Public Speaking

November 18th, 2012

When I was in middle school and high school I used to get extremely nervous before and during presentaions. It would be so bad that when I started talking I would turn bright red and my hands would begin to shake. I would be so concerned about how nervous I was, that it would cause me to create the mistakes I was nervous about making. Things changed  when I attended community college and took several theater courses. I learned that the only thing that could affect my performance was myself. When I approached the performance with confidence and focused on what I was saying instead of worrying about the audience, my nervousness greatly diminished. It is important to remember that public speaking ranks as one of the top fears people have, and everyone is nervous this helps me remain calm. Another great thing about our upcoming presentation for this class is that we all know each other and everyone wants you to do well. Also remember that you know more about your topic than anyone else and if you make a mistake no one is likely to know so keep calm and focuses.

Research

November 2nd, 2012

During this period of time we have been given to research our topics further I have used this time to dissect Edsel television commercials. I have found that the commercials have a basic formula that is repeated through the different commercials. The commercials  always mention that the Edsel is “1958 one really new car,” the commercials also introduce the TV audience to the Edsel’s new innovations such as its Tele Touch Shifting, Electric Trunk Release, and scientifically designed Contour Seats. The commercials also always mention the new Edsel engines that provide “so much real usable power.” One of the main focuses of the commercials is the Edsel’s price, this is extremely important because Ford created the car with the almost singular goal of providing Ford with more presence in the medium priced auto market. In every commercial the car is being driven through a suburban community and either pulling into a single family home driveway or pulling out of one. The people who are shown driving the Edsel are always well dressed white couples, which was Fords intended demographic the Edsel was intended to appeal to the young, white, up and coming, suburban family. While researching the commercials I have also done more research into the field of advertising and have focused on Fairfax Cone’s book With All its Faults. The book gives Cone’s firsthand account of his time as an advertising executive, his advertising firm was the firm responsible for advertising the Edsel. The work has given my research good insight into the world of advertising and more notably the Edsel’s advertising.  – Jason Milton

Re-Introduction Primary Source

October 24th, 2012

My original main primary sources were New York Times articles that chronicled the rise and eventual collapse of the Edsel automotive line. With further research and a changing thesis the articles have become less important. One of my main primary sources now are Edsel television commercials which I have found on the website archive.org. These commercials vary in length, and one is actually a 30 minute television special devoted to introducing the public to the Edsel automotive brand. By using these commercials I want to establish a connection between what the commercials were saying about the Edsel as a reflection of 1950s American society. What type of messages were these commercials conveying to a 1950s audience and what does that say about 1950s America? These are the questions I have developed for this primary source. – Jason Milton

Primary Sources Relation to Secondary Sources

October 18th, 2012

I have found that the importance and meaning for many of my primary resources have changed with the progression of my thesis. In the beginning sources such as New York Times articles were extremely important, when one of my projects topics was documenting the failure of the Edsel through the media. Over the past month my project has evolved and I have learned that my original thesis had already been published my project had to focus on a new segment of the Edsel. Since my thesis has changed so have my primary sources and how they relate to the secondary work that exists. My thesis is new to the story of the Edsel while many secondary works mention advertising they do so in an attempt to help explain the Edsel’s failure and not its greater connection to the consumerism culture of 1950s America. In conclusion my primary sources connection to my secondary sources has remained the same what has changed is the relationship between my primary sources and my project.  – Jason Milton

Secondary Source

September 26th, 2012

My most valuable secondary source is a 17 page article written by historian Tom Dicke. This article outlines many of the different aspects of the Edsel failure. It gives a brief history of the Edsel and then introduces the reader to the different perspectives of how different groups viewed the failure. Dicke gives a scholarly analysis by reviewing different perspectives of the Edsel story which gives great incite into the story of theEdsel. While this is extremely helpful to my research as a reader I felt his article fell short in it details. He introduces the reader to the idea of differing perspectives but the reader never gains a full and in depth understanding. The other aspect of Dicke’s article that has helped me was his Bibliography which has given me a great starting point to finding both secondary and primary sources. -Jason Milton

Note Strategy How I Take Notes

September 17th, 2012

I am not a person who creates an enormous amount of notes. I have never really given much thought on how I take notes. After thinking about the subject I find that I am a person who tries to “see the forest through the trees.” I tend to read several pages then think briefly about what I just read and make sense of it in larger terms. How the pages connect to larger themes and if certain details are relevant to why I am reading the particular literature. I try to remain focused on my purpose and not get caught in simple interesting facts. When taking notes I always write the page I found that information on and I also write either T (top), M (middle), or B (bottom) to indicate where on the page the information is located. This is a trick that has saved me valuable  time when writing a paper and I am looking for a particular quote. I can also remembered for one paper I highlighted the notes with different color highlighters to indicate the specific aspect that note touched on. – Jason Milton

Good and Bad Websites

September 12th, 2012

I have found an example of both a good and bad website which pertain to my topic of the Edsel. The first website is not a bad website for what it is but it is a bad website to use as a reference for the paper. The website www.edselclub.org is an online community for owners and fans of the Edsel automobiles. The site’s primary objective is to create a place for Edsel owners to communicate and create Edsel based events. The other website that I found that was a good source of information for the Edsel project was www.edsel.net/history.html. This website is an online archive of Edsel artifacts that contains everything from official Edsel documents, clay prototypes of different Edsel cars, and Edsel advertisements. The website is extremely useful for providing first hand artifacts from the Edsel brand. The major difference between these sites is that they have two different objectives. The first site is to create an online Edsel community and the other is an online museum/archive for the Edsel brand. -Jason Milton

HIST299 Topic and Primary Source

September 7th, 2012

In looking for a topic I knew I wanted to either choose a topic in the field of sports or automotive history. My first choice was to write a historical paper on the development of the forward pass in NFL, when that proved difficult to find sources for I began looking in to the history of the auto industry. That is when I discovered the story of one of the largest and most memorable failed business ventures of all time the Ford Edsel. In short the Ford Motor Company decided they wanted to create a new line of cars that would fit into a price range between its Mercury and Lincoln divisions. Ford plunged an estimated 400 million dollars into the brand, which launched in 1957 and by 1960 Ford officially shut down its Edsel division. After our meeting with Jack Bales, I spoke with him about my topic and he instantly started overflowing with great sources. Some of the Primary sources I am planning to use are New York Times articles which chronicle the launch and inevitable crash of the Edsel brand, advertisements used by Edsel in both print and television, and even a survey taken by the Ford corporation to gauge the public’s reaction to the Edsel. My goal after thoroughly  researching these primary and secondary sources is to answer several major questions: Was the Ford Edsel over-hyped? Was the Edsel a revolutionary car? Ultimately the question I hope to answer is what were to factors that lead to this historic failure?

Why am I a History major?

August 28th, 2012

I grew up in a very diverse school and neighborhood where my friends’ parents spoke different languages, prepared unique food and practiced different religions. I believe my surroundings played a large part in my path to becoming a history major.  Since I can remember I have been fascinated by different cultures, how people around the world can be very different but at the same time connected. In my opinion, history is our greatest tool to uncovering the “hows” and “whys” of every society. I hope that by studying history, I will better understand a variety of cultures and their impact on the world, and in turn relay that knowledge to future generations in a way that is truthful and understandable.

Hello world!

August 27th, 2012

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