I am an American!
Anchoress brought up a subject that I have touched on before – American Culture. I talk about American culture fairly often, a trait begun by a chance encounter in 1985. A friend of a friend invited me to dinner with a small group. This was a pleasant gesture, since they were all mid-20’s grad students and I was an 18 year-old soldier. We had a nice afternoon of seafood with more people joining the circle as the evening went on, including the boyfriend of the girl who had invited me, a Frenchman in his mid-30’s who taught at the college the others attended. It was only a few minutes after he arrived that I heard his reply to a statement I had not heard,
“Of course, there is no such thing as American culture, let alone cuisine.”
This elicited a chorus of nods and muttered agreement from the students – and my ire. I immediately interrupted,
“What about baseball and football?” I asked.
“You cannot win cricket or soccer, so you play easier games.”
“Baked beans, scrapple, corn bread, and hush puppies are certainly American!” I argued.
“And no civilized person can eat any of them.”
“OK, you made me do it – jazz!” I said.
He shut up. I had met this man before, but that time he had been complaining about
Since then, I have been a proponent of the simple fact that
So the various regional identities of America (Northeast, Mid-West, South, California) are tied together with movies and TV; and this obviously viable culture (witness the popularity of not just our films but our TV overseas) means that non-Americans find it rich and valuable, too.
Our music is also a world-wide constant, with everything from jazz, rock, and rap being the obvious choices. But American music like Gospel, the Blues, Country, and even various forms of Folk music are widely heard and often wildly popular overseas. I’ve heard Australian Country (pretty good) and South African Country (also pretty good), French Rap (didn’t care for it) and Hebrew Rap (not too bad), and who can forget the Red Elvises?
Popular fashion is also often dominated by American trends, especially on the street. American clothes, especially American trademarks, are immensely popular everywhere, and the American ‘urban style’ is widely copied in
Of course, American cuisine is rich, varied, subtle – and ignored outside
I will do no more than mention (and link) the world’s favorite soft-drink, Coca-Cola.
So American television, movies, music, clothing, and food are everywhere, found in virtually every nation on Earth, popular in the majority of them, and dominating in many, especially in Western and Asian nations. So it seems that not only does
There are some who call the spread of English language hegemony and liken it to the loss of identity of people who adopt it, regardless of their reasons. The French are well-known (well, to me and other wonks like me, at least) for trying to strictly limit the use of English in an attempt to stop the spread of the language. Despite their sometimes-extreme opposition to English, the language continues to spread.
So far from having no culture,
“Which is your favorite, Coke or Pepsi? Hot dogs or hamburgers?” Rock or rap? Star Wars or Star Trek?”
I’m sure you can think of your own.