Mirror on America : Essays and Images from Popular Culture

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-12-07
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Mirror on Americameets students where they are right now. Whether they have lived in America all their lives or have only just arrived, they can consider themselves experts in pop culture. After all, they participate in it every day. Brief, current essays and images on topics like hip-hop, our online lives, and, of course, vampires and zombies spark discussion and critical thinking. And because critical thinking should lead to solid writing, the book's editorial apparatus gives students clear instruction and support for every step of the reading and writing process. Always engaging and always accessible, Mirror on Americareflects the interests of students and the instructors who want them to become confident writers.

Author Biography

Joan T. Mims is currently a Senior Test Development Manager with Pearson Education.  Early in her career she taught high school French and English; she also taught composition at West Chester University in Pennsylvania for thirteen years before shifting to university administration.  After moving to Texas, she spent five years with the Texas Education Agency overseeing composition scoring and multiple aspects of test development and administration. 
Elizabeth M. Nollen has taught basic writing, composition, film, and literature courses in the English department at West Chester University for the last 27 years. She has been active in the English component of pre-college programs, given numerous papers at the Popular Culture Association, and has published Family Matters in the British and American Novel with Bowling Green State University Popular Press.

Table of Contents

*new to this edition
Preface for Instructors 

Introduction for Students 

Rhetorical Table of Contents 
1. Active, Involved Reading and the Writing Process: Establishing the Connection  
Reading with a Difference 
     Getting into Reading 
     Thinking Ahead 
     Reading a Sample Essay 
*Bruce David Forbes, “Mickey Mouse as Icon: Taking Popular Culture Seriously” (excerpt) 
     Thinking about the Reading 
Writing with a Difference 
     Getting into Writing 
Considering Purpose, Audience, and Attitude
     Hooking the Reader 
     Identifying a Thesis 
     Supporting the Thesis 
     Organizing the Content 
     Connecting the Pieces  
     Arriving at a Conclusion 
     Titling  the Paper and Other Final Steps 
     Revising the Paper 
     Editing the Paper 
     Peer Editing 
     Gaining from the Effort 
     A Sample Student Essay 
     *Marie J. Finch, “From Dirty Nikes to Profit Spikes: Mark Zuckerberg Redesigns Our Nation’s Communications” (Student Essay)
2. Deconstructing Media: Analyzing an Image 
The Message of Media 
     Asking the Right Questions 
     Taking the Image Apart 
     Reading Visual Images 
To Have and To Hold (Photograph) 
*Pearls Before Swine (Comic Strip) 
Writing about an Image 
*Unmask Your Child’s Online Identity (Advertisement) 
*Robert Yates, “You’ve Got Betrayal: Deconstructing an Advertisement for Online 
     Spyware” (Student Essay) 
     Gearing Up to Read Images 
3. Define “American”: Reflections on Cultural Identity
Analyzing the Image: Like Mother—Not Likely! (Photograph) 
Gearing Up 
Lorraine Ali, “Do I Look Like Public Enemy Number One?”
Susan Brady Konig, “They’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”
Paired Selections
David Brooks, “People Like Us” 
Michael Jonas, “The Downside of Diversity” 
Andrew Lam, “Globalization vs. Americanization” 
*Dinaw Mengestu, “Home at Last” 
*Leonard Pitts, Jr., “History Tells Hard Stories of Ethnic Clashes"
*Daniel Akst, “America: Land of Loners?” (“Take the Next Step” Essay)
*David Gergen, “A Smart Exception” 
     Wrapping Up Chapter 3 
     Connecting to the Culture 
     *Focusing on Yesterday: Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor (Illustration) 
     *Focusing on Today: Caution! (Photograph) 
4. You Are What You Eat: American Food Culture and Traditions from Around the World  
*Analyzing the Image: Vertumnus (Painting) 
Gearing Up 
*Michael Pollan, “The Cooking Animal” 
*Frank Bruni, “An Expert’s Theory of Food Television’s Appeal” 
*Connie Schultz, “Heat, Tray, Love” 
Tara Parker-Pope, “Custom-Made”  
*Seanon Wong, “Noodles vs. Sesame Seed Buns” (“Take the Next Step” Essay) 
*Bill McKibben, “The Only Way to Have a Cow” 
Analyzing the Image: Pooch Café (Comic Strip)
*Bonny Wolf, “Food Traditions: The Thread That Links Generations” 
*Julie Dash, “Rice Culture”  
*Julia Alvarez, “Picky Eater” 
Analyzing the Image: Norman Rockwell, Freedom from Want (Painting) 
     Wrapping Up Chapter 4 
     Connecting to the Culture 
     *Focusing on Yesterday: Let's All Meet at Rosie's Diner (Photograph) 
     *Focusing on Today: Fine Dining a la Airstream (Photograph) 
5. “How Do I Look?”: How Culture Shapes Self-Image 
Analyzing the Image: Body Mod of Boston (Advertisement) 
Gearing Up 
John Leo, “The ‘Modern Primitives’” 
Garry Trudeau, “My Inner Shrimp” 
Patricia McLaughlin, “Venus Envy” 
Tanzila Ahmed, “100% Indian Hair” 
Michelle Jana Chan, “Identity in a Virtual World” 
Analyzing the Image: Robbie Cooper, Me and My Avatar (Photograph) 
Dan Barden, “My New Nose” 
Analyzing the Image: Losing the Trauma: The Author Before and After Surgery (Photographs) 
Paired Selections
Grace Suh, “The Eye of the Beholder”
Alice Walker, “Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self”  (“Take the Next Step”
*Claire Suddath, “An Open Letter to the Totally Impractical Size Chart for Women’s Clothing” 
     *Analyzing the Image: Cathy (Comic) 
     Wrapping Up Chapter 5 
     Connecting to the Culture 
     *Focusing on Yesterday: Even Ladies Can Wear Levi’s! (Advertisement) 
     *Focusing on Today: Everybody’s Work Is Equally Important (Advertisement) 
6. What Are You Trying to Say?: How Language Works 
*Analyzing the Image: Kryptos (Comic Strip) 
Gearing Up 
*Lera Boroditsky, “Lost in Translation”  
Adam Jacot de Boinod, “Global Wording” 
Geneva White, “Corporate Names and Products Creep into Everyday Language” 
Read Mercer Schuchardt, “Swoosh!” 
Nicholas Wade, “Deciphering the Chatter of Monkeys and Chimps” 
Paired Selections
John J. Miller, “How Do You Say ‘Extinct?’”  
Mindy Cameron, “In the Language of Our Ancestors” 
*Ben Sargent, “A Genius in Four Frames” (“Take the Next Step” Essay)
*Analyzing the Image: Gary Trudeau, Doonesbury (Comic) 
*Alex Pham and David Sarno, “Digital Information and the Future of Reading”
     Wrapping Up Chapter 6 
     *Focusing on Yesterday: Benjamin Franklin at His Printing Press (Photograph) 
     *Focusing on Today: A Novel Idea (Advertisement)
7. Fantasies for Sale: Marketing American Culture Here and Abroad 
Analyzing the Image: America: Land of the Logos, Home of the Branded (Photograph) 
Gearing Up 
*Damien Cave, “On Sale at Old Navy: Cool Clothes for Identical Zombies” 
*Newsweek, “Sewn in Secret: Iranian Designers” 
Delia Cleveland, “Champagne Taste, Beer Budget”
Paired Selections
*Michael Learmonth, “The Pants That Stalked Me on the Web” 
*Miguel Helft and Tanzina Vega, “Retargeting Ads Follow Surfers to Other Sites” 
Daniel Alarcon, “Grand Mall Seizure” 
*Hector Gonzales, “What Is Independent Hip Hop?” (“Take the Next Step” Essay) 
*Abe Sauer, “Why Apple Deserves an Oscar Too” 
Craig Simons, “Hooters Translates in China” 
     Wrapping Up Chapter 7 
     Connecting to the Culture 
     *Focusing on Yesterday: Thunderbird Motel: Queen Size Beds and Pizza! (Photograph)
     *Focusing on Today: Residence Inn (Advertisement)
8. Picture This: Reflecting Culture Onscreen
*Analyzing the Image: Thriller (Photograph)
Gearing Up 
Paired Selections
Stephen King, “Why We Crave Horror Movies” 
*Daniel DeVise, “Exploring the Undead”
*Stefan Hall, “Fade In, Fade Out: Addiction, Recovery, in American Film”  
Anupama Chopra, “Bollywood Princess, Hollywood Hopeful: Aishwarya’s Quest for Global Stardom” 
Analyzing the Image: The Bollywood Princess Waiting for Her Prince to Come (Photograph) 
Eugene Robinson, “Tyler Perry’s Money Machine” 
Jennie Yabroff, “Drag Hags” 
Kelly Tyler-Lewis, “Virtual Humans”   
Analyzing the Image: An Unlikely Commuter (Photograph)   
*Jake Coyle, “Left for Dead by MTV, Music Videos Rebound on the Web” 
Analyzing the Image: Lady Gaga (Photograph)
*The Economist Editors, “Here, There and Everywhere” (“Take the Next Step” Essay)  
     Wrapping Up Chapter 8 
     Connecting to the Culture 
     *Focusing on Yesterday: Dracula (Movie Poster)  
     *Focusing on Today: Twilight (Movie Poster)  
Evaluating and Documenting Sources

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