American culture?

Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by Avatar, May 15, 2006.

  1. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    Hi! I read this BBC article and noticed this:
    I've never been to the USA, so it might seem a stupid (or even an offensive) question for those living there, but what american culture?
    The USA is a country of immigrants from many, many, many nations and cultures of the world,
    is there such a thing as american culture and, if so, when did it appear?
    How does it manifest?

    Thanks
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The people of almost every nation are descended from immigrants. The folks who now call themselves "British" aren't even Britons. They're descended from a mix of Angles and Saxons who immigrated after the downfall of the Roman Empire and drove the true Celtic Britons out of their own homeland, and the Norman French who immigrated when they conquered them in 1066. And the original Celts immigrated over the Channel no earlier than about 3000BCE. There were plenty of people living there already who were overrun by that first wave of Indo-Europeans; they're the ones who built Stonehenge.

    We don't know how many waves of immigration washed over the European mainland and the British Isles, but no one living there now has more than a drop or two of the blood of the first humans to colonize that part of the world after the Wurm Glaciation receded. Well, maybe the Basques. Anthropologists have had no luck identifying their origins.

    What is American culture? Like British culture, it's basically Greco-Roman civilization (which is an offshoot of Mesopotamian) with its own modifications and accretions. It has more in common with Britain than any other single source, but ask any Englishman who's been here and he will assure you that the relationship is not solid enough to always even be discernable, with a few obvious exceptions like the language and the legal system. And the fact that we love England more than any other foreign country and consider the English to be our kin, even those of us whose ancestors came from elsewhere. If necessary, England can always depend on America to defend it to the death because this would simply not be Mother Earth if there were no England on it.

    But the cultures have simply diverged. So much has happened since the colonial era, and the intervening centuries have been ones of profound change all over the industrialized world... starting with the impact of industrialization itself. It's hard to describe the difference succinctly, especially for an American like me who's never set foot in England. But British culture is very European and American culture is very not. We're profligate, we're risk takers, we're rude, we're informal, we're innovators. We move around a lot, we don't form stable families, we don't respect our elders, we're not embarrassed by our fondness for trashy entertainment.

    We're also obviously heavily influenced by the many waves of non-English immigrants. It's most obvious in our food. The English love Indian and Chinese and affect a fondness for French cooking, but our cuisine embraces Italian, Mexican, Japanese, German, and dozens of other sources. That's a metaphor for our entire culture. Our legends, our slang, our music, all of its components are more richly influenced by outsiders than you find in the U.K. You can't dismiss a culture as not "real" just because it's an amalgamation.

    As to when it appeared, it happened gradually. I don't know when the first English visitor wrote home to his wife, "These people are really different from us," but it would have been sometime in the latter half of the 19th Century. By the dawn of the 20th, America was distinct.
     
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  5. Neildo Gone Registered Senior Member

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    American culture = rock 'n roll

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    - N
     
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  7. Tyler N. Registered Senior Member

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    wannabe english, tough rugged western cowboys, blues, jazz, and rock thanks to black culture in america, hot dogs, fast and powerful cars, luxurious homes, heriosm, all out political wars, shitty beer, soda otherwise, greedy corporations, millions of countercultures like hippy and punk, rooting for the underdog. That is all american culture.
     
  8. Dravyga ... Registered Senior Member

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    American culture motto = "Living large and in charge and in debt."
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2006
  9. Killjoy Propelling The Farce!! Valued Senior Member

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    American Culture = Celebration of the Facade.
     
  10. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    You are what you owe.
     
  11. firecross Scientist Registered Senior Member

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    The Americans' 'open-mindedness', which is sometimes cited in their favour, is the other side of their interior formlessness. The same goes for their 'individualism'. Individualism and personality are not the same: the one belongs to the formless world of quantity, the other to the world of quality and hierarchy. The Americans are the living refutation of the Cartesian axiom, "I think, therefore I am": Americans do not think, yet they are. The American 'mind', puerile and primitive, lacks characteristic form and is therefore open to every kind of standardisation.
     
  12. Mr. G reality.sys Valued Senior Member

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    The BBC is no expert on American culture, whatever it thinks of itself.

    12 people on the moon. Biggest GDP on the planet. Very few, if any, emmigrants.

    For starters.
     
  13. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    It's not about american culture at all.
    Big penis doesn't mean culture.
    For starters.
     
  14. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    Can't wait to leave this dump.
     
  15. john smith Tongue in cheek Registered Senior Member

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    I'm not at all suprised.
     
  16. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    They call a buffy the vampire chat room culture here.
     
  17. john smith Tongue in cheek Registered Senior Member

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    lol, and you LIVE there?
     
  18. FlannelShirtMonster Registered Member

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    Whether you like it or not, Buffy and myspace ARE both parts of american culture.

    Just like it's a part of british culture to look down their noses at us. Hey, guys, you invented the Crazy Frog and tons of trash pop music. (they're almost all one-hit-wonders, amirite?)

    Anyway, americans are afraid of the immigrants because they're trying to destroy their identity. If people want to defend that, then why is it wrong for them to do so? What if the indians immigrating into your country now wanted to do away with the royal family, or outlaw blood sausage and kidney pie?

    A more realistic scenario, what if a wave of immigrating muslims decide they want to destroy all engraven images in your old churches etc?
     
  19. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    For two more weeks. I made a mistake by coming to the US. I guess I'm not perfect after all.
     
  20. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    There is more to British culture than the pop culture. The same cannot be said for the US.

    You can't destroy a homogenous blob by throwing in small chunks. They get assimilated.
     
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    A key difference between us is that we respect popular culture and take it seriously. We are not elitists.

    The Beatles are firmly within the bounds of pop culture but they created an entire catalog of new motifs that will echo through music for centuries.

    And we created the music form of rock and roll, without which the Beatles would still be playing skiffle music. Rock and roll is probably the most representative sample of American culture that could be put on display. It is one of the greatest forces of unification in the world. It started by bringing the children of black and white, Northern and Southern, established and recently immigrated families together in the 1950s. Now it's doing the same for whole countries.

    We're America. We don't do no stinkin' classic culture.
     
  22. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

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    Huh?
    Spuriousmonkey must be correct, living in the USA sucks.
     
  23. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    So you are saying that it took a British group to elevate american pop culture to classic levels?

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