Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Fight Club

Fight club is a film that follows the life of a character that is unnamed, because of this it can be seen to regarded as a film that is easily relatable to others watching because his identity is anonymous. His goal is to challenge the power of capitalism in the United States as he leaves his formal and routine job behind. It makes the ambitious attempt to imagine a world without capitalism. The characters that follow the fight club are against cooperations and materialistic things and it clear that the film attempts to point out the absurdities of these modern traits. It does not necessarily attempt to imagine an entire, modern human race without capitalism, this could be too controversial or complex to attempt to make, it instead creates a minority that are against it. It does highlight the monotonous nature of capitalism and the holes in it, rather than bringing to light perhaps the more positive aspects of American life which other pieces of film, tv, music etc may attempt to do.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUXWAEX2jlg

FRIENDS


 
Friends is an American sitcom and I think that the TV series offers a critique of America today. It is still a popular TV show with many and it is in their hearts, creating fans all over the world as it is still relatable and you find aspects of yourselves in the characters s after nearly 10 years of its first original showing back in 1994 and will still do so in the distant future. Friends represents well the people of America and their aspirations, trying hard to work from the bottom, taking any opportunity that they are given to try and achieve the best and more prosperous life they can have. The characters have that determination, much like Americans, too keep fighting in hard times, stick together and push on. They dealt with everyday problems that Americans could face from deaths in the family to job opportunities, from relationships to creating families.  

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Nike (Football)

Nike is a brand that has many aspects that can be seen to be comparable to many American principles. One of which being the American dream. The reason for this is that the makers of the brand got the brand started by only dealing with shoes and only grossing $8,000 in it's first year. To go from these humble beginnings to becoming one of the biggest and most recognisable brands in the world is a perfect example of the American dream. This is very much replicated in its advertisement. It's been disputed by some, but it's rumoured that the first pair of trainers used in the Olympics helped Otis Davis win 2 gold medals, who was coached by one of the founders of the brands Bill Bowerman. It's both lucky and a credit to his product.

  In this advert for Nike football, it's clear to see that the idea of being able to achieve your goals from from humble roots is very present. The footballer starts in what looks like very shabby surroundings and then ends up playing for Arsenal and Holland. He gets this through hard work and plenty of training. Also gains fame and fortune because he uses a Nike product as well as hard work. It also promotes the idea of luck playing a role, as the right people were there to scout him. So, in as sense, is saying you need luck, as well as hard work to achieve your goals. So shares some ideologies with the book Ragged Dick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZA-57h64kE

Apple iPhone 5

Apple has become one of, if not the biggest, leading brand for technology recently, boasting products such as the iPhone, the iPod and the iPad as well as the Mac.
Apple was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Woznaik and Ronald Wayne and was called Apple Computer Inc. The word 'Computer' was removed from the company name in 2007 as the company started to work on the idea of the iPhone. Since, Apple have also extended into software such as safari and iTunes and the iTunes store.
This advertisement is a minute long montage of images of people using their iPhone's to take pictures. These people range in age, gender, and in their locations and what they are doing. This aims to show the versatility of the iPhone, and how it can be used by virtually anyone. This links to the key American idea of freedom, as the iPhone allows the consumer to use it and take pictures however and wherever they chose to do so. Therefore, the advert aims not just to sell the product, but the idea that by owning this product you can do whatever you like or be whoever you want to be, allowing yourself to start anew and improve yourself.

Chrysler



Clint Eastwood Chrysler Superbowl Commercial 








This particular commercial featuring American legend, Clint Eastwood, explores the strength of American values and beliefs. I think that the fact that Clint Eastwood is the primary subject in this advert, appeals to more people as he is a public figure that people will look up to, and in hand, promoting these products whilst making this message inspirational.  

I think that when Eastwood, talks about being stronger and fighting and the idea that America is coming back for round 2, suggests that, that is a significant factor in American values. The strength and belief, that the people have in their country. A belief that, obviously, through this video is held exceptionally dear to the Americans. 

This ad, is said to have caused controversy politically, as it is subtly echoing some of the president's major reelection campaign themes.

G I Joe





G.I. Joe is a line of action figures produced by the toy company Hasbro. This US commercial for the Action Figure G I Joe, symbolizes the culture in the US. This action figure was a huge success in the US in the 80s and 90s and is still popular today.

They were meant to represent the military in the US, with the action figure covering all the different aspects such as: Foot Soldiers, Navy Sailors, Pilots… etc. The amount the US spends on its military budget is 48% of the world’s military spending and is the size of the next 7 countries after them forces combined together. Many people in US want to support the US Army, more so than here in the UK, as supporting their military seems to fall into the category of being very patriotic. Also with the camera angle looking up at the action figures it shows there power and dominance - in this sense of the US military not just the action figures as it is know that the US military is world leading and dominate in: size power and technology

The Advert is centred around the historical event that was Pearl Harbour, a major event in the US Military history, and is remembered today. With the US Flag constant in the background, it allows anyone around the world to know that no matter what language they are listening the advert in, they will all know that it is supporting America and it is part of the US Culture.

Levi's

It is an advertisement for Levi's jeans, which originated in America and has now become very popular and common to wear. The advert displays American values, such as equality and freedom, which it can be suggested that's what jeans represent as all social classes and genders/ races wear jeans and so they are equal. It also hints at the Revolution (fireworks/ 4th of July/freedom).

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The idea of the American Dream is that anyone has the opportunity to make themselves successful in life. These ideas are embodied in Ragged Dick as he is a poor street boy who with determination and hard work managed to turn himself into a clerk.

A contemporary example of this is The Pursuit of Happiness (2006) - which in relation to 'ragged dick' he is homeless and in order to be successful he works as an intern at a brokerage, he works very hard and eventually gets employed and becomes rich (rags to riches). And so it relates to the idea that if you work hard and are determined you can achieve the American dream.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xcZTtlGweQ

Contemporary statement of the American Dream

The American Dream is the idea that anyone can achieve the best opportunities, through the notion of hard work. Ragged Dick as a text deals with this notion with the portrayal of a young boy who goes from working and living on the streets to achieving his dream of owning his own space and having a good job. Dick has much luck along the way, which helps him to gain his happy outcome eventually, which can be seen as a challenge to the American Dream, indicating that it is perhaps it is lucky circumstances and being in the right place at the right time which is the key to achieving the American Dream. Nevertheless Ragged Dick is a useful text which suggests that the American Dream can really be achieved by even those it seems hopeless and likely for.

One contemporary example of the American Dream is the film Legally Blonde (2001) which stars Reece Witherspoon.


Legally Blonde is about a girl whose boyfriend breaks up with her, so to get him back she works really hard to get into Harvard Law School. This film shows the American Dream, as Elle, the lead character gets into one of the most prestigious schools in the country and becomes an outstanding lawyer, despite being unlikely to. She achieves this through hard work and determination, proving that anyone can really achieve anything if they put their mind to it. This relates to the ideas portrayed in Ragged Dick, as both lead characters are advocates of the unlikely success story, proving that the American Dream is accessible to all who wish to seek it, all you need is the believe in yourself and from others to earn it.

Dick & De Crevecoeur VS Society

Horatio Alger's 'Ragged Dick' explores 'rags to riches' theory throughout the novel, a young homeless orphan who eventually flourishes to a respectable clerk by working hard to achieve an education and takes every opportunity that is available to him, which is (fictional) proof of De Crevecoeur's theory of 'handwork'. De Crevecoeur states "idleness is the most heinous sin that can be committed". He also suggests that hard-work and determination is the only way to get anywhere in the United States of America. 

The idea present in Ragged Dick, is the notion that education is the way forward. However, a modern social issue that challenges this idea, is that after leaving education it is harder for one to gain a job. A film that challenges Ragged Dick, especially in today's society, is 'The Internship' (2013).


There is a scene within 'The Internship' in which the characters talk about the 'fantasy' that is the American Dream. Young, tech-savvy geniuses are fighting for the same job, because they feel as though, it is hard to get a job, even after being educated. There is also the idea that people who aren't educated, can try and work there way up, although being extremely difficult in todays world. 

Realistically, the idea that in order for someone to succeed they have to be educated, yes is still present, for those who are not may have difficulty, but on the other hand, even if you are educated, the American Dream, isn't so readily available.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Gun Control

http://dailycaller.com/2012/12/17/why-im-against-gun-control/

This article is not wholly against gun control however it does explain that gun control will not work and does not make people safer. Peter Tucci suggests that restrictions on gun control such as background checks would not work as there are many owned guns in the country (270 million) in which criminals can get there hands on with no background check, through family and friends or theft. Also the fact that there are so many firearms in the US makes it hard to ban guns as not only will that violate the 2nd Amendment but it will be hard for the government to eliminate every gun. He also states that gun control will affect law abiding citizens and will remove the protection they feel by having a gun.

http://www.demandaction.org/issues

This is an activist website who want tough action on gun control, they have three plans of action, make background checks needed for all gun purchases, ban military weapons and high capacity magazines, make gun trafficking a federal crime.
1. it is necessary for background checks as 40% of guns sold are online or at gun shows with no background checks - as of 2012 that is 6.6 m guns.

2. military guns can be purchased by people even with criminal record or mental illness by an unlicensed private seller (no background checks) which is a problem as between Jan 2009 -  Sept 2013 14% of mass shootings were with military style assault weapons.

3. there is no clear effective statute against gun trafficking however thousands of guns are purchased out of state and in cities like New York 90% of gun violence are from weapons from outside the city. No one is keeping track on the export of theses weapons.

I agree with demand action and that there should be more enforcement from federal law to keep records and tracks of guns, even if guns can never be banned entirely there should be definite restrictions on who can sell and buy guns and where the guns go.


Safe and secure…???

ANTI-GUN CONTROL http://www.armedandsecure.org
Armed and Secure is a website, TV commercial and radio ad that is Anti-gun control, it believes that the right to own firearms, is the only way to protect oneself. An example of that is posted by 'Armed and Secure is a video that can be found on youtube.  http://youtu.be/4-CU0PmzET4

"

http://www.demandaction.org/">http://www.demandaction.org
Whereas, Demandaplan.org explores the millions that want to take action against gun violence and put a stop to any gun related tragedies that occur just because people are allowed by the second amendment, to own a gun. Here is a highly popular commercial, made by demand action, featuring celebrities and their view on gun culture. http://youtu.be/1SqDocHFJ8k


gun control

http://www.comeandtakeit.com/index.html

The first of the websites I have chosen to discuss is "come and take it", which in itself sounds confrontational and stubborn already. The website is keen to point out what is said in the constitution and how to go against the constitution would be un-American. another of it's focuses is to tell the people that it is particularly important for an American to defend themselves. Rather than highlighting the role guns have in making an American feel safe, it's instead more worried about making you more conscious and afraid and that to be an American without a gun means you're not safe, almost to say to not trust your fellow countrymen. Their aim is to make the people who view the website to be scared and feel afraid if they do not have a gun on the person, which is a desperate attempt to make people believe that guns are a positive thing.

The website generally seems to be hugely right wing and massively patriotic. It sells American flags and states that all the "goods" sold are 100% American material and used American workers to make them. It states that they do not advocate the use of slave labour from the "communist countries". This to me is a ploy of heightening the person, who views the website, level of patriotism as a way of converting them onto their side to make them a pro gun campaigner.

http://www.gun-control-facts.com/Anti-Gun.php

I think that the US has not wanted guns to be part of their way of life for some time. This website states that even in the 1930's heavy taxations and strict regulation laws were put in place to make gun control more manageable. This ploy of making the availability of guns recede is a sign that the US doesn't actually want guns. They are merely stuck with an amendment, which some see as a bible, that means that they have to put up right wing citizens which leaves a country with regulations that it doesn't really want.
However, this website does not want a ban on all guns; it would rather have the screw tightened as far as the regulation and distribution of guns is concerned. The reason it gives for this is so guns are kept out of the hands of "shady dealers" and "dangerous individuals". Other reasons it gives is that the statistics of children and women murdered are quite shocking. I believe that this is a ploy that makes the viewer of the website feel sympathy and gain an understanding that the most innocent are getting killed by irresponsible, mental (couldn't think of a more PC word) individuals.

Should Americans be allowed guns?

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the right to bear arms, an amendment which has caused much debate. Owning a gun is seen as a given right, in the land of the free, with gun ownership being traced back to the times of settlers. However, many argue that although guns can be viewed as quintessentially American, they have no place in society today, and view them as unnecessary and dangerous, which has been highlighted in cases such as the Sandy Hook school shooting.

For Gun Control: http://www.policymic.com/articles/72067/gun-control-debate-the-argument-that-every-gun-owner-needs-to-start-making
This website allows people to post their perspectives on topical arguments, giving balance and incite into issues. This particular article interested me as it pointed out why it would be a good idea to allow for gun control, highlighting all the benefits that would be gained from this. The writer discusses the notion that more guns means more crime, and therefore the best way to solve this is to have no guns at all, but also realises that this means that crime will still continue in other means. Having no guns just means that people who really want to commit a crime will find another way to do so. The writer also identifies that Obama, who said that it is an 'obligation' to try and save one child if we could, is making a promise that really cannot be fulfilled. While the writer is saying that gun control is a good thing, I believe what they are really saying is that it is down to the people who own and use guns to be responsible for their actions.

Against Gun Control: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/12/movies/assaulted-civil-rights-under-fire-is-a-paean-to-the-second-amendment.html?ref=guncontrol
The New York Times is one of the most iconic newspapers within the United States. This article is written about a documentary about defending gun control called ‘Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire’, directed by Kris Koenig. It details how the documentary talks about how gun ownership is the only way to defend those who are vulnerable, such as women and the disabled. They even go as far as to liken gun control laws to that of Hitler and Stalin. This shows that some Americans feel very passionate and strongly about defending their rights of gun ownership, as they feel it is their personal responsibility and their right to protect themselves and their families. After all as Thomas Jefferson said (Proposed Virginia Constitution 1776) "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms".

Gun Control in the USA

Having the right to own a gun in the US, and actually owning one is seen as the normal as it is part of the country’s history and culture relating back the second amendment. In the past, owning a fire arm was a way a man got his power and respect – i.e. in the Wild West with Cowboys – but in today’s society they are seen more of an item to defend yourself with and a necessity to have like the latest iPhone.  Although owning a gun still today does bring power and authority but, people today abuse that power with examples such as: Colorado Cinema shootings, Sandy Hook shootings. Hence why gun control is so controversial. Below are some links for and against Gun Control:
FOR GUN CONTROL
This website published by Listverse is seen as reliable and unbiased source that looks at all the facts equally and uses them to supports arguments. With the link above it talks about the 10 main arguments for gun control, looking at a range of different aspects such as: deaths, crimes, political and cultural negative connotation and how these views and opinions change internally with in the USA and how other countries around the globe view gun ownership and control. It highlights on how by people owning guns to feel safe and protect themselves, only leads to more homicides, then equally it leads to more suicides. If people buy guns to protect themselves, it argues that if guns were nationally banned then everyone would feel safer as they would be living in a better society – a gun free one, but at the ratio of gun to people I don’t think this will happen as the ration is high as there are 270 million (that we know of) out there.
     I personally understand the views of this website. How that guns do generally have a negative connotation of death and violence around them and usually they do get used in the wrong way. That is why having them banned in the USA you would expect the death rate and violence to go down as you wouldn’t get meaningless and random attacks such as the ones that were mentioned earlier, as the people that committed them would never be able to obtain a gun or firearm of any sort at all.
AGAINST GUN CONTROL
This website published by Buzzle – a company that researches and develops ideas, which they then write about on their site making it a source of free unbiased data on a range of topics – explains some of the main reasons why Americans should be allowed guns. It relates back to a point in my preliminary saying that guns are part of the country’s history and culture relating it back to Thomas Jefferson. It talks about how people need guns to defend themsleves and helps them to reduce crime levels – which makes the people of the US feel safer and happier.
 
Here is just a link of a website I found interesting about guns in American giving me background knowledge for this blog:
 
 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Dance Hall in Arizona 1884

(http://www.archives.gov/research/american-west/images/168.jpg)

After the Louisiana Purchase, exploration to the West boomed, and more and more people moved westward. This opened up more opportunities to Americans, with more land to occupy.
This is a picture of a dance hall in Arizona taken in 1884 by Anton Muzzonvich. I chose this picture as I found it interesting as there are both white and coloured people included in the image, which you would probably not expect to see. They are also all mixed together, instead of being separated into groups, which is also not expected.
I also found it interesting, that they are setting up places such as dance halls in the west, so soon after moving there. It shows that life there is not all about hard work, and that the people like to relax, unwind and socialise.

Impact on Native Peoples



This painting by Charles M. Russell explores the forced relocation of Native American Indians during American expansion westward. The fact that the native American peoples are being overpowered in this image by the landscape their moving away from, can be interpreted as a means of an end, the end of their home and their lifestyle in the west. The fact that expansion is literally pushing them, is an example of the force and ruthless determination of the settlers. 

American West



pictify.com  

This picture shows how America will continue to expand because it has developed in the East and now it is moving West and will probably start to create towns and cities too. I particularly like how in the distance there are cities and its faded so is thought of as old and the fields are almost yellowy gold so they seem new and rich to invest in which would of attracted a lot of peoples attention.

A family group poses with dog, Indian domestic, and young children


This picture I found  has significant features as it is a demonstration of the relationship between the white settlers. The description of the picture that is given is "A family group poses with dog, Indian domestic, and young children outside a log cabin in New Mexico Territory, ca. 1895." I think the title  itself shows the dismissal of the status of the native Americans as they are seen to be, in this picture, on a par with the dog and the young children, which is particularly interesting.
 
Also the physical act we see of the woman putting her hand to almost hold down the native American demonstrates the power that the settlers had over the natives. It's as though she is metaphorically and physically holding down the native and will not let her stand so she can be free to move where she wants. The dog too has hands that on it but it looks more a sign of affection rather than a metaphorical symbol of oppression.

Also the Native American has her head facing the ground. It looks like a sign of submission and loss of hope, as she no longer has the will power to raise her head. The white settlers look more confident which is reflected in their stance and the way they look, almost menacingly, into the camera.

American moving west


http://fineartamerica.com/featured/remington-indian-warfare-granger.html 

As the people of America moved westwards in exploration for land and wealth, nothing was gonna stop them and get in there way. The men leading the frontier were ruthless and persistent especially with the Native Americans, who were either forced to move on westwards running for their lives or they were simply killed on the spot.

The picture I have chosen by Remington: Indian Warfare  (1908) is a prime of example of the movement. The setting you can tell is in the West with the open grass land plains, where you have no natural or man made structure as far as the eye can see. In the foreground you have the stereotypical image of Native Americans, riding horses firing rifles - how factual this is to be decided as before the English came Native Americans didn't ride horses as dictated in this painting - but nevertheless you can see the panic and confusion amongst then as they are fleeing while being shot at by the Americans. In a way it can been seen that Remington is showing this movement from the Native American point of view as it is said that, 'His focus was firmly on the people and animals of the West'. Just by showing a view point like this you get a better understanding as the viewer of this painting to how the Natives may have felt. Fear. Panic. Confusion some of the many emotions shown on their faces. 

The American people, that you can see in the background, out numbered the Natives, were more skillful than the natives, out gunned the Natives which all contributed them to being more powerful then the natives. American people explored the west saw the land to free and open, not owned by anyone and there for it was there 'God given gift' to take and have which is why they were so ruthless as they saw it as their right to have it. In a way it can be seen that by the moving on and killings of Native Americans it was as a form of pest control as they were unwanted and not seen a part of the new image forward for America.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Bill Clinton 1992

The Bill Blanton advertisement campaign from 1992immediately examines the of Bill Clinton to create an understanding between him and the listeners.
He seems thankful of any type of meeting with the former US president, Kennedy. This makes him seem humble and human. He says that small meeting was enough for him to be inspired to become the next US president.
He claims that his humble roots stayed with him even with his political popularity grew as he says that all he wanted to do was help people. He only mentions his policies which are to promote education, healthcare and to create jobs that will supposedly make "real progress".
He claims that he wants to bring hope back to the American dream.

In other words he wants to be the inspiration that Kennedy was to him and that anything is possible.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

George W Bush

George W. Bush was the President of the USA from 2001 to 2009.
This is one of his campaign ads from 2000, where he mentions his beliefs towards government. He begins by by expressing that he feels people should be held accountable for their actions. Already this gives the voter a sense that he is a believer in justice, a key element in American ideology. He goes on to say, "I believe in a government that is responsible to the people". This directly links to one of the greatest historical American quotes from Lincoln at the Gettysburg Address "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Here by creating a link to Lincoln, he gets the voter to feel that he too can be a great president, as he shares ideas.
He goes to to talk about 'trust', acknowledging that ultimately his fate is in the hands of the voter, and that he trusts them to do the right thing, and that in response he will trust them to aid his decision making. 
"We should help people live their lives, not run them" is the last point made in this ad, which gives the impression of freedom without censorship and the ability to choose how to live your life, which perhaps is not in fact the case. 
Bush strongly plays on the key ideology of freedom and justice in his campaign ad, with ideas which can be related back to Lincoln or the declaration of independence. 

In his re-election campaign in 2004, Bush plays strongly on the idea of defence and national fear after the 9/11 attacks. He talks about his opponent wanting to slash defence and intelligence budgets by $6 billion, which would weaken American defences and therefore cause harm to America. This clearly worked as he was elected again in 2005.

We've Heard it All Before



Mitt Romney 70th Governor of Massachusetts. 
 This is a political campaign for Barack Obama - but not the stereotypical. The advert for his campaign doesn’t say what he will do if he is elected as President, but it says what his Republican opponent Mitt Romney won’t do, claiming that he is giving at false hope and belief. 
The President of the U.S is meant to be there to represent the people of the country, in a way the voice of the people similar to that of Senator and Member of Congress, but this Ad by the Democratic Party claims that Mitt Romney isn’t. It highlights how he has meant to have favoured one specific level of the class system  - the rich which is a minority – and left behind the ‘middle class’ raising their taxes and ignoring them and in a way claiming that he will not be a strong representative  of them. 
Another point that is made is how “He out sourced Jobs to India”. There is currently and always has been this urge that the U.S should be an independent nation on not have to rely on that much on others.  By Romney apparently sourcing jobs outside he isn’t sticking to U.S beliefs as he should be helping boost the jobs on the home front and therefore failed his country.
It is because of all these promises being made and then followed by failures that help this Ad so well and as the Ad says, “It didn’t work then. It won’t work now”

Obama's Plan

Obama wishes to expand the middle class and create a million new jobs, especially within engineering and technology, which is why he wants to increase teachers in maths and science so the students can excel in theses jobs. And cut tuition fees so college is more available.

He also proposes more American industries and does not want to manufacture abroad as this probably costs more because of importation. He also envisions a green America with renewable energy resources.

I think his plan is what many people would envision, however is it really possible? He wants to tax the wealthy which will not please Republicans and so will make achieving his plans even harder.

The Romney Plan

"BELIEVE IN AMERICA"



Mitt Romney, an American business man and politician, served as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts, and was the republican's nominee for the 2012 presidential elections. In his advertisements for US Presidency, Romney promised a stronger middle class, trade that works for America, reduced spending and by helping small businesses, the promise of 12 million new jobs around the country. 

I believe that what Romney was promising, would have been beneficial to America, yet could it have been accomplished? Both Romney and Obama, promised a change in health care policies, even if Romney suggested it be for small business employees and not those who are uninsured, as Obama has. 
Romney's campaign has elements that have occurred throughout presidential elections since 1792, the promise of a better America. Obama and Romney's view on economic development differ; Romney for economic growth, Obama for fairness.

His advertisement for the 2012 presidential election was a video known as 'The Romney Plan'. http://youtu.be/dFQAZYZrjVU

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The New American

De Crevecoeur believes that "The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas and form new opinions". This idea is still relevant today. It's present in the skyscrapers, theme parks and attractions, film and cinema. De Crevecoeur states that the American must entertain new ideas, this involves trying new things, and most importantly, new foods.


Behold, Philadelphia's new 'Twinkie Burger'. Fox News states as "far as the taste, think tooth-aching-sweet Twinkies mixing with the saltiness of the pork and cheese, making for a sweet and savoury flavour combination".  

America is evidently one of the most unique countries when it comes to food. Obviously you would not see these types of new concoctions by walking into a Toby Carvery. America has no limits when it comes to trying new things. 

Melting Pot


 
  The image I have chosen addresses the idea of America as a "melting pot". The image suggests that the melting pot is formed through liberty and freedom as I believe that the statue of liberty symbolises this. De Crevecoeur addresses this issue too, as he believes the influx of immigrants helps create this new race. I believe De Crevecoeur too also believes in this and that it helps to create a new race. One that has disowned and got rid of any prejudices that the person may have learnt from living in a different country. The new American would only do this because of the principal, not because of law or obedience, which they may have learnt to after previously being a subordinate in their home country. He believes that America allows a person to lose the shackles and rough edges of their former self and become consumed and overwhelmed to become a better and refined person.

 I believe, however, that this image does have a degree of hypocrisy to it, as it does not address the acceptance of slavery and other evil characteristics. The idea that the American population has been moulded together by liberty and freedom is not completely true as not all are treated the same. Different languages are dismissed, as all speak English, that in itself proves that there is a certain amount of control and rule to America. This prove that the image is slightly hypocritical.

http://americanwiki.pbworks.com/w/page/12595396/The%20Melting%20Pot%20and%20Americanism

American Ideals

This video represents a group called Human Rights First which talks about challenging America to uphold their ideals.

I feel the video expresses the ideals that Crevecoeur talks about as it mentions freedom - 'America is freedom' which Crevecoeur states 'their happy independence, the great share of freedom they possess' which comes from being free from Europe and the class system and the space to set up your own future.

It also talks about national pride which Crevecoeur mentions 'he must necessarily feel a share of national pride when he views the chain of settlements' and expresses how this nation will provide so much for him.

It talks about the freedom of religion, which is what a majority of migrants from Europe wanted and because America is diverse it has many different religions and needs to uphold all of them.

'We are the most perfect society now existing in the world' - this can be expressed by the video's comment 'The world needs American leadership' this expresses how they lead the world not just in innovation and science but in morals and how they uphold the right to universal freedom.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Education, Education, Education



This is a video on YouTube of a child education product for parents to buy. This is a product in visual, reading and speaking task that will give their children a chance to have a more advanced education, promising that they will have a better life  . I thought this would be a good example of a modern representation of the quote by De Crevecoeur makes about education.

"If he is a good man, he forms schemes of future prosperity, her proposes to educate his children better than he has been educated himself; he thinks of future modes of conduct"  (De Crevecoeur, 2009. Page 59)

This quote shows that the people of America should think about their future and that the older generations should be planning of new ways to help the new generations to have a better life and a better education - which will ultimately leads to a better America. This commercial only emphasises the quote from De Crevecoeur, as this part of the plan to give the children a better education. It claims that by showing younger children education activities they will learn more as this is the time in which their minds are still growing. All of this will make them more prepared for school, College and University leading to a better job.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Gadgets On Planes

Crevecoeur talks about America as leading the way for the rest of the world, and being more open for opportunities. This is directly said, "Here he beholds fair cities, substantial villages, extensive fields, and immense country filled with decent houses, good roads, orchards, meadows, and bridges, where a hundred years ago, all was wild, woody, and uncultivated!" (pg 40) This shows America as not just being a vast expanse of land ready for use, but as quick in development and leading the way in development.
This may be because "Americans are the western pilgrims, who are carrying along with them that great mass of arts, sciences, vigour, and industry, which began long since in the east" (pg 44) Crevecoeur here talks about how Americans use the knowledge and technology created in the east, and adapt and build on it to be the front runner in advances.




One way this is still shown today is the recent news talking about how passengers will be able to use gadgets for the entire flight on US flights. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24761329) This shows America as embracing the 'technological revolution', which many of their brands such as Apple and Microsoft helped to create and make the movement thrive. The video on the website dismisses the traditional means of entertainment on flights such as books and newspapers, almost suggesting they are out-dated and impractical, despite still being used by many, and that the new modern gadgets such as e-readers and tablets are the way forward. For US airlines to implement this idea, it shows the US as leading the way, quite literally, around the world that they are ahead technologically, with new and fresh ideas making daily life easier, hinting at what Crevecoeur was discussing with the US being ahead and leading the way, with all the knowledge carried over from the east. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Early Pennsylvania

My source covers the early accounts of Pennsylvania and takes a look at the laws, standard of living and behaviour of the settlers that had already established themselves. Also the outlook on religion is examined too. Also there is a focus on the indigenous peoples way of living.
Firstly, it appears that the laws of the land at the time were extremely harsh "swearing, lying, bearing of false witness (since an oath is not allowed), scandal-mongering, adultery, lewdness, duelling, and stealing, are forbidden under pain of he severest punishment." This idea that swearing could be punished with the severest punishment, which we can presume is death, shows the brutality and how stern and unreasonable they were. I believe that the reason for these high levels of discipline was through the determination, that the early settlers had, to make a state of excellence and to make it an example that should be replicated by others. However, this did not deter them from treating the indigenous people with an absolute lack of humanity.
 However, in rather stark contrast they appear to have a very relaxed view when it came to religion "no one shall be disturbed in his belief or religion." This seems foreign to us now because of the persecution that religious people feel from others; not only today but throughout recent history. It shows a certain level of consciousness amongst the settlers that religion was not a matter to feel offended by even though it means a person is different. However, this is yet again contradicted by the fact that the settlers had the indecency to rip apart a whole community of indigenous people.
  The description of the indigenous people as well shows them in a very serene light. They seem very calm and satisfied with life. They mourn very heavily and their faith is very strong, so therefore would have similarities with the settlers. There appears to be no tension in their life's which shows the settlers that abused them in an even worse light. The reason for this is that it appears that there was nothing to provoke them into such violence.



http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/becomingamer/growth/text1/pennsylvaniapastorius.pdf
http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/amerbegin/settlement/text1/BradfordPlymouthPlantation.pdf

This article is about the Plymouth Colony and surviving their first winter from 1620-21. William Bradford the narrator tells us how difficult it is to survive and how 100 out of 150 people died within the first winter. One thing that interests me is that the contact between the Colony and the Indians does not seem threatening in fact it shows they're in alliance with each other:

 1 That neither he nor any of his should injure or do hurt to any of their people.
2 That if any of his did any hurt to any of theirs, he should send the offender that they might punish
him.
3 That if anything were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored, and they
should do the like to his.
4 If any did unjustly war against him, they would aide him; if any did war against them, he should aid
them.
5 He should send to his neighbors confederates [allies] to certify them of this, that they might not
wrong them, but might be likewise comprised [informed] in the conditions of peace.
6 That when their men came to them, they should leave their bows and arrows behind them.1

The Indians also show hospitality and show the Colony how to grow the crops as their crops are dying. It also interests me how the Indians learnt some English to communicate with the Colony which shows them willing to make a bond with the Colony.

It makes you wonder how this relationship and possibly many others break down and then the English eventually turn against them and cause genocide.


Voyage to Virginia

In 1688 Mr John Clayton wrote an account of his voyage to the state of Virginia and on the state itself. Describing to the people back in the mother land how different and similar it was. Most of his report is written from memory, as all his writing equipment fell overboard. Also he states his mind has a weakness where he can’t remember things that well, which he apologises for in in first paragraph. This does in a way make him a form of an unreliable narrator as we can’t guarantee that all his facts will be correct.
The contrast is weather is one of the first things that John mentions in his account. Here is an extract from his description 

“May and June the Heat encreases, and it is much like our Summer, being mitigated with gentle Breezes that rise about nine of the Clock, and decrease and incline as the Sun rises and falls. July and August those Breezes cease, and the Air becomes stagnant that the Heat is violent and troublesome. 

The difference in weather on a month to month basis is shown here and how vast it can be reaching both ends of the weather spectrum. In the quote above it mentions how hot the summers get and how they become “violent and troublesome” something that he finds hard to adapt to. He also states that the Indian’s may not be as civilised as what the English are, 

 “ for I look on the allowing them Horses much more dangerous than even Guns and Powder.”

 This could mean that he is calling them savages as then they would have the basic skills to run around wild and they would be able to get around faster – but at the same time is saying how uncivilised  and basic minded they are as they wouldn't be able to work out how to use the gun and gun powder.

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/jamestown-browse?id=J1074

A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, 1622

(Image found on http://www.treesinthewoods.com/featured_story_02.htm,  "Mayflower with shallop" by William Halsall, 1882)

In 1622, the Mayflower transported 102 English pilgrims to New England. Although they did not land where they had intended, they eventually came to settle in Plymouth. The journey of the Mayflower has come to be one of the most important to the history of New England, due to the influential Mayflower Compact, which created the foundation of self-government and  democracy in America.

This account is by Edward Winslow, with the addition of William Bradford. It discusses of how the pilgrims came to settle in New England, exploring the land, and meeting the natives. It was written between November 1620 and November 1621, providing information of the first year of the settlers.

One line which stood out for me in this journal was, "And sure it was God's good providence that we found this corn, for else we know not how we should have done, for we knew not how we should find or meet with any Indians, except it be to do us a mischief." This suggests to me that the settlers were happy to live off of the provisions of the natives, and were thankful to find some food, but were less than willing to actually meet and interact with the Indians. They seem to believe that the Indians will bring 'mischief', perhaps this is because they view them as uncivilised savages, or because they know that they are taking over native land. 
At a later point in the journal, an encounter with the Indians is described, "They thought it best to defend it, lest the enemy should take it and our stuff, and so have the more vantage against us." Here, they have proclaimed the native Indians as the enemy, and are protective of their weaponry, worried that should the natives get hold of it, they then have the upper hand. This suggests to me that the settlers think that they have the upper hand in keeping the natives in their place, and worry that this role could very easily be reversed. 

(http://www.histarch.illinois.edu/plymouth/mourt1.html)

JAMESTOWN 1607

In December 1606, three ships left England to establish a Virginia Colony. Amongst the men was George Percy, a previous colony's governor. They eventually arrived in April 1607, where they discovered "faire meddowes and goodly tall trees, with such fresh-waters running through the woods".

After spending the day, they experienced their first negative encounter with native peoples (Savages), which could have potentially been an obstacle in their plans to build on 'already-inhabited land'.

However the captain's leadership proved successful in their next encounter with the 'savages'. Where the captain offered a sign of friendship by laying his heart on his hand. "upon that they laid down their Bows and Arrowes, and came very boldly towards us, making signes to come a shoare to their towne". They were entertained by them, fed and shown their culture. "Dancing about him, shouting, howling and stamping against the ground, with many Antic tricks and faces, making noise like so many wolves or Devils."

I think the last quote emphasises the ignorance of the settlers, comparing them to creatures. The English are still prepared to build on land that is already inhabited. Potential Genocide came from all race's, all the time.



http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/amerbegin/settlement/text1/text1read.htm

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

French View of American Cinema

http://ezinearticles.com/?French-View-of-American-Cinema---Cultural-Values&id=838634

  The source that I have chosen discusses France's view on American cinema and how it can affect theirs. Ultimately, it assesses the French's determination and stubbornness to not let American characteristics filter itself through into their culture. The article is not solely based on the different film traits between the two countries but instead how the cinema is a reflection and highlights the difference between the two countries societies and cultures, rather than their view on cinema.

  I believe the aspect, that the article highlights, that is most distinguishing between the two countries is the idea of masculine and feminine culture that is demonstrated in their films. American films are masculine and, as a result, involve assertiveness, strength and bravery. The French, on the other hand, live in a feminine culture and are therefore more focused on relationships and as a result are rather more contemplative. I believe that because of this difference the French and particularly determined to avoid American films and culture because of the overwhelming contrast. This can be related to both countries view on war. The French are well known for being passive and the use of cinema has been blamed for that. America, however, is overtly aggressive when it comes to war because of their emphasis on masculinity in cinema.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/01/11/who-loves-and-hates-america-a-revealing-map-of-global-opinion-toward-the-u-s/

This map shows global opinions on how different countries view America. Those who give a favourable opinion on America can be quite surprising such as Mexico, which even surprises Americans themselves, as even with tension on the border due to mass immigration which causes lots of resentment among Americans and even with drug trafficking they give a general positive opinion.

Greece's Opinion on America

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2013/08/18/greeks-start-liking-u-s-again/

This article details the changing opinion on America from Greece, as becoming less negative, and abandoning a long-standing anti-American feeling.
The article says that in 2010 only 12.2% of Greeks favoured America. This hugely increases to 35% in 2012, and 39% in 2013, which is more than 3x as many who favoured America in 2010. I found this information on a global attitudes website (http://www.pewglobal.org/database/indicator/1/country/84/), and obtained this graph from there.
The article also goes on to say how Greeks were very favourable towards Barack Obama, and gave him a 66.8% favourable rating. This is higher than his own country, which was 57% in 2013, and only 25.5% had a negative view on him. This could be an indication as to why the public opinion has changed towards America, perhaps the Greek feel more at ease and favourable of America with Obama in charge. However, the article goes on to say that although this may be the case, the Greek are still largely against American foreign policy, with only 27.6% having a favourable opinion on the matter. 
Generally, the Greek have a very favourable opinion towards American culture, 88.6% have a positive view of American universities, and 85.6% have a positive view on American products and technology. 61.3% of Greeks have a positive opinion towards American people. 
Overall, the Greek opinion towards America is warming, it has gone from being quite harsh and judgemental, to an acceptance of culture, and the hope of Obama, despite the fact that still a high number of Greeks are critical of American foreign policies. 

North Korea and the USA




When reading the article about why North Korea has such strong negative feeling towards the USA it to me becomes apparent that there are multiple factors that are involved. One is the history of how the country was formed and ruled - as it is a communist country it is bound to have clashes with the USA as it is a leading country in Capitalism, bringing back opposition of similar ideas to what was in the "Cold War". Also the USA's close links to South Korea seems to push the two countries apart not to mention the fact most of North Korea's media and internet is monitored and suited so that its people inherit the negative ideology of the USA; amongst other things like: Military Power, Global Politics, Culture Influences and more.  


China's opinion of the United States of America

http://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/how-china-sees-america/



By reading this article written about the attitudes of the Chinese towards America, I believe that China believes the United States to be a threat, especially since China is a rising power. According to the chart below, most of the Chinese population believe that America is unfavourable as opposed to the minority, which believe otherwise. Although the relationship between the Chinese and America is not as bad as other countries, it could still be viewed as, not particularly great. The Chinese see western culture, particularly American culture as "militaristic, offense-minded, expansionist, and selfish". 
The view of the Chinese could be justified by America's overwhelming military power, political influence and economic stability. 



Sunday, 6 October 2013


I like this creative map of the different images that are from each state as it shows the wonderful landscape that the US has and the diversity in it. It also shows us that each state has something different to offer and so the each experience is different. It also reminds us how vast and different the landscape is compared to us.
Why has everybody not posted yet?
File:Census-2000-Data-Top-US-Ancestries-by-County.svg

I believe that this image perfectly demonstrates the variety of cultures and nationalities in America, as it shows each county's most dominant ancestry. People from all over the world have looked for settlement there and as a result, this has made America an incredibly multicultural nation. It proves how rich America is with opportunities and a better life for many, because if this wasn't the case, we wouldn't see the range of nationalities that we see in this image. It too, justifies the assumption made by many Americans, that their country is the epicentre of the world, as so many foreign citizens have wanted to travel and live there. Although it's mainly dominated by German, Mexican, American and African descendants, it would be tough to argue that we would see this much variety in any other country.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

World Famous Brands In America


I found this map of America interesting as it represents the states which most consumes the largest brands. I was surprised to learn that the state which dominates Apple, was California. Because, stereotypically, I would have thought it to be New York. Some States, I was not surprised at. For example, Washington D.C., the largest buyer of Starbucks and Florida, being the main supplier of Hooters, due to the state's buzzing tourist attractions. I think, that by looking at the brands that different states are buying into, can actually help with understanding a little about each of them.



Friday, 4 October 2013

Grandparents As Caregivers

           (http://www.censusscope.org/us/map_30plus_responsiblegrandchildren.html)

This demographic map took my interest as it surprised me as to how concentrated the higher percentage of grandparents as caregivers is in the southern states. Southern states such as Texas, New Mexico and Mississippi have the highest percentage of grandparents who live with and care for their grandchildren, Mississippi especially with 3.15% of grandparents responsible as caregivers to grandchildren. Although mostly concentrated in the south, there are a few hotspots in the North of America where this occurs, particularly South Dakota and Montana, where total percentage of caregivers is roughly 1.2%.

This concentration of caregivers in the south may be evident due to cultural norms, such as within African-American families, where a nuclear family set up may not be the typical way of life, beanpole families may be more present, where grandparents are heavily involved in the upbringing of a child. This may be due to separation of parents or parents working, making grandparents are reliable source of baby-sitting, and may even end up becoming the primary carer for their grandchildren.

I think it is also interesting to notice that Alaska has a high percentage of grandparents looking after grandchildren, with 1.66% doing so, which is roughly 5500 people of the population. This again may be due to a different way of life and cultural norms in Alaska. Similarly, although it may not look it on the map, Hawaii has a percentage of 2%, which is roughly 15,000 grandparents as caregivers. I feel this is a remarkably large number for such a small state.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Connected States of America


This is a map of the USA has been created by US residents internet signals using the social network Facebook, lines between two points on the map are to correspond with the number of contacts between the two places making it clear to reflect just how strong the social connections between two cities highlighting how connected and united the USA on a social aspect actually is. There is a heavy population density in the Eastern half of the USA which is shown by the stronger more consitant glow by more people are using the social network connections, which you would expect as most  of the population, bigger cities, more developed areas are in fact in that region.  You can also locate major Western cities such as: Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco as these are some of the few strong hot spots as these are also heavily populated.   

Hi Folks
As I am away in America this week I can't meet on Thursday. I'd like to meet on MONDAY instead at 12.15. OK?

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Positive 'iconic' image of America
For my positive iconic image of America, I've picked the Hollywood sign. Everyone instantly recognizes the Hollywood sign as identifiable of America, and the film and entertainment industry. Hollywood in Los Angeles is the go to place for aspiring actors and actresses, or anyone dreaming of making the big time. This shows the American Dream, and relates to the idea of making a new beginning, with the feeling that in America, anything is possible. The sign itself, built in 1923, is symbolic of the hopes and dreams of many wanting to 'see their name in lights', and is a popular tourist attraction in the Hollywood Hills, helping to bring in a record-breaking 41.4 million tourists to Los Angeles in 2012.
Negative 'iconic' image of America
The September 11th attacks, or 9/11, was a tragedy not just for the United States, but also for the rest of the world. The Twin Towers was a financial base for New York businesses, with many employed and working there for different companies, creating a community within those who worked there. They were iconic buildings in New York, and the US as a whole, as they stood tall together protruding the skyline. The impact of 9/11 was felt like an earthquake through American society, with all eyes gripped on the tragic events unfolding for all across the world to witness. I feel this image shows America as vulnerable. Although America stands strong as a United nation, it doesn't make it invincible. This image is strongly associated to terrorism, the aftermath of this event lead to the 'War on terrorism', which is highly controversial and has a split public opinion. The site where the towers once stood is now synonymous for the grieving of a great nation, and as a place of remembrance for all those innocent lives tragically lost.

This iconic photo demonstrates the harsh reality for African Americans during the civil rights movement. It also optimises the hypocrisy of America and how unfair life could be in a country that self proclaims itself to be the land of the free. Racism has been a common negative aspect in American culture, and has been an issue that has been tirelessly fought against for centuries. Although this picture was taken during the 60's I believe that it is still an issue that is unresolved in America. It is true that the situation has improved since the time of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, but I believe that it still, on some what a subconscious level, a real negative aspect of American culture. Although Barack Obama is in the White House, it would be na├»ve to say that there is still a proportion of American citizens that are not still racist.

The positive photo I have chosen exemplifies the "American Dream". It proves that America is in fact a country that does offer opportunities for all comers. I also believe the negative image I have chosen helps emphasise the vast change in culture and tolerance that America has experienced over the last 50 years. From a country that was not willing to let an African American on the front of bus to then accept an African American in the White House shows the possibilities and potential that America has. It justifies a lot of the optimism that Americans feel, which in Britain we are not used to. It also proves the fact that America does not have this vague issue with class that we have. This idea of optimism sets America apart from the rest of the world and is something other nations should aspire to.