If culture is the process of generating and circulating meanings and pleasures within a social system, how do we access those meanings and pleasures? Through what vehicles? What objects or works should we examine in a popular culture course, and how should we go about examining them? In general, the study of popular culture is about the study of systems of representation, but scholars often use the word “text” as a substitute for this clunky phrase. While most people think of a book or written work when they hear the word “text,” the term can be used to describe all sorts of representational systems-photographs, movies, clothing choices, and musical performances, as well as books. Anthropologists have used it to talk about kinship systems, food-ways, even cockfi ghts. Clifford Geertz goes so far as to defi ne culture as an “ensemble of texts, themselves ensembles, which the anthropologist strains to read over the shoulders of those to whom they properly belong.” 1 Clearly, these are metaphoric uses of the term “text” designed to articulate cultural activity to practices of representation and communication. They imply that culture is about signifi cation, or the process of conveying meaning through signs.