ENG 226: Popular Culture


Circuit of Culture


Group 1 -- MW 4/12; TTH 4/13

Lessig handout #1

"Spotify Wants Listeners to Break Down Music Barriers" by Farhead Manjoo

****"The Long Tail" by Chris Anderson



Group 2 -- MW 4/17; TTH 4/18

review the Spotify article and the Long Tail article from Group 1

Read the following three articles.

"What was, is, and will be Popular" by Adam Sternbergh (only Sternbergh's section . Stop at Jessica Gross' article unless you want to read on . . .)

****"Defining and Demanding an Artist's Fair Shake in the Internet Age" by Ben Sisario

****"Inconspicuous Consumption" by Jeffrey Rosen





Group 3 -- MW 4/19; TTH 4/29

new: "Activists Use Social Media to Prod Advertisers"

****"Multiscreen Mad Men"

***** "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" by Nicholas Carr

optional book review: "The Madness of Crowds" by John Tierney


Group 4 -- MW 4/24; TTH 4/25

Lessig handout #2

****Two Relationships to the Public Domain by Negativland (part 1 -- first nine sections + intro)
pages 239-250

Read at least the first article by Lazar. Consider Itzkoff's article as well if TV remixes are of interest.

Girl Talk

Skim: "In a Twist on the Remix, Fans Recut Series" by Dave Itzkoff

Optional Star Wars case study:

Optional (honors): "The Death of the Cyberflaneur" by Evgeny Morozov

Mash Ups

Lessig blog post about Kutiman
Kutiman has created a youtube mix of youtube clips: Thru-You
Maybe a better link -- all seven songs by Kutiman
More on the Huffington Post

Video Remixes


Group 5 -- MW 4/26; TTH 4/27

Required: Lessig handout #3 regarding Harry Potter Wars

All the rest are optional:

New: "'Galactic Hot Dogs' Hopes Readers on Funbrain will Buy at Bookstores"

"Twine, the Video Game Technology for All" by Laura Hudson

"Turning Microcelebrity Into a Big Business" by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

"The Woman with a Billion Clicks" by Amy O'Leary

"YouTube Takes on TV" by Mike Hale

"The Data Driven Life" by Gary Wolf

Skim or read if writing about YouTube: "When Funny Goes Viral" by Rob Walker





Older articles:

The Music Man by Lynn Hirschberg (pages bottom 5 to 6

"Spotify is the Coolest Music Service You Can't Use" by Neal Pollack


Read the following e-mail I just received last December Moveon.org. (note this is not a solicitation to sign the petition.) Consider following one or two of the links.

Dear MoveOn member,

As soon as this week, Congress will start debating whether to give the government the power to turn off parts of the Internet. If that sounds like a terrible recipe for abuse of power, that's because it is.

If enacted, a new law would make it so a simple allegation of copyright infringement—with no review process—could lead to the shutdown of sites from YouTube to Wikipedia to MoveOn.org.1 Any website, foreign or U.S.-based, could be wiped out on suspicion and made unavailable to everyone in the world.

For example, if you (or Justin Bieber) wanted to post a video to YouTube of yourself singing a Beatles song, a record company could force the Department of Justice to shut down YouTube. Really.2

But as you may have guessed, Congress didn't come up with this tragically terrible idea on their own. Lobbyists representing Comcast, Pfizer, record and movie companies, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce3 have been pushing Democrats and Republicans to pass bills to allow this new kind of Internet censorship. And they're close to getting their way.

But a small number of Democrats are standing strong and saying "No" to these powerful special interest groups. They need our help.

Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon is one of our champions. He has promised to start a historic filibuster of the Internet Censorship Act where he'll read the names of every person that signs a petition against Internet censorship.4 It's the perfect opportunity for 5 million Internet-connected progressives to visibly add their voice to a Senate debate. The more of us that sign, the stronger this effort to block this terrible law will be.

Click here to add your name and say NO to Internet Censorship.

We know that the Internet's openness, freedom, and lack of censorship are what make it a bastion of infinite possibility, continued innovation, and job creation. Innovative companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla, and Yahoo have spoken out against this law, saying: 

We should not jeopardize a foundational structure that has worked for content owners and Internet companies alike and provides certainty to innovators with new ideas for how people create, find, discuss, and share information lawfully online.5

Internet venture capitalists say that the legislation is "ripe for abuse,"6 and leading law professors reject it because it will "allow the government to block Internet access to websites."7

We condemn censorship overseas when it happens in China or Iran. But today, we need to stand up for freedom of speech on the Internet here at home.

Click here to add your name and say NO to Internet Censorship.

Thanks for all you do.

–Daniel, Garlin, Elena, Stefanie, and the rest of the team


1. "House Version of Rogue Websites Bill Adds DMCA Bypass, Penalties for DNS Workarounds," Public Knowledge, October 26, 2011

2. "Why Is Justin Bieber So Hackin Mad?" SaveTheInternet.com, November 2, 2011

3. "Five things to know about SOPA," The Washington Post, November 16, 2011

4. "Wyden to read petition names during copyright filibuster," The Hill, November 21, 2011

5. "SOPA opposition from tech heavyweights Google, Facebook," CBS News, November 17, 2011

6. "The PROTECT IP Act Will Slow Startup Innovation," Union Square Ventures, June 23, 2011

7. "Law Professors' Letter on SOPA," Electronic Frontier Foundation, November 15, 2011



Group 6 optional for honors section

"The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism" by Jonathan Lethem

pdf file of "The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism" by Jonathan Letham


"How to Make a TV Drama in Age of Twitter" by Lorne Manly

"Why You Would Ever Give Money Through Kickstarter" by Rob Trump

Cultural Studies; Twitter's Secret Handshake" by Ashley Parker


"The Data Driven Life" by Gary Wolf

"Image Rights vs. Free Speech in a Video Game Suit" by Katie Thomas

"You Tube Wants You to Sit and Stay Awhile"by Randall Stross

"Three Men and a Video Camera Out to Reveal Urban Truths" by David Gonzales

"A World of Megabeats and Megabytes" by Jon Pareles

"You at Home, Put a Viral Spin on It" by Julie Bloom

"Antisocial Networking?" by Hilary Stoudt

"When History is Compiled 140 Characters at a Time" by Randall Stross

"If You Liked This, You're Sure to Love That" by Clive Thompson

Adbusters -- ads

"On the Internet, It's All About 'My'" by David Browne

"Tension Over Sports Blogging" by Tim Arango

Internet phenomena

Time's Person of the Year: You

Store Wars

Rappers Delight Club

Links for Copyright Law