ICS 392: Consumer Culture—Hildebrand

Visit the following website:  http://tinyurl.com/mfun7

This is a copy of a now defunct website in which a consumer details the activities of his “redneck neighbor.” Read the descriptions of the neighbor and his activities and look at the pictures.

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Your assignment is to write a paper analyzing how this site demonstrates concepts discussed in this class so far.

What ideas from any authors we have read can be brought to bear to understand this situation? For a little help in making this connection, consider the following quote from Veblen:

In order to avoid stultification he must also cultivate his tastes, for it now becomes incumbent on him to discriminate with some nicety between the noble and the ignoble [undistinguished] in consumer goods.” (Veblen, page 190)

What else from Veblen could be used to explain what is happening on this website? What can you apply from other authors? Your analysis should extend well beyond this Veblen quote.

In 1000 or more words (that’s approximately 3-4 pages), explain what is happening here. Interpret the events, using some of what our authors wrote—the more, the better.

All work must be your own. Cite all sources in a References section at the end.

Know your audience (ME).  DO NOT SUMMARIZE THE EVENTS ON THIS PAGE. I know the circumstances and you can assume I am familiar with them (and our readings). Analyze the page, do not describe it.


A good paper integrates readings and class discussions in a meaningful way. It conveys your understanding of the material and incorporates it into a coherent essay.

Here is an example of what NOT to include in your paper:

“The author explains that the “redneck” a.k.a JD8 is driving him crazy with pretty much everything he does around his house. Some of the home improvements that JD8 does around his house do not qualify to the author as being home improvements.

          Some of the home improvements included, a mailbox that was built with stolen wood from a nearby construction, a chicken coupe in the backyard, a pool table under the carport, a chain link fence which is crooked, the raising of pet pigs (which roam the neighborhood), a fish pond which stinks, a broken basketball net, gutters that are held in place by coat hanger wire, and many more. The author also states that JD8 has a thriving business and also drives nice cars and that he (the author) doesn’t understand JD8’s “redneck” ways of life.

          There have even been a few times when JD8 has thrown wild parties and had the police called on him by his neighbors including the author. The author also explains JD8’s total disregard for his neighbors’ feelings when the author states how he cuts his grass at two o’clock in the morning and throws wild parties during the week when others have to work in the morning.”

–Student Paper

The above is all summary and offers no evidence of applying the course readings. The author has wasted more than 200 words of their essay telling me what I already know. You can assume that the above paragraph—or a better written version of it—is already a part of your paper and you can move forward from there. Show me what you have interpreted from this page. Remember, ‘everything is an argument’. Write confidently and declaratively. State, don’t speculate. But support your arguments.

Any quote from our readings that you want to cite for your essay should be brief or you should find a better way of referencing it. As an example, rather than quoting that Veblen quote back to me you could simply say, “When Veblen talks about the need to distinguish between the ‘noble and the ignoble’…”. I’ll know what you are talking about.

All work should be your own. Cite where you are quoting or basing your argument on the work of others—it shows effort and diligence. If you look at a website and it gives you an idea, you need to cite that page. Feel free to bring in other outside sources if relevant.

I do not require any particular citation style. You can use (author, page) for works already included in this class. A proper reference at the end should be included for outside works (including web pages) used to write your paper; a simple listing of author and work is sufficient for class readings. Information sufficient to find the site myself is all you need include (a url, author, and name of the page). As seniors you should know how to do this by now.

All papers must be in MS Word (no other program).

When submitting your paper, name the file “<your last name> Assignment 1”. If your professor submitted this assignment, it would be titled, “Hildebrand Assignment 1”.


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