Popping Culture

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-04-06
  • Publisher: Pearson Learning Solutions

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Long popular with students who have used it,Popping Culturepresents a compilation of articles dealing with current issues in popular culture, including media violence, sexuality, social inequality, racism, and war. Some of the leading theorists in cultural studies today, including Stuart Ewen, Mark Crispin Miller, William Hoynes, and Henry Giroux among others, take on these subjects with a critical perspective aimed at "popping" the conceptual bubbles that surround them. The essays inPopping Culturepresent widely varied examinations of an array of topics in film and television, including the rise of international media conglomerates, television news, reality television, and movies likeAmerican Psycho, Clueless, Good Will Hunting,Hot Boys, Men in Black, Starship Troopers,andYours"ve Got Mail. The articles are organized around central themes and issues in popular culture today:social class,gender,violence,ideology, andrace. Race,a central lens through which people experience the world, often in ways we donrs"t consider, is studied in various contexts from rap music to filmic depictions of apartheid. Socialclass,perhaps the least thoroughly analyzed aspect of popular culture despite its pervasive presence, is examined in articles touching on sexuality, intelligence, and popular mythology. Gender,another defining variable in the production and consumption of popular entertainment, appears in essays on virtual sex, romance films, camerawork and the female gaze, and sexual orientation. Violence, most obviously in the war in Iraq but in all forms of popular culture over the long term, is a topic of enduring relevance covered in articles on reality television and news portrayals of war and the terrorist threat. Ideologyis a fundamental concept in the study of popular culturespecifically the ideology of consumption; various authors therefore consider popular culture as a purveyor and cultivator of the consumerist logic of "need," whether economic, emotional, chemical, or informational. With its critical examinations of how media messages influence the way people think about the world, form beliefs, and distinguish reality from illusion,Popping Cultureis essential reading for courses on popular culture, mass media and society, and cultural studies in universities and colleges in the U.S. and Canada.

Author Biography

John Sakeris is Professor Emeritus of sociology at Ryerson University in Toronto. He has published articles in the areas of gender, queer studies, and political economy. Murray Pomerance chairs the sociology department at Ryerson, where he studies media and society. In 1995, professors Sakeris and Pomerance created the Media Studies Working Group at Ryerson. Together they have edited Bang Bang, Shoot Shoot! (1999), a collection of essays on guns and popular culture, and Closely Watched Brains (2001).

Table of Contents





A Class Act

1 Timothy Shary

“The only place to go is inside”: Confusions about Sexuality and Class from Kids to Napoleon Dynamite

2 Thomas E. Wartenberg

“What’s a smart boy like you doing in a class like this?” Intelligence and Class in Good Will Hunting

3 Stuart Ewen

The Public Mind and the Pictures in Our Heads: A Riff


The Genders of Popular Culture

4 John Sakeris

“How can I quit you?”: Gay Visibility from “Ellen” to Brokeback Mountain

5 Kristen Hatch

Girl Meets Boy: Romantic Comedies After Feminism

6 Michael DeAngelis

The Completely Accessible Star Persona of Mr. Keanu Reeves

7 Jennifer Brayton

Getting It On in Virtual Reality Narratives: “Sex” in The Matrix and Other Films


Pop Violence

8 George Gerbner

Who Is Shooting Whom?: The Content and Context of Media Violence

9 Fred Turner

This Is for Fighting, This Is for Fun: Camerawork and Gunplay in Reality-Based Crime Shows

10 Fiona Whittington-Walsh

Beautiful Ever After: “Extreme Makeover” and the Spectacle of Rebirth

11 Susan Sherr

Media Framing of Children-at-Risk


Screened Ideologies

12 Stephen L. Muzzatti

They Sing the Body Ecstatic: Television Commercials and Captured Music

13 Kirby Farrell

Aliens Amok: Men in Black Policing Subjectivity Onscreen

14 Dan Streible

The Wonderful, Horrible Films of Paul Verhoeven

15 Linda Robertson

Air Wars: Lone Wolves and Civilized Violence at the Movies and Live from (Baghdad)2

16 William Hoynes

Embedded: The News of War and the War Over News

17 Mark Crispin Miller

Saddam and Osama in the Entertainment State


Race for the Screen

18 Martti Lahti

Powerful Innocents: The “Victimization” of White Men in Regarding Henry and Forrest Gump

19 Raúl Damacio Tovares

Under Construction: The Mexican American Youth Gang Story and Local Television News

20 Cynthia Fuchs

“Get Your Mind Right”: Juvenile Renewed

21 Susan Searls Giroux and Henry A. Giroux

On Seeing and Not Seeing Race: Crash and the Politics of Bad Faith



General Index

Index of Films, Television, Games, and Comics

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