Newjack

by Ted Conover

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What cultures are created in the book Newjack?

Quick answer:

In Newjack, Ted Conover conveys the "complex culture" of jail. As in life outside of prison, Sing Sing features dynamic cultures. There's basketball culture, weight-lifting culture, a culture around chess, and a culture around soap operas. Again, as in real life, we see how culture is created through a shared interest in physical activities, games, TV shows, and so on.

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In Ted Conover's book about his experiences as a Sing Sing correctional facility guard, we learn a lot about the culture of prison. One thing we learn is that the cultures that are created within the prison are much like the ones that exist outside of it.

Conover refers to the "complex culture of the gym." He compares it to "a bazaar," or a bustling outdoor market. In jail, like out of jail, cultures tend to prop up around activities or shared interests.

Again, through Conover, we see how the culture of prison life reflects that of everyday life. Think about what he might see if you visit a busy park in a big city. You might see people playing basketball, you might see people playing chess, or working out, or doing any number of things.

In Sing Sing, Conover notes the "big basketball scene," which features "prison-paid inmate referees and a scoreboard." He also notes how people "gather religiously everyday" to watch new episodes of Days of Our Lives. He also notes people playing Scrabble, chess, bridge, and checkers.

Conover also discusses how prison culture specifically has directly impacted culture in general. Conover links the "baggy, low-slung pants" style to jail where inmates can be given clothes that don't fit. He also connects the shoes with no shoelaces to "a psych-ward regulation."

In Newjack, Conover shows that the cultures created within prison resemble the cultures outside of it. He also notes how prison culture specifically influences the culture beyond the correctional facility in terms of style and fashion.

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