I wrote the first paper on Ben Folds' song "Jesusland" which addresses contradictions in religion and society. Ever since we first received this assignment, I had been racking my brain thinking of potential paper topics and media texts to analyze. I get really anxious when picking paper topics, because I hate picking things I am not excited or interested in. It is typically a long process and in my usual fashion, I had enlisted the help of my roommate. She helped my brainstorm some possibilities, but we didn't spend much time as we had tickets to the Ben Folds concert at Orchestra hall that evening. As we were sitting there, jamming out, he started to talk about his song "Jesusland" and the various reactions it has gotten from audiences. He talked about the ways in which he intended the song to come across and how some people have skewed his actual meaning. This was a fantastic "Aha" moment (for all you Oprah fans), when I realized this was exactly the encoding and decoding we had talked about in class. I love Ben Folds' music, and knew this song would be a fun choice to examine readings of text and religious hegemony. I thought hegemony might be an interesting addition to my paper, aside from just encoding and decoding, since we defined American hegemony as straight, white, males without any mention of the religious orientation of the individuals we see power. I decided to use this song and its counter-hegemonic message to explore this concept. I knew I needed more than just the song itself. The lyrics are descriptive, but the video does a great job complimenting the song and reinforcing folds' message through its imagery. In addition to the video, I wanted to find an interview where folds himself described what he was thinking in writing this song. This proved to be more difficult than I thought, but eventually stumbled upon a Relevant magazine article titled "Dogs, Dogma, Jesus and Ben Folds". It complimented my paper and was an expanded and citable version of what he said during his concert. I had a difficult time balancing my analysis of the text and supporting details of my claims. I originally thought about including much more evidence about why religion is a hegemonic factor, but in the end omitted it because it veered too far from the text. It was very helpful to write it, get feedback and make the necessary changes. If I were to give any advice to someone writing a paper like this, it would be find your topic, and write this paper early. Papers like these need a lot of brainstorming, editing, and revision which can take some serious time.