The essays collected here reflect upon various aspects of the roles and functions of visual media in (and outside of) contemporary US-American culture. By exercising close readings of the visual cultural texts or of visual media in context, we are presented with examples that illustrate the validity and significance of specific critical theories, while other essays point out ambivalences and subversions in the texts’ functions or meanings or present texts that may be regarded as models for diverging conceptual approaches. Amongst the texts discussed are popular television shows like
The West Wing,
Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
Nip/Tuck, films like
The Big Lebowski,
Traffic, as well as photographs surrounding 9/11 and questions of identity and globalized culture.