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Our country's culture is going down the crapper.

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posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 09:12 AM
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Is the term “American Culture” an Oxymoron?

President George Washington it is claimed, once objected to having a National Opera for the US because he thought the actresses “on the stages of Europe” were “of low moral stature” and that it would have a negative impact on “national morality.” Whatever that means.

Well…so much for “Mozart for the Masses” in early America. The US has come a long way from its Utilitarian Roots, but not far enough it seems.

This kind of “Anti Art Mentality” in America was not uncommon among the so-called Founding Fathers whose aims were mainly utilitarian (“produce things with the greatest use for the greatest number”) as opposed to “Ars gratia Artis” (Art for Art’s Sake). The Americans, it seems, will never be like the French. But then again, as Josef Fux used to say in his Gradus, “de gustibus non disputandum est”…

I think people in the US forget how “young” America is, and how “old” most of the rest of the world is. And in many ways, how unique an Experiment the whole idea of purposefully creating a Melting Pot of the world’s nations (intended originally to be a Light to the Nations, but the lamp unfortunately is quickly flickering out)

There’s a kind of sick cultural myopia in America since the 19th century, when the US began to take on some semblance of true nationhood, a Weltanschauung which tends to view everything in terms of what is happening within its own borders must also be happening (or SHOULD be happening!) outside of them.

And most of this disinformation comes from the fact that the Americans are far too fond of watching corporate sponsored television where it is repeated over and over ad nauseam that the World is somehow “jealous” of Americans (Newsflash: the world isn’t ) and want to be just like them in every way (wrong again).

What Americans need to do is live abroad more for extended periods in foreign countries (and a week in Europe doesn’t count!) in order to see the outside world the way it really is, rather than the way it is artificially portrayed in the Corporate Sponsored US News media (which are after all owned by the same 5 multinational corporations and who basically broadcast the same political views and stories day after day, and restrict the debate on many issues for the masses to consume e.g. “we tell the people what we want them to think and talk about, but we don’t tell them everything…” Aaronson of CNN has recently told some people off the record )

(Unfortunately, putting this “Taking Americans Abroad as an Educational Experience” theory into practice has become rather tricky now that the so-called US “president” Dubya Bush has made every American abroad a target for extermination…)

Of course the Americans could always pick up a book and take some time to read…but that might be expecting a little too much for them----they’re all too busy trying to make money so they can buy an RV and find a new way to afford to put gas into their tanks.

Now,. if Americans lack any semblance of “cultural roots” it is because of the sheer age of the country itself--- which is still in its adolescent phase in many ways, still grappling with basic questions of morality (cf: the modern debate about gay marriages which shouldn’t be as divisive an issue as it seems to be in the US, is still being discussed in relation to the clan god of Israel in the Torah of the Jews for some reason).

When one pauses to consider it, “America” is a kind of “artificial construct” a “conglomeration” of many countries (“e pluribus Unum”, after all, means “One [nation forged] out of the Many”] as opposed to a single cultural entity in its own right,. One might even say it is a hotchpotch of 50 little countries [“states”] with no real single cultural heritage or cohesion except on the surface.

It is true that the idea of having a central government in charge of radically different separate and independent States was borrowed from the Amerindians (cf: the Iriquois League and the Sioux Nations), but very little of what Americans call “culture” was home grown: almost all of it came from abroad.

The result is as many have pointed out on this thread, a mass of confusion at times, with different political, cultural and social agendas all bumping into each other like a crowded Freeway with no lanes and traffic running in 4 different directions at the same time. The end result is that Americans simply do not know who they are, or what their true role in the world is, and end up getting caught in the maelstrom of the American Media Jungle which seems to dictate culture to the masses, who greedily swallow it up.

Even America’s very name was said to have been borrowed from somewhere else (the Italian Amerigo Vespucci is the current candidate, but there are other explanations out there) and the country as a whole has always been a theoreticl construct without any central Kultur (the cultures and subcultures that do emerge from the pot often display contradictory ideals) but admittedly many of the Founding Fathers had some very high minded idealism [“all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…”] .

Unfortunately, America has not lived up to many of its Founder’s creeds, but suffered over the centuries with some very poor application of their original high mindedness, as Rev Martin Luther King often said [many of the US Founding Fathers like General George Washington owned hundreds of slaves and several of them even fathered half-breed children, like Thomas Jefferson—so much for all men being created equal, and of course the US Founding Fathers would never have allowed women the vote…let alone discuss gay rights initiatives or Freedom of Choice when it came to abortion].

In fact, this “theoretical Experiment in Republican Democracy” [the curious term used by the US Founding Fathers] was actually formed from its beginning [often by brute force] by wealthy European and American born Freemasons [who bankrolled the Revolution against Great Britain] along with some well heeled “self-made” businessmen in the late 18th century who established what later became the “acceptable religious Morals of the new Nation” planned the general political and cultural Weltanschauung of the US and wrote the US Founding Documents and Laws governing the country, including that overarching document, the US Constitution….

The US Founding Fathers were a race of entrepreneurs and money making businessmen whose goals were to establish a free market without the restrictions set by the Nobility of their European brothers. But before long, 200 families were in control of most of the country’s wealth, e.g. even John Hancock owned the monopoly licensing on all the Flour and Bread in Boston…

Everything America has today of course has been borrowed from somewhere else, and there is very little that is actually “indigenous” to the US.

But Americans have curiously transformed everything that comes into their country in the process, as all cultures are wont to do, not only culturally, economically, socially but also technologically.

Most of the Americans are blissfully unaware that the US had imported most of its “brains” and invention-talent from other countries before being able to “improve upon them” ---for instance, they tend to forget that Basketball was an invention of the Canadians, (Naismith, 1891), that Henry Woodward (also of Canada !) sold the patent for the Electric light to Edison, that NASA was at one time (and still is to some extent) full of German rocket scientists (gee, wonder why…?) that photography was the invention of a Frenchman (Daguerre) that Alexander Graham Bell was NOT an American (he was in fact born in Scotland), that Radio was the invention of an Italian (Marconi) or that Television was invented by a Briton (Baird) Or think that it was the Greeks (Archimedes) who apparently invented the idea for the common Screw…(go figure) …and this list of cultural and intellectual “borrowing” in the US is long -----and generally ignored by Americans who automatically think they invented everything.

The US “genius” [if one can use such a term] lays in its abilities is to take thousands of ideas from Genii from all around the world, and give provide intellectually and economically “fertile land” to improve upon their ideas and in many instances allow these ideas to be put into practice.

We speak the “foreign” language of our original conquerors (e.g. English and Spanish), we dress in “foreign” clothing (originally imported from our European cousins), worship a “foreign Middle Eastern clan-god” (Yahweh, the local god of post Exilic Israel, i.e. the “god of the bible” and R. Yehoshua bar Yosef, the Galilean [which the Americans call “Jeeezuzz” preferring a Latinised version of the Greek rendition of his name for some reason] and everything we see and touch has in fact come from another “country” or culture.

No wonder the Americans have no single "Kultur" of their own.

The US is still in the melting pot phase of its adolescent youth—which begs the question, are they Old and Wise Enough to be leading older and more sophisticated cultures into theie own contradictory ideas of "freedom" when the ultimate the question is, what junk (or gems) will all this melting eventually produce?

Maybe the US should sort itself out first before imposing its jumbled mix of contradictory philosophies (that it does not even fully understand itself) upon the larger world, which most of its citizenry can barely find on a map.




posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 09:20 AM
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I dont think there really is a culture (if you consider cookouts and baseball games HA!) It seems like every decade is different. It not really culture but trends and style. Music, clothes, tv, radio, cars, and food(atkins,south beach, low carb) all seem to change every 5-10 years. I dont care if there is no base culture for this country. What i do is what i do. That is my culture.



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 01:15 PM
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Well there is nothing in American culture that escapes the category of something you can buy.

If American culture is McDonalds, Britney Spears CD's, reality shows, FUBU jeans, .. then someone in Europe or anywhere can easily go out and buy American culture.

Tell me one thing of American culture that you cannot buy.

I am not saying these things are bad... I don't believe the USA has one single culture because it is the melting pot of the world and is a young nation compared to others that have pretty much existed for hundreds of years. But culture that is considered "American" is what I have stated above.



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 01:42 PM
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I can't wait to see the abuse I will get for this but ... here I go.


My father told me a long time ago that America gives you one thing you have that few to no other country offers.

The chance to make a mistake and start over fresh.

Our culture is based on a consumerism that is a double edege sword. It ia at once ugly and wonderful.

I revel in what U.S. culture is.

Chinatown in Chicago.
Fishtown in Leeland Michigan.
The hood in downtown L.A.
Miles of FRIGGIN CORN in Iowa.

And everything in between. Come to America and live how you want. Mexicans, Laotians, FRENCH, hell... Kruschev's son is a U.S. citizen.

Can anyone on this site count how many "Golden Chopstick" chinese restaurants ther are in your town? And they all taste the same! But we love um.

Man, that is American. That is America.



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 01:57 PM
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Originally posted by stumason



The american standard of living is unquestionably the best on earth


No it isnt, it is about 14th actually. Norway is top.

And I would question wether the US had any culture to lose in the first place, apart from rampant comercialism


Actually I believe Canada has the highest standard of living. Now, America has no single "culture" of its own, its made up of billions of imagrants with there own individual views on life.



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 02:05 PM
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As per previous post... I agree that the definition of culture it very much subjective and most science would classify rap music as such... We have to qualify though what 'kind' of culture this is. I personally don't understand how having lots of "Golden Chopstick" restaurants makes any town culturally advanced. I guess in the same way as one webmaster justified the invasion of Iraq by the need to preserve the American way of life, which included, according to him, being able to order a pizza at 2 o'clock a.m.

Nobody argues that America is a glorious place, but I agree with the original post which started this thread, that it's kind of sad that the public is being fed what it's being fed. Anything can be justified, from mindless pop (which is quite good sometimes) to 50 cent to whatever, but I can't help feeling that's really lowering the plank...

The most widespread form of art -- the cinema -- look at that. Violence and vampire phantasy, and regurgitation of the above. Culture my @ss.



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 02:26 PM
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That is the beauty of this. Watch what you want! You want Vampires you got um.

You want art exibits of men with bull whips in their butt you got um.

We also have freedom to worship. And go down any street you will go past a synegoge (spell?) a Mosque and a baptist church all with the cultural restaurants by them.

My wife is a naturalized Hungarian Gypsy. Her favorite food is Mexican. My father in law loves Clint Eastwood and hates Bush. He argues with his wife who loves GWB and her best friend is Vietnamese.

I apologize to all of you who think American needs 1000 year old temples and Mozart to qualify as "Culturally sophisticated," but you know what...
America is a state of mind.



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 02:39 PM
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I think it's oversimplified in the previous post. No, you don't need 1000 year old temples to have culture (althought that wouldn't hurt either
. No, you don't need a Mozart CD in every boombox. But equating the "state of mind" with culture is just puzzling. I am in a particular state of mind after a few beers, what does it have to do with culture.

In regards to diversity, that also doesn't equal culture. FYI, there are many countries in which multiple (and different) ethnicities coexist. India is one, and even Mexico features a variety of ethnic and cultural types. In Switzerland, more than 30% of residents are foreign. So I fail to see your point. I'm part Gypsy myself, by the way. And that also doesn't equal culture


[edit on 10-8-2004 by Aelita]

[edit on 10-8-2004 by Aelita]



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 02:50 PM
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I can see no one still seems capable of grasping the big picture, of observing history and such.....ah, well. Wallow where you like. But the biggger picture is there for everyone with deeper perception skills to see.

Some people here need to take socialology classes. And maybe read a little more on the history of a place called "Rome".



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 03:03 PM
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By the way, I see a common thread of sheer ignorance here.

American culture is based on money. Everything in American culture is for sale. Well, duh!!!!!!!!!! NAME ONE CULTURE THAT ISNT!!!!!!!!!

Lets see, when we look at history, what has been the driving force for invention? MONEY. POWER. In the days of old, it was all about wealth and personal status. The difference was, all the weath and status belonged to a few free people, the rest of the population were slaves, serfs, ect, not entitled to own much of anything.

Why did people fight wars? Trade routes. Riches and wealth from abroad. Kings, nopbles, and the wealthy were fond of showing off thier wealth and such by seeing who could own the finest horses, who could attract the wises sages, the best poets to thier courts, ect. Wealth and power made the man, if you werent noble or wealthy, your life meant less than nothing really. You existed only to fill the wealthys coffers.

Money has changed forms. From bartering pelts and grain, to coins, to cash, to electronics, wealth has changed form, but the philosphy is the same.

All culture is for sale. Last time I checked, you had to pay to see opera in just about any country. You have to pay to see concerts. pay to get into museums. Buy artwork if you wanted it. Bout the only free culture you cant buy are street performers. You have to buy food, and food is considered part of culture. You have to buy clothing ect.

But, continue along your narrow paths, its quite interesting to see peoples perceptions here.



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 03:08 PM
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Originally posted by Skadi_the_Evil_Elf
I can see no one still seems capable of grasping the big picture, of observing history and such.....ah, well. Wallow where you like. But the biggger picture is there for everyone with deeper perception skills to see.


Personally, I grow tired of the people claiming their eyes are the only ones that "see" the real truth and that everyone else just "wallows" like some barnyard animal in the gloomy darkness. I suppose they are just not able to "grasp" the fact that they are not always right about everything and that causes them to put down others that have different views.


Well, I'm off to work on my deeper perception skills so I can be one of the "enlightened".



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 03:18 PM
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Originally posted by Skadi_the_Evil_Elf
By the way, I see a common thread of sheer ignorance here.

But, continue along your narrow paths, its quite interesting to see peoples perceptions here.


You can also keep your thinly veiled insults to yourself. It is quite obvious you feel you're just so much better than everyone here, and just so much smarter. If you are that much more advanced than everyone, then why do you feel the need to insult them?

If it bothers you so much, the don't read it and don't post.

Doesn't takea lot of preception skill to figure that out. Perhaps there are some classes that could help....



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 09:20 PM
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Originally posted by Amadeus
Is the term “American Culture” an Oxymoron?

etc.......

Maybe the US should sort itself out first before imposing its jumbled mix of contradictory philosophies (that it does not even fully understand itself) upon the larger world, which most of its citizenry can barely find on a map.


Perhaps to both. I enjoyed reading your post, for the most part

There in the middle your Arrogant Aryan Assumption, about TV, trailers, books,etc.. Well now that kinda rubbed me the wrong way


Definitions
The word culture comes from the Latin root colere, (to inhabit, to cultivate, or to honor). In general it refers to human activity; different definitions of culture reflect different theories for understanding, or criteria for valuing, human activity. In 1952 Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of over 200 different definitions of culture in their book, Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions.

Presently, the UNESCO defines culture as the "set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group". Culture encompasses "in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs".

Popular use of the word culture in many Western societies can reflect the stratified character of those societies. Many use the word culture to refer to elite consumption goods and activities such as fine cuisine, art, and music. Some label this as "high" culture to distinguish it from "low" culture, meaning non-elite consumption goods and activities
en.wikipedia.org...




This article very generally discusses the customs and culture of the United States; for the "culture" of the United States, see arts and entertainment in the United States.

As the United States is an immense country, with many residents and citizens being descended from relatively recent immigrants, defining a common set of customs, traditions, behavior and way of life is difficult. Unlike many Old World nation-states, the United States does not have a homogenous population or a traditional homeland.

However, American culture can be interpreted as being largely based on Western culture, with influences from the native peoples, Africans brought to the U.S. as slaves, and other more recent immigrants from Asia and elsewhere. Additionally, due to its large size and the value placed on individualism, there are many integrated but unique subcultures within the U.S.
en.wikipedia.org...

It is getting a little hot around here. I have been browsing through the above two sites and found them to be of interest hope y'all do also.

Now I'm gonna take my American @ss out and learn how to read


Tut



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 09:41 PM
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Honestley,I dont even think most people that criticize america for having no culture even know what culture even means.

Everything about america has to do with culture,

Hollywood is a culture,the south is a culture(texas included), new england is a culture,new york is a culture unto itself,rock and roll is a culture,any religion you want is a culture in america..

The point is america is a culture in which you can pick and make whatever culture you wish..show me another culture that you claim is superior to american culture...anyone..

Cultures like italian,russian,ect ect muslim ect are all included in american cultures...pretty much all the worlds cultures is involved in the united states..

actually sounds like a great culture to me...stop watching so much t.v. and actuallly look at the people in your cities.Theres many many cultures intertwined like no other country in the world

[edit on 10-8-2004 by bigtex007]



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 10:02 PM
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I must agree, America does indeed have a culture. Weither you can see it or not. That being established, does anyone else feel like our culture is being threatnd by our lack of intrest in intelectual activity? By our current trend of fasination in simple minded arts? (music, movies, telivision)

I for one am frightend that reading has become so forign to most kids. How the meadia tends to be bias leaning either tward one side or the other. And how our role model for children tend to be so distastefull. This was a point brought up before wich I stronly agree with, freedom of speach and freadom of press were not created for using excessive profanity or explicit sexual contenet, it was made to discuss matters of importance, even the things that not be in our governments favor.

But once again its our own choice. We choose to either get informed or live in blissful ignorance. Untill we find a way to convert the masses I see no light at the end of the tunnel.



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 11:02 PM
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I totally disagree that our culture and country is going down the tube. Never in our country's history has crime and general civility towards others been under more control or promoted. One thing that people need to realize is just how violent this country was for many years up until the modern age. Street crime, petty theft, etc. were through the roof in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The key reason why we don't realize this is because information travelled much more slowly (we didn't have 24 hour news channels running continuously for example) and most crimes were not tracked and recorded as they are now.

Never in our country's history have human rights and equality among men been more protected or acknowledged. Really, if you read history in depth it will shock many people to know just how bad things were up until the time we are currently living in. Yes, we have many problems still and violence will always be with us, however, I would rather be living now than any other point in our history.

What we are experiencing now with regards to our world situation has a lot to do with our own actions and policies in the past along with our allies. Fear is driving a lot of what is happening now politically and its unfortunate that we have a president who is so willing to exploit that fear for his own political advantage. I think most cultures believe they are living in the worst times...it has always been true.

[edit on 11-8-2004 by Weller]



posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 11:38 PM
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Sorry but I must disagree, these are not the best times to be alive IMHO. Like I said before, I would of loved to been born in the 50's, the 50's 60's and early 70's were the best time to be alive. Befor that rotten nose candy exploded in popularity and before you had to be carfull of one of out most natural instincts, sexual intercourse.

Dave Chapell said it best " Aids was created to destroy the black comunity , crack was too." We've all been affected somehow by the drug epidemic somhow, but the black community has taken the brunt of it.



posted on Aug, 13 2004 @ 04:01 AM
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I totally disagree that our culture and country is going down the tube. Never in our country's history has crime and general civility towards others been under more control or promoted. One thing that people need to realize is just how violent this country was for many years up until the modern age. Street crime, petty theft, etc. were through the roof in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The key reason why we don't realize this is because information travelled much more slowly (we didn't have 24 hour news channels running continuously for example) and most crimes were not tracked and recorded as they are now.


of course there were higher crime rates back then when police did not have state of the art GPS computer integrated sqaud cars. as modern federal police funding succeeds then petty street crime will become less and less sophisticated. the UPS (United Police States) will triumph!!! why? simple they have $$$ and the corperations who control it. these modern super powers only survive because of their rich economic backing of coperate drivin technologies.

will the UPS permit culture in a land of mandatory compliance? i spose only time will tell....



posted on Aug, 13 2004 @ 06:38 AM
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Originally posted by stumason



The american standard of living is unquestionably the best on earth


No it isnt, it is about 14th actually. Norway is top.

And I would question wether the US had any culture to lose in the first place, apart from rampant comercialism


Sorry, man your fatcs is worong, we as americans make more money than anyone else, most of the other natins pay extremely high taxes, my friend travels to europe all the time, and he has been to Norway.



posted on Aug, 13 2004 @ 06:40 AM
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Originally posted by foxtrot_uniform
I dont think there really is a culture (if you consider cookouts and baseball games HA!) It seems like every decade is different. It not really culture but trends and style. Music, clothes, tv, radio, cars, and food(atkins,south beach, low carb) all seem to change every 5-10 years. I dont care if there is no base culture for this country. What i do is what i do. That is my culture.


he is completely right, lets no base our unique lifestyles on other nations.



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