Signs of Life in the U.S.A. Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Sonia Maasik
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is the essay, "Creating the Myth" about?

2. When did the Study of pop culture as an academic subject start?

3. What does the phrase "Commodification of desire" refer to?

4. What is Semiotics really about?

5. What message does the phenomenon, Democracy of Goods, refer to?

Short Essay Questions

1. According to Michael Parenti, the author of "Class and Virtue," how does the movie Pretty Woman represent class and virtue?

2. What is the Democracy of Goods according to Marchand?

3. How is semiotic analysis of TV program different from a review or opinion?

4. What is the paradigm presented by Robert Ray in the "The Thematic Paradigm?"

5. What are popular signs of life?

6. What are the key arguments in the essay "Signs of Intelligent Life on TV?" Please name two TV shows cited by the author that support her key arguments.

7. Which businesses represent the current day version of American accumulation of land? What is the phenomenon associated with it?

8. Reality TV shows are a hot trend in popular culture and often based on schadenfreude. What do you think their impact could be on a middle school student?

9. What is Schadenfreude? How is it relevant to TV shows? Give two examples.

10. What are the factors that may influence semiotic interpretation?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How do news programs promote popular culture and the concept of the American dream? Support your arguments based on the semiotic analysis of a news telecast or a weekly news program.

Essay Topic 2

Many essays in the text book address the issues of American consumption and the role of corporations in consumption and promoting the concept of the American dream. However, in the event of a financial crisis, individual consumers are punished for not paying their credit card while corporations are bailed out. What should be the responsibility of the Government, the businesses, and the wealthy? Who should get the tax cuts and benefits and why?

Essay Topic 3

In Chapter 1, the authors posit that compared to other American demographic groups, students may be freer to project their image through the products they buy. Write a paper stating your agreement or disagreement with the authors (this is called a position paper) in the context of your personal experience as a student.

(see the answer keys)

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