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American PopCulture and Bias:


Name 3 symbols from the one dollar bill (front or back) Who is ... Madonna *there's nothing 'new' under the sun!!! Study Questions for. Artistic Responsibility ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: American PopCulture and Bias:

American Pop-Culture and Bias
  • Teaching Rhetoric to First-Year Writing Students

Pop Quiz
  • Name 3 symbols from the one dollar bill (front or
  • Who is the mascot for McDonalds?
  • Who recently (toward the end of 2006) became
    B.F.F. with the recently divorced Brittney
  • Who is the Vice Presidents wife? (you must
    provide her 1st name, not just the last)
  • What is the 1st line of the Constitution?
  • Name 3 songs by Beyoncee, Kanye West, The Pussy
    Cat Dolls, or another top-selling artist of 2005.
  • Which founding father was an author, politician,
    printer, scientist, philosopher, publisher,
    inventor, civic activist, and diplomat, but never
    a President?
  • Which of the Olson twins was treated for an
    eating disorder in 2005?
  • What local town (now a city) was the birthplace
    of Abigail Adams?
  • Which lingerie line has an annual holiday fashion
    show broadcast on network tv?
  • Overheads

Media Bias Literacy
  • Having been avid consumers of media for
    eighteen years or more, most college freshmen
    have unconsciously absorbed a worldview which
    endorses consumerism, validates the most
    ubiquitous messages of culture, and balks at
    criticizing the producers of media. Developing
    an understanding that media productions are
    ideological and that profit, not social or
    personal development, is the driving factor
    behind those productions may help them see that a
    quite limited range of acceptable emotions,
    behaviors, and futures are being sold to them in
    supposedly ideology-free packages.
  • --------------------------------------------------
  • Therefore, 1st year writers are often hesitant to
    look outside of their normal p-o-v trust
    articles/materials they have not previously been
    exposed to via mass media.
  • Crank, Virginia. Doing Disney Fosters Media
    Literacy in Freshmen. Academic Exchange
    Quarterly.   9.3 (2005) PAGES

Media Saturation
  • It is essential that instructors acknowledge the
    proliferation of popular culture in their
    students lives.
  • Due to the media-saturated environment in which
    young adults live, it is necessary to instruct
    them in similar fashion.

Aristotle Rhetoric
Time-tested theories, methods, rubrics and
pedagogies still serve as the foundations for
college writing
  • Writing clearly to communicate onespurpose is
    the basis of college-level writing.
  • Through writing, ones mastery of the subject
    matter is shown.
  • Stephen Toulmins methods used in conjunction
    w/Lunsfords text.

But Im not good at writing!(and various other
  • Students often arrive at the 1st year writing
    classroom pre-defeated.
  • Negative feedback from previous papers/profs
  • Pre-conceived notions about writing classroom
  • Lack of interest in writing
  • Lack of interest in previous topics
  • Gun control
  • abortion
  • legalization of drugs
  • Title IX
  • random locker searches/drug testing

Given the nature of their environments (speed of
information, easy-accessibility, multiple mediums
on at the same time) concerns are usually
centered around how well theyll function in a
more traditional setting.
  • Step by step process
  • Writing at the beginning vs. writing at the end
  • It all adds up in the end (portfolios of
    progression, etc)

  • Writing depends on
  • Occasion
  • Audience
  • Medium (now more than ever)
  • Letters
  • Formal informal papers
  • Emails
  • Text-Messages

Required Texts
  • Hacker, Diana. Research and Documentation in the
    Electronic Age. 4th ed.  Boston Bedford,
  • Lunsford, Andrea A., John J. Ruszkiewicz Keith
    Walters, Eds. Everythings an Argument 4.
    Boston Bedford, 2006.

  • Response Papers RP x6 15
  • Informal writings, I statements allowed,
    immediate reaction to materials, discussed during
    class time, graded according to whether or not
    prompt is addressed. (p/f)
  • Research Exercises RE x8 15
  • Articles, books, etc found according to topic
    present in prompt. Must bring to class, in
    amount designated. 100 or 0 credit.
  • Helps distinguish btwn qualified sources,
    secondary vs. primary, what print, what net
  • Drafts (1 ½ - 2 ½ pgs) x3 DR 15
  • Essays (3 ½ - 4 ½ pgs) x 2 EY 20
  • Group Project AB 15
  • group collectively researches assembles
    project. Each individual responsible for a
    particular portion of the assignment is held
    accountable for their portion. So that while
    each does his/her own research gets credit for
    their work, the group must present a cohesive
    collection of relevant research.
  • Research Paper (5 ½ -7 pgs) 20
  • Revisit a former essay topic or create a new one,
    but must be centered around pop-culture bias
    themes. Includes presentation (short statement
    visual), draft w/preemptive W.C. page final

Themed Units
  • 1 Intro to Hegemony, Ideology Popular Culture
  • 2 Body Image in America
  • 3 Sex, Drugs Rock n Roll
  • 4 Gender Stereotypes
  • 5 Disney, Gender Race
  • 6 Final Paper

Unit 1 Intro to Hegemony, Ideology Popular
  • Gramsci Marx- foundations
  • Hegemony the process through which the ruling
    classes put forth their ideology (see below) to
    the citizenship in order to legitimize their
    lifestyle(s), win the peoples acquiescence
    perpetuate their lives of privilege/comfort.
  • Ideology commonly held accepted system of
    ideas symbols

What does this have to do with 1st year
writing??? The overriding theme of this class is
American pop-culture and bias. Inarguably, mass
media (TV, radio, internet, magazines,
newspapers, etc) plays a huge role in the
American mindset and cultural beliefs. How we
choose the jeans we wear, the cars we drive, the
coffee we drink (Dunkin Donuts vs. Starbucks vs.
Honey Dew) is all influenced by medias portrayal
of what is socially acceptable, good or what we
should aspire to.
Hegemony in Everyday Life
  • Paris Hilton Whether you admire her many
    possessions, are infatuated by her appearance, or
    even if you cant stand her, the heiress has a
    lifestyle that many of us may never achieve. Her
    vast wealth allows her to behave in ways that
    many of us would be reprimanded for (socially or
    within the smaller context of family).
    Furthermore, you may desire to purchase the type
    of clothing she wears, the same style of jewelry
    or cell phone she uses, but why??? This is
    largely due to the fact that she has a constant
    presence in the media. As the IT girl, she is
    portrayed (whether due to a negative event or a
    splashy appearance at a new nightclub) as
    essentially enviable. Her constant stream of
    Thats Hot reinforces the idea that certain
    goods, people, or places are inherently better
    than others. You should aspire to be like her at
    every costs.

Unit 2 Body Image
  • Many students have a clear concept of what they
    think is beautiful or ideal
  • Many hold themselves in comparison to these
    ideals have internalized the idea why dont I
    look like that? or I should look like that
  • Therefore, the touchy subject gets them to
    start talking

Unit 2 Body Image in America
  • What did we used to consider beautiful?
  • What do we now consider beautiful?
  • What do we actually look like? (average)
  • How did our ideas begin to change why?
  • Vanity sizing- (selling a feeling)
  • Mac-Attack!- culture of cheap food fast
  • Many students are familiar w/concepts through
    personal experience (work) or exposure
    (eating/shopping there themselves)
  • Utilizing their personal experience/opinions is a
    great way to get started

60 percent of all Americans are either
overweight or obese
Unit 2 Body Image in America
  • In-class Movie
  • Take home readings
  • Supersize Me
  • Weapons of Mass Instruction McCormick
  • Dude, Wheres My Aesthetic? -Quart
  • Lunsford Ch. 2 Arguments from the Heart (pgs
  • Profile Americas Weight Problem among
    Teen-agers. Siegel
  • Americas Weight Troubles Dont Exclude Older
    Adults. Geriatrics

In-cl Handouts Diff between informal formal
writing Personal opinion vs. analysis
Supersize Me
Students are given a list of study questions to
write on as they watch the movie. The movie is
viewed in 2 parts in order to facilitate
conversation discuss the points Spurlock
makes. Spurlocks motives methods are
constantly addressed while he does an
interesting experiment, his methods are
different. (i.e. vomit shots, focus on his
declining libido students interested, but need
to be kept on course w/the film)
  • Handout Study Questions for Supersize Me
  • 1. While it may be unrealistic that a person
    might eat 3 meals at McDonalds (or other fast
    food restaurants) every single day, Spurlock
    argues that America eats frequently at such
    placesbased on this, do you feel that people
    ought to know better or are the corporations to
  • 2. Given that we know how bad fast food is for
    you, what do you make of the growing obesity
    problem amongst children? Are parents to blame?
    Do they have other choices?
  • 3. What about physical activity? So schools have
    to cut such programs for funding purposes, should
    children somehow get some daily exercise? What
    about communities that dont have after-school
  • 4. Cheap, fast easywhat are the alternatives
    to fast food? (Things to consider dollar
    menus, combo deals, etc.)

Unit 2 Body Image in AmericaAssignments
  • RP1 discuss weight issues in America.
  • RE1 3 sources which discuss weight issues in
    America (obesity and/or thinness).
  • RE2 2 sources which analyze Spurlocks film in
    some fashion.
  • RP2 Based on in-cl movie, discussions, your
    research your own thoughts, analyze the
    implications of Spurlocks film.
  • DR1 Based on your notes, in-class discussions,
    and readings, analyze Spurlocks film the
    implications it holds for America (positive or
    negative). Using at least 2 of your sources from
    RE1 or RE2, construct a draft of your first
    essay. You must clearly analyze the issue of
    weight in America in regards to a specific age
  • EY1 Final version of your 1st essay regarding
    weight issues.

Unit 3 Sex, Drugs Rock n Roll
  • In-class Discussion
  • Elvis,
  • the Beatles,
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Madonna
  • theres nothing new under the sun!!!

In-class Viewing http//
spears_britney/videos.jhtml (Oops Slave)
Study Questions for Artistic Responsibility
As with Spurlocks film, students are given a
list of study questions to use throughout the
unit to keep them on track and communicating
their overall p-o-v.
  • Handout Study Questions for Sex, Drugs and Rock
    n Roll Unit
  • 1. Do popular artists have a responsibility to
    their listening audiences? Granted, Spears, et
    al are of legal age, many of their listeners are
    not. Therefore, should they try to tone down
    their performances, lyrics, etc?
  • 2. It is arguable that artists have the right to
    make money in any way they can. However, should
    they be allowed to so through sexy
    performances, obscene language, suggestive
    lyrics, dancing, etc?
  • 3. Who does it hurt? Women, men, kids? What
    sorts of messages are being sent what types of
    ideas are being spread? Is it a matter of how
    far you look into it or something more pervasive
    than that? Can you realistically change the
    channel or turn it off and keep harmful
    messages away from yourself?

Unit 3 Sex, Drugs Rock n Roll
  • Take home readings
  • Britney Spears A Pop Tart in Winter Adam
  • Lunsford Ch. 3 Arguments Based on Character
  • Why I Hate Britney Spears Nicey Williams
  • So Sexy, So Soon The Sexualization of
    Childhood Diane Levin

Unit 3 Sex, Drugs Rock n Roll
  • Group Work Handout
  • 1. Who is the targeted audience of this song?
  • 2. What messages about race, gender, sexuality
    are being sent? Meaning, how are each defined
    /or made fun of? Are these stereotypes, sexist,
  • 3. Who does it hurt? Women, men, kids? HOW???
  • The in-cl group work sets the foundation for the
    group project A.B. in Unit 5. It also allows
    students to collaborate see how others
    work/think about these issues.

Unit 3 Sex, Drugs Rock n Roll
Group Work Handout Lyrics
  • "Juicy -- NOTORIOUS B.I.G.
  • Dont Cha?-- Pussycat Dolls
  • "Gold Digger" Kanye West
  • "Hips Don't Lie" Shakira
  • "My Humps"- Black Eyed Peas
  • See overheads

Unit 3 Sex, Drugs Rock n Roll Assignments
  • Lyrics handout. Working in groups, construct a
    list (no less than 5 examples) of questionable
    messages explain why they are problematic. Be
    prepared to discuss these with the class.
  • RP3 Based on in-cl discussions, the readings,
    your research your own thoughts, analyze the
    issue of sexiness artistic responsibility in
  • RE3 2 sources about scandals caused by any
    musical artist of choosing. Bring a copy of each
    of these sources to class to be handed in.
  • Unit 3 is primarily to set up an atmosphere of
    collaboration (for unti 5, A.B. project) as
    well as intro the general topic of gender in
    media. This, combined w/the next unit allows
    some flexibility of topic w/the 2nd essay.

UNIT 4 Gender Stereotypes
Even in supposedly ideological-free environments,
students are often exposed to and limited by
narrow viewpoints about what it means to be male
or female.
  • Gender stereotypes in visual media
  • What do men do, what do women do?
  • What you see is what you get?
  • What examples can we think of from television

UNIT 4 Gender Stereotypes
  • Take home readings
  • Who Killed the Smart Women on TV? Allesandra
  • Ingram, Cindy. Gender-Neutral Parenting.
  • In-cl viewing discussion The One with the
    Male Nanny. Friends.

UNIT 4 Gender StereotypesAssignments
  • RE4 Watch at least 3 television shows (genre
    doesnt matter) or movies of your choosing.
    Construct a list of questionable messages (at
    least 10) regarding gender contained within the
    programs of your choosing. Be prepared to
    present your findings during the next class.
  • RE5 Locate at least 2 secondary sources about
    the effects of gendered messages in media who
    they hurt. Make sure that your sources will
    clearly relate to your chosen EY2 topic.
    Present findings to class.
  • DR2 EY2 Based on your notes, in-class
    discussions, Lunsford readings, REs and
    discussions, analyze the issues of celebrity
    responsibility in regards to the messages about
    gender. You must clearly address what the
    problematic nature is of these messages who
    they hurt.

UNIT 5 Disney, Gender RaceGroup Project AB
  • Take Home Readings
  • Animating Youth the Disnification of
    Children's Culture- Henry Giroux
  • Doing Disney Fosters Media Literacy in Freshmen
    - Virginia Crank

UNIT 5 Disney, Gender RaceGroup Project AB
  • In-cl. Viewing Discussion
  • Mickey Mouse Monopoly Disney, Childhood and
    Corporate Power.
  • Dir. Miguel Picker. Perf. Henry Giroux, et al.
    Media Education Foundation, 2001.
  • Typical difficulties with this film (to be
  • Part 1 Intro to Disneys power over media
    topic of gender.
  • Part 2 Topics of race ethnicity in Disney
    films conclusion.

UNIT 5 Disney, Gender RaceGroup Project
  • RE6 Watch 2 Disney movies of your choosing
    (live action or animated, 1 recent, 1 pre-1990s)
    construct a list of questionable messages
    regarding gender, racial stereotypes (at least
  • RE7 5 sources to be incorporated into A.B.
  • DR3 A.B. draft written in class. Pairs/groups
    work on summaries collaboratively.
  • AB Final version written in class.
  • Presentation of A.B. findings
  • individually- talk about chosen sources
  • Group- how project came together (cohesiveness),
    trouble-shooting, etc

Unit 6 Final Paper
  • The final paper is based on any American
    pop-culture topic of students choosing.
  • Discuss this chosen theme in regards to a clear
    bias that is shown against/about a specific
  • While students are free to revisit a topic
    already discussed in class, they may not repeat
    the same position exactly (i.e. cutting pasting
    from previous EY), research, or media used
    (i.e. tv show, movie, etc).
  • Concepts of hegemony ideology must be clearly
    represented w/in the paper to details who has the
    power, how they are using it who is being
    stereotyped, etc.
  • All topics must be related to U.S. pop-culture,
    hegemony ideology and must be approved prior to
    beginning research, etc.

Unit 6 Final Paper- Guidelines
  • a. 5-10 minutes long b. chosen themec. chosen
    medium (tv, radio, print ads, etc)d. the
    specific population to be examined (men, women,
    children, glbt individuals, seniors, minorities,
    etc)e. print-outs of potential sources you
    intend to use in your paperf. overhead
    projections, PowerPoint presentations, or
    internet use for visual effects
  • a. typed 1-1.5 pgs long, narrative formb.
    clearly state what chosen theme is (main idea
    at least 3 subordinate claims), target population
    what expect to find in research, how you plan
    to incorporate your sources

Unit 6 Final PaperAssignments
  • RE8 (In-class research) Locate at least 5
    secondary sources that clearly discuss your
    chosen topic
  • RP6 proposal of Research Paper. (This is not
    a draft, but you should still summarize what main
    argument is what some subordinate claims are.)

Unit 6 Final Paper- Draft
  • DR4 Bring 2 copies to next classone for my
    review one for Peer Review.
  • a. all drafts are due for in-class review
  • b. length is not simply 1 ½ -2 ½ pages like the
    other drafts. This draft should be as close to
    the final length (5 ½ -7pgs) as possible
  • c. works cited page must be included
  • d. bring 2 blank copies to class1 for peer
    review 1 for me to correct

Unit 6 Final Paper- Student-initiated Topics
Spring 07
  • Effects of Media Violence on Children (nightly
    news vs. drama, cartoons, etc)
  • Medias Influence on Childhood Obesity
  • Fast Food industry plague of obesity among
    minorities (ignored population in Spurlocks
  • Americas Obsession with Cosmetic Surgery
  • The Reality of Reality TV
  • The Grand Wizards of Disney
  • Misogyny Hip-Hop (how it hurts women men)
  • Everyone Loves a Misogynistic Sitcom
  • Minorities in Prime Time Television
  • Female Celebrities as Negative Role Models
    (Hilton, Olson Twins, Lohan, Spears, Aguilera, et
  • Just Blame TV Its Easier (parental
    responsibility tv)
  • Double Standards (Imus incident Hip-Hop
    moguls after the fact)
  • Sex Sells how advertising uses sex/gender to
    sell products (Victorias Secret, liquor/beer,
    cars, tobacco)
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