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Why Do American's Celebrate the Life of Others?

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posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 09:56 PM
In spite of the fact that the United States is embroiled in several wars, responsible for the invasion of two countries, politically condoning assassination as a valid form of diplomacy and justice, embracing several states within the union that execute their own for certain crimes, and just a general malaise that reflects more a thanocracy than it does any democracy, American's still, in general, manage to show a remarkable proclivity for hope and even peace. Some would say that American's celebrate death, and anyone who pays attention to American English idioms knows full well that an obsession with death is very much a part of the cultural milieu.

Idioms such as; "If I don't get an A on that next paper, my parents will kill me", or "I am absolutely dying to see the new Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt film", or "Did you see Conan last night? Man he slays me", or "No, but I saw Leno and he died in his monologue. Bombed", "I love my wife, but she's killing me!", all are common idiomatic expressions and all indicate a morose fascination with death and dying. Even so, American's celebrate far more than death...American's celebrate life.

The 4th of July is America's first national holiday, and while it is a celebration of the beginning of revolution - technically speaking, the celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence - far from being a celebration of death, this holiday is a celebration of life, and of ideal lifestyles. It is a celebration of hope as much as a celebration of life, and the symbolic fireworks displayed each year do not represent the destruction wrought by the rockets red glare, but rather symbolic of how this red glare lit up a desperate sky to reveal the resilience of freedoms warrior poets.

Before the change of combining George Washington's birthday with Lincoln's birthday, because they were both born in February, into one single "President's Day", the nation celebrated George Washington's birthday, and Abraham Lincoln's birthday, respectively. Not their death days, but their birthdays. Indeed, birthdays are celebrated by Americans on a daily basis. You would think such a daily and continual celebration of life would be antithetical to "Americanism", but "Americanism" is not a definitions of Americans defined by Americans (Well, some American Europhiles maybe.) but rather a term often used by other people from other nations who tend to view Americans from the point of view of their own cultural bias. It is arguable that being American is antithetical to "Americanism".

American's are guilty of some morbidity, but as a people they are not alone. America did not produce Sarte, Camus, Kafka, Samuel Beckett, and the scads of other literary authors obsessed with death, they were morbid writers with a distinct European world view. Even so, Europeans do not seem to obsess over death any more, or less than American's. Both Western worlds seem more intent on the celebration of life than they do the dwelling of death. As American's, one of the many ways in which we celebrate life is by celebrating the life of others.

Whether we celebrate Thomas Jefferson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, or Marilyn Monroe, we do not celebrate their deaths, we celebrate their lives, because no matter how morbid we as Americans may be, we much prefer life over dwelling on death. Yet, when we think of death, dwell on death, or obsess on death, we mostly do so out of fear, no different than anyone else on the planet. Fear.

When we are thinking about life, and celebrating life we are not doing so out of fear, but out of love, no different than anyone else on the planet.

posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 10:05 PM
Shame as it is, many people decide they no longer wish to live at all as well. We are a casualty of the illusion of Achievement.

EVERY life is worth celebrating, no matter it's length.
edit on 30-9-2011 by ShadowMonk because: removed completely irrelevant line, because ADD has taken over.

posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 10:36 PM
Interesting. I love thinking about stuff like this. During WWII, the Japanese had a philosophy of "We win, or we die." As soon as victory became impossible there was no other solution than to throw themselves on the enemy in futile Bon Zai charges or impale themselves on their blades. American soldiers thought that the Japanese helped defeat themselves with these and other similar tactics.

Ultimately, I believe these kinds of odd behaviors are attributable to conditioning by the environment in which we grow up. The state begins raising us when we are still young thru TV, school. church, camp, scouts, sports, etc. And this becomes our cultural heritage. The WHO we ARE frame of reference that we may not revolt against for peril of excommunication.

I am now old enough to begin to unravel these threads that have dominated my thinking for so many decades.

"We won't get fooled again!" Roger Daltry, The Who
edit on 30-9-2011 by intrptr because: mistakes...

posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 10:37 PM
Keen assessment as usual JPZ.

Besides the common vernacular sometimes getting in the way of our true nature, it is often hard to ignore the outword bombastic aggressive statements that become juicey nuggets exploited by all types of media.

I would add though, that the above behaviors are in fact, only a sign of a mostly peaceful but frustrated group of people. They lash out at a particular target, unfounded or not, because they are ignorant of the truth but aware of how bad things have become. If they weren't peaceful, they wouldn't be verbally lashing out, they'd be violent.

They are frustrated and can't see the forrest through the trees. Peaceful, they remain though. Hopeful, they still are. They still believe in the ideals of freedom and liberty for all.

Good post JPZ

edit on 30-9-2011 by Redwookieaz because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 10:48 PM
reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux

Thank you for authoring this thread. Nicely worded and in fact, appreciated.

edit on 30-9-2011 by queenofsheba because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 11:15 AM
reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux

Those American English idioms you refer to are just English idioms found in all english speeking countries and no not because it was taken there by Hollywood. It's just english.

posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 01:47 PM
reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux

I've wondered that myself.

Funny thing, even as a child of 7 or 8 I remember thinking 'just a couple of the Presidents get a day? What about the rest of them? What about the great people who are born after all our 365 days are used up?'
It is a stupid tradition, one I think used to embed some preferred ideology into our malleable brains - in a worst case scenario. More likely it is short-sightedness on the part of those who vote to declare these "holidays"

For a country with so many holidays, it seems like we should be having more fun.

edit on 1-10-2011 by newcovenant because: (no reason given)

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