Lesson 1 (from Introduction and '1: This is Elmo, 0:01')
In the Introduction to Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, Klostermann explains how he uses pop culture to understand why we exist. For him, the seemingly meaningless activity of taking in entertainment is a window into our collective hopes and desires.
The objective of this lesson is to understand Klosterman's methodology.
1. Divide the class into three groups and assign each a pop cultural object that is analyzed in Chapter 1: John Cusack, Coldplay, and When Harry Met Sally. Each group should determine what effect its object had on Generation X. Why does Klosterman dislike it? What deleterious effect does he think this object had on his generation? Does the group agree with this assessment? Each group should present to the class.
2. For class discussion: As a class, read the famous first chapter in Stephen Leavitt's Freakonomics, in which the author analyzes the drop in violent crime in...
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