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Bedford/St. Martin's
Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers / Edition 9

Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers / Edition 9

by Sonia Maasik, Jack SolomonSonia Maasik
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Explore how popular culture affects our own cultural experiences as you learn to think and write critically on topics such as niche adversiting and minorities or the impact of the Internet on today's political climate in Signs of Life in the USA.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781319056636
Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
Publication date: 10/06/2017
Edition description: Ninth Edition
Pages: 608
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

The coeditors are successful textbook authors who, between them, have over fifty years of teaching experience in the college classroom. Sonia Maasik, a lecturer in the UCLA Writing Programs, has taught writing from developmental to advanced levels, and coordinates training for UCLA writing programs' teaching assistants. Jack Solomon, a professor of English at California State University, Northridge, teaches literature and critical theory, along with his graduate and undergraduate classes on popular cultural semiotics, and is often interviewed by the media for analysis of current events and trends. He is the author of The Signs of Our Time (1988) and Discourse and Reference in the Nuclear Age (1988).  The two together have published Signs of Life in the U.S.A.: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers, Sixth Edition (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009) and California Dreams and Realities, Third Edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005).

Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors


Popular Signs: Or, Everything You Always Knew about American Culture (but Nobody Asked)

American Civil War
From Folk to For-Profit?
Pop Culture Goes to College?
The Semiotic Method
Abduction and Overdetermination?
Interpreting Popular Signs: The War Against Everybody
The Classroom Connection?
Of Myths and Men?
Getting Started

Writing about Popular Culture

Using Active Reading Strategies?
Prewriting Strategies?
Developing Strong Arguments about Popular Culture?
Conducting a Semiotic Analysis?
Reading Visual Images Actively?
Reading Essays about Popular Culture

*ELIJAH GREEN:Alfred Lubrano: The Shock of Myopia [student essay]

AMY LIN:?Barbie: Queen of Dolls and Consumerism [student essay]

ROSE SOROOSHIAN:?The Walking 99 Percent: An Analysis of The Walking Dead in the Context of the 2008 Recession [student essay]

Conducting Research and Citing Sources

SCOTT JASCHIK:?A?Stand against Wikipedia

PATTI S. CARAVELLO:?Judging Quality on the Web

TRIP GABRIEL:?For Students in Internet Age, No Shame in Copy and Paste

Chapter 1.

Consuming Passions: The Culture of American Consumption



ANNE NORTON:?The Signs of Shopping

MALCOLM GLADWELL:?The Science of Shopping

*MICHAEL POLLAN:?Supermarket Pastoral

Credit Card Barbie?[photograph]

JON MOOALLEM:?The Self-Storage Self

*CHRIS ARNING:?What Can Semiotics Contribute to Packaging Design?

JAMES A. ROBERTS:?The Treadmill of Consumption

STEVE McKEVITT:?Everything Now

*TROY PATTERSON:?The Politics of the Hoodie

THOMAS FRANK: Commodify Your Dissent

Chapter 2.

Brought to You B(u)y: The Signs of Advertising

When You Come Home?[advertisement]

JACK SOLOMON:?Masters of Desire: The Culture of American Advertising


JAMES B. TWITCHELL:?What We Are to Advertisers

STEVE CRAIG:?Men’s Men and Women’s Women

*JIA TOLENTINO: How "Empowerment" Became Something for Women to Buy

*ALEX MAYYASI: How Subarus Came to Be Seen as Cars for Lesbians

*JESSICA CONTRERA: Most Young People Don't Vote—Condescending to Them Doesn't Help

*KALLE OSKARI MATTILA: The Age of the Wordless Logo

JULIET B. SCHOR:?Selling to Children: The Marketing of Cool

*STEPHANIE MILLER: The Power of Play: Gamification Can Change Marketing

JULIA B. CORBETT:?A Faint Green Sell: Advertising and the Natural World

Portfolio of Advertisements


Buffalo Exchange

California Walnuts




Air Canada

Chapter 3.

On the Air: Television and Cultural Forms

NEAL GABLER:?The Social Networks

PAIRED READINGS: Signifying Women on TV

*ANNA KESZEG: What Their Clothes Tell Us About Those Girls

CLAIRE MIYE STANFORD:?You’ve Got the Wrong Song: Nashville and Country Music Feminism

*JOHN SHERMAN: The New Normative: Queer Politics in The Outs

*OLIVIA GOLDHILL: Trump Supporters Are Living in a Reality Shaped by Television

NICK SERPE:?Reality Pawns: The New Money TV

*EMILY NUSSBAUM: The Aristocrats: The Graphic Arts of Game of Thrones

*MASSIMO PIGLIUCCI: The One Paradigm to Rule Them All: Scientism and The Big Bang Theory

*CLARA McNULTY-FINN: The Evolution of Rap

Chapter 4.

The Hollywood Sign: The Culture of American Film

ROBERT B. RAY:?The Thematic Paradigm

PAIRED READINGS: Fantasy and Film

CHRISTINE FOLCH:?Why the West Loves Sci-Fi and Fantasy: A Cultural Explanation

*ABRAHAM RIESMAN: What We Talk about When We Talk about Batman and Superman

LINDA SEGER:?Creating the Myth

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ:?The Offensive Movie Cliché That Won’t Die

HELENA ANDREWS:?The Butler versus The Help: Gender Matters

Lee Daniels’ The Butler?[movie poster]

JESSICA HAGEDORN:?Asian Women in Film: No Joy, No Luck

MICHAEL PARENTI:?Class and Virtue

MICHAEL AGRESTA:?How the Western Was Lost — and Why It Matters

DAVID DENBY:?High-School Confidential: Notes on Teen Movies

Chapter 5.

The Cloud: Semiotics and the New Media


PAIRED READINGS: The Digital Panopticon

*RONALD J. DEIBERT: Black Code: Surveillance, Privacy, and the Dark Side of the Internet

JOSEPH TUROW:?The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry Is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth

*ERIN LEE: How Effective is Social Media Activism?

*BRIAN DUNNING: Slacktivism: Raising Awareness

*BROOKE GLADSTONE: Influencing Machines: The Echo Chambers of the Internet

*JOHN HERRMAN: Inside Facebook's (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine

*TIMOTHY B. LEE: Pokemon Go is Everything that is Wrong with Late Capitalism

*NANCY JO SALES: From the Instamatic to Instagram: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

*DANAH BOYD: It's Complicated: MySpace vs. Facebook

*S. CRAIG WATKINS: The Evolution of #Black Twitter

Navigating On- and Offline Lives?[photograph]

Chapter 6.

My Selfie, My Self: Identity and Ideology in the New Millennium

MICHAEL OMI:?In Living Color: Race and American Culture


AARON DEVOR:?Gender Role Behaviors and Attitudes

DEBORAH BLUM:?The Gender Blur: Where Does Biology End and Society Take Over?

Gender Identity Online?[photograph]

*MICHAEL HULSHOF-SCHMIDT: What’s in an Acronym? Parsing the LGBTQQIP2SAA Community

KEVIN JENNINGS:?American Dreams

*SAMANTHA RAPHELSON: From GIs to Gen Z (Or Is It iGen?): How Generations Get Nicknames

RACHEL LOWRY:?Straddling Online and Offline Profiles, Millennials Search for Identity

*BRITTANY COOPER: Hollywood’s Post-Racial Mirage: How Pop Culture Got Gentrified

*LILLIANA MASON: Why Are Americans So Angry This Election Season?

Chapter 7.

American Paradox: Culture, Conflict, and Contradiction in the U.S.A.


PAIRED READINGS: The Consequences of Contradictions

*JEFFREY FLEISHMAN: How an Angry National Mood is Reflected in Pop Culture

*JIM TANKERSLEY: Why the Upper Middle Class Might be the Real Target of Today's Anger

GEORGE PACKER:?Celebrating Inequality

ALFRED LUBRANO:?The Shock of Education: How College Corrupts



WADE GRAHAM:?Are We Greening Our Cities, or Just Greenwashing Them?



Index of Authors and Titles

Customer Reviews