World Is a Text: Writing, Reading, and Thinking about Visual and Popular Culture / Edition 3

World Is a Text: Writing, Reading, and Thinking about Visual and Popular Culture / Edition 3

by Jonathan Silverman

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ISBN-10: 0136033458

ISBN-13: 2900136033454

Pub. Date: 07/28/2008

Publisher: Prentice Hall

The book teaches readers the usefulness of learning to actively "read" their surroundings. The new edition features a greatly expanded section on writing, editing, and making arguments. This cultural studies reader directly engages the process of reading and writing about the “texts” one sees in everyday life. Using the lenses of rhetoric, semiotics


The book teaches readers the usefulness of learning to actively "read" their surroundings. The new edition features a greatly expanded section on writing, editing, and making arguments. This cultural studies reader directly engages the process of reading and writing about the “texts” one sees in everyday life. Using the lenses of rhetoric, semiotics and cultural studies, students are encouraged to become effective academic writers while gaining deeper insights into such popular culture categories as movies, technology, race, ethnicity, television, media, relationships, public space, and more. For anyone who enjoys provocative and engaging material, and is interested in developing an appreciation for diverse cultural literary works.

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Prentice Hall
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Older Edition

Table of Contents


Reading, Writing, Culture, and Texts: An Introduction to the Introduction

Semiotics: The Study of Signs (and Texts)

Systems of Reading: Making Sense of Cultural Texts

The “Semiotic Situation” (or the “Moving Text”)

Texts, the World, You, and Your Papers

Rhetoric: Writing’s Soundtrack

From Rhetoric to Writing

Reading the World as a Text: Writing’s Overture — Three Case Studies

CASE STUDY - Reading Public Space: Starbucks

CASE STUDY — Reading Fonts: How Type Can Say a lot about Type

CASE STUDY - Can We Laugh?: Reading Art and Humor in Geico Commercials

Reading This Text as a Text: Tips on Using this Book

The World Is a Text: Writing

The World Is a Text: Reading

So, the World Is a Text: What Can You Do With It?

SECTION ONE - The World Is a Text: Writing

A Short Guide to The World Is a Text: Writing

PART I. How Do I Write a Text for College? Making the Transition from High School Writing by Patti Strong

PART II. From Semiotics to Lenses: Finding an Approach for your Essays

by Dean Rader and Jonathan Silverman

Lenses, microscopes, and windows

Language and elements of literary interpretation

Context, historical and other

Race, class, gender, sexual orientation, region, age–and more

Landing on an Approach: An Entrée to the Essay Itself

Part III. How Do I Write About Popular Culture Texts? A Tour Through the Writing Process

Understanding the Assignment

Freewriting and Brainstorming


Constructing a Good Thesis

Building an Opening Paragraph: A Case Study

Building Good Paragraphs

Drafting the Whole Essay

Editing and Revising, Editing and Revising, Editing and Revising

Turning in the Finished Product

Some Final Tips–A Recap

PART IV. How Do I Argue About Popular Culture Texts? A Guide for Building Good Arguments

Knowing Your Arguments

Making Claims

Using Claims and Support to Make Arguments: Some Helpful Tips

Synthesis: Pulling it all together

Know Your Audience

Use Common Sense

PART V. How Do I Get Info on Songs? Researching Popular Culture Texts

Researching Non-Traditional Texts: One Method

Nuts and Bolts Research

Guerilla Research

PART VI. How Do I Know What a Good Paper Looks Like? An Annotated Student Essay

PART VII. How Do I Cite This Car? Guidelines for Citing Popular Culture Texts

Using Parenthetical References

Building the Works Cited Page


Works Cited Examples

PART VIII. How Am I a Text? On Writing Personal Essays


1. Reading and Writing about the World around You

Dean Rader, Reading and Writing about Your Campus

Jonathan Silverman, Reading and Writing about The Road

Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton, Reading and Writing about Fashion

Jonathan Hunt, Reading and Writing about a Bicycle

Peter Hartlaub, Reading and Writing about Video Games

Cristina Deluca, Reading and Writing about Social Networking Sites: Making Friends and

Getting “Poked”

Lee Transue, Reading and Writing about Family Guy: The Semiotics of Stream of


Brandon Brown, Reading and Writing about a Laboratory

Catherine Zimmer, Reading and Writing about YouTube: The You in YouTube

Dean Rader and Jonathan Silverman, Reading and Writing about Advertising: Two Case


2. Reading And Writing About Television

Harry Waters, “Life According To Tv”

Garance Franke-Ruta, “Beyond Fear: Heroes vs. 24 ”

Peter Parisi, “‘Black Bart’ Simpson: Appropriation And Revitalization In Commodity


Katherine Gantz, “Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That”

Archana Mehta , Society’s Need For A Queer Solution: The Media’s Reinforcement Of

Homophobia Through Traditional Gender Roles

Student Essay: Dave Rinehart, Sex Sells: A Marxist Criticism of Sex and the City

Student Assignment: Hillary West, Media Journal: The Rosie O’donnell Show

The Reality Tv Suite

Henry Goldblatt And Ken Tucker, “Reality Tv Bites–Or Does It: The New Soap Opera Or

The End Of Civilization. A Point-Counterpoint”

[US1] Laurie Ouelette And Susan Murray, “Reality Tv: Remaking Television Culture”

Richard M. Huff, “Real Or Not, It Doesn’t Matter”

Stephanie Greco Larson, “Reality Television: American Myths And Racial Ideology”

[US2] [US3]

3. Reading and Writing about the Visual Arts

The Is it Art? Suite

E. G. Chrichton, “Is The Names Quilt Art?”

Diana Mack, "It Isn't Pretty But Is It Art?"

Steve Grody, “Graffiti: The Anatomy Of A Piece”

Student Essay: Theresa George, “The Multifacted Nature Of Street Art”

Alan Pratt, “Andy Warhol: The Most Controversial Artist Of The Century?”

Student Essay: Anne Darby, “#27: Reading And Writing About Cindy Sherman And


Scott Mccloud, "Sequential Art"

The Reading A Photograph Suite

Thomas Hoepker, Frank Rich, And David Plotz, “One Photo, Two Lenses: Frank

Rich And David Plotz On One Of The Most Controversial Photos of 9/11 ”

Gert Van Langendonck, “Award-Winning Photo Puts Subjects On Defensive”

Errol Morris, “Liar, Liar Pants On Fire”

The Censorship Suite

J. S. G. Boggs, Life Size & In Color/American Supreme Justice

Andres Serrano, Piss Christ

Mapplethorpe, Joe

Dread Scott, What Is The Proper Way To Display A Us Flag

Avalos, Hock And Sisco, Welcome To America’s Finest Tourist Plantation

Grany Fury, Kissing Doesn’t Kill

Serrano, Klanswoman

Andy Cox, Citybank Posters

Kara Walker, Camptown Ladies

Chris Ofili, The Holy Virgin

Alma Lopez, Our Lady

Renee Cox, Yo Mama’s Last Supper

The Boondocks Cartoon

4. Reading And Writing about Race And Ethnicity

Michael Omi, "In Living Color: Race And American Culture"

Amy Tan, "Mother Tongue"

Jim Mahfood, "True Tales Of Amerikkkan History Part Ii: The True


Beverly Daniel Tatum, “Why Are All The Blacks Sitting Together In The Cafeteria?”

Malcolm Gladwell, "The Sports Taboo"

Zebedee Nungak, “Qallunaat : Inuits Study White Folks In This New Academic Field”

Teja Arboleda, "Race Is A Four-Letter Word"

Betty Shameih: Censoring Myself

Student Essay: Amy Truong, “Gender Expectations and Familial Roles within Asian American Culture”

The Native American Mascot Suite

C. Richard King And Charles Fruehling Springwood, “Imagined Indians Social Identities

And Activism.”

Ellen J. Staurowsky, “You Know, We Are All Indian:” Exploring White Power And

Privilege In Reaction To The Ncaa Native American Mascot Policy”

S. L, Price, “The Indian Wars”

A Suite of Mascot Poems

by LeAnne Howe

A Suite Of Cartoons

"Dude, I'm Honoring You."

"Way Cool Outfit"

"Can You Imagine"

5. Reading And Writing About Movies

Roger Ebert, “Great Movies: The First 100 ”

Mary C. Beltrán, “The New Hollywood Racelessness: Only The Fast, Furious, (And

Multiracial) Will Survive”

Bell Hooks, "Mock Feminism"

Louise Erdrich, "Dear John Wayne" & Sherman Alexie, "My Heroes Have Never Been


Jason Silverman, “Deciphering I: Robot- Random Thoughts From An Evolving Film Critic”

Jill Birnie Henke, Diane Zimmerman Umble, And Nancy J. Smith, “Construction Of The

Female Self: Feminist Reading And Writing About Of The Disney Heroine”

Student Essay: Whitney Black, Star Wars And America

The Sicko Suite

Mick Lasalle, “Need A Doctor, That’s Too Bad”

Kyle Smith, “Botched Operation”

Maggie Mahar, “Sicko And Healthcare Reform”

Arthur Caplan, “Nothing Funny About Sicko”

Interchapter: Reading And Writing About Images

America, Cowboys, The West, And Race

The Images Of Gender

The Semiotics Of Architecture

Landscape, Earth, And Excavation


Two Flags




Private Symbol/Public Space: The Virgen Of Guadalupe

Two Photos By Diane Arbus




“Primitive” Art?

Signs?: Two Murals By Rigo

Texas Postcards

The American Signs On Route 66 Suite

6. Reading And Writing About Gender

Deborah Tannen, "Marked Women, Unmarked Men" Annette Fuentes, “Out Of Style Thinking: Female Politicians And Fashion”

Paul Theroux, "Being A Man"

Student Essay: Pjeter Dushku, “Pedro Almodovar and Gender”

Alfonsina Storni, “You Would Have Me White”

Maxine Kingston, “No Name Woman”

Siobhan O’ Connor: “Playing Doctor: The Pro-Life Movement’s New Plan For Family


Student Essay: Elizabeth Greenwood, “Unreal City: Gender And War”

Third Wave Feminism Suite

Patricia Pender, “Buffy as Third Wave Feminist Icon”

Student Essay: Lara Hayhurst, Putting the “Me” Back in Medical Drama: Grey’s Anatomy’s

Adventures in McFeminism

Student Essay: Gwendolyn Limbach, “La Femme Veronica”: Intelligence as Power in

Veronica Mars

Student Essay: Catherine Kirifides, Classically Different:, Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette

Takes a New Look at What It Means to Be a Girl

7. Reading And Writing About Space: Public And Private

Frances Halsband, “Campuses In Place”

Daphne Spain, Spatial Segregation And Gender Stratification In The Workplace

William L. Hamilton, “How Suburban Design Is Failing Teenagers”

Kenneth Meeks, “Shopping In A Group While Black: A Coach’s Story”

Robert Bednar, Making Space On The Side Of The Road: Towards A Cultural Study Of

Roadside Car Crash Memorials”

Hugh Hardy, “Media And The City”

Student Essay: Matt King, “Reading The Nautical Star”

The Mall Suite

Nancy Backes, “Reading The Shopping Mall City”

Dolores Hayden, “’Planned Sprawl’ And The Rise Of The Mall”

James Farrell, “The Politics Of No Politics”

William Severini Kowinski, “D. C. Panoply–And The First Black Mall”

8. Reading And Writing About Advertising And Journalism

Robert Love, “Before Jon Stewart: The Growth Of Fake News. Believe It”

Clint C. Wilson And Felix Gutierrez, "Advertising And People Of Color"

William Lutz, "Weasel Words"

David Mcgowan, “The America The Media Don't Want You To See”

Teresa J. Donzal and Jerome Kernan, “Reading Advertising: The Why And How Of Product


Student Essay: Brittany Gray, “Hanes Her Way”

Student Essay: Arianne Galino, “Sister Act: A Destructive Form Of Writing”

The Future Of Journalism Suite

Mark Glaser, “Techno-Optimism: Reasons There’s a Bright Future for Journalism”

Paul Farhi, “Rolling the Dice”

Jay Rosen: “Bloggers vs. Journalists is over”

Michael Kinsley, “Extra! Extra! The future of Newspapers”

Jeremy Caplan, “Forum: the Future of Newspapers”

The Iraq War Suite

Daniel Schulman, “Mind Games”

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR): Media Advisory, Iraq and the Media A Critical


Matt Sanchez, Live from Baghdad: The press’s war.

Jack Shafer, “The press dun good in Iraq. But they could have dun better”

Meteor Blades, “Red State, Blue State: Hometown News”

John Hockenberry, “The Blogs of War”

9. Reading And Writing About Relationships

Margaret Atwood, “Fiction: Happy Endings”

Andrew Sullivan, “If Love Were All”

David Sedaris, “To Make A Friend, Be A Friend”

Tracy Seeley, “My Mother’s Hands”

Emily Nussbaum, “Say Everything”

The College Relationship Suite

Student Essay: Emily Littlewood, “Can You Handle The Commitment?: Three Types

of College Relationships”

Libby Copeland, “Boy Friend; Between Those Two Words, A Guy Can Get Crushed”

Laura Kipnis, “Off Limits: Should Students Be Allowed To Hook Up With Professors?”

Kathleen Dean More And Lani Roberts, “Case Study # : Harmful Hug”

Deni Elliot And Paul Martin Lester, “When Is It Ok To Invite A Student To Dinner?”

10. Reading And Writing About Music

Kevin J.H. Dettmar And William Richey, "Musical Cheese: The Appropriation Of Seventies

Music In Nineties Movies"

Student Essay: Fouzia Baber, "Is Tupac Dead?"

Student Essay: Sarah Hawkins, "Right On Target: Revisiting Elvis Costello's My Aim Is


Student Essay: "Smells Like Teen Spirit," By Matt Compton

Alessandro Portelli, "Coal Miner's Daughter"

The Authenticity Suite

David Sanjek “All the Memories Money Can Buy)

Stephen Metcalf, “Faux Americana: Why I Still Love Bruce Springsteen”

Carrie Brownstein “More Rock, Less Talk: Live Music Turns Off the Voices in Our Heads”

Kelefa Sanneh, “The Rap Against Rockism”

11. Reading and Writing about Technology

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