Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers / Edition 5

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Overview

Signs of Life in the USA teaches students to read and write critically about popular culture by giving them a conceptual framework to do it: semiotics, a field of critical theory developed specifically for the interpretation of culture and its signs. Written by a prominent semiotician and an experienced writing instructor, the text’s high-interest themes feature provocative and current reading selections that ask students to think analytically about America’s impressive popular culture:  How is TV’s Mad Men a
lightning rod for America’s polarized political climate? Has the nature of personal identity changed in an era when we spend so much of our lives online? Signs of Life bridges the transition to college writing by providing students with academic language to talk about our common, everyday cultural experience. Read the preface.
 
Order Multimodal Readings for Signs of Life in the USA packaged with Signs of Life in the USA, Seventh Edition using ISBN-13: 978-1-4576-1989-2.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312431334
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 12/16/2005
  • Edition description: Fifth Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 750
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sonia Maasik is a lecturer in the UCLA Writing Programs, where she has taught writing from developmental to advanced levels.
 
Jack Solomon is professor of English at California State University, Northridge, and teaches literature and critical theory. He is often interviewed by the California media for analysis of current events and trends.
 
The two together also have published California Dreams and Realities: Readings for Critical Thinkers and Writers, Third Edition.

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Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors v
Introduction: Popular Signs: Or, Everything You've Always Known about American Culture (But Nobody Asked) 1
Writing about Popular Culture 21
Part 1 Cultural Productions 43
1. Consuming Passions: The Culture of American Consumption 45
The More Factor 55
The Signs of Shopping 62
What's in a Package 69
Hard Bodies 79
Blue Jeans 86
The Semiotics of Home Decor 94
"Careful, You May Run Out of Planet": SUVs and the Exploitation of the American Myth 105
2. Brought to You B(u)y: The Signs of Advertising 117
The Parable of the Democracy of Goods 129
Masters of Desire: The Culture of American Advertising 137
A Gentleman and a Consumer 149
Sex, Lies, and Advertising 160
How Advertising Informs to Our Benefit 180
The Fiction of Truth in Advertising 188
Web of Deceit 194
Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz 202
Portfolio of Advertisements 210
3. Video Dreams: The Signs of Music and Television 223
A Tale of Two Sitcoms 236
The Oprah Winfrey Show and the Talk-Show Furor 241
Plotting Paternity: Looking for Dad on the Daytime Soaps 249
Signs of Intelligent Life on TV 260
Rewriting Popularity: The Cult Files 265
Twentysomethings 276
Bad Sistas 279
4. The Hollywood Sign: The Culture of American Film 289
The Thematic Paradigm 299
Creating the Myth 308
Braveheart, Babe, and the Contemporary Body 317
Malcolm X 328
So You Wanna Be a Gangsta? 337
Asian Women in Film: No Joy, No Luck 349
The Return of Doris Day 357
Class and Virtue 366
5. It Was A Dark And Stormy Night: The Codes of Popular Literature 371
The ABCs of Popular Culture 382
Selection from Blade Runner 385
Roadside Bones 393
Cult 398
Grisham Succeeds in a Novel Way 414
The Traditional Romance Formula 418
Selection from Dangerous Passions 425
Hope I Die before Marcia Gets Old 428
Reading at Escape Velocity 430
Part 2 Cultural Constructions 435
6. We've Come A Long Way, Maybe: Gender Codes in American Culture 437
Gender Role Behaviors and Attitudes 447
The Gender Blur: Where Does Biology End and Society Take Over? 453
Power at Play: Sport and Gender Relations 460
Boys-R-Us: Board Games and the Socialization of Young Adolescent Girls 472
The Beauty Myth 481
There Is No Unmarked Woman 490
Warrior Dreams 496
Women and Children First: Gender and the Settling of the Electronic Frontier 505
7. Constructing Race: Readings in Multicultural Semiotics 515
In Living Color: Race and American Culture 526
Put on a Happy Face: Masking the Differences Between Blacks and Whites 538
Funky White Boys and Honorary Soul Sisters 549
Goin' Gangsta, Choosin' Cholita 562
Baby 568
Being an Other 570
How to Tame a Wild Tongue 575
The Classroom and the Wider Culture: Identity as a Key to Learning English Composition 583
The Haves and the Have-Nots 593
8. Life on the Margins: Representing the "Other" in American Culture 599
Signs of the Street: A Conversation 609
The Mind of the Militias 618
Race, Sex, AIDS: The Construction of "Other" 625
Beauty and the Battle 636
American Dreams 640
The End of Adulthood? 645
Don't Further Empower Cliques 653
9. American Icons: The Mythic Characters of Popular Culture 657
Be Like Mike? Michael Jordan and the Pedagogy of Desire 667
What Makes Superman So Darned American? 677
Batman, Deviance, and Camp 686
Lara Croft, the Bit Girl 702
Our Barbies, Ourselves 706
Barbie, G.I. Joe, and Play in the 1960s 710
Snap! Crackle! Plot! 716
Larger Than Life 720
10. Popular Spaces: Interpreting the Built Environment 733
Disney World: Public Use/Private State 744
The Science of Shopping 757
The Man-Made World 764
Spatial Segregation and Gender Stratification in the Workplace 771
Alternating Currents 778
The Ghetto Cityscape 784
Manifest Congestion: Freeway Landscapes and Timescapes 790
Country Music Goes on the Road 797
Glossary 803
Citing Sources 807
Index of Authors and Titles 819
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