saying”? Yes. Is it possible for it to just be a framework? Yes. Finally, is it possible for both to exist for the same truth? Yes. Due to its very nature, truth is subjective and cannot always fit within a binary. So, because of its intrinsic qualities, the classification of its authority can be argued based on one’s reality and network of beliefs/desires.  (the contingency of language).

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