16
Jul
08

On-air : Does American culture enrich your own ?

Ros in Jo’Burg says this is a big issue there and we did a bit of looking around and it sems like it’s a good issue almost everywhere…

On the one hand, is your life better because you can get a good, cheap meal at a McDonald’s, listen to the latest 50 Cent album and watch the new George Clooney movie ?

Did your kids get a better upbringing because they watched Disney movies and learned to read and write with the help of Sesame Street ?

No-one forces anyone to choose Gap jeans over another brand, a Starbucks coffee over someone else’s, MTV over another music station – they’re just good products and people want them – so what’s the problem ?

Well, some say  the all-powerful U.S brands undermine their national culture and make the world look the same. Phrases like “cultural imperialism” are murmured. Much fuss about nothing ? After all, the consumer is king…

We will not ignore the Israel/lLebanon story – the swopping of prisoners – and bodies - has captured the headlines in both countries.

Priya is talking to people who’ve responded to the BBC debate and we’ll try to get a feel for how this story is playing – is it a day of mourning, reconciliation, a day of anger ?

here’s a sample of the e-mails already in…

Fadi from lebanon, Lebanon

I think Israel’s move was brave and very humane. The Israelis show us how much they value their soldiers. For Hezbollah, this transfer was only intended to advertise a victory. It had nothing to do with the value they have for their own people.

 

Barakeh, Sidon, LebanonThis is so inhumane keeping the families of the Israeli soldiers hopeful up until the last minute before witnessing “Black Coffins” on TV.

But then again, Israel does the same and commits seriously worse crimes.

I don’t care for either side, they have both destroyed my beautiful home country Lebanon (Israel in July 2006, Hezbollah in May 2008). They have both lost the war in my opinion, but the biggest loser here is Lebanon. I’m not going to go “Welcome” the prisoners as their convoy passes through the city I live in.

 IbrahimIt was heartbreaking to see the image of the two black coffins. One can only imagine what the parents and families are feeling now. But, as a Palestinian, I don’t need an imagination for that. War has made coffins of us all.

We don’t need words of politicians who will try to exploit these events to their benefit. What we need is justice and peace. That is the imperative “moral obligation” for Israel, and that can be the only “Victory” for Hezbollah.

 

Said, GazaI think this swap is a great victory for Hezbollah,Palestinians and Lebanese, Arabs and muslims all over the world as it proves it is the only way to rescue our prisoners.

 ISRAELI VOICES 

Ruth, IsraelThe exchange proves once again that Hezbollah, led by the abhorrent Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, are totally inhuman. That they could keep silent for 2 years regarding whether the abducted soldiers were dead or alive, until the very last minute, proves their deliberate cruelty and joy in watching others suffer. A very sad day for humanity, and particularly for the families of Goldwasser and Regev, who have suffered ceaselessly for over 2 years — only to find out today that their sons/brothers/husbands are dead.

 Gila, Jerusalem, IsraelI am deeply saddened by our present inept Israeli government at allowing such a preposterous and blatantly immoral deal. While my heart goes out to the relatives of Regev and Goldwasser who will at last get some closure, exchanging live murderers for dead corpses will not bring us peace. Far from it, it makes us look weak and will only encourage far more horrendous crimes by those who seek to destroy not only the Jewish people but any decent standards of morality whatsoever.

 

Blitz, IsraelWhy is it not mentioned in the media that during the last two years the fact these soldiers were already dead was cruely hidden from their families. This kind of psychlogical torture was done on purpose to increase the pressure on the Israeli government.

By contrast, Samir Quantar was imprisonned in jail, permitted visits, allowed to obtain a university degree and even to marry.

 

Shai, Tel Aviv, IsraelSamir Kuntar is a murderer that killed a 4-year-old girl – this is the hero that Lebanon has declared a national holiday to mark his return. Let Lebanon’s president explain this celebration to the world. Let him look in the eyes of 4 year old girls in Lebanon and celebrate the release of Samir Kuntar.


227 Responses to “On-air : Does American culture enrich your own ?”


  1. July 16, 2008 at 15:39

    On the one hand, is your life better because you can get a good, cheap meal at a McDonald’s

    I think that can hardly be called a good meal, and the health costs make it a not so cheap meal.

    I hope American culture enriches and doesn’t water down other cultures, however I don’t think that is the case. Consumer is king, as noted.

  2. 2 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 15:41

    Do we really need more USA bashing on here? If you have a problem with US “culture” then don’t buy the stuff, but quit whining about it. I’d rather watch evil American sesame street than Farfur the suicide bombing Hamas mouse. But then again, I’m not a knee jerk USA basher, so I might be biased.

  3. 3 Erin
    July 16, 2008 at 15:42

    I think the question here in America is: what the heck IS our culture? Most things we seem to have stolen from other cultures – other than our proclivity to buy, buy, buy.

    Is that all we have?

  4. 4 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 15:45

    @ Erin

    at least our culture isn’t one that has a chip on its shoulder and whose only “culture” is distinguishing themselves from Americans. What is “canadian” food? Poutine? That’s Quebecois anyways. There are all sorts of Cultures in the US, I suggest you travel and actually see it rather than say there is none.

  5. 5 Laura in Mukwonago,WI (formerly Minneapolis)
    July 16, 2008 at 15:46

    Well, being american I can’t quite answer this question. One thing I can say is that our American culture is largely the result of influences from so many other cultures. In my hometown of Madison, WI, you can easily walk to a chinese, indian, greek, or mexican restaurant. It may not be a large chain or corporation, but it’s an international influence none the less.

  6. 6 Mark Sandell
    July 16, 2008 at 15:46

    Why is this “USA bashing ?” -are we not allowed to ask a question about this ? A bizarre idea that the very asking of a question implies a position. Some will say it’s enriched their culture, and perhaps some will say it’s had a negative affect. Why did you not ask “do we need more USA celebrations on here” ?

  7. 7 Robert
    July 16, 2008 at 15:46

    The question is wrong.

    American culture is as diverse, unique and as enriching as any other you care to mention around the world. Each state seems to have it’s own view of the world, much like the different parts of Europe.

    What is exported to the rest of us is a commercial or corperate culture which has nothing specifically to do with the USA. The brands are not US brands, they are brands of companies that happen to have started years ago in the US, but now proberbly care little about they’re home (offshoring being an example of this) or reflect the values that the US holds
    .
    Companies always try and achieve economies of scale and if that means blurring other cultures (including those found in the differing parts of the states themselves) into one big mass, then they will do that to cut costs of having different products in different markets.

  8. July 16, 2008 at 15:48

    Well, some say the all-powerful U.S brands undermine their national culture and make the world look the same

    Then don’t buy the products. I agree with instances of Wal-Mart and its overseas counterparts coming in and running out smaller business, that local cultures, shops or businesses are changed and often other options undercut or eliminated alltogether; And that this is causing a huge problem. But on a more grand scale, no one is forcing these products down anyones throats (well, some ad programs may seem that way). Your people are chosing them and buying them. If you have a problem with your culture being diluted, place some blame on your consumeristic population which is facilitating the market for these US corporations.

  9. 9 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 15:50

    @ Mark

    You very well know this is just going to lead to a lot of USA bashing. In all honesty, what “culture” do other nations have? In Germany, do you see men walking around in lederhosen and women wearing Dirndls and men wearing Bayernhuete outside of Bavaria? Yet that’s what one generally thinks of as “german culture”, yet barely anyone does it. I see lots of German cars in the US, german beer, I see T Mobile every day, Trader Joes, Aldi, I see DHL EVERY day, and yet nobody seems to have a problem with “german culture” nor is there a WHYS on it. Why?

  10. 10 Mark Sandell
    July 16, 2008 at 15:50

    Robert, why is the question wrong ? Whatever your view, no-one would disagree that American culture has had a huge influence around the world,arguably more so than any others. What question would you prefer ?

  11. 11 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 15:52

    @ Mark

    Other nations have huge influences as well. Germany is all ove rthe place. So many companies in the US and elsewhere are German. Same with Swiss. Honestly, what doesn’t Nestle own, yet why don’t we have show topics about Switzerland, or France and their influence, as so many things. Now what about Belgium? Inbev just but Budweiser. Why can’t we at least tie that in? Now that Budweiser, and American icon is now belgian, does that impact “US Culture/influence” when that icon is in fact no longer even American?

  12. 12 Melanie Chassen
    July 16, 2008 at 15:54

    As a Canadian, I do not see Canadian culture to be that different than American culture. I cannot comment specifically on American culture, as I don’t feel I have visited enough places in the States to warrant an informed, thoughtful opinion. I have , however, traveled all over Canada and am proud of the multiculturalism and diversity that my country has. The East and West coasts could not be more different from each other, and every province in between has its own special characteristics. I grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and I think it’s wonderful to have had exposure to a city that has it’s own pockets of a specific culture.

    It would seem to me that the rest of th world characterizes everything that is considered “Western” with the United States. I was listening to a podcast yesterday from the BBC Discuss Global Ideas forum and they asking if the whole idea of “Western” culture really exists. Since American (and Canadian, for that matter) is tied so closely to Westernization, perhaps the better question is the one visited on the program:

    Does Western culture really exist? How is it defined?

    In further response to the introduction to this topic, I don’t feel that I’ve had a better upbringing by being exposed to Sesame Street or Disney movies. We are all accustomed to what we know. The way I’ve been brought up compared to one of my close friends who comes from an Indian family is very different. Not better or worse, but different.

  13. 13 Mark Sandell
    July 16, 2008 at 15:59

    Thanks Melanie – a post with a bit of thought behind it. Welcome aboard.
    and Steve, WHYS listeners in South Africa aren’t discussing the influence of Swiss culture, which makes it a bit dead as an issue. The last time i walked down a High Street in the world i didn’t see dozens of Belgian chains, the last time i went to the movies i wasn’t only offered French films- even in France.

  14. 14 Robert
    July 16, 2008 at 16:00

    @Mark

    For one example Maccy D’s is not the culture of Americans. Perhaps eating out is but my expeirence of living in Houston was that there are as many Ma and Pa resturants as there are fast food joints and they’re were always busier and more popular. But only Maccy D’s gets exported as a concept. Americans then get tarred with the brush that this is their culture when it is not. The culture this chain brings with it is nothing to do with America, but simply the imagine that that particular business wished to project.

  15. 15 nelsoni
    July 16, 2008 at 16:00

    Trust me “The American Culture” Will receive unequal measures of tongue lashing, thumbs up and thumbs down. I will be listening with keen interest. Its open season for “American Culture” on WHYS today.

  16. 16 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 16:01

    the question is “how do you define culture”?

    is McDonnals, malboro, coke, levi’s etc culture or are these just products that are successfull do to portraining a part of USA culture?

    Culture to me is the driving spirit behind a nation, rather than the products. this driving spirit can be anything from art to science or the vison of a country.

  17. 17 Michel Norman
    July 16, 2008 at 16:01

    One can feel nothing but pity for Lebanon – a country that is lead in celebration by Nasrallah – who killed the soldiers shortly after their capture and because he wanted to torture their families he caused a war that destroyed half his country – he has a lot of explaining to do to Lebanon.

    a national holiday to celebrate the release of someone who took a four year old girl and smashed her brains out against a rock in full view of her horrified father who he then proceeded to kill. And the lebanese call him a national hero. Lebanon has a lot of explaining to do to the world.

    Lebanon has not won today – they have demonstrated that they have lost their place as part of the civilized world

  18. 18 Anthony
    July 16, 2008 at 16:02

    I really hope not, because the typical “American” (the 2008 American)is selfish, materialistic, and a shallow deaf mute. We are a great country because of our prior greats, and now we’re just riding their coat tails.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  19. 19 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 16:03

    @ Mark

    Maybe they aren’t asking about the influence of other nations/cultures because they aren’t aware? Every time you see a T Mobile store, you see a German chain. Many grocery stores are foreign owned. A major DC area Chain, Giant Food, is a Dutch company. Perhaps if people looked into things rather than presuming things, they might ask other questions, rather than the typical “the US has too much influence”.

  20. 20 Steve in Canada
    July 16, 2008 at 16:06

    A few things:

    1) (other) Steve – Your facetious bashing of Canada’s lack of culture is misinformed and incorrect. Canada’s provinces and territories are unique and have their own quirks and cultural aspects that make them great. Newfoundland is very different from Quebec which is very different from Nunavut. Canadian culture is about acceptance, diversity, respect for each other, and our history in “the great white north” (better read: a few million square kilometres of forests)…. a LOT of Canadians do try to define themselves by being “not American” but to pigeonhole the entire country with that is the same logic that paints all Americans into the picture of gun-totin’, Bush-votin’, Muslim-hatin’, slavery-missin’ rednecks with little to know knowledge of the rest of the world…. there are Americans like that – more than a few, but by no means is that what America stands for.
    To sum up this point – I’m a Canadian who is proud of my family’s heritage in this country… the more I’ve travelled the more I realize how great Canada is. I also love America – there is a lot of good south of the border and I too tire of the Yankee-bashing.

    2) Brett has a good point – if you find there is an American invasion of your local corporate or consumer world – don’t buy. Capitalism is one of the purest forms of democracy…. if people don’t buy, it fails. The people truly dictate the success, or failure, of a company. But I will disagree with one point, Wal-Mart does not force anything out… local consumers do. Wal-Mart doesn’t come in and rough up shop owners, burn their storefronts and threaten their consumers…. they simply offer (much) lower prices. The local consumers, like many people, are greedy and care about their own pocketbooks more than Jim’s business. They’ll tell Jim how awful it is about what has happened, as their on their way home from Wal-Mart and so please that they had saved a few bucks. If you want the businesses gone – don’t support them. It’s very very simple. Granted, it won’t be an overnight solution as these corporations have millions or billions in their coffers to hold out in stubborn markets but after a while, if the store continues to fail, it will close… these corporations didn’t become huge by running bad business models…. case in point: Starbucks is closing 600 stores and laying off something like 17% of their workforce because sales weren’t up to par.

  21. 21 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 16:06

    Also, another important thing, when you go to South Africa, and see a McDonalds, it’s a FRANCHISE. Someone in South Africa owns the place, but has a license to use the Mcdonalds name, and buys product that Mcdonalds approves of, but that place you are in is run by a South African, and owned by a south african, and the menu is controlled by a south africa (as diffeent locales have different menus – I mean, have you ever had Mcshrimp in the USA? I haven’t but have had it in Germany).. If you have a problem with Mcdonalds, then let the south african owner know it, by not eating there, and hurt the local economy, but save your waisteline.

  22. 22 Mark Sandell
    July 16, 2008 at 16:06

    Robert, fair point- still need your question though !
    and Steve, we haven’t done the show yet, but why not tell us what everyone’s going to say anyway.

  23. 23 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 16:07

    @ Michel

    Lebanon is a failed state, what else do you expect?

  24. 24 Justin from Iowa
    July 16, 2008 at 16:08

    Hah! I don’t even like American “culture” and I’m American. The important question here though is:

    “What is culture, what is popular culture, and what is commercial culture… and which are you asking about”

    I can tell you I hate McDonalds, Walmart, Gap, and most other icons of Popular and Commercail culture.

    I can tell you I love my local iowa culture of Hard Rock and Country, Racing in small town dirt tracks, local businesses, campfires, hard work, woods wildlife and conservation, and waving at everyone you meet on the road… But that’s not popular culture. Pity.

    I remember seeing Mcdonalds all over the place in Australia and Malaysia when I was there. And feeling disapointed.

    But as its been said, nobody has anyone to blame but themselves. McDonalds wouldn’t be there if there wasn’t a market for them!

  25. July 16, 2008 at 16:08

    I Think us-the African’s do have ‘the natural beleive” that the Americans are more superior Human beings than we are!Hence we start copying what ever they do!Be it the way they dress,what type of music they listen to,or what the way they walk! I think it’s very wrong to copy someones way of life and to allow them to decide what type life one should live!………
    The American’s have influenced our culture,because they decide what we as africans should do-No wonder I myself Can name all American’s film stars but find it hard to name a single African Star!

  26. 26 nelsoni
    July 16, 2008 at 16:11

    @ Mark. To be honest with you after refreshing my browser and seeing today’s topic, I was a bit suprised. The over night blog had some interesting topics that were discussed. Well… It’s all good. Lets wait and see how today’s show pans out.

  27. 27 Rajkumar Khurana
    July 16, 2008 at 16:12

    Friends,
    I think this is a statement that is repeated in almost every culture and i have not come across being used in a postive way they always are taken as ruining one’s indigenous culture i.e. implying that the culture is becoming more of individual nature than family.
    Children wish for more space this is what is wrong, individually we cannot do much but as a family we can solve a problem.
    If we cannot trust ourselves and family to confide our problems and fears we cannot find out in teh world and we will be unhappy.
    Money is important to meet necessities and live a comfortable life but it has become everything now. What in thirld world people had was time for their children and family may be not enogh money to live comfortably but for sure they were more happy from within.
    I sincerely think American individualism has been taken in the wrong way; i have not come across a country in present day where so much effort and time is given to safeguard an individual’s right. This is most important thing that a country can give it to the citizen but politics has and materialism has broken into discord.
    In nutshell it is the people that are becoming materialistic not americanised; they are mesmerized by the dazzle of a diamond and not the diamond itself.

  28. 28 Justin from Iowa
    July 16, 2008 at 16:12

    Also, mark, steve may be a bit jaded… but in this case he’s probably right. Everyone loves hating on the US, and when you start asking about the US’s “Popular and Commercial” cultural exports, one of two things happens:

    1) People hate it and start ripping on the USA.
    2) People love it, and make me sick to the stomache because I can’t stand it myself.

  29. 29 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 16:13

    steve,

    the problem is that the world and you, as well, are treating american culture as the spread of american products and companies around the world. to me american culture is much more than a BigMac.

    american culture is a patchwork of all of the native americans and it’s immigrants. i have brought part of my “swiss culture” with me and share it with my american friends, whom in tur share their texan, new mexican etc culture with me.

  30. 30 Will Rhodes
    July 16, 2008 at 16:14

    I have yet to see what, exactly, US culture is.

    Can someone give me a run down? Then I will answer.

  31. 31 Robert
    July 16, 2008 at 16:16

    @Mark

    Apologies, I will have to phrase it as a two part question. I suppose my question would be

    “Do commerical entities lead to an erosion existing cultural boundaries? Is this a benifit for just themselves or the areas in which they operating?”

    The point of the first part is to question whether the commerical world does change a culture or does it add to what is already there. Are we able to separate the influences from our own surroundings and background vs. the image that a company wishes to project.

  32. 32 Mark Sandell
    July 16, 2008 at 16:20

    Ok, Robert, i’ll get Ros to feed that in to the debate. I might sub it a bit tho (!)- but thanks again.

  33. 33 Mark Sandell
    July 16, 2008 at 16:21

    Oh, and Justin – we really can’t win with you can we !

  34. July 16, 2008 at 16:23

    @ Steve in Canada:
    Wal-Mart does not force anything out… local consumers do.
    Correct; and I think I incorrectly worded or stated what I was thinking. They run local shops and business out on a large scale through consumer choices based on undercutting prices, convenience, and general offerings to consumers. Not just one commodity or niche shop, MANY local businesses are affected by incoming Wal-Marts and others, causing large scale problems (consumer driven) which are amplified. The fact that I’ve always considered Wal-Mart culturally devoid may have some impact (among many factors lol) on why I don’t like to see consumers of any nation fall into them.
    Oh well, and we’ll say it again, consumer is king. No one to blame but your own people.

  35. 35 Anthony
    July 16, 2008 at 16:26

    @ Will Rhodes

    American culture is:

    1) Stupid reality shows that aren’t reality (like Tilla Tequilla, I hate her show!!)

    2) Hummers for moms who only have to drive around 1 kid

    3) People who would rather vote for American Idol than for Predident of the U.S.

    4) People with min. wage jobs buying D&B purses for 600 bucks, and 400 sun glasses (with maxed out credit cards)

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  36. 36 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 16:29

    we fought wal-mart and WON.

    seriously they wanted to build one at the bottom of the vally/mountain we live and the community fought the idea and won. as a consequence we have a realy vibrant little mountain community with local (non-chain) restaurants, a little high-quality supermarket (local as well), little shops that sell all sorts of things, a locally owned pharmacy. the only chain we have is curves, and i frankly do not see anybody using it. we even had blockbusters move in and the closed shop very quickly, because everybody carried on going to the local little video store. i guess we are just mountain people who love our identity

  37. 37 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 16:31

    I knew this would just turn into mindless USA bashing. Anthony, the British invented the reality TV show, yet you say it is “US culture”. When’s the last time you saw a hummer with a woman even driving it? Perhaps people would rather vote for American Idol than the “Predident” of the U.S., at least the contestants aren’t lying every time they open their mouths. And Anthony, people with minimum wage jobs don’t get credit cards unless they lie about the income.

    @ Will

    What is Canadian culture? Dressing up as a mountie? The only “culture” the only foreign nation feeling aspect of Canada is Quebec, and that won’t even be part of Canada for much longer. The reason why so many US TV shows are filmed in canada, besides that it’s cheaper, is that because Canada is virtually indistinguishable from the US.

  38. July 16, 2008 at 16:32

    American culture is dominant because of the means it has to flourish. In terms of entertainment, The USA has 120,000 actors and 12,000 scriptwriters, plus the latest technology to make the best films. It’s no wonder if US movies have global appeal. American star actors and singers are famous worldwide. Once becoming a star in the USA- whether American or not- it’s a guarantee to become a star worldwide.

    It’s hard to deny that American culture didn’t enrich or influence the cultures of other countries. In the Arab world, there are music channels showing video clips of singers in the American style. Young people there are more attracted to rhythmic songs with simple words, in which female singers have to be sensual in both voice and appearance. The most famous sensual Arab singer is Haifa Wehbi .

    In Morocco, the encroachment of American culture is visible through the spread- among other things – of rap music, now popular among the young. McDonald restaurants are in all the big cities in the country. Jeans are still very popular.

    American culture has a great influence because it has the ability to renovate itself. It is itself the product of the mix of other cultures. The American movies aren’t all about the USA. There are for example movies about the East, bringing to viewers the aspects of other cultures.

    When it comes to cultures, it’s better to get enriched by any of them. It’s a way to learn to appreciate those who are different from us culturally. What is unacceptable is to let one’s culture vanish because of the glamour of a foreign one that is constantly innovative, entertaining and more practical

  39. 39 Will Rhodes
    July 16, 2008 at 16:33

    Mark –

    the last time i went to the movies i wasn’t only offered French films- even in France.

    But French films are decidedly rubbish.

  40. 40 Tracy
    July 16, 2008 at 16:34

    Why is it cultural imperialism? If these countries do not buy a Big Mac then McDonalds will pack up and go home. It’s not like America is spoon feeding them our culture. It’s more like here is the American fountain and they are taking great quenching gulps. Vile tho’ I find pop culture anyone is free to opt out.
    Tracy
    Portland OR

  41. July 16, 2008 at 16:35

    @ Will Rhodes

    American culture is:

    1) Stupid reality shows that aren’t reality (like Tilla Tequilla, I hate her show!!)

    2) Hummers for moms who only have to drive around 1 kid

    3) People who would rather vote for American Idol than for Predident of the U.S.

    4) People with min. wage jobs buying D&B purses for 600 bucks, and 400 sun glasses (with maxed out credit cards)

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    Bravo!

  42. 42 Shirley
    July 16, 2008 at 16:36

    As our international WHYSayers answer the question posed by Mark, I am wondering what they consider to be American culture. Another interesting question is its reciprocal: What could your culture add to American culture to benefit ours?

    I think that the answers will add depth to an interesting conversation.

  43. 43 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 16:38

    Anthony,

    what about all the different ethnic groups and their contribution. we have plenty of old native american pueblos near by. we have cave drawings that are 20000 years old not even 20 min from my house. we have national parks that celebrate the history and nature we live in. we have greek fest, italian week etc. we have all the inventions america has facilitated.

    just looking at wal-mart, soccer mums, american idol and expensive sunglasses is a little shallow.

  44. 44 Will Rhodes
    July 16, 2008 at 16:39

    Steve –

    @ Will

    What is Canadian culture? Dressing up as a mountie? The only “culture” the only foreign nation feeling aspect of Canada is Quebec, and that won’t even be part of Canada for much longer. The reason why so many US TV shows are filmed in canada, besides that it’s cheaper, is that because Canada is virtually indistinguishable from the US.

    I can speak about British culture if you wish – but you will have to wait, I am about to go to a great Canadian lake and lap up a lot of sun.

    Now, I did ask for a specific answer, and no, I am not bashing the US – I just asked “What is US culture” exactly?

    Just because it is still a new nation doesn’t mean it has its own distinct culture – I was just making a point about do you, or anyone, know what that culture is.

    If you have further insight into when Kerbec will be leaving the federation, let me know, eh?

  45. 45 Melanie Chassen
    July 16, 2008 at 16:41

    @ Anthony

    I find it somewhat disheartening that you summarize American culture into reality television and “trendy” material goods. These may well be items that are common in the US (and Canada) but isn’t culture what is left when you take all of that away? To me, culture is what a country stands for (*when I say “stands for” I do not just mean politically) but I don’t believe that the foundation of the United States (which over time has caused culture to evolve) is based on the attributes you’ve mentioned. On the other hand, I could have grossly misunderstood you, and if I have you have my apologies.

  46. 46 judy
    July 16, 2008 at 16:43

    As a child my idea of “American” was US/Canada, “North American” US/Canada/Mexico and it had to do with the reading of maps. Also, my grandfather immigrated from England to Canada and then worked his way west and then south. My other great grandparents came from Sweden and Germany.
    I consider my family a bit of a melting pot within a melting pot country.
    When I was a child we would look at labels when shopping and there was JAPAN everywhere. Now it is CHINA on the labels.
    When I lived in Europe “American” meant from the United States.
    We have, in this small town where I live, wonderful restaurants, not chain, that are Japanese, Chinese, several Thai, Italian and Mexican, but nothing Canadian. I think we joke, but in an affectionate family way, we can’t think of a single dish Canadian. Mexico=taco, US=hot dog/hamburger, and Canada=?

    My view is that we send good stuff and not so good out and get good stuff and not so good back.

  47. 47 Melanie Chassen
    July 16, 2008 at 16:44

    @ Steve

    “What is Canadian culture? Dressing up as a mountie? The only “culture” the only foreign nation feeling aspect of Canada is Quebec, and that won’t even be part of Canada for much longer. The reason why so many US TV shows are filmed in canada, besides that it’s cheaper, is that because Canada is virtually indistinguishable from the US.”

    You seem to be very defensive about how the US is portrayed, and do not want any ‘bashing’ to take place. That is fair. However, if you read my earlier comment about Canadian culture, and compare it with your own, you don’t give the impression that you have seen enough of Canada to make an informed decision about Canadian culture. In my comment I said that I had not visited enough of the States to make a comment about American culture. If you want respect for your country’s cultural values afforded to you, you should stay away from stereotypes when discussing the cultures of other countries as well.

  48. 48 Shaun in Halifax
    July 16, 2008 at 16:45

    @ Mark Sandell

    How about rephrasing the question to give it a better focus. Here we obviously have a division: The ‘culture’ the companies and the country itself exports: American Culture, and the actual culture of the country: American culture.

    I suspect a person in Africa doesn’t know what frog gigging is, yet he/she can recognize a coca-cola or McDonald’s or Nike logo.

    So how about this question instead:

    “Does the culture America exports through the media enrich your own?”

    I know one piece of Yankee culture I’m very happy we do without: I’m sure glad that Canada hasn’t adopted America’s looney-tunes gun laws. Besides, I get sunburnt when I exercise the right to bare my arms. ;-)

  49. 49 Bob in Queensland
    July 16, 2008 at 16:45

    I have to agree at least slightly with those who think the question is badly phrased. The question is about “American culture” yet as soon as you get to examples you jump directly to the fast-food chain McDonalds which is almost guaranteed to provoke a negative reaction.

    Much that is good comes out of America in terms of films, television, music and books. You used George Clooney as an example of American cinema, possibly because he appears in many big budget thrillers but he’s actually a good example. For every “popular” film he’s in, he tends to fund and act in another low budget independent film. Some of these are excellent…look at things like “O Brother Where Art Thou?”.

    It’s the same with music. Rap artists like 50 Cent aren’t my cup of tea but America has also produced music like Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein…not to mention Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkle and Jimi Hendrix.

    Like any country, America produces good and bad films, good and bad music…and even good and bad food. However, the world would be a poorer place without the best America has to offer so I have to say “Yes, American culture enriches the world”. So does English culture and South African culture and Japanese culture.

    So, back to why your question is wrong. It’s not American culture that people are worried about; rather it’s the way many aspects of American life are replacing the local culture in many (if not most) countries. That, to me, IS a concern but it’s hardly the fault of the USA if young people adopt American lifestyles in preference to local tradition.

    Personally, I’m sad to see the loss of diversity around the world. One of the joys of travel has always been experiencing different cultures: new food, new music, new ways of life. The opportunities to do this are diminishing as the world assumes a “sameness”. However, that’s not the fault of America or its culture–even if culture includes McDonalds. People are free to choose.

  50. 50 Mark Sandell
    July 16, 2008 at 16:53

    Shaun, again i’ll feed in the question, but we could amost add “as portrayed by the media” to any question we do.
    and Bob, fair point again, well made. But at no stage did anyone say it was America’s “fault”. Even in my original post i talk about “the consumer is king”.

  51. 51 Mark Sandell
    July 16, 2008 at 16:54

    and that’s the trouble with this debate- i knew it would lead to mindless Canada bashing…

    (ho ho)

  52. 52 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 16:56

    shaun,

    use sunshield ;)

  53. 53 Drake Weideman
    July 16, 2008 at 16:56

    Unfortunately I do believe that, thanks to TV and movies, much of our US culture is being exported to the rest of the world. I say unfortunately because I feel our US culture is extremely materialistic, and I don’t feel that to be necessarily positive.
    The problem many Muslims have with America is that they feel their cultures are being ‘attacked’ by the American culture shown on TV and in movies and music…and in a way, that is true. It’s not true that we’re ‘attacking’ them or their culture…merely that we are showing ours, but that can be construed as an ‘attack’.
    One can imagine how it must be to live where the standard of living is lower than it is in the US, and the folks there happen to see an episode of any US TV show and see the large and well-appointed rooms, houses, apartments, & cars in the show, plus the clothes and material goods in the background of each scene…and it encourages a desire to share in that sort of lifestyle. Commercials and advertisements also portray the same lifestyle (one, by the way, that isn’t shared by all Americans, as many of us are struggling to make basic ends meet)…but folks everywhere (including here in the US) will always compare their own lifestyle to the images they see in the media, will typically come up short, and then will develope a desire to have that lifestyle.
    If the culture of a contry is primarily spiritually driven, (as is the case with many Muslim countries), then this focus on material things driven by the commercial interests that bankroll the media can definitely represent a threat.
    The truly unfortunate aspect of this is that no one involved wants this ‘threatening’ aspect. The media must pay for itself somehow, and letting commercial interests pay is a reasonable solution. The commercial interests merely see it as a way to spread the word about its products. No one involved wants this in any way to be threatening…they merely want it to be encouraging (that is, to encourage folks to go out and buy their products).
    One could put forth the argument that if one’s (either the individual or a country)culture is truly spiritual and strong that it should be able to withstand the temptations offered by material things, or other cultures…

  54. 54 Carolien from the Netherlands
    July 16, 2008 at 16:56

    Okay, well I’ll try and make Mark happy with my nuanced opinion on the topic. I’m Dutch, so from a country with close trade ties to America, and generally a country that’s happy to keep the US as a friend. As a result, we have tonnes of American shows on tv, our “urban street culture” or whatever is taking over many aspects of American rap and we’re even directly incorporating English words into our language. Sometimes they’re words we have Dutch words for, but are too lazy to use.

    Has it enriched my culture? I’d say yes it has. Culture is not a static thing, it can adapt to new circumstances and influences. There’s some really clear signs of American influence in my country, in my everyday life, but I absolutely don’t feel that it’s threatened my culture. We give our own spin to it. We’re creative in incorporating outside influences in our culture, which is a funny concept to begin with anyway. There’s no harm in picking and choosing, taking the stuff that you like and leaving the stuff you don’t care much for. For example, we only have 1 Starbucks in Holland- at Schiphol airport, for the American tourists. I’ve not seen a Gap here ever, and I doubt I will. Being Dutch and living in this funny little country is still an experience very much unique in its own way, and cultural influence is something you can’t really control anyway. We have various other cultural influences that nobody’s ever made any fuss about- protestantism, Indonesian/ Surinam culture.

    Whether it’s a problem, I’d have to agree with Melanie- everything Western is “American” these days, even things that are distinctly not. What I do see as a problem is that since so many people learn so much about America/ American traditions on tv, they are very educated about the US, whereas this is not the case vice versa. Therefore, Americans are very often perceived in a very negative way.

    But just one final point- one thing that does strike me sometimes is this “double standard” some people have about American culture. When I travelled to Northern Cyprus last year “the Americans” were not always spoken of too fondly, but at the same time when I was taken out to lunch in a “luxury” restaurant, we went to a place called “California Grill” with pictures of James Dean and Elvis on the walls…

  55. 55 Catalina
    July 16, 2008 at 16:57

    @ Steve

    my best friend drives a hummer…she’s a 17 year old girl. lol, but thats besides the point.

    To address the question, I don’t mind US “culture” as much as I mind other countries desperately wanting to do things the way the US does it, but with completely different results. For example, a Mickey D’s meal here is what $3-4, and most people wouldn’t think twice about buying it. In Romania, Mickey D’s is a luxury, kids are extremely excited to be able to go to McDonald’s for their birthday, because it’s so ridiculously expensive. (Or so it was back when i lived there). The same with Romanian singers who are too good to sing in Romanian, so they put out songs in broken English that make absolutely no sense, and now they’re so awesome because they have a song in English. The same with every celebrity in Romania thinking they’re so amazing because every other word includes “okay” or they know how to say a couple of phrases in English.

    Anything beyond that doesn’t bother me. Every culture has outside influences. It all depends on the consumer and on how far you allow yourself to be influenced. I’ve lived in the US since i was 10 (im 18 now) and I still hold true to culture and my traditions. I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving because it’s not part of my culture, but i celebrate Halloween because it’s fun. So it all depends on the consumer.

    @ Anthony

    what’s wrong with buying expensive purses if you have a minimum wage job?

  56. 56 Anthony
    July 16, 2008 at 16:57

    @ steve

    Yesterday. I saw a woman in an H2 yesterday, by her self by the way. And just because britian invented it, doesn’t mean we didn’t exploint it. We didn’t invent baseball, hot dogs, or apple pie, but thats “American” correct? Also, I got a credit card when I was 18 and workling at Pizza Hut. Before the “Credit Crunch” they gave cards to just about everyone.

    @ Melanie Chassen

    Just go to California or New York, thats how it is, and thats how the world sees us because of T.V., Movies, and Music.

    @ Jens

    When was the last time 20000 year old drawings has been associated with American culture, and if it was, what percentage of Americans would care? I’m just being realistic. Also, I never said anything about the Wal-ocaust, but for the record, I HATE WAL-MART!!!

    I don’t hate America, I LOVE IT!!! I just hate the dirrection its been going :)

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  57. 57 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 16:58

    mark,

    the problem is that the average consumer is a hypocrite. they buy american products and have no problems bashing america, while paying for their goods.

    it’s the same with people who bash walmart and the out-sourcing of jobs, but go there to buy their stuff because it is cheap.

  58. 58 Shirley
    July 16, 2008 at 16:58

    I know that emotions on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Lebanese conflict are raw. As a Shia Muslim who naturally supports the Palestinian/Lebanese side of the issue, I felt insulted to see Shaykh Nasrulla caled “abhorrent.” In a normal conversation, such terminology is inconsequential. What I would object to is the use of derogatory lables by politicians who are making at peaceful overtures. I hold them to a higher standard than I hold laypeople who are conversing among themselves as we do on WHYS.

    As a Shia Muslim, I do not understand why Hezbullah is returning bodies, unless they were killed in combat and their status (dead/alive) was lied about. If they were killed after capture, it only makes sense to me that such constituted an abrogation of our Shari`ah.

  59. 59 Mark Sandell
    July 16, 2008 at 16:58

    Carolien and Melanie – you are clearly battling for “most nuanced and thoughtful comment of the day” and at the moment it’s too close to call…

  60. 60 Anthony
    July 16, 2008 at 17:03

    @ Catalina

    When you have kids, or already owe a bunch of money. But looking “cool” is too important. Thats the part of American culture I hate.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  61. 61 Shaun in Halifax
    July 16, 2008 at 17:06

    @ Mark

    The only reason I mentioned it is because I KNOW there’s a difference between American culture and what people are fed through the media.

    @ WHYS

    American culture has allowed researchers and developers to give the world a ton of great advancements: the internet, the personal computer, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Berkeley, great consumer products (to name a few).

    And hey, I LIKE McD’s freedom fries.

    But for every plus there is a minus. I dislike the overt consumerism America seems to have. As a matter of fact a recent article in MacLean’s magazine noted that while incomes are about the same, Canadians take home more money on average because we don’t have near the debt load many Americans are carrying.

    I dislike that America has the highest percentage of incarcerated people per capita and I dislike that America has the highest lawyer-to-civilian ratio in the world. But I LOVES me some southern cookin. I think it’s ironic that the county in which they distill Jack Daniel’s is a ‘dry’ county (Lynchburg, Tennessee), and I’m curious about the history of the place’s name too.

  62. 62 Shirley
    July 16, 2008 at 17:07

    Would American culture be better or worse if we forced everyone to assimilate? Laura spoke of being able to walk from various ethnic restaurants to others. I know that I have also been to cities where one could easily immerse himself in a completely Indo-Pak experience with the stores, restaurants, worship centres, etc. or jump to Chinatown, the Vietnamese side, the Korean side, the African side, etc. What if we were to demand that all of our immigrants cast aside their traditional ways of dressing, eating, and talking and act like “Americans”? Would we be better for it? Or worse? What benefits might there be? What detractions might there be? What might serve as the standard for “American” culture in that case?

    Should we be a melting pot, or a tossed salad?

  63. 63 Simeon Banda
    July 16, 2008 at 17:09

    American culture.
    I am a simple Malawian born in Kasungu District. I stay outside the place l was born but what strucks me most is the impact of the American culture among the young generation. You always see an American T.shirt, cap, or music and style of dance or way of speaking English. I attempt doing things in my cultural way l am often looked down upon and taken as out of tune with the present. At fifty now, l see the future generation will be more American or Western than my cultural mannerism. We need to be choicy and know that some American cultural mannerism do not fit our rhythm of life. We should appreciate and sell our own culture with its beauty. We should not be turned into American photocopies. If we do not take care and reflect we are going to spoil our culture. I admit when two cultures meet, an inferior culture becomes the victim of being swallowed up. There is not superior or inferior culture. Take our own dress codes and may our beautiful ladies use their African designed dressings which have always attracted us.
    We should promote cultural interdependence.

  64. 64 Melanie Chassen
    July 16, 2008 at 17:10

    @ Anthony,

    I am not disagreeing with that being how the world sees America. However, this forum gives you an opportunity to share what American culture is like as YOU see it, not as the rest of the world sees it. Just because it could be argued that America spreads it influence through movies and reality television, doesn’t mean that is the image that should be projected. This leads me to my next question:

    If you could take all the reality television, products, etc. away and had a “fresh start”, How would you describe American culture? What does it mean to you, personally?

  65. 65 Shaun in Halifax
    July 16, 2008 at 17:10

    Oh, I forgot about Jeeps, the Deuce-and-a-half and the assembly line. I don’t think America could have helped win the war if it weren’t for the massive industrial capabilities and the techniques pioneered by Mr. Ford (I think). Nobody will deny that the industrial capacity of America was crucial in keeping men, materiel, and goods flowing across the pond.

  66. 66 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 17:11

    anthony,

    that is exactly my point. we should be portraing and pushing the fact that america has a very distict culture made up of a patchwork of native and immigrant ones.

    we do not need to tell the world that walmart sucks, the world already knows. we need to tell them about the 20000 year old cave drawings, the 800 year old villages we have. the influence of early european settelments etc.

    everybody talks of america as a young nation, but we are build on hundreds if not thousands of years of different cultures from native to asian to european. i have never met that many people who are interested in geneology or are able to trace back their family roots through generations and often complex mixtures of races.

  67. 67 Bob in Queensland
    July 16, 2008 at 17:13

    How dare you encourage Canada bashing–you’ll spoil all our plans for world cultural domination.

    (Things are going well by the way–look how much so-called “American” TV is actually shot in Canada: Stargate, Sliders, The X-Files etc. etc.)

  68. 68 Lamii Kpargoi
    July 16, 2008 at 17:13

    What is US culture? Is it McDonald’s? Or generally the hip hop culture? Or American football? Or the NBA? Or Hollywood? Or is it the perceived love of freedom? I personally don’t know, but it made well be all of these and perhaps more.

    So many people around the world aspire to the American way of life that there must be something good about it. Even those who talk bad about the country indulge senselessly in its culture. Such people try their best to make distinctions between the US and its people. I find such talk absurd!

  69. 69 Anthony
    July 16, 2008 at 17:16

    @ Bob in Queensland

    LOL @ Sliders. That was ages ago, but, still one of my favorite sci-fi shows ever!!! I used to wonder when I was a kid, why on “Are you afraid of the dark” the kids said “aboot” instead of “about”.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  70. 70 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 17:16

    Should we be a melting pot, or a tossed salad?

    purly talking of physiscal chemistry. not everything melts at the same temperature. i think a melting pot is good, because materials melt and mix but some materials still stay either solid or do not completely mix, providing the proverbial raisins in a cake. and i am always happy to find a raisin in my cake.

  71. 71 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 17:17

    @ Bob

    Shows have always been filmed in Canada becuase it’s cheaper. The 1980s Twilight Zone was also filmed in Canada, same with The Hitchhiker (an HBO show like the twilight zone). It was funny them using Old Montreal as Greenwich Village in some episode that was supposed to be in NYC.

  72. 72 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 16, 2008 at 17:20

    I haven´t read the comments, I´ll do that later. Now, I´ll only give my opinion about Mark question: Does American culture enrich your own?

    As you know, I am Mexican. Moreover, I have lived most of my life in Monterrey, a city very close to the U.S.-Mexican border (2 hrs), so American culture has always been available to me. Growing up we went at least fourth times a year to the US to do shopping or on vacation. The first McDonald´s in Mexico was built in Monterrey. Most of my clothes were bought in the US. Nowadays, it is still the same.

    My husband´s family is from a town in the US-Mexico border, so he had more contact with the American culture than me. Many of his cousins were born in the States, they are Mexican-American. He was bilingual by the age of 10.

    I have to say that most of the TV shows that my daughters watch are American. They do not watch Mexican television because it is crappy (this is because the TV in Mexico is monopolized by two companies, so they don´t care for quality). So I am grateful to have access to good quality and educational TV cartoons for my daughters (I know that not all American cartoons are educational, but there are some, which are the ones that my daughters watch).

    I recently visited my sister´s in-laws in Yucatán (south of Mexico) and I realized that there, the American culture does not penetrated as here. So, for me, the explanation is that the closer (geographically) that you are from the States, the more “Americanized” you become. This is also the reason, in my opinion, that Canadians are labeled as “Americans”. I lived in Canada for 6 years, I have to said, they are different from Americans. It is another culture, very distinctive, however they have similarities.

    Finally, it is a good thing? I think it is in some extent. The North of Mexico wouldn´t be the same without the “Americanization” of culture. We are the “border people”. We have the advantages of having access to American culture and transformed it as our own. There are some things of the American culture that I don´t like, but others are good. I choose to adopt those which suit me. For instance, my daughters are bilingual because they watch TV and surf Internet in English. However, they read, play and socialized in Spanish. We celebrate Halloween and “Día de los Muertos” (Day of the Death). One does not have to exclude the other. I think that by doing this I am teaching them to be open to other cultures.

  73. 73 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 17:20

    shaun,

    JEEP’s, now we are talking cars. i just love my wrangler. get’s me up and down the mountain regardless of the amount of snow. it is truly an amertican car culture icon.

  74. 74 Simeon Banda
    July 16, 2008 at 17:20

    We have lost our traditional dances. I often enjoy dancing traditionally with our young men here in the Catholic seminary and it appeals to many during our feast days. My students and l once entertained the audience on our Malawian Independence day. The applaud from those present spoke volumes that people admire our dying dance. l hope my pupils will pass it on upon completion of their studies. I wear animal skin and we use clubs and spears to spice the beauty of the dance. Yes, each culture passes through stages, letting go, taking in and holding on. Let us not lose sight of this pattern as it is a sign that tells culture is dynamic.
    Respect for elders and keeping them among us is a beauty that the world need to come to Africa tp see. We should not allow this to go, instead let us sell to others and say grey hair is the seat of wisdom.

  75. 75 Melanie Chassen
    July 16, 2008 at 17:24

    @ Luz Ma,

    Bravo and well said! :)

  76. 76 Bob in Queensland
    July 16, 2008 at 17:24

    @ Steve

    Yup…Canada has developed a good film and TV career being the “stunt double” for America. It’s not just the cities–I did a double take when I saw Shanghai Noon and recognised lots of the scenery as being where I went to school. The most ironic “Canada as America” film I know is one called “Little Big Man” which had Custer’s last stand happening about 20 miles west of my old high school!

  77. 77 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 17:28

    Luz,

    i live in new mexico, which some think is better than old mexico. i have never been to mexico, but i like the feel of the hispanic cultre we have here. we celebrate all american holidays, as well as all the mexican ones from dia de los muertos to cinco de mayo etc. the wierdest thing are all the hispanic folks celebrating st. patrics day with green cloths and green beer. i ampersonaly glad that many of the mexican and hispanic traditions are keot alivce in my hometown. there is nothing as nice as getting traditional mexican meats from a carnicera

  78. 78 Anthony
    July 16, 2008 at 17:28

    @ Bob in Queensland

    The U.S. and Canada should combine so we can be called Amerada. I have a Canadian friend who I didn’t know she was from Canada until she said “Booger”. She loves California though, and saus it was too doing in the “Duh”.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  79. 79 1430a
    July 16, 2008 at 17:30

    hello everyone
    well,truly saying i would have to thank ‘Sesame street’ for improving my accents and yes ‘Mc.Donald’ has been the most desired food for me since childhood.
    But it does have the darker side whenever i think about the american culture and how it has influenced the asian culture.i am not trying to say it is bad.it is good for the americans but the way it is being framed in most part of asia is wrong.
    I would not like to see my sister wearing bikinis in the house in front of my parent because it is not acceptable in our culture and society but its ok in the USA.
    altogether i think the americans have brought about many good changes to my life style and one of the is the use of the MSN.
    thankyou
    Abhinav
    thank you
    Abhinav

  80. 80 Des Currie
    July 16, 2008 at 17:32

    American culture? About as plentiful as the Antartic beaches.
    Des Currie

  81. 81 David
    July 16, 2008 at 17:32

    Anthony

    July 16, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    “I really hope not, because the typical “American” (the 2008 American) is selfish, materialistic, and a shallow deaf mute. We are a great country because of our prior greats, and now we’re just riding their coat tails”.

    This is good Anthony.

    As for American culture, I can only give them credit for their guns. How I hate guns, it makes my stomach ach. McDonald is another, which gives me indigestion. The foreign policy of America is an other headache for the entire world. Surely there are many intelligent Americans who can make the country and its people likable.

  82. 82 Bob in Queensland
    July 16, 2008 at 17:34

    @ Anthony

    I think I prefer “Canaderica” but okay so long as the capital is Ottawa and the government is a parliamentary democracy!

    Oh, and start practising saying “eh”. :)

  83. 83 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    July 16, 2008 at 17:37

    I am an American and maybe my view is not wanted here, but here it is.

    America culture is not what we consume but what we give. People in America (not the government) have given to other countries during times of disasters. Those like me who cannot give money will give time to help others. However, I think this is changing because we have gotten away from teaching children that giving is part of American Culture.

    I have a challenge to give to others reading this; please teach the younger generation that being an American is a great privilege and that giving to others is part of our great culture.

  84. 84 David
    July 16, 2008 at 17:37

    But any way cow boys do exixt in America

  85. 85 Shirley
    July 16, 2008 at 17:38

    Jens, your community is totally awesome!

  86. 86 Anthony
    July 16, 2008 at 17:38

    @ Bob in Queensland

    I really, truly wish with our government was a parliamentary democracy. If it was I TRULY believe our country would be better. This one guy as president crap hasn’t worked out the best!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  87. 87 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 17:39

    @ David

    And so? They exist in Argentina and Brazil too. I am sure there are lots of Mexican cowboys also.

  88. 88 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 17:41

    des,

    there are plenty of beaches in the antartica. it all depends on how you define a beach……

  89. 89 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 16, 2008 at 17:47

    @Steve
    You are right. We have our own cowboys. Our former president (Vicente Fox) was one of them. That is why he get along so well with George Bush.

  90. July 16, 2008 at 17:49

    Hello to all of you my Precious friends… Ah, there’re so many things that I adore about the “American culture” : American medical references and American doctors and scientists, Harvard University, civil rights movements, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, JFK, ‘Friends’, ‘Everybody loves Raymond’, ‘Gray’s Anatomy’, ect., ect. But I have to admit that I do love the British way of life more than the American way of life…. With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  91. 91 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 16, 2008 at 17:50

    @Jens
    It is that you are proud of the Mexican heritage in New Mexico :)

  92. 92 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 17:50

    Shirly,

    thank you. i really love it here. i work in a typical southwestern sprawl town, with all the costcos and walmarts etc you can imagine, BUT i life in the adjacent mountains and do practially all my shopping there, since i do not want the local community to fail. in fact we are getting bigger over the years but i guess many of the chains do not touch us because plenty failed. i just hope that this will remain like it, especially with the large influx of californians. although one has to say that the californians have already brought a bigger spectra of delis etc. incidently the “big” town has plenty of different ethnic fair, from the swiss bakery, to the french bakery, the german sausage kitchen, greek and italian delis, vietnamease/chinise/korean/indian shopd etc, and all of them are locally owned. i guess it is still a part of wild west spirit here

  93. 93 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 17:53

    Luz,

    yes i am proud to live in a state/country, that allows diverse cultures and traditions to florish. we have entire sections of the town that look almost purly mexican. each time i go there i feel as if i am on vacation.

  94. 94 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 16, 2008 at 17:55

    What about jazz and baseball? Great aspects of American culture.

  95. 95 Shaun in Halifax
    July 16, 2008 at 17:56

    So do we! Alberta, Saskatechewan and Manitoba are ALL cowboy provinces.

  96. 96 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 17:59

    david,

    you should come to new mexico. we have plenty of cuacasian and hispanic cowboys, driving big pick-ups with gun racks in them. you should see their belt buckels. one needs sunglasss just because of all the light they reflect. it must be one of the few places where, orange/blue/red alligator skin with pointed toes cowboy boots are still a fashion statement.

  97. 97 Shirley
    July 16, 2008 at 18:01

    Bob,
    I think that Toronto would be a much cooler (more interesting) capital than Ottawa. But perhaps we could declare Wisconsin, Michigan, or New York to be an international zone and establish a shared capital there. Work must begin on dismantling walls and fences and ridding the countryside of roadblocks, too. But how on earth will we ever de-ghettoise our neighbourhoods? And if you promise to sprinkle your conversations with “like” and “umm,” I start saying “eh” and spelling everything with “s” instead of “c”. ‘Sposing we should have English, French, and Spanish as national languages?

    Are you sure we’re not better off as loosely federalised regions? I mean, as long as we get the parts with the oil…we’ll try not to let Falwell write the new Constitution and base it entirely on the Bible eh. But what will the new flag look like?

  98. 98 Shaun in Halifax
    July 16, 2008 at 18:01

    Yay! Thanks for re-framing the question in the WHYS pre-show plug!

  99. 99 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 16, 2008 at 18:08

    @Jens
    I meant to say: It is GREAT that you are proud of the Mexican heritage in New Mexico.

    I ate the word “great”… upsi

  100. 100 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 18:12

    Your guest was justifying Lebanon’s actions. Hezbollah “fighters” crossed into Israel, killing about 8 IDF soldiers, and kidnapping several, now we know the ones they kidnapped didn’t survive. YET he has the nerve to blame Israel for the actions of Hezbollah attacking Israelis in Israel. Lebanon paid the price of Hezbollah’s actions, and that Pig Nasrallah, may he be sodomized by pigs in Hell, proclaims “victory” while his country was in ruins. Only an insane lunatic would think that is “victory”. Israel returns murders for corpses. The sooner every member of Hezbollah takes a dirt nap, the sooner there will be peace. You cannot reason with insane religious fanatics.

  101. 101 KorroV
    July 16, 2008 at 18:13

    Well, to say, American or western culture, did bring in the use of shirts and troousers, jeans and boots to my country, for that I would say that it waz good.

    Although, as you may all know, too much of nothing can be really helpful.It also brought in the use of mini-skirts, fancy lingerie, mini-tops, for the females.I being a boy of seventeen of age, would enjoy girls wearing lingerie, or minis;but it does harm what was in our culture, women were not allowed to expose so much.Thus there are some harmful impacts on our culture.

    It also gave us many of the technologies we adore, the computer from microsoft, the iphone from Mac, these were a bless, and their advanced use enhanced our communication.Though here again, the elders see us differently as we demand more of them.Movies from Hollywood is enjoyed by us, so are the music from american bands, but again the elders watch us with not much less than of a mean look.Here basically what is happening is that a gap of communication between our family members, a distinction in our mentality, behaviour, is clearly seen, and thus there are many family problems, related to the departing of family members to even suicide of many;as we fail to understand each other.

    Just a month earlier, a boy of 19 hanged himself just because of his unresponsed demand for a car, by his parents.
    Things like these makes our parents more worried, and thus they begin to sort out or rationalise, our behaviour, counting down our every mistakes, and making predictions of the worst outcomes……

    This is the story from my country. I hope you can all read this, i could’nt help it to make this whole writing smaller….
    Bye, Thank you ….

  102. 102 Colleen
    July 16, 2008 at 18:18

    did anyone see the movie Wall-E?? It’s very applicable to this disucssion!

    Unfortunately huge corporate labels define American culture abroad and throughout the US as well. But I dont think this is necessarily American culture… These brands represent corporate globalization. They also represent global economic inequality and the spread of materialism, indiviualism, and the negative aspects of capitalism… Because the main players of global economy have not changed much over the centuries, other countries do not have the means to compete with brands developed in the US and other wealthy European countries. If poorer countries did have the means to develop competitive brands i do not think McDonalds or Wal-Mart would be such “success” stories. But these poorer countries are kept out of the global marketplace, unless of course a multi-national corporataion wants to jump right in…

    Another aspect of American culture that is interesting is that fact that when you ask an American his/her nationality, he/she will often give the nationality of his/her ancestors who immigrated here…

  103. 103 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 18:19

    steve,

    helzbollah is to many a lot more than just a terror organization. we have to understand that the sympathizer follow them because the provide support of people who feel that they are marginalized.

    you have to fight the organizations on a military bases, BUT one should never forget that this is also a war about the hearts and minds of the people living there. no amount of military hardware can win this battle if we do not give them a viable option and the chance to understand that we all are better off without terror and hate.

  104. 104 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 18:21

    I actually have a French Canadian friend, he’s not even fluent in english, though it’s pretty good, and he sounds like Jack Tripper from Three’s Company because he watched it so much as a child. So he sounds completely American, whereas other Quebecois sound a LOT different.

  105. 105 Charles Cates
    July 16, 2008 at 18:21

    From Austin, Texas: I’m afraid our American culture has hurt our country and the world as well. There’s less variety in many areas (art, music, food) and a forced amount of U.S. political power.

  106. 106 Ugochi
    July 16, 2008 at 18:21

    I’m American. And I feel that any mixing of cultures can lead to better understanding. However, I feel that the way that American culture seems to be taking over everything isn’t necessary good. Especially if it comes at the cost of losing the original culture. I would rather have a universal sharing of culture all around, with many different cultures learning from each other, or at least American culture experiencing more of other cultures and incorporating them rather than fending them off. I just feel that it is far too one sided, with American culture going to other nations, but nothing much influencing or changing America.

  107. 107 Shirley
    July 16, 2008 at 18:22

    Lubna, I must disagree with you. CSI and its spinoffs are so much better than Friends; and House is thousands of times more intellectual than Grey’s Anatomy. I wish that you could watch the Discovery Health Channel. Then again, you’d have a hard time pulling yourself away from the TV. They always have shows on about emergency room care, the diagnosis of rare disorders, complicated pregnancies, life-saving diagnostic and surgery techniques, health and nutrition, etc. When there is nothing else on, not even on PBS, we turn to Discovery Health for fun and entertainment. PBS is Public Broadcasting Service.

  108. 108 Shaun in Halifax
    July 16, 2008 at 18:22

    @ Steve

    You’re forgetting that Hezbullah was ELECTED in a DEMOCRATIC PROCESS by the Lebanese people. It was their choice to elect the government, and Israel’s choice not to recognize it.

    And that the whole situation in that part of the world is not black and white. Israel is NOT the noble night defending himself against the evils of Islam. Palestinians and Lebanese are NOT dirty terrorists who can’t wait to “Drive the Jews into the Sea.” There are “insane religious fanatics” on both sides, and they have both committed horrible atrocities. That area of the world is now in a tit-for-tat attrition stalemate where each action on one side must be answered by the other. You would do well to educate yourself a little better vis a vis the history and politics of that part of the world before spouting off like that.

  109. 109 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 18:23

    shirly,

    i thought it was an S instead of a Z????

    new flag. a blue maple leaf on white backround with stripes and stars and a GIANT JUG of maple syrup…

    the giant jug has to be there

  110. 110 stuart
    July 16, 2008 at 18:25

    it’s interesting to hear how much the african contributors to the programme cram in as many ‘you know’ s and ‘like’s as possible, while the indian guest never once used these american mannerisms.

  111. 111 stefan in prague
    July 16, 2008 at 18:26

    as an american in self-exile, i find it very sad that such a superficial, mindless american lifestyle has been sucessfully marketed to more and more of the world. i left the US for these very reasons 28 years ago, and have been living in the czech republic since 1992. the flood of such garbage as mega-mcdonalds, sexist rap music, hollywood crap, billboards, advertising plastered on every possible surface, and many other irritating things from the US have destroyed, overrun, bankrupted or sidelined more and more of the local culture, cuisine, aesthetic, and atmosphere. and there is only one explanation: greed for money, with no other care or concern or conscience. the american way.

  112. 112 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 18:29

    The French guest brought up French quotas for songs and TV shows. Also, you’ll see French speaking nations have laws that prevent English words from entering the vocabulary, or try to francophonize english words with French spellings. Doesn’t anyone find this ironic, given that about 40% of English vocabulary comes from French? We don’t seem to have a problem with have so many of our words being of French origin, let alone all the other words we borrowed, but if suddently they start using English words, we are somehow imperialists culturally. please! give me a break!

  113. July 16, 2008 at 18:31

    I’m a university student, as well as a Korean adoptee into an American family and have been in the states since I was 5 months old. So as far as culture goes, I’m pretty thoroughly American.

    As I’ve grown up, and especially in my post-adolescent years, I’ve come to discover the importance and beauty of the cultures and traditions of other nations and races outside of American culture. Not to say that we as Americans don’t have beauty in our culture as well, but I find so often that when children of immigrants grow up in America, they more often than not favor the American culture over their parents’. Then, many times, by their young adulthood, they discover the beauty of their history, their own culture and the tradition their heritage holds and try to relearn and reaffirm themselves in it… creating a mixture of American culture and their own family’s heritage. This is definitely a beautiful thing, but I can see that so much can be lost in that time when the person rejects their family’s culture and takes on American culture. I know that globalization has many pros and cons, but I truly hope that cultures around the world do not end up losing themselves by taking on American culture to the point that they can’t recover it all.

  114. 114 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 18:31

    @ stefan

    thanks for the laugh. So American is to blame for the action of the Czechs? Apparently the Czechs are like the Americans you hate so much. Otherwise those things you hate so much wouldn’t be so popular.

  115. 115 devadas.v in India
    July 16, 2008 at 18:31

    hello,
    with the onslaught of electronic and print media in every nook and corner of the world american culture by its largesize colourfulness are being copied by the majority particularly the youths of this world .
    just like america our state kerala is one of the largest consumer state persquare km area in the whole world ..and this american culture is making a big impact on our generation particularly the youths as its do as per your wish and want which this youths find easy to moveon ..
    america i think doesnt have a culture of its own but its beautifulness is in its multicultureness and imbibing every cultural aspects from allover the world?
    moreorless our state kerala too is a miniature version on unitedstates?

  116. 116 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 18:32

    shirley,

    i absolutly love house. one of the funniest and sarcastic shows in a long time. while i am not a medic, i do have a houseian streak when dealing with my grad students. i want them to think for themselves. i do not need them to blow my ego.

  117. 117 Kimberley
    July 16, 2008 at 18:32

    As an American, I would rather *not* see the culture here become the dominant one throughout the developing countries or Western Europe. I would personally rather that Americans spend more time learning about cultures other than our own, and therefore would (ideally) become better world citizens. Americans tend to be very self absorbed – we are well overdue for intensive history and geography lesson! I personally seek out experiences with people and cultures that are different than my own – I refuse to be perceived as an “ugly american” when I travel abroad.

  118. 118 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 18:33

    Hi Ross,

    Just a quick complement, in my opinion you are one of the best presenters on one of the best teams (BBC world) on the air. Always a pleasure.

    Now about American culture. One has to understand that American culture is the market. Which tranlates into supply and demand in all its facets. The reason it dominates on the world scene is due to Americans ability to market. They have made a fine art of this.

    Other peoples and cultures are welcome to participate in the world market. As well they should. No one is forced to take on American culture. It’s ultimately a question of wanting it. It is after all a FREE maket.

    Seen in this light, prejudice against American culture is tainted with hypocrasy.

    Lets see whether my first contribution gets through.

    Matt

  119. 119 Quentin
    July 16, 2008 at 18:33

    American culture is heavily marketed which can bleed a culture of it’s own native morals and good intentions towards others. Americans have a tendency to turn towards spending money to innocently buy material things that can lift negativity temporarily from the consumers life. So with that said I think American culture can be good influence by introducing a mixture of multiple cultures thus introducing a more colorful cultural experience. But I frown upon the heavy marketing that America well known for.

  120. July 16, 2008 at 18:35

    Hi WHYSers!

    I see we have got Steve’s hackles up with this one! I empathise!

    Let us see, however, whether we can make some meaningful distinctions about what we are saying.

    I think that this is a tricky one in terms of what we mean by “American culture”. Surely, there is more to this than a simple matter of what we buy in terms of the physical exchange of money for goods and services. There is also the element of consumption that operations, more often than not, at the level of the ideological, the impact(s) of which is often very insidious as well as devastating.

    In that regard, there might need to a proper defintion of what exactly is meant by “American culture”. I prefer to believe that American culture is far more diverse that that which is sold to us in two hour hollywood advertising movie slots and or cheap goods dumped on developing markets, not appropriately equipped to either defend themselves against such onslaughts, or to appropriately consume such goods (and services).

    America, after all, is a society made up, in the main, of immigrants from elsewhere so that there is a little bit of everything to be had in there somewhere.

  121. 121 Matt in Portland, OR
    July 16, 2008 at 18:36

    In the States we have a saying, “Vote with your dollar.”

    There are aspects of my own culture that I do not care for and so I do not engage in them either with my time or my money. Radios have dials, televisions have power buttons and stores carry different types of clothes. If you don’t like it then don’t buy it.

  122. 122 Andrew in Australia
    July 16, 2008 at 18:36

    Perhaps the problem is not so much about American culture itself, but the fact that other groups feel they have to copy American culture.

    That is a problem in Australia at this time and it does demonstrate a lack of self-confidence in yourself and your group, but more importantly, that you feel you need to aspire to something else as you feel that it may be better than what you have and abandon all that you are in the pursuit of that goal.

    I often tell people this, just because many people say something is good it doesn’t mean that it is! Just because many aspire to the lofty ideals espoused by American society does not make it any more valid or any more worthwhile than what you may have in your own land. In fact there are many flaws in the American ideal and what America puts out through its mass media. It does come down to (selfishness) comfort and the pursuit of material gain at the expense of others and of the world around you. That export of use, abuse or lose will be the downfall of us not only spiritually or morally, but in a real sense as we ruin the world around us.

  123. 123 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 18:37

    Steve,
    c’est incroyable you americans volvoir chance the langue of Voltair. mais non enough est enough mes joli amis…….

  124. 124 Trent
    July 16, 2008 at 18:37

    How does the rest of the world react to American Olympic teams? Do they get pride from seeing a surname from their country?

  125. 125 Shirley
    July 16, 2008 at 18:38

    I didn’t realise that I would miss an on-air discussion about the Israeli-Lebanese prisonaer swap.

  126. 126 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 18:38

    Good point Steve.

  127. 127 Alan in Cologne
    July 16, 2008 at 18:39

    Dear Editor,

    When I am in the UK I am always astounded by the number of shops and
    houses: In places where I remember there to have been factories or workshops or market gardens or parks there are now shopping malls and endless rows of houses.

    I could never really grasp why this could be so but the truth is simply that Britain has become a ‘service economy’ with insurance, banking and other financial services forming an enormous part of the GDP.

    So now, with the US in financial turmoil and the rot spreading to Europe, I am really wondering what our retail and service economies will do when the money dries up and further credit is refused?

    Yes, when we no longer have the (borrowed) cash to buy in exotic produce, ultra-cheap clothing and mountains of electrical goods from the other side of the planet, what are we going to do? When oil has become so prohibitively expensive and we are watching every penny, how are we going to freight in the things we need? Indeed, even bread is no longer produced locally but is trucked in from central processing plants!

    To me the problems that are in the pipe-line highlight the central flaw in globalisation that economists and politicians seem to repeatedly
    ignore: This is the simple fact that when you come to rely on over-stretched supply-lines and cheap, foreign (maybe even slave-) labour to produce the things that you need, then you are asking for trouble if either your buying-power is curtailed or those supply-lines break down!

    I just hope that the economic ‘bump’ that is coming our way isn’t as big as many commentators seem to believe it will be.

  128. 128 Tom D Ford
    July 16, 2008 at 18:40

    “Has American culture enriched your own?”

    I suggest that Americans have enriched their culture at the expense of everyone elses!

  129. 129 Melanie in the US
    July 16, 2008 at 18:42

    I am from America and I love my culture. However, when I travel I hate seeing McDonald’s everywhere! I want to experience the culture where I am visiting. I actually don’t even eat at McDonald’s here in the US. Sometimes I think that people assume the American business is the American individual but there are many of us here that dislike the globalization of American companies at the expense of differing cultures.

  130. 130 Scott in tacoma, washington
    July 16, 2008 at 18:43

    It’s a fallacy to say there is one singular american culture. Each region is far different than the other, and each culture is a melting pot of european, african, asian and other cultures.

  131. 131 Angela - Oregon
    July 16, 2008 at 18:43

    As and American, I think it’s hard to say whether or not I am proud of the influence that our culture has in other countries. I don’t want American culture to be responsible for the depletion of culture in other countries. For example, I think it is very important that each country sustains its traditional values, beliefs and certainly its language. At the same time, I think it is extraordinary that American culture has this ability bring so many people together from all parts of the world.

  132. 132 Jamie in Texas
    July 16, 2008 at 18:44

    I have grown up in Dallas, Texas, and have been fortunate enough to travel to many places around the world. I absolutely love learning about other cultures, and it saddens me when I go to a new place such as Bangkok and see McDonalds signs whereever I go. I would much prefer to see a more preserved culture, and I feel bad that America can be seen everywhere around the world. At the same time, however, it comforts me a bit to know that even when I’m halfway around the world, I share common experiences with everyone. We have heard the same songs, eat at same restaurants, shop at the same stores even if we live 5,000 miles apart.

  133. 133 Robyn listening on OPB.
    July 16, 2008 at 18:44

    I am an American, and I would not classify my lifestyle as one of over-consumption, stupidity, and laziness. Making broad assumptions about every American’s lifestyle is just as untrue as saying that every French person is snobby, and every british person has terrible teeth: Insulting.

  134. 134 Shaun in Halifax
    July 16, 2008 at 18:44

    @ Jens

    Ow. Mes yeux! Mon dieu!!!!

    That’s almost as bad as Acadian.

    “Mettez le sac dans le car eh?”

  135. 135 Jim - Raleigh NC, USA
    July 16, 2008 at 18:44

    I think there’s a rotating door as far as American culture vs. the world’s. During the early 80’s we had a boon of reggae influenced music from Jamaica. A little later, artists like Lionel Richie and Paul Simon were adopting african culture and sounds into their music. Now the door is giving more than receiving and that’s not a bad thing, and it will change again. Already Japanese culture and music has been leaking in ours for a little while. If American culture is having an influence then maybe it a sign that we’re doing something right, and maybe it’s a sign that we producing a quality product.

  136. 136 Lorranie in Ohio, USA
    July 16, 2008 at 18:45

    merican culture as depicted in films is an embarrassment. They are sexist, violent and filled with materialism.

    Anyone imitating the American culture is a fool. The children are arrogant to believe they don’t need to know about geography and other cultures.

    Many live their whole lives trying to obtain the American dream of owning a home, cars, the beach house, etc.

    As you know from the recent fall in the dollar and the skyrocketing foreclosure rate, that dream has become a nightmare.

    I would rather live in Italy, the native home of my maternal grandmother, where the pace is slower and life is more fulfilling.

  137. 137 phil _ Kuwait
    July 16, 2008 at 18:45

    Putting on an American accent or adopting a transatlantic style has been the vouge for years. The major British groups of the sixties all did it, even the Beatles, The Stones, The Animals – all with regional accents while talking, all with American accents when singing. Simply a popular posture, no more, no less. But it is disturbing to encounter Ethiopian beggars, as I have, who sport similar accents and values, but who share nothing in common with America.

  138. 138 John
    July 16, 2008 at 18:45

    As an American, I am sometimes embarrassed by the way we are associated with our “invasion by selling”. Not all of us are salesmen, honest! There is one company in particular that I visited specifically to get there before McDonalds and Starbucks gave the wrong impression of what we are really like.

    Stereotypes are bad when one is on the receiving end.

  139. 139 Danielle in San Francisco, CA USA
    July 16, 2008 at 18:46

    As an American, I have to say the definition of “culture” being fast food and shopping malls is not really accurate. And to say America has no culture is not true either. I don’t judge other countries’ culture by the spread of corporate influence. American culture is a bit more nuanced. It is a young country and changing constantly, and one cause of those changes is the influence from other cultures, as people come here in huge numbers from all over the world. That is how jazz, rock and roll, be-bop, and country came to be, and how future movements in art and music will come as well.

  140. 140 Andy in San Diego
    July 16, 2008 at 18:46

    The funny thing is, wealthier Americans, as well as upwardly mobile, emulate European culture. Many prooducts here make it a point to state on their labels “european design” or “european formula” or “No. 1 in Europe”. BMW’s and Benzs are the most prestigious cars. Masseratti saw its sales rise 20% last year in the US.
    In Southern California, where I live, wealthier people emulate the Mediterranean lifestyle. Italian food, cypress trees, Spanish architecture, Gucci, Prada, etc.
    I suppose that the degree of American influence depends on age and social status.

  141. 141 Larra
    July 16, 2008 at 18:46

    I am an American; culture should be a reflection of one’s own identity. What is American culture any way? In every city and state in the U.S. you may find things to be very different from region to region. Am I proud? I would like to see the independence of women in the U.S. be more of an influence, the opportunity for everyone to receive education and all the freedoms we have be the influence not the mass-marketing.

  142. 142 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 18:46

    As much as I agree with the other listeners about going to foreign countries only to find McDonalds, I do get a sick pleasure from visiting McDonald’s around the world and sampling the regional differences: It’s not all Big Mac. For example in Hungary I ate the Sertes McFarm (pronounced sher-teshz, meaning Pork McFarm) The name was so hilarious I had to eat it. It was a pork burger exploding with spicy mustard-mayo sauce, lettuce and nothing else–pretty gross but I mastered the word pork in Hungarian as a biproduct. In Germany at the same time, McDonalds was promoting a big line of Malaysian food, none of which you can find in the US. In Green Bay, Wisconsin, McDonalds serves bratwurst, and in Massachusets you can find “lobster” (fat chance) rolls.

  143. 143 Adam from America
    July 16, 2008 at 18:47

    Why is it that every time someone blames our culture for infiltrating and every time it is praised it is said to not be ours? We can’t have our own, but it seems that’s all anyone else has? I don’t understand how a mix can happen when no one holds there own culture to be true. If ours is a mix, why are we not mad that yours is infiltrating ours? When it comes down to it, I think it’s hard for anyone to admit that we can do things right and sometimes better, as we often do when adapting out lives from other cultures.

  144. 144 Sam
    July 16, 2008 at 18:47

    Being an American, it makes our culture a little less interesting when it’s exported. There is a watering down effect that occurs when globalizing culture. I would love it if American culture were slightly more insulated.

  145. July 16, 2008 at 18:47

    I like American culture, if for nothing else than it shows us possibilities. Americans are to be commended for their successes in marketing their values to the rest of the world, even if some of those values are, at times, questionable. The high ideals of democracy and diversity professed in the narratives of the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” ideology, as a result, allows an ideal opportunity to critique these values to determine for ourselves how we feel about them.

    The innovation and dynamism of a society often interested in pushing the boundaries, whether of science, governance and or industry, etc., therefore, allows onlookers to sample the pieces they desire and throw out or modify the rest to suit their own situations.

    The lopsidded relations of power, however, between America and its satellites, largely, faciliates an asymetrical dynamic in terms of how American culture is consumed. The flow is never equal and usually one-sided. That has to be part of how we critique the notion of an “American culture” as a way of determining its usefulness, currently. Whose values are championed as “American culture”, even? That would make for interesting discussion, I am sure.

  146. 146 Shane - Salem, OR
    July 16, 2008 at 18:47

    American culture is unsustainable! We must be careful about the entire world moving in that direction. After all, if every country were like America, how could anyone continue to outsource for cheap labor? We would all be demanding higher wages and less work!

    -

  147. 147 Jessica from Ohio
    July 16, 2008 at 18:48

    I think that many people from other countries would be surprised to come to the US and see that there is no one American culture. I live in rural America and many of the American shows seem very foreign to me! Futhermore, often you hear complaints that our American culture is being changed by the influx of new immigrent cultures.

  148. 148 Karen - Oakland, California
    July 16, 2008 at 18:48

    I’m one of the Americans who are horrified by the globalization of American culture and chain stores. Look, I don’t eat at McDonald’s when I’m at home; I’m not going to eat there when I travel overseas. I want to see what the other country is like. Also, the U.S. has local businesses that are being smothered by the big chains too – when I travel in the U.S. I look for locally owned restaurants and I find them. I suppose choice is good, but when the global businesses smother choice, not so good.

  149. 149 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 18:48

    Kimberly, about your comment, I’m an American living abroad. In Germany to be precise. I’ve never experienced people who are more self absorbed as I’ve run into here. Some give the term egocentric a whole new meaning. At least for me. No, not everybody, but enough. I get a little peaved when Americans get onto this self deprecating thing. Whereby many Europeans love to join them in this. the hypocrasy on the European side can be awe inspiring.

  150. 150 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 18:49

    @ Phil_Kuwait

    Maybe it’s natural for someone to sound american when they sing? The only singer I’ve ever heard sing with an english accent is Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys. When I was in high school I was absolutley shocked when I found out Eric Clapton was British. I had absolutely no idea. I suppose some of the German rock groups that crossed over to sing english songs don’t sound like Americans, such as Nina and the group that did Der Kommisar.

  151. 151 Tom D Ford
    July 16, 2008 at 18:50

    When you shop at Wal-Mart you destroy your own local businesses, when you eat at McDonalds you destroy your local cafe or restaurant, etc, etc.

    Buy local, support your friends and neighbors and your community because when the chips are down the Wal-Marts will just walk away, while your locals will still be there.

  152. 152 Mark
    July 16, 2008 at 18:51

    McDonald’s, Burger King and Karl’s Junior – even KFC are no representative of American culture. The root of the problem is that real American culture has been so commercialized and distorted through film and other capitalistic ventures that even the majority of American people think that something like the culturally myopic “American Idol” – only a new version of “The Gong Show” is what American culture is all about.

    In my opinion, you have to go back quite a ways now to get an inkling of real American culture. One must go back to The Carter Family, Leadbelly, Steinbeck and Mark Twain – Walt Whitman and Carl Sandberg – Robert Frost and Emily Dickenson – in order to get to the root of real Americana. And this is a quickly fading culture as it is being eclipsed at a very rapid rate by overwhelming foreign cultures from our Southern border and the other side of the world. These people have no interest in seeking out the heart of America through its culture and our educational system, which very much like its British counterpart plays down its own culture so much in order to appease the overwhelming numbers of new foreign arrivals that our own children know more about those cultures than their own.

  153. 153 Anthony
    July 16, 2008 at 18:51

    American culture is also believing you are the best with no proof :)

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  154. 154 Jim from the US
    July 16, 2008 at 18:52

    McDonald’s has been used a lot as an example of invading American cuture. However, receintly the State of California is now trying to ban all fast food, and that includes the golden arches. What does message does that give off to the rest of the world where the big M is more iconic of american culture that out nations flag?

  155. 155 Blaise - Oregon
    July 16, 2008 at 18:53

    The problem is not American culture but the annihilation of local culture. Chain stores remove jobs. American culture is so bland and flattening of local color and removing the flavor of the place.

  156. 156 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 18:53

    Shaun,

    quel sac and quel voiture?

  157. 157 Frank
    July 16, 2008 at 18:54

    As an american, I don’t think “american” culture represents my *lived* culture. Where i live there are few McDonalds and other chain stores. there is so many “americas”, so many different regional cultures here. The last time I was in Paris, there was a TV show on about the Cajuns and Creoles in Louisiana. My French friends couldn’t believe there were french speaking americans, let alone poor ones. But it’s a valued culture here.

  158. 158 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 18:54

    Matt,

    Lobster at McDonalds, really? I had no idea that was Irish cuisine. ….lol.

    Matt

  159. 159 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 18:55

    @ Tom D Ford

    Every Mcdonalds you see is a franchise, most likely owned by someone who lives in the community.

  160. 160 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 16, 2008 at 18:56

    I’d like to think the important cultural export from America is the idea of an open, tolerant society with social mobility, where girls are just as good as boys, honest work is rewarded, and tribe, caste, class, take a back seat; the individual is sovereign.

  161. 161 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 18:56

    Yes, Mcdonalds was started by two Irish brothers. the clown came later.

  162. 162 Mark Sandell
    July 16, 2008 at 18:57

    Mark in the studio here – anyone listen to all that America bashing during the last hour ? pretty relentless wasn’t it . I apologise.

  163. 163 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 18:57

    mat,

    McD in hawaii has poi, in New Mexico you burger comes with hot green chilli, if you want it of not….plus in New Mexico you can pour hot coffee into your lap and get millions from McD for being a stupid idiot.

  164. 164 Shaun in Halifax
    July 16, 2008 at 19:01

    @ Jens

    Sorry, that sentence should have had ” ” around it. My Acadian friend’s mom said that and I nearly died laughing.

  165. 165 Chris - Texas
    July 16, 2008 at 19:01

    I don’t travel much outside of America, but I have done my share of homegrown diplomacy having been to about 45+ of 50 states. I take a lot of pride in America’s ability to tolerate and assimilate new ideas and culture. However, it saddens me how the world understands America as I have yet to find a single “American Culture”.

    The entertainment that is has been cited as “American Culture” is exported solely for profit. It does not reflect what the average American likes or creates, instead what industry pushes for money. Because an audience exists to create profit does not mean the producers are genuine with what they export. I would invite anyone coming to America to turn off the radio, but down the tourist book, and ask any person on the street what they like to do.

    Do this and you will have genuine feelings for our boiling melting pot.

  166. 166 Melanie - Los Angeles
    July 16, 2008 at 19:02

    I just wanted to add that I live in Los Angeles and work in the music department of a tv show. I enjoy showing my city to those who visit here which includes a tour of Hollywood, watching a tv show and listening to music. We are so multicultural here though which means last time I entertained we went to an Ethiopian restaurant and played in the drum circle with reggae drummers. But when I was in Cameroon I was saddened to see so many 50 cent shirts and really enjoyed hearing the local singers. When I was in Paris I was saddened when some in my party went to McDonald’s. I wanted a crepe at a sidewalk cafe. Cultures can blend, but not at the expense of themselves. So come to Los Angeles- I’d love to show you around and would be proud to do so but then in turn show me your culture when I’m in your hometown! :)

  167. 167 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 19:02

    Mark,

    it is all a matter of envy to a certain degree. nobody wants to admit it. people forget that america is a mixture of many cultures, some dominate the north, such as Mid european and skandinavian, some the east like british, some the south east like spanish and french or southwest hispanic and mexican. although an atheist i am fascinated by how churches in the different regions truely symbolyse the origin of culture that arrive here first.

  168. 168 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 19:06

    shaun,

    i am originally from switzerland bordering the alsace. they have a mix of german and french like “an gute bonjoirs” (a good day, as a greeting). it is absolutly hileriouse when you listen to them. saying that the swiss go to the coiffure and not the hairdresser and we ride a velo, instead of “ein fahrrad (bicycle)

  169. 169 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 19:07

    Hi Jens, Actually that legal option was exhausted in the 80s by several lawsuits. You’ll notice now that all hot beverages in the US come with warning labels. Since you haven’t noticed, I advise you: when you order a hot coffee, be very, very careful of your lap. McDonals will be blameless. You bring up a good point though: beyond corporate burgers, our legal system isn’t really fit for export either.

  170. 170 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 16, 2008 at 19:07

    No problem here Mark; rolls off like water off a duck. (I wasn’t truly listening; I had to persuade my plumber not to destroy the bathroom). I don’t have much to do with American culture either. As usual, I formulated my eloquent, pithy pearl of prose, and posted it…. just five or ten minutes before the end of the show. Argh.

  171. 171 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 19:08

    Karen from Oakland,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m a passionate traveler and I love to try the local cuisine where ever I go. I usually don’t visit the chains other than for the novelty to see what it’s like in another country. How it compares, how the locals take to it. I can’t fault the chains for doing buisiness as long as they are treating their employees well. Here again its a question of supply and demand. If locals don’t take to the concept, it won’t fly. Most of the franchisees are locals as well. The first to develop this chain concept and system was Crock who bought Mcdonalds from the Mcdonald brothrs. His widow has become known for her philanthropy.

    Matt

  172. 172 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 19:11

    Melanie,

    Let me know when you get to Berlin/Potsdam.

    Matt

  173. 173 Danielle in San Francisco
    July 16, 2008 at 19:12

    I guess American culture is Beyonce, McDonalds and Rambo. Not the life I’ve lived, and honestly it seems to me it’s been forced down our throats just as much as the rest of the world. Nothing I know resembles anything I see on TV, movies, or commercials.

  174. 174 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 19:13

    @ Mark

    There have been plenty knee jerk USA bashing comments in here, and Ros read one of them online, the “self exiled” American in Prague who blames America for the actions of the Czechs.

  175. 175 selena
    July 16, 2008 at 19:13

    WOW! If one leaves WHYS for a few days, one loses so much.

    Too much to read to catch up…

    Selena in Corsica

  176. 176 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 19:18

    Matt,

    i was refering to the fact that the original hot coffe lawsuit was brought aginst a Mcd i am driving past every day here in new mexico. that woman actually won it, since it did not say on the cup that hot coffee was indead ment to be HOT. given her intelligence level, i doubt she would have been able to read anyway. same for hot pckets and popcorn. on popcorn it says be carefull when opening, hot steam will come out. my dad opened an unmicrowaved pack and proved that there was no steam in it. ;)

    some of the labels are truely for the lowest commen denominator.

  177. 177 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 16, 2008 at 19:21

    @Melanie~~

    Hey, it’s a date then! When I go to LA I feel like a tiny speck in a vast space, in need of a “native guide.”. Here, everything is small and close and walkable and human-scaled.

  178. 178 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 19:23

    awele,

    90% of americans describe themselves as religiouse. i am one of the 10%. trust me less or no religion would make the world a better place. just think about all the wars fought in name to reflective non-existen gods they fight for.

    with all your anti-rethoric you obviously have never visited america.

    i have never visited nigeria and i would not dare to make such sweeeping and condeming comments about your country like you do about mine.

    please think before you just mindlessly brabble the words of others.

  179. 179 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 19:26

    Jonathan (sunny San Francisco), take a number and wait in line.

  180. 180 Sam-Tanzania
    July 16, 2008 at 19:26

    American show is very popular here in Tanzania.

  181. 181 Mark Sandell
    July 16, 2008 at 19:27

    Jens, i took the comment off- it should not have been approved as it wasn’t in the spirit of debate, as i took an earlier one off too.

  182. 182 Nick in USA
    July 16, 2008 at 19:28

    I think Robert is exactly right. These commercial entities like McDonalds and Coke aren’t really representative of American culture. In fact, they have done the same thing to American culture that they’ve done elsewhere. They’ve pushed out local products and taken away local jobs.

    For example, Wal-Mart has eliminated local grocery stores and hardware stores in so many areas. Now, it only takes 10-20 employees to run a store which services an entire town with a population of 8000 people. Instead of getting produce from local growers, we get apples which were grown in New Zealand that sat in a refrigerated warehouse for 2 years before going to your local Wal-Mart. This really happens and the apples are almost completely void of nutrition by the time they get to market.

    Our exportation of these big American junk corporations is definitely hurting other countries. Likewise, these corporations are hurting our own country. Brett is right though, it is definitely the consumers fault. We are too willing to buy substandard products from companies that offer substandard service just because they are cheap. We should be buying small amounts of good products instead of large amounts of junk products. I’ve tried to convince friends and family of this, but they just keep going right back into the Gap and Wendy’s, so I guess it’s the road we’re headed down.

    @ Steve and Canadians

    Canada is way different than the USA. I’ve spent plenty of time in both countries, and calling Canada cultureless is false. Perhaps they don’t have a huge difference when considering branded products, but branded products don’t make a culture. My grandmother is French canadian, and you’d swear she just walked straight out of Europe.

  183. 183 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 19:29

    Mark,

    thank you

  184. 184 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 19:30

    Selena,

    I loved Corsica. did that mountain Hike from coast to coast. Beautiful!

  185. 185 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 16, 2008 at 19:30

    @Shaun and Jens
    Your anglo-french comments: lots of laughs!!!

  186. 186 Catalina
    July 16, 2008 at 19:31

    “When you shop at Wal-Mart you destroy your own local businesses, when you eat at McDonalds you destroy your local cafe or restaurant, etc, etc.

    Buy local, support your friends and neighbors and your community because when the chips are down the Wal-Marts will just walk away, while your locals will still be there.”

    @ Tom D

    I tend to disagree. While i don’t agree with the way Wal Mart handles business i also don’t find the food at local ma’s and pa’s restaurants to be tasty. If anything, the ones I’ve been to, are all grossly undercooked and full of too many health code violations. While the same may also be true for big chain stores, small restaurants don’t appeal to me. That doesn’t mean that I’m destroying anything.

    However, I can definitely appreciate small restaurants that offer food that doesn’t include burgers and fries. I may be contradicting myself, but Ij ust don’t see any other way to state it.

    And i do agree with Steve, that Mickey D’s is locally owned. As a side note, the Wal Marts will never walk away as long as there is a demand for cheap products.

  187. 187 Shaun in Halifax
    July 16, 2008 at 19:32

    @ Jens

    I don’t know about your comment. I’ve read the Qu’Ran, Torah and the Bible. I believe that each of them has the guidelines for living a morally upright life – the morally upright life espoused by that religion. And I’ve found that for the most part, Muslims, Jews and Christians are compassionate, understanding individuals. Where I take offense (and where others probably do as well) is when it involves the ‘god’ debate. I’m sure most of the religious wars have been fought because one side didn’t believe in the same invisible man in the sky as the other. To that end, I propose an eleventh commandment:

    “Thou shalt keep thine religion to thyself.”

  188. 188 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 19:35

    Jens, Maher has a great clip about religeon on Youtube. I think you’ld enjoy it.

  189. 189 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 16, 2008 at 19:35

    @Melanie
    Thanks for the offer. In return you can come to Mexico and try true Mexican cuisine. Mexican-American food is not bad, but the original is better!

  190. 190 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 19:41

    @ Luz,

    we have a true mexican restaurant near by. their Birra and barbacoa is outstanding.

    @ shaun,

    i have read neither and i am a morally upright living person. the ‘god debate’ is usless, since any attempt of converting one side to the other will lead to futile arguments.

  191. 191 Dennis
    July 16, 2008 at 19:42

    hi selena

    how is it in corsica

    dennis~syracuse, new york

  192. 192 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 19:43

    Matt,

    I love Maher. did you see his show call “I am Swiss”? well i happen to be swiss ;)

  193. 193 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 19:43

    Mark, does Ross ever read this Forum?

  194. 194 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 19:44

    @ Nick

    Take away the Quebecois, and what “culture” does Canada have? The most “Canadian” of food, Poutine, is little more than french fries that have gravy and the addition of cheese curds on it. Oh wait, at St. hubert you can get it with poulet. French Canadians are as cultural as Cajuns are in the US, yet a lot of the people on here would call Cajuns “rednecks” despite speaking French as well, and they would be mocked, rather relentlessly, yet their only difference is being from a different part of Canada originally.

  195. 195 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 16, 2008 at 19:44

    @Jens
    I am truly impressed!!! Birria and barbacoa…mmm!!!

  196. July 16, 2008 at 19:45

    I have American dreams because American culture is world-class, appealing and adorable. It is what it is, you know. American culture is the thing.

  197. 197 Moses in Kenya
    July 16, 2008 at 19:50

    Here in Eldoret kenya,anything american is seen as the best and i dont see it ending soon. Dress not american and have no partying at all.

  198. 198 Matt
    July 16, 2008 at 20:00

    Jens, Yes, on Youtube. I don’t own a Television. I spent a couple of long nights just watching Bill Maher clips. I think I’ve seen most of them.

  199. 199 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 20:47

    matt,

    i watch/ed his show on HBO whenever i can.

  200. 200 selena
    July 16, 2008 at 21:05

    @Matt

    Just came in from a walk around a mountain trail. The moon was shining on the sea and music was drifting across the valley. It was heavenly!

    @Dennis

    Thanks for thinking of me. I am here for two weeks. There are a lot of biology and physics students here. They are energetic and enthusiastic. It is fun!

  201. 201 Shaun from Halifax
    July 16, 2008 at 21:56

    @ Steve

    Canadians MUST have a culture different than Americans. And here’s why.

    I can slap a maple leaf on my backpack and be welcomed anywhere in the world. How come I can’t do that with an American flag?

  202. 202 bjay
    July 16, 2008 at 21:57

    Does American culture enrich your own ?
    Do you understand the American way?
    This is not newspaper or Hollywood.
    You need to be there at list 5 years to grasp it.
    YE! YOU! Otherwise, you just a little sore-head critic.com
    bjay connotation with accent.hu

  203. 203 Pangolin-California
    July 16, 2008 at 22:28

    There is no ‘American culture’ as such. There are local and regional cultures and then there is the corporate culture that does it’s best to erase those in order to maximize profit.

    @ Jens- Please don’t parade American ignorance for the rest of the world. Coffee, because it has substances other than water, can be held at above boiling point of 100º C of water and this temperature can go up as old unused coffee is kept in a pot. The woman in question had third-degree burns and would certainly have lost all the skin in the inside of her mouth if she had taken a mouthful.

  204. 204 Pangolin-California
    July 16, 2008 at 22:37

    An explanation of boiling point elevation for those who never took a chemistry class.

    “Boiling-point elevation describes the phenomenon that the boiling point of a liquid (a solvent) will be higher when another compound is added, meaning that a solution has a higher boiling point than a pure solvent. This happens whenever a non-volatile solute, such as a salt, is added to a pure solvent, such as water.”- Wiki

    The frivolous lawsuits myth is a meme promoted by corporate america to excuse themselves from their knowing misdeeds. Ask the citizens of Bhophal whether their lawsuits are frivolous.

  205. 205 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 22:52

    Pangolin,

    you buy a hot coffee and therfore you must be aware of it that it is hot. just to clarify this here before you call me ignorrant. the coffee she recieved was below the boiling point of water, which is 212 fahrenheit, at about 180 fahrenheit. yes it is much hotter than one would drink it or other outlet sell it now, but one does not gulp the coffee down, like a glass of cold water. she pour it over herself….

    so before throwing ignorrant around please do not propagate that coffe is served at super-boiling temperatures

  206. 206 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 16, 2008 at 23:50

    US culture & society is full with varities & have lot of choices, you name it:, no body have what we have in USA.
    Inspite of Diversity, differance of openion,. crimes, ethnisity, hate, love, religion we are united under US flag with our ethinic & religious identety, with dignity & pride being an humanbeing’s as we stood with principals of our constitution, which is a best human charter of the world.
    No doubt, Pizza, Taco, Gyro, Chop Suey & spicy foods are very dominant in our daily life but Mcdonald & Kentucky fried Chicken are our global identity.
    Four things I like the most:-
    (1) Ethnic neighbour hood’s of Chicago with taste of America.
    (2) Arthodic sister’s day celebration at Italian Community Center all you can eat as much as you can & I love to eat fried Kalamari & Eggplant Parmesan.
    (3) New Orlen’s broken French Music by the time of Mardi GraSS Festival.
    (4) Lifgt festival at Niagra Fall area before & during X-mass Holiday’s.
    May God Bless USA, by the way our hip hop music is conquoring the world with love & universal brother hood, this is what I like the most & this is what we may not expect from US Army.

  207. 207 Roberto
    July 16, 2008 at 23:55

    On the one hand, is your life better because you can get a good, cheap meal at a McDonald’s, listen to the latest 50 Cent album and watch the new George Clooney movie ?
    ————————————————————————————————-

    ——- Here’s one American who hasn’t had a Big Mac in at least a generation, wouldn’t know 50cent from 2 quarters, and most assuredly have never seen George Clooney in anything but publicity pages of the local rag now and again.

    What is pushed as American culture in foreign cultures is most assuredly BIG corporate American culture mostly.

    Most of American culture flies under the radar, and includes dozens of disparate immigrant groups who have formed their own enclaves throughout the country as well as poor to modest local American cultural groups including native Americans.

    Now, I had one of the earliest Big Macs at a MacDonalds’ franchise, back when the MacDonald brothers ran a superior operation, BK, before Ray Kroc. The culture in general has gone downhill in spite of civil rights gains and end of the coldwar and does not enrich todays’ American with political ideas and education.

    The Internet could be the exception, but tends to be as mean spirited and bigoted as it is enlightening and informative. Oh, I guess there is weapons technology which is a part of American culture, and there is still some pretty good non commercial music here as well.

  208. 208 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 17, 2008 at 02:57

    Pangolin California,
    With a concept of Big in any sence India is an Human desaster, because of all justified reasons, India need Union Carbide for his Industries, & was eager to get the technologh with out knowing the enverimental issue’s, more then US corporates Indian Govt & public was taking it as a BLESSING.
    Concept of India growing & accountablity of Bhopal accendent are two differant issues, may not be compensated by US Corporation, because Business licence been issued by Indian Govt with concept of Indian pride.
    Tell me how many people are dying every day in India because of hunger & unavailability of Medical treatment, does Indian Govt & any Indian compensate
    them. So this is the best follow, enverimental rules, Family Planning & Birth controll policy instead of growing Indian pride, with a concept of respect for an humanbeing living in Indian society.
    Dont forget to read & listin BBC”S Indian Rising with comparison to Union Carbide Bhopal’s accident along with entitelment of claim from Corporate USA.

  209. 209 parth guragain
    July 17, 2008 at 04:40

    what i see is most people say bad things about America,pretend to dislike American culture but want to live American dreams.What we are seeing is that millions of people go to america and stay there illegally ,why they stay there becoz of american style of living.These people never return to there country so there is noway bashing America.America have in present time become a symbol of democracy and freedom.it is of no harm if any country become influenced by American culture.

  210. 210 Jack Hughes
    July 17, 2008 at 10:28

    Yes. American culture does enrich my own Englsuh culture.

    I can enjoy the best of both worlds – the richness of Shakespeare, the Book of Common Prayer, the English countryside, English pubs with warm beer and comradeship.

    I can also enjoythe zip and excitement of America – their can-do spirit, their enthusiasm, their technical prowess. Their strong self-belief. Yup.

  211. 211 Catalina
    July 17, 2008 at 15:33

    @ Prince

    I wonder how long you’ve lived in the US in order for you to make such general assumptions. Regardless of the fact that you’re wrong, you’re generalizations are completely inaccurate.

    I’m a religious and moral person and i live in the US.

  212. 212 Nick in USA
    July 17, 2008 at 16:05

    @ Prince Pieray C.P. Odor

    Not one of your labels describes America as a whole. You can break off little factions of people who could be labeled with what you claim to be American traits, but most of them would be well in the minority. On top of that, the people of your own country, could be described with all these same labels.

    @ Steve

    Canadians are a culture that has been shaped by living in the “Great White North”. When is the last time you rode a snowmobile to work? They do things differently and the people their think differently. Just like the British are culturally different, so are the Canadians. Just because they use the same corporate products, it doesn’t mean that they are culturally the same. Rednecks are a different culture as well (Believe me, I moved to KY from Chicago and it’s totally different). A culture is made up of the behaviors and beliefs of a group of people, and my behaviors and beliefs are far different from any redneck’s behaviors or beliefs.

    @ Catalina

    When buying things from Wal-Mart you are destroying your middle class. Local hardware and grocery stores pay proper employees to do proper service. Wal-Mart pays a handful of people minumum wage to keep the shelves stocked and work the cash registers (which they are doing less of due to the onset of self checkout). None of those products are made in the USA, so aside from the minumum wages paid to these employees, there is no money actually going to your local economy. Even the produce is coming from somewhere cheaper. In a town of 5000 or less, this makes up your entire retail industry. How can your town survive if there is only money going out?

    Also, in regards to Mcdonalds being locally owned. They are locally owned, but all of their products come from out of town, and owners pay massive franchising and royalty fees, which go out of town. Again, this means no money for your local economy.

    I will agree that local burger joints are just plain disgusting. Everything is so greasy, it makes me feel terrible 15 minutes after eating. American restaurants really need to step up the quality of their food. I loved Taiwan where there are so many specialty food stands. Each one specializes in a few dishes, so they have tons of variety. I really wish cities would allow street vendors to do business in a market format here in the states. Americans are so poor foodwise. We have many top quality meats and other ingredients, but we do nothing with them. Our bakers are the worst violators. Everything they make is pure sugar, it tastes disgusting.

  213. 213 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 16:08

    @ Nick

    I have been to Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, Brampton, Montreal, Quebec City, Regina, Niagara Falls, Vancouver and I have NEVER seen anyone commute on a snowmobile. I have seen people walk down the street with hockey sticks, but I see that here too.

  214. 214 Catalina
    July 17, 2008 at 17:44

    @ Nick

    While i defninitely agree with some of the things you stated, i still tend to somewhat disagree. Local grocery stores have white women on the registers, and mexican men doing everything else. I highly doubt that those men are being paid minimum wage. I shop at local marts and grocery stores, but i absolutely refuse to eat in American restaurants because they’re disgusting. Also, as far as i know, almost everything i own is made anywhere else BUT the US, so whether i buy it from Wal Mart or from a nonexistent locally owned store it won’t make a difference.

    As a side note, instead of going to a well known store to buy my prom dress, i went to a locally owned boutique and paid $600 for a gorgeous dress. The day of my prom, my dress ripped everywhere and had white lines (the dress was black).

    So excuse me if I don’t trust locally owned businesses. They’re crap.

    However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I shop at Wal Mart, but i prefer chain stores where that would NEVER happen because they’re afraid of losing business. I’m somewhat cynical of small local stores.

    PS. Your response was informative.

  215. July 17, 2008 at 18:01

    There are many types of American Culture. Nil Lara [a singer songwriter] from New Jersey is one of the best examples of American Culture with his new form of rock music.

  216. July 17, 2008 at 18:09

    Well done Lubna for mentioning “Everybody Loves Raymond” . . . may I add to that list “The Wire” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” . . . may well-written and superbly produced American TV shows long contiunue to own our dire British drama . . .

  217. 217 Jens
    July 17, 2008 at 18:20

    The prinz’s contribution was taken off yesterday. today under a different screen name, his filth is back on again.

    i would never dream to describe his contry in such slures as he does.

    i object strongly to his comments since they are racial slures against a nation of 300 million people who beg to differ with his opinion.

  218. 218 Emile Barre
    July 17, 2008 at 22:06

    No. World Culture does of which the US is a component like any other.

  219. 219 jamily5
    July 18, 2008 at 20:58

    @Jens,
    What? We let other cultures flourish????
    Maybe exist is more the appropriate word.
    Think of the insistence of many americans that people “must,” learn English before they arrive. In many parts of America, foreigners get a very chilling reception: especially those from South/central America&Mexico, Asia and Africa who have a thick accent or have a difficult time speaking English.
    Teaching foreign languages are reserved for High school classes. And, usually, they consist of German, French and Spanish only.
    We have made some cultures: directly and indirectly assemilate.
    English is taught in many countries in elementary school.
    What people are most opposed to is:
    American “values,” not so much as american culture.
    Of course, values are an inherent part of culture.

    We, collectively, not individually, value:
    freedom (sometimes at alarming costs to others),
    individuality (which directly opposes the familial or communal values),
    capitalism and a free economy,
    We value our rights and are quite determined to achieve goals.
    Progress is another important value.
    All of these values have their positives and negatives.

    Maybe some other questions to ponder are:
    “are there values from other cultures that you have adopted as your own – if so which ones and wy have you adopted them?
    Have you been influenced by another culture: how — good or bad?”

  220. 220 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 19, 2008 at 03:34

    Over all comments & finding’s are ok, I think so many aspects of US culture & society are missing, if we do secondry scrutiney we will find:-
    (a) US war culture.
    (b)US peacefull culture.
    (c)US netural culture.
    (d)US Criminal culture.
    (e)US drug culture.
    (d)US dont worry be happy culture.
    (e)US welfare culture.
    (f) US educational culture.
    (g)US media culture.

    By the way I notice one principal mistake I may be comfortable to correct it that we live in USA not in England this is why our National Language is American language niot English.

  221. 221 John in Germany
    July 19, 2008 at 11:05

    LIstening last night to the sad story of a lady living in her car, and a charity providing a secure parking place, made me wonder about American culture. Life Style is a part of any countries culture, and it is say nothing about the American way of life if people, through no fault of their own and at the age of 64 have to be degraded to nothing.

    Otherwise, the World needs to thank America for the aid she has given, without forcing her way of life on to the precipitants. Her help in the wars, Her Flights to Berlin, Her Aid packets which kept the Germans going, after the war. Silk Stockings, and Chewing gum were the predominant reminder that the Amis were there.

    She has not always got it right, but her efforts were all in good faith. Her dollars have saved millions from starvation, and sickness. So thanks America, keep it up.

    And as for culture-Chet Atkins, Sachmo, John Denver, The Boston Pops, Johnny Cash, Those fantastic basses and baritones, The Barbershop quartet’s. The Man on the Moon, The thousands of medical achievements. A never ending list of goods. to wipe out the mishaps.

    God save America, and the World as well.

    John in Germany.

  222. 222 Rick
    July 19, 2008 at 11:33

    As usual I’m too late, oh well here goes anyway
    American culture….. hot dogs, hamburgers, apple pie, cotton candy, baseball, basketball, gridiron, cheerleaders, marching bands, tee shirts, blue jeans, baseball caps, big cars, cowboys, guns, pickup trucks, halloween, hollywood, broadway, jazz, blues, rap…

    I’ll take the blue jeans and tee shirts thanks

  223. 223 Shakhoor Rehman
    July 19, 2008 at 12:03

    I think if there is a problem with American Culture it is that it is persistently rammed down people’s throats at the expense of other equally important cultures. Culture should not be about competition but collaboration if people are to learn to appreciate it in all its facets.

  224. 224 John in Germany
    July 19, 2008 at 12:29

    Hi Rick.
    This oldie here in Germany is a cockney as most, but the Blue Jeans, and T-Shirt are the main doing everything kit.. Ok you can say inherited from America, and Ill say Yes, and even add a sir to sound authentic. But i forgot Washburn, Stratocaster, Leslie, and Ma Die Gra. Translated too-The Great Mum.

    And to please this little boys heart, those beutyfull, big, dirty, oily, Railway Locomotives, No not Diesel,,,,,,Steam.

    My Washburns waiting for a strum, and some finger exercises.

    Greetings
    John in Germany.

  225. 225 Rick
    July 20, 2008 at 02:36

    Hi John
    I was being a bit factitious, I like the apple pie too.

  226. 226 John in Germany
    July 20, 2008 at 08:48

    Hi Rick.

    The int date lines have bugged us, Sunday morning and coming down, just had breakfast without flap jacks.

    Hi All.
    Have just read the papers from yesterday, and the first of the tax evaders(the Lichtenstein affair), an estate agent, has been sentenced to a two year suspended sentence, and 4 million to charity. Total evasion is not really known, he opened a couple of foundations with an investment of 11 million, so it is difficult to find the true compound interest. Nice to read about the Charity, but worrying about the Moneyed bonus. Some one with less financial clout would have gone to prison. Cant help having the feeling that those with, look after each other somehow. Thats ok, but it proves that the two tier law system is not clandestine, but does exist, and that is very wrong. You can accuse yourself here in Germany, and get a lighter sentence, the problem is no one but no one does that until it get really to hot. So if that bank employee had not sold the German Secret Service the Data Discs, then the whole 900 or so would have not been caught, with tax evasion going into billions. They were even given time to report themselves, a delay was introduced from the publishing of the disc information, to action taken by the authorities.

    Just as the normal worker is taxed at source, in his pay packet, so should such types be taxed at bank. What a lovely thought.

    Have a nice Sunday if you celebrate it, if not enjoy whatever your doing.
    John in Germany.

  227. 227 Shirley
    August 16, 2008 at 22:36

    The Wikipedia article on the Culture of the United States has a fine introductory statement that summarises quite nicely the various aspects of American culture: The development of the culture of the United States of America — music, cinema, dance, architecture, literature, poetry, cuisine and the visual arts — has been marked by a tension between two strong sources of inspiration: European sophistication and domestic originality.


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