• The Politics of the Pandemic

      For my last blog of the 2019-2020 Bits blogging year, I wish to return to the cataclysmic event in which we are all, unhappily and reluctantly, participating. This is history, and while, unfortunately, what we...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • The Medium is the Market: The Semiotics of Popular Storytelling

      While trying to think of something other than the pandemic to write about for this blog (all pandemic, all the time is not a good formula for either writing or mental health), I found myself rereading Robert L...
    Jack Solomon
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  • No Exceptions: or the End of a Mythology

      One of the key principles of Signs of Life in the U.S.A. is the critical role that cultural mythologies play in shaping human consciousness and the way we experience our world. So, as we face a pandemic disease...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • Semiotics in the Time of a Plague

    Feeling like I have been unwillingly dropped into a Camus novel (The Plague) or famous diary (Pepys's will do), I find writing this blog to be a very strange experience. The thing is, in spite of multiple reasons to b...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • Keeping Calm and Carrying On

      Well, I'm trying at any rate. Right now that means moving along with the 10th edition of Signs of Life in the U.S.A. We're in the copyediting stage, which can be (and is being) conducted entirely through digit...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • Super Tuesday: or, Electoral Politics as Sports and Entertainment

      As may be apparent from my title, I am writing this blog on the morning of Super Tuesday: that day on the cusp of winter and spring that the major political parties in the United States have chosen to lurch for...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • The CGI Blues: Or It's All Over Now, Baudrillard

    The news that "Sonic the Hedgehog" had to undergo a substantial CGI redesign after its core audience panned it in the trailers inevitably has reminded me of the fate of the movie version of "Cats," which also had to g...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • "Typical Americans"

    Twenty-six years ago, the introduction to the first edition of Signs of Life in the U.S.A. began with an exploration of the place that the Super Bowl holds in American life and culture, noting how "It's more than...
    Jack Solomon
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  • Handicapping the Oscars: Predictive Analytics Meets the Academy

    As the countdown to the annual Academy Awards ceremony ticks away, I'm seeing more and more articles in the Entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times like this one, whose aim is to predict the outcomes of the vot...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood": Fake History in the Era of Fake News

      Now that the Academy Awards sweepstakes for 2020 is in full cry, with the Golden Globes functioning as a kind of stand-in for the Iowa Caucuses in the tea-leaf-reading business of trying to guess what picture ...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • Janus, Resolutions, and Attendance Policies

    It’s January, and my social media feeds are filled with suggestions for keeping resolutions, especially those related to wellness, healthy eating, and exercise. But I am also finding some pleas for encouragement...
    Miriam Moore
    last modified by Miriam Moore
  • Why Richard Jewell Now?

    In my last blog, I presented a semiotic interpretation explaining how the movie Ford vs. Ferrari reflects a larger cultural signification that goes well beyond the history of Formula 1 racecars and their driver/design...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • Chariots with Tires: or the Semiotics of Ford vs. Ferrari

    By the time of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, America had just concluded a bad decade. Watergate, Kent State, rampant inflation, the abject failure of the Vietnam War, Soviet adventures in Afghanis...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • Angry Birds

    No, this blog is not going to be about that wildly popular video game and movie franchise; it’s about Twitter and some very distinct signs of life in the USA that may be found there in some rather unexpected pla...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • What We're Talking About When We Talk About Cultural Semiotics

    When Sonia and I began working on the first edition of Signs of Life in the U.S.A. in 1992, semiotics was still regarded as a rather obscure scholarly discipline generally associated with literary theory and linguisti...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • It's No Joke: the Cultural Semiotics of Joker

    Hailed as a "must-see" movie for the apres-weekend water cooler crowd, and warily monitored by everyone from local police departments to survivors of the Aurora, Colorado massacre, Joker has surpassed its opening box ...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • The Panopticon 2.0

    Michel Foucault's application of Jeremy Bentham's panoptic proposal for prison reform to the modern surveillance state has become a commonplace of contemporary cultural theory. And heaven knows that we are being watch...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • America's Got Sentiment

    As Sonia Maasik and I work to complete the tenth edition of Signs of Life in the U.S.A., I have been paying special attention to American popular music, which will be a topic for a new chapter that we're adding to the...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • The Sense of an Ending: Popular Teleology and Game of Thrones

    With television's arguably most prominent dramatic series ending amidst the ashes of King's Landing and the outrage of many of its most loyal fans (including a remarkable Change.Org petition demanding an entire Season...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon
  • Tangled Roots Revisited: a Celtic Connection

    Topics for popular cultural analysis can spring out at you at the most unexpected times—in fact, that is one of the goals of cultural semiotics: to attune oneself to the endless array of signs that we encounter ...
    Jack Solomon
    last modified by Jack Solomon