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Celebrity in American Life

What is the Media?

It is always a nauseating experience, flipping through 300 channels on television before finding that nothing worth watching is on. That is, unless you want to choose from one of the many celebrity news programs, tune into the newest Flavor Flav reality show, or see Oprah hand out a few thousand dollars in cash. In this brief paper by Garrett Broad, the author wonders what kind of impact the media's celebrity obsession might have on society, democracy, and the future of our nation. Put down your OK! Magazine and read on.

Read more: What is the Media?

Breach the Contract

Two films in the late 1990s, The Truman Show and EdTV, had the American public chuckling at the thought of tuning into television shows that followed the every move of otherwise ordinary and uneventful people. Who would buy into that crap? In this short response paper from Mark Farren, the author politely reminds us that yesterday's thought experiment has become today's reality TV. Is it too late to turn back the clock?

Read more: Breach the Contract

Religion and the Italian-American Family in The Sopranos and The Godfather


Nearly 20 million Americans claim Italian ancestry, and to many of those millions, knowledge of their cultural and religious heritage is steeped in centuries of family traditions and customs. To everyone else, however, information about the Italian-American experience comes from a very different place - movies and television, particularly the sensationalized accounts of Mafia families made famous in The Godfather and The Sopranos. In this well-researched essay, Vincent Velasquez delves into depictions of religious life in these classic pieces of entertainment, finding a great conflict between the holiness of religiosity and the bullet holes of Mafia life.

Read more: Religion and the Italian-American Family in The Sopranos and The Godfather

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