Summary of the Articles. As the topic of the book suggests, the text generally explores the present-day American culture and its effects on the people of America. It is composed of articles, which talk about the popular culture, for instance, genetic technology, campus coded life, privacy, gay marriages, and television violence among others. The book has several publishers with the third edition published by Longman-Pearson in the UK. The first chapter is composed of several articles written by Jan Hoffman, Stephen Fry, Peggy Orenstein and Robin Dunbar. The tittles of their articles, respectively, are: “As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-Up”, “Blog Matters: Social Networking Through the Ages”, “I Tweet, Therefore I Am” and “You Gotta Have (150) Friends”. The first article presents the challenges that the social networking sites have brought about. According to Hoffman (30), somebody was using Marie’s name, a single mother, to bully others. In the next article, Fry explores how social networking sites have created divisions among people. According to him, although social networks are the ‘next big thing’, they have led to decay in virtues and loss of intelligence. But according to Dunbar (44), ‘Facebook has revolutionized how we relate to one another’.
The second chapter is composed of articles exploring further the modern American culture. David Plotz wrote the article “Privacy Is Overrated” while David Schimke wrote “Invading Our Own Privacy”. According to David Plotz, privacy in the modern America is a false concept: it is not possible (Goshgarian 66). This is because today, there are many ways of getting information that was earlier thought to be confidential. He proposes that there is a need for more openness towards each other. In Schimke’s article, the writer explores how technological advancements such as surveillance cameras and computer-based cookies enable people to endanger even their personal privacy. Cameras track movement while cookies track buying habits. The writer concludes that continuous loss of privacy would lead to future problems.
Reaction to the Articles. Having read Goshgarian’s book, it is clear that the modern times are evidence of a revolution in the information and communications technology. To a great extent, I agree with Goshgarian and other writers of the articles in the book. This is because the internet culture does not only ail America, but also all parts of the world. In my view, the writers of the articles simply exhibit two positions: optimists and pessimists. While the former like the benefits that come with internet, the latter focus on the negative outcomes. I tend to think that more wonders are yet to come. However, since there are also technological advancements in privacy, it appears that will be even better applications of keeping personal information safe. However, this is not likely to out-do what new innovations are able to offer. Generally, Goshgarian is skeptical of the contemporary culture. He sees more harm than good. This was well-illustrated by the type of articles that he gathered to make the book. In the final analysis, I agree with most of the writers. However, I would be cautious in supporting employee surveillance through cameras or computer software. This is because I tend to think that each and every person has a right to be informed that he or she is being watched. Otherwise, it would be unethical to monitor people’s movements or actions without their knowledge. Moreover, the book presents the true picture of the effects on internet and the popular culture.