Breakaway Episode 11: the Symbolic Meanings of 2022


We’re baaaaacck! Welcome to the start of our 5th school year together. (Yep, you read that right: *fifth* year!) We’re getting things going with a quick talk story session between Omar and Ellen about the symbolic meanings of life in 2022. Vaccines, Manti Te’o, masks, Liz Cheney, Britney Spears, Joe Biden– each of these things and people hold a plethora of meanings to each of us, and shape how we interact with them. Tune in to catch up with us, and see if you share the same meanings as us!


Symbols, symbolic interactionism, COVID-19, masking, politics, pop culture


  • Vaccines are now available for young children.
  • Watch the fantastic documentary, “The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist,” about catfished footballer, Manti Te’o here.
  • And you can read the OG article about Manti here.
  • Read about Liz Cheney’s loss in the 2022 primary elections here.
  • Ellen feels bad for Britney Spears. But rather than link to some awful article, here’s one to her newest song with Elton John!
  • Omar feels bad for Joe Biden. But rather than link to another awful article, here’s one to cute puppies.

SOC 417 Sports, Violence Against Women, and Celebrity (Guest Edition)


Violence against women in sports is a common topic in the news nowadays, with allegations of abuse and misconduct coming to light. Criminal and deviant behaviors in sports, from basketball to the NFL, happens more often than you think but what are the consequences of such behaviors? How do the institutions and actors involved respond to allegations? Do allegations of violence against women impact the career trajectory of professional athletes at all? (spoiler: nope). Join us and our guest, Daniel Sailofsky, as we discuss sports and violence, and you can fill your Social Breakdown bingo card slot marked “Capitalism”!


Sports, violence, capitalism, masculinity, celebrity status

Check out Daniel’s work!

  1. Follow Daniel on twitter!
  2. Daniel’s co-authored article: “It Will Ruin His Career”: Does Violence Against Women Really Damage the Careers of NBA Players?


  1. Everything You Need To Know About the Ray Rice Case
  2. Moneyball trailer
  3. MLB pitcher Sam Dyson suspended entire 2021 season for domestic violence
  4. MLB, MLBPA reveal domestic violence policy
  5. National Football League player conduct policy
  6. Joint NBA/NBPA policy on domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse
  7. Visuals sealed Adrian Peterson’s fate
  8. Revisiting Ben Roethlisberger’s Sexual Assault Allegations in the #MeToo Era
  9. The Last Dance | Netflix
  10. Friday Night Lights trailer
  11. Pause, rewind, play: The most epic outbursts of ‘Superbrat’ John McEnroe’s career
  12. O.J. Simpson trial
  13. Public Heroes, Private Felons: Athletes and Crimes Against Women by Benedict
  14. Michael Messner’s articles related to sociology of sports and masculinity
  15. The Rites of Men: Manhood, Politics, and the Culture of Sport by Burstyn
  16. Kristy McCray’s profile and publications
  17. Nicole Bedera’s twitter
  18. Free With Your Covid Shot: Beer, Arcade Tokens and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

SOC103 – Status and the Paradox of the Celebrity


Why does Kim K get to “break the internet?” Do celebrities reflect our exaggerated imaginations? Where does all that money go? Why does Woody Allen get to make movies and Ben Rothlisberger get to still play football? In this week’s we tackle Celebrity status and its presence in contemporary society. Trust us, there is no other status with this much power and mystery…let’s break it down.

Disclaimer: We apologize for misgendering Caitlyn Jenner. It’s never our intention to be disrespectful, and we recognize the importance of using the correct pronouns.  (08/28/2021)


Status, Celebrity, American Culture, Popular Culture, Entertainment, Celebrity culture


  1. Short biography on Max Weber, one of the founding fathers of sociology
  2. Weber on Class, Status, and Power
  3. Jonathan Turner and Jan Stets’ (2004) The Sociology of Emotions – On Theodore Kemper’s theory on structure and emotions, status, and power.

    Within social situations, individuals possess relative power (authority), or the ability to tell others what to do, and status (conceptualized as prestige or honor rather than as a position in a structure).

  4. Quote from Kurzman et al.’s reading on Celebrity status

    “Celebrity is an omnipresent feature of contemporary society, blazing lasting impressions in the memories of all who cross its path. In keeping with Weber’s conception of status, celebrity has come to dominate status “honor,” generate enormous economic benefits, and lay claim to certain legal privileges. Compared with other types of status, however, celebrity is status on speed. It confers honor in days, not generations; it decays over time, rather than accumulating; and it demands a constant supply of new recruits, rather than erecting barriers to entry.”

  5. Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out
  6. Ben Rothlisberger’s wikipedia page, if you’re interested in the scandals discussed
  7. Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List: Season 1
  8. Neal Gabler’s Life: The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality (2000)- very good critical read on how real life drama (i.e. celebrity lives, reality tv shows) have become our primary form of entertainment
  9. American Crime Story: The People VS O.J. Simpson
  10. ESPN’s O.J.: Made in America
  11. Boston bombing movies – there are already two of them! Patriots Day and Stronger.
  12. Jennifer Lawrence and the gender pay gap in Hollywood
  13. Special Envoy Angelina Jolie for UNHCR
  14. Graeme Turner’s Understanding Celebrity (2013) – Evaluates the many taxonomies of “celebrity” and how the title has evolved with society and technology. He also devotes quite a bit of time to discussing how

    “the celebrity industry is one that spends a great deal of its time masking the fact that it exists at all.”

  15. Here’s a cool illustrated guide to Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle. And here’s the actual text, if you want to dig deeper! (P.S. It’s actually pronounced GEE Debord!).
  16. Hell’s Kitchen
  17. Read the script for the “Our Town” play here
  18. Jay-Z’s website, his book  Decoded, his documentary TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, if you want to become like Omar
  19. Arashi’s wikipedia page and official website, if you want to worship them like Penn
  20. Forbes 2017 list of “The World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities List”, showing Kim Kardashian made $45.5 million and Jay-Z made $42 million.
  21. Kim Kardashian-West’s instagram page, if you want to fangirl like Ellen
  22. The Jay-Z produced documentary on Kalief Browder titled, “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” is on Netflix.
%d bloggers like this: