A thing which everyone fears but cannot get enough of.

Case in point: While living in Rome, Italy several years ago, every once in a while I would go to the local movie theater and try to see a movie. Generally the theater, which had four screens, would show three American movies and one Italian film, all in Italian. However, 9 times out of 10 the American movies would sell out within minutes of the opening of the box office while the Italian film would maybe sell ten seats total. It was not uncommon to not get a ticket to the American films if you didn't arrive at least an hour in advance.

One is forced to ask oneself why this situation occurs. Perhaps, the Italian government subsidizes tickets for American movies. Or maybe there were armed men outside forcing people into the theaters showing American films at gunpoint, ignoring their cries and attempts to escape into the theaters showing the Italian films. Believe it or not, none of these things occurred. The Italians all wanted to see the American films of their own free will.

This, of course, begs the natural question. Why did all these Romans flock to American films and pass on the Italian ones? Everyone knows that Americans completely lack the type of culture Europeans are afforded through their possession of a vast and distinguished history. Why would any self respecting European disgrace themselves by forgoing the fruits of their own magnificent civilization with films produced out of the cultural void of America?

Now, I understand that this may be a difficult thing for many of you to fathom, but it just may be that America produces things (films, music, foods, clothing, or whatever) that many people throughout the world really like. People of all races and nationalities buy American goods because they satisfy some basic need or want that exists in every human, not just a small selection of the population. This, I believe, is one of the strengths of the American system. We are a nation comprised almost entirely of immigrants, some voluntary, some not. Here the many different cultures and customs of the world come together and influence each other, creating a synthesized population that has learned to overcome the barriers placed upon it by the shackles of history and "cultural purity".

Do not be so quick to deride American culture just because more people desire it than your own. There is a reason why American music, fashions, food, and lifestyles are so fascinating to the rest of the world. Our culture is accessible in a way that few others are. If you find a system of culture to be lesser merely because it appeals to a more diverse set of people, then I suggest you take a second look at the way you think.

Our diversity is our strength. What is yours?

And, no, I'm not writing all this just because it's Independence Day...
See also: oxymoron

Very little of "American Culture" was not taken from somewhere else and modified to better suit it's audience.
The notable exceptions are:

  • Ragtime as popularized by Scott Joplin around the begining of the twentieth century.
  • Internet Culture which is still largely an American device, despite its international availibilty.
  • Violence. While obviously not an American innovation, American society is much more forgiving of depictions and displays of violence than most of the industrailized world.
  • Sex on the other hand, is shunned at every turn, most likely a relic of our Puritan heritage, in contrast to other industrialized nations.

Lewis Black put it best:

We don't have a culture. We have cable.

That is to say, Americans don't just have one homogenous culture; rather, we have 80-plus homogenous cultures into which we fit with varying degrees of accuracy. America has no official language1; while most people speak English, a rapidly increasing number of "minorities" speak Spanish, Chinese, Korean, or any number of other languages. Similarly, if you visit a city or town with a large number of non-English speakers, you will notice a culture vastly different from the norm you see on television.

A lot of people are able to keep aspects of their homeland, creating a comfort zone in an unfamiliar country. The Religious Right and white-supremacist groups insist that this is depriving America of its roots. However, the influx of different cultures has reshaped America. In many towns now, you can actually get more "authentic" East Asian cuisine than ever before. There are multiple Spanish broadcast networks: Galavision, Univision, and Telemundo, to name a few. Churches offer worship in multiple languages, with Korean churches seeing a particularly fast growth rate. The second-generation folks -- children of immigrant parents -- tend to join the mainstream while subconsciously injecting their own culture into their circle of friends.

Americans are free to behave as they please in this regard. Some feel comfortable with a group that speaks their own language, while others are more drawn towards the commercial mainstream. It is this spectrum of choices that makes America truly unique.

1 Source: http://ask.yahoo.com/ask/20011107.html

When did you last hear someone talk about the American economy? A few weeks ago? A couple days, hours, or minutes ago? For most people, that’s not too hard to remember. Think back, when’s the last time you heard mention of American culture? Not African American, or Chinese American, or Latin American, but just plain American? Have you heard it this year?

I have spent years in school, and through school I learned about other cultures. I learned the language of the Spanish, the foods of the Italian, and the common clothes of the French. I spent a lot of time learning about all of the other cultures. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think learning about the culture of other countries is a bad thing, I believe quite the contrary. Spending all of this time learning about the culture of other countries must be matched with some learning of our own culture. I realize that through learning about those cultures, we are learning about the background of our own, but that is never stressed nor explained.

I never learned much about the American culture in particular, our main religions, what we have become, our culture, I can‘t remember spending school time focusing on the American culture. I know plenty of our pop culture, but was never schooled on our standard, or typical culture. After spending all of the time in school learning about other countries, America would come into focus. What part of our culture did we learn about? Food, dance, religion, holidays? None of the above. What I learned most about America, was the American economy. I learned that we are consumers. We feed money into the country, and that is our importance. We aren’t important because we share a belief, or because we dress the same, or act the same, but because we all give money to America, because we are all consumers.

Many people think of America as being one of the best places to live. I wouldn’t dispute that there are a lot of reasons that one should live here, and that there are a lot of things that make America great, but we are not the best in all aspects. The government treats the citizens only as consumers a majority of the time.

America is a democracy, where everyone, of the right age and criminal background, can vote for what they want. They are allowed to voice an opinion, unless they are too young in which case no one will listen to the opinion. At that age people are taught what to believe by parents, teachers, and friends. By the time someone is of an age to vote and to express their opinion, most of the thoughts did not originate in their minds, but were taught to them. People often teach what you should and shouldn’t value in people, what is “good,” what is “bad,” and what should be important to you. They teach that education comes before creativity or individualized thoughts. People learn that they must think like the rest of America, and free thought is gradually taken away. During school, students are fed information and thoughts, which they are supposed to repeat right back to the teacher, and that is what most people consider to be their education, which many people spend hours a day doing. Gradually the things that make people different on the inside are being taken away from us, so that we can become better consumers.

What people in America seem to want is not a culture, it’s an economy. The citizens want more goods, so they readily take the role of consumers, discarding other equally as important rules they should play. The corporations want to sell more goods, and the government wants the money in the country to continue and grow. It appears that the consumers need to be trained to act as is best for the economy, to think as is best for the economy, and to act as is best for the economy. Our nation, however, is supposed to be based on the individuals needs. Apparently, our economy takes presence over all aspects of our lives. America needs to begin encouraging the different skills that people have, the different way of thinking, and the differences in people. We need to be thought of again as citizens rather than consumers. Until that happens, America cannot rightfully claim themselves as the superior nation.

Many people say that America is a country of no culture, but this is not true.

This is the definition of culture according to Merrian-Webster: A. The customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group B. The characteristics features of everyday life.

Saying that America has no culture is denying that we have an identity, traditions, folkways, or a heritage. America does have a culture.

The accusation is made that we have no culture because all the culture and traditions we have are hand-me-downs from earlier Europeans. It is said that we have no American culture that doesn’t come from European influences. Europeans would disagree with that. They can recognize that our traditions are distinctively ours, and are hardly copies of European traditions.

Our heritage is originally European, but it has become distinctively ours through the experiences of our forefathers over the last 400 years. Yes, part of our cultural heritage is inherited for Europe, and it’s a fact we should be proud of.

Many people think all our culture is about is American popular culture such as movies and television. Some people think they know America inside and out just from watching American entertainment. Too much popular culture has crept in, but our culture is about more than that.

American culture is very diverse, because of the many different kinds of people that it represents. Nevertheless, there are still several key concepts that are unique to this culture and this culture alone. I believe that these major elements include: the ideas of democracy, capitalism, and the motivation to attain the American Dream.

American culture is made up of bits and pieces of other countries' cultures, but it has come together to make a new culture. We Americans have customs, folkways, habits, holidays, our own distinctive foods, beliefs, songs, and stories. To say that we have no culture would be a lie.

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