The American Journal of SEMIOTICS, 17:2 (Summer 2001) Pages 311-327.

ISSN: 02277-7126 Printed May 2002

Semiotic Analysis of Myth: A Proposal for an Applied Methodology

Elliot Gaines

Wright State University


Introduction: Confronting the Ideology of Myth in Popular Culture

The purpose of this paper is to articulate and demonstrate an elegant, logical semiotic methodology applied to the analysis of cultural myth. Principally emanating from the work of Roland Barthes, this method assimilates ideas from several prominant semitotic theorists. Concerned about what Barthes called "ideological abuse" (1972: 11) concealed in media and culture, my project is to provide a way to reveal myth and understand its nature.

In Mythologies (1972), Barthes essays offer a sense of the subtle potential and ideological impact of myth embedded in popular culture. In this same collection of essays, he suggests that the meaning from one sign can be used as the signifier of a higher order of the sign (Barthes 1972: 114). This provided the momentum for the idea to extend Hjelmslev's formula for semiosis to the analysis of myth. Considering the prevalence of myth in mass communication and popular culture, this method addresses the ambiguity of myth analysis and should prove useful for teaching media literacy.

Moving Semiotics in from the Margins

Semiotics offers specialized tools that address the need to understand the communicative qualities that distinguish various mass media and evolving media technologies. Although semiotics is a recognized discipline within the study of communication, it remains at the margins of popular discourse. When semiotic terms appear in popular texts, such as when Esquire ran an article on the semiotics of the model (Weiss 1993), the lexicon is most likely overlooked by the lay reader as academic jargon. The project of media literacy will advance by providing meaningful understandings through logical methods.

In as much as analysis of cultural texts can be written at many levels, the lexicon of semiotics can be represented through differing styles. Structural semiotics has shifted to a distinctly critical approach that tends to take intellectual leaps into theoretical interpretations of connotation and context. The semiotics of cultural criticism is often articulated through rich and literary description such as in essays by Barthes (1972) and Eco (1986), but they can give an impression of being un-authoritative, merely entertaining, or overtly polemic in nature when consumed from outside the discipline (Saper 1997: 3-4).

While the language of semiotics is generally beyond the ken of popular discourse, scholars have found popular culture rich and useful as objects of focus for these tools and methods. The obscurity of the semiotic lexicon is problematic, but could greatly help to inform and develop media literacy as part of communication curricula. Applied to media criticism in the classroom, the morphology of the sign needs specific language and a method that can be applied in a formulaic fashion. Such formulae could belie the essence of qualitative study, but pedagogy benifits from a logic that recalls a familiar paradigm in order to lead the reluctant student, dependent on the notion of objective realities, into the vague ambiguities of interpretive theory.

With the enormous influence of mass communication, cultural myths have been reified and taken-for-granted in their everyday presence as a mediated form of reality. Semiotics can serve the project of media literacy as a tool to deconstruct myths embedded within popular culture. Thus the project of moving semiotics in from the margins calls for developing a method that recalls the structural origins of the discipline and builds a formula to support interpretive analysis.

The following sections articulate such a theoretical formula as it is derived from the work of major theorists. Subsequent sections will demonstrate the application of theory extended to the analysis of myth within contemporary cultural texts. First, however, the seminal work of Barthes Mythologies (1972) merits examination in order to establish background, orientation, and perspective on the importance of myth analysis.

The Historical Nature of Myth

In his preface to the 1957 edition of Mythologies, Roland Barthes explains the origins of his collection of essays as an attempt to reflect on current events as "some myths of French daily life" (1972: 11). Barthes states:

In the account given of our contemporary circumstances, I resented seeing Nature and History confused at every turn, and I wanted to track down, in the decorative display of what-goes-without-saying, the ideological abuse which, in my view, is hidden there" (1972: 11).

At the start, he took myth in its traditional sense as stories that are false or at least unverifiable, and that tend to construct a world view, explain certain practices, or the nature of social institutions. Later he would determine that myth is a language which focuses on the semiological nature of the phenomena (Barthes 1972: 109-159). Fifteen years after Mythologies, he restated his position in an essay called "Mythology Today" and posited the project as,

no longer merely to reverse (or to correct) the mythic message, putting it right side up, with denotation at the bottom and connotation at the top, nature on the surface and class interest deep down, but to change the object itself, to engender a new object, point of departure for a new science . . . (1989: 68).

The project of myth analysis lies in articulating the relationship between all aspects of a sign system that constructs meaning around cultural assumptions embedded in the form. The process necessarily begins with a recognition of an ideological objection or an awareness that the sign system carries assumptions that appear natural but are actually historical.

Myth blends in with a message and denies its own existence through its apparent subordination to the content of the first and second order signifiers. When we become aware of myth, it shifts. We can look at an example of two moments that shift between watching a play and watching someone in the audience engaged in reading the play. The play constructs an internal narrative, but watching the reader shifts attention away from the story content to the form of play and its relationship to its audience.

Craig Saper uses an example from Barthes of driving through history and looking through the windshield of a car as opposed to looking at the windshield (Saper 1997: 6). The driver must look through the windshield at the road way in order to guide the vehicle, but looking at the windshield shifts awareness to the context of travel in a car. The analysis of myth necessarily seeks a shift of awareness from figure to the ground, from the denotative and connotative signs to context of the form of communication.

Myth is a third order of signification, a form that provides understanding derived from, but beyond denotation and connotation. The veracity of meaning is embodied in the framework of communication. For example, "pictures, to be sure, are more imperative than writing, they impose meaning at one stroke, without analyzing or diluting it" (Barthes 1972: 110). Photography is taken as a representation of reality. The photograph is simultaneously iconic in its resemblance to something in the world, and indexical as the photo-chemical imprint bears witness to the appearance of the object before the camera at some point in time. Thus Barthes asserts:

. . . photography is an ellipse of language and a condensation of an ‘ineffable’ social whole, it constitutes an anti-intellectual weapon and tends to spirit away politics (that is to say a body of problems and solutions) to the advantage of a ‘manor of being’ or socio-moral status (1972: 91).

Here, we understand Barthes’ resentment, as stated earlier, of the confusion of history and nature. With no memory (history) with which to construct meaning, signification depends on the form of communication. "A form can be judged (since forms are on trial) only as signification, not as expression. The writers language is meant to represent reality, not to signify it" (Barthes 1972: 137). Therein lies the nature of myth when the message is read as the meaning rather than a form of communication making reference to something else. The words of a particular speaker or writer construct meaning through the signification of the speaker (a friend, a scientist, a company representative, the president), and other constituents including time, space (location), and the nature of the medium (public speech, personal conversation, phone call, radio or television). Myth is constituted by the form of communication. It neglects its historical, socially constructed perspective and privilidges a natural order of understanding.

Toward Extending Hjelmslev's Methodology

Conceived to address the problems engendered by the analysis of myth, the methodology developed in this study is grounded in well established semiotic theory. This section indulges in a very basic review intended to describe the theoretical foundations that support the logic for this methodological approach. I then posit a semiotic theory that constitutes a particular rule of communication beyond the notion of connotation, and propose a methodological move to extend Hjelmslev's formulation of semiosis to the analysis of the expression of cultural myth.

Semiotics is defined as the study of signs as communicative phenomena that stand for or substitute for something else (Eco 1976: 16). According to Barthes, de Saussure described a "general science of signs" that considered "any system of signs" to be a language (1978: 9). The term "language" is extended to include written and spoken words, sounds, music, images, or gestures (Barthes 1978: 9). The most basic unit that refers or stands for something is the sign--that which is comprised of a theoretical relationship between the signifier as a word, sound or image, and the signified as the concept refered to by the signifier (Stam et al. 1992: 8).

The signifier and signified are separate in theory but work together in a process of connecting some communicative representation with a concept or meaning. A word, sound, or image (signifier) operates simultaneously in association with its conceptual (signified) referent. The association of the signifier and the signified produce the sign through this theoretical correlation which is called signification or semiosis (Barthes1972: 113; Barthes 1978: 48). This theoretical relationship is central to overcoming the ambiguity of the sign and will be addressed later.

Peirce's "semiotics" contrast and complement the "semiology" of Saussure (Seiter 1992: 32). The theory of the "three trichotomies of the sign" describes the same relational process in a somewhat more complex system (Peirce 1955: 98-104). The elements include: the sign--also called a representamen--which stands for something understood to be analogous to Saussure's signifier; a second sign is the object of the first sign--similar to the signified but with a non-specific quality of Platonic idealism; and a third sign, the interpretant posits the possibility of infinite associations between the first sign and its object (Peirce 1955: 98-104; Nattiez 1990: 5-8). The "interpretant" can be understood as a sign that refers to another sign or "conceived as the definition of the representamen" (Eco 1976: 68; Seiter 1992: 34). The interpretant, then, is another sign referring to itself in a cycle where meaning can be deferred endlessly. Thus "the very definition of 'sign' implies a process of unlimited semiosis" (Eco 1976: 69). This triangular relationship is particularly significant in that it suggests the post-structuralist notion of polysemy taken up much later by Barthes to indicate that a sign--in the Saussurian sense--can have multiple interpretations (Stam et al. 1992: 29; Fiske 1987: 89). Thus, the process of semiosis or signification may produce a variety of meanings from the same sign.

Perhaps the more essential charateristics of the sign according to Peirce are the icon, index and symbol (Peirce 1955: 104-8; Seiter 199: 35-9). The icon is a sign that resembles something; an index provides a direct causal relationship between the sign and its referent in the world; and a symbol is a sign that is understood only through a shared knowledge of cultural convention. In any case, signification indicates the meaning of a sign within a particular cultural context of communication. While this may seem obvious, meanings are social constructions and their differences are the subtle objects of semiotic study (Leeds-Hurwitz 1993: 10-11). Considering the complexities and ambiguities of the above theoretical models, the question is, can these principles be addressed through a more accessable model?

A Theoretical Model from Hjelmslev

While Saussure's semiotics is probably the most basic and familiar analytical approach, I believe a theoretical model from Hjelmslev offers a clear method of applied analysis that demonstrates how signification occurs on two distinct levels (Barthes 1978, 49). This model states "there is a relation (R) between the plane of expression (E) and the plane of content (C)" (Barthes 1978, 49). The denotative first order of signification can thus be represented as (E R C); the correlation of the signifier or expression (E) in relation (R) to the signified or content (C). The problematic ambiguity of the realtionship between signifier and signified that was mentioned earlier is now addressed since the realtionship (R) takes up the context or culture of the expression (E) as the signifier of meaning or content (C). While Saussurian semiotics suggests a purely theoretical relationship between signifier and signified, I assert that the nature of that relationship indicated by (R) takes on a very specific quality consistent with Peirce's concepts of the icon, index, and symbol.

Consider an example of a cartoon figure seen on television. In the opening of The Simpsons, Bart is riding gleefully through the streets of Springfield on a skateboard. The image resembling a human form engaged in a particular activity, is the expression (E) recognized in relation (R) to the signified concept (C) known as a certain human behavior such as riding a skate board. Thus the relationship (R) is a recognizable image--an icon of a boy--an anthropomorphic, two dimensional denotative sign (E) that refers to (C) its meaning, the phenomenon of a boy performing a specific behavior in a specialized environmental context of narrative TV animation.

At the connotative or second order of signification, the signifier or expression (E2) is constituted by the sum of E R C from the first order of signification (Barthes 1978, 89-90). The denotative sign becomes the signifier for the connotative sign. The denotative sign system (E1 R1 C1) would be equivalent to the second order expression (E2 ), and the connotative level can be graphically represented as E1 R1 C1 R2 C2. The connotative level emerges when the sum of the tri-dimensional first order of signification (E1 R1 C1) becomes the second order signifier (E2). Thus, the denotative sign--an icon of a boy on a skate board (E1 R1 C1) takes on a special signification as the second order expression or E2. The connotative meaning of the sign (C2) takes up the indexical, causal nature of the relationship (R2) between the denotative sign of Bart Simpson and his behavior as an expression of youthful fun and excitement. In this way, the connotative level asserts a cultural meaning as a value added to the first order (denotative) signifier. The connotative meaning is assumed through specific cultural knowledge of the sign, and cultural knowledge is carried through the specificity of the relationship (R) between the expression and the content.

From Connotation to Myth

Much like the theoretical relationship of the signifier to the signified, Hall makes the case that the relationship of denotation to connotation is useful only as an analytical distinction (1980: 132-3). Denotation is not necessarily a literal meaning that can be understood apart from the changeable interpretive meanings associated with connotation. The denotative sign can appear to be universally understood as having a natural meaning. Thus, "we could say that its ideological value is strongly fixed," while connotation is understood through the ideology of its "situational" cultural context (Hall 1980: 133). The two terms are "useful analytical tools for distinguishing . . . the different levels at which ideologies and discourses intersect" (Hall 1980, 133). Again the realtionships of the structures come into question, and at this level ideology emerges within the situational context of communication.

Eventually Barthes advanced his interpretation of Saussure's denotative and connotative structures to suggest myth as another level of signification where the "semiological system is a system of values" (1972: 131). Myth builds upon the same process that composes the first and second order of signification. "It refers to an unarticulated chain of associated concepts by which members of a culture understand certain topics" (O'Sullivan et al. 1994: 192). Assuming a logical form within speech, folklore, stories, ritual, and tradition, myths are "the attempt to identify a basic level of cultural experience, manifested in words and deeds throughout history, and concerned principally with the articulation of the core concerns and preoccupations of their host cultures" (Silverstone 1988: 23). The iconic image of Bart Simpson on a skateboard, for example, carries a connotation of a free-spirited 8 year old boy. His image, like other cartoons such as Charlie Brown, has taken on the quality of myth insofar as it has a recognizable identity, a history, and distinctive human personality understood through characteristic behaviors that represent real social issues. The practices of Bart Simpson are acknowledged in the same way as other "real" TV characters like the real Rosanne or the real Cosby. So myth is a perceived cultural reality among potential layers of signification.

Barthes theorizes that myth carries an order of cultural signification where semiotic code is perceived as fact (1972: 131), therefore assuming a degree of power and authority. To distinguish myth from connotation, it could be stated that myth appears natural or universal in its signification, or "myths are connotations which have become dominant-hegemonic" (Heck 1980: 125). There is an already assumed connotative meaning of the sign that seems natural from a particular context of cultural consumption. Thus, myth maintains an influencial power through a quality of appearing self-evident.

A Methodological Move To Describe Myth

At this point I will posit a methodological move to describe myth as an empirical semiotic phenomenon using a theoretical extension of Hjelmslev's semiotic formulation. Like the intuitive reading of the connotative sign, the key to analyzing myth is in knowing where to look so you can shift the figure and ground. Myth subsumes the second order of signification to construct a "global sign" within a system that Barthes calls a "metalanguage, because it is a second language, in which one speaks about the first" (1972: 115). That recognition begins with what Barthes called "ideological abuse," (1972: 11) which indicates his own ideological dispute with the assumptions embedded in the form the way of communication refers to its content.

Referring to Hjelmslev's formula (Barthes 1978: 49), the denotative and connotative signs must be taken together in a relationship with the meaning or content of the myth. Recall that earlier I asserted that the nature of that relationship indicated by R takes on a very specific quality consistent with Peirce's concepts of the icon, index, and symbol. Denotation or the first order of signification is represented as (E R C); the correlation of the signifier or expression (E) in relation (R) to the signified or content (C). Connotation as the second order of signification uses the denotative sign (E1 R1 C1) as the second order signifier (E2). For example, in the connotative second order of signification, the denotative sign of Bart Simpson on a skate board (E1 R1 C1 or E2) becomes the signifier in relation (R2) understood in a context of youthful activity as an expression of fun and excitement (C2). Finally by extension, I propose that myth can be analyzed as (E3 R3 C3) with the expression E3 being derived from the second order of signification (E1 R1 C1)(R2)(C2) in relation (R3) to the signified content (C3) of myth. At this level, the relationship (R3) refers to the form of communication rather than the Peircian character of the sign as icon, index, or symbol. The concept of a "form" of communication refers to a signifying process constituting a sign system. This includes words, sounds, and/or images in a specific communicative process such as speech, narrative, art, litereature, information and all media, photography, film, television, etc.


A more graphic representation of this formula looks as follows (Gaines 1996):

Hjelmslev's Semiosis Extended to Analysis of Myth

Denotative-First Order Signification

Correlation of the Signifier or Expression (E)

In Relation (R) to

the Signified or Content (C)


Connotative-Second Order Signification

The Signifier or Expression (E2) is the sum of (E1R1C1)

The Connotative level can be graphically represented as

(E1R1C1R2C2) or (E2R2C2)

By extending this formula:

Myth-Third Order Signification

Can be analyzed as: (E3R3C3)

The Expression E3 is derived from the Second Order of Signification:

(E1R1C1R2C2) in Relation (R3) to the signified Content (C3) of Myth.

or to more simply express the extended formula:

[(E1R1C1R2C2)] (R3) (C3)

The Connotation of the Sign becomes the Signifier of the Myth


Applied Myth Analysis

A significant point to consider at this level is that all connotative signs do not constitute signifiers of myth. One should not try to force the analysis, but can apply the theoretical formula when myth is recognized through ideological assumptions embedded in the form or context of communication. The following analysis represents a description of the results of applying this method.

Let’s examine another example from the Simpsons. Typical of many sit-coms, the narrative structure of The Simpsons centers around a member of the household and a problem with school, a job, a social situation or family dispute. The following sequence is a short introductory scenerio from a program broadcast in April, 1993 which appeared as a rerun on January 11, 1996.

Lisa, the oldest daughter of the Simpsons is having a slumber party with a group of friends. The pre-teen girls are characterized by giggling, gossip, playing with clothes and make-up, and fantasies of husbands. They play a game by dripping wax from a candle into a bowl of water. The rules are explained as "whatever shape the wax takes, that's what your husbands job will be." The first girl gets a drop that looks like a mop, so everyone says her husband will be a (low class) janitor. Lisa turns the little wax mop upside down and responds that it looks like an Olympic torch. She says, "Your husband could be an Olympic athlete who will go on to have a great acting career." The girl drips the wax again and whines, "It's a dustpan." Lisa responds, "The wax never lies."

The image of Lisa and her friends at her slumber party (E1) provide an iconic relationship (R1) to the meaning (C1) or the content. The scene denotes girls playing a fantasy game with wax where the shape of a drop of wax in water designates a future husband's occupation. The denotative sign (E1R1C1) acts in a symbolic relationship (R2) to (C2) as the signifier of at least two connotative signs (E2R2C2)--1, the reaction of the girls to class determination--the mop is low class and the Olympic torch is high class--and 2, Lisa's interpretation of the wax being an icon of an Olympic torch instead of a mop. This second connotative meaning demonstrates Lisa’s cheerful, optimistic personality. As myth, the connotative sign (E2R2C2) shifts to become the signifier (E3) of myth. In the context of playing this game, the connotative sign system (E3) reveals a willing female complicity to male domination, in relationship (R3) to the form of communication implying the meaning of the myth (C3): that men are defined as active agents by what they do, and women are defined passively by their subordination to men. The animated cartoon narrative of a childs' game provides the form to construct these characters so that they see themselves in the future as women willingly subordinate to a male counterpart in conventional roles as wives and mothers (Gaines 1996).

As metalanguage, this myth lies in the form of the media narrative with animated TV characters. In the context of The Simpsons cartoon show, this apparent meaning is over-looked within the general experience of (the form) entertainment TV. The expression of the myth appears natural while its meaning is explictly historical and ideological. The process of myth analysis neccesarily begins with the observation of some ideological assumptions. Then, it is the specificity of the phenomenon that suggest the application of the formula.

While this may seem at first to be an elaborate proposition, as an applied theory it introduces a method to trace the power of myth through its more basic structural relationships rather than assuming those connections or associations. As Barthes states, "myth hides nothing: its function is to distort, not to make disappear (1972: 121). Myth is the most obvious level of signification, but distorts meaning by validating arbitrary cultural assumptions in a way similar to the denotative sign.

Both connotation and myth act as cultural codes that are interpreted through semiotic analysis (Barthes 1972, 112; Seiter 1992, 39-42). Within the everyday use of language and images, signs are organized into relationships that code systems of signs to construct meaning. The meanings embedded within a cultural text are structured through convention. Central to interpretation of the form that carries myth is the context of signification which manifest in ideological representations within a narrative structure.

Lets look at a Gallop Poll as seen in a television news broadcast (Moore and Newport 1994: 31-2). The expression or signifier is a set of numbers (E) in a symbolic relationship (R) with the signified meaning or content (C) which at the denotative level represents a vote taken that reflects the beliefs of those polled about the guilt or innocence of an accused person. The denotative meaning becomes the connotative signifier (E2). E2 then operates in relation (R2) with the connotative meaning (C2) which is that the accused is either guilty or innocent according to the outcome of the poll. At the connotative level, the character of the numbers as a sign takes on the quality of an index since the numbers are believed to represent an existential manifestation--the votes of real people. Finally, the connotation of guilt or innocence is the signifier (E3). The signifier of the myth (E3) works in relation (R3) to the form--a cultually valididated information source--indicating the meaning (C3) of the myth: that the guilt or innocence of a person accused of a crime can be determined through a sampling of beliefs derived from images and information available in the popular media to a general audience.

Take another example: the cover of Esquire Magazine (Kosner 1995) with an image of a woman lying in a bed covered with a thin white satin sheet, shot from above. The woman is lying in a curved posture and she looks directly at the camera. This image is combined in a sign system as the cover of a mens’ magazine. The text description says, "Heather Locklear discusses the hermeneutics of love" which represents the denotative sign (E1 R1 C1). The image on the cover indicates an inconic relationship between the expression (E1) and the meaning (C1) as it denotes a woman recognized as Heather Locklear, covered by a sheet, lying in a bed, looking at the camera, or more to the point, the reader. This denotative sign becomes the second order, connotative signifier (E1 R1 C1= E2) in an indexical relationship (R2) suggesting that the real Heather must have appeared for the photograph. The connotative meaning or content (C2) then suggests that Heather Locklear desires sex, or is sexually available to the reader. Finally, myth is constructed when the connotative sign (E1 R1 C1 R2 C2 =E3), a mediated image of a women as sexual object, works in relationship through the photographic form (R3) to the content (C3) of the myth: that a photographic image actually signifies a woman’s desire for anonomous consumers in the audience. More simply stated: the connotatative sign of the image that Heather desires a sexual partner (E2R2C2) is the signifier (E3) for myth (C3) that the audience is a possible object of her desire. At this level, the meaning of the myth is embodied in the photographic form which assumes a belief system. Myth is an historically based, ideological construct distorted by its appeal to the nature of the reader.

Conclusion: The Project of Myth Analysis

Like all semiotic theory, this formula for a third order of signification, myth analysis is intended to demonstrate how communication takes place. Meanings that emerge always sustain the potential for the arbitrary nature of communication. However, the ideological implications of cultural mythologies are particularly problematic in the sophisticated contexts of mass media. This method provides steps to indicate the structures that support assumptions absorbed within a cultural context, the history that defies the nature of phenomena as Barthes had observed. Since myth makes itself so clear and obvious as real, the role of myth analysis is to shift our focus from the obvious and apparent meanings to the context that constructs meanings. Only when media literacy informs society to critically read media will the form of those communications be altered to meet the evolving consciousness.

One hundred years ago, the lexicon of psychology and the work of scholars such as Freud or Jung had not reached the public mind. But as it eventually did, the impact was felt as it became absorbed in public discourse to the extent that social behavior and public policy have been influenced. It is not the truth of any particular theory (for example, as opinions of Freud evolve), but the reasonableness and persuasiveness concerning the potential meaning of theory that ultimately impacts daily life. As communication scholars, we recognize the pervasive nature of mass communication and our potential to contribute to understanding and improving society. By small increments, we explore and debate ideas for solving the problems of our time. With this in mind, it is my hope that a semiotic methodological formula for the analysis of myth will contribute to an improved understanding of our everyday communications.



Barthes, Roland.

1972. Mythologies. Trans. Annette Lavers. New York: Noonday Press.

1978. Elements of Semiology. Trans. Annette Lavers and Colin Smith. New York: Hill and Wang.

Eco, Umberto.

1979. A Theory of Semiotics. Bloomington, IN: Indiana U.P.

1986. Travels in Hyperreality. Trans. William Weaver. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.

Fiske, John.

1987. Television Culture. New York: Routledge.

Gaines, Elliot.

1996. "Media Construction of Cultural Identity and Myth: A Semiotic Analysis of The Simpsons." presented to the Second Annual Conference on Applied Communications for The Institute for Research and Community Services. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. 28 Sept.

Hall, Stuart.

1980. "Encoding/Decoding." Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies 1972-79. Ed. Stuart Hall. London: Hutchinson.

Heck, Marina Camargo.

1982. "The Ideological Dimension of Media Messages." Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies 1972-79. Ed. Stuart Hall. London: Hutchinson.

Kosner, Edward. Ed.

1995. Esquire Magazine. June: cover.

Leeds-Hurwitz, Wendy.

1993. Semiotics and Communication: Signs, Codes, Cultures. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Moore, David W. and Frank Newport.

1994. "Public: Tonya Knew." The Gallop Poll Monthly. January: 31-2.

Natteiz, Jean-Jacques.

1990. Music and Discourse: Towards a Semiology of Music. Trans. Carolyn Abbate. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP.

O'Sullivan et al.

1994. Key Concepts in Communications and Cultural Studies. 2nd. ed. New York: Routledge.

Peirce, Charles S.

1955. Philosophical Writings of Peirce. Justus Buchler, ed. New York: Dover.

Saper, Craig.

1997. Artificial Mythologies: A guide to Cultural Invention. forward by Laura Kipnis. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota

Seiter, Ellen.

1992 "Semiotics, Structuralism, and Television". Channels of Discourse Reassembled: Television and Contemporary Criticism. Ed. Robert C. Allen. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Silverstone, Roger.

1988. "Television Myth and Culture." Understanding Television: Essays on Television as a Social and Cultural Force. Ed. Richard P. Adler. New York: Praeger.

The Simpsons

1996. Created by Matt Groening. Fox Television. WVAH Fox 11. Huntington, WV. 11, January.

Stam, Robert., Robert Burgoyne, and Sandy Flitterman-Lewis.

1992. New Vocabularies in Semiotics: Structuralism, Post-Structuralism and Beyond. New York: Routledge.

Weiss, Phillip.

1993 "What We Think About When We Think About Models." Esquire. 120.1 : 56-63.