Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Crevecoeur's book he talks about how anyone could make something of themselves and make twice as much money doing it in America compared to anywhere else. No matter what your background or your past, you could go to America and experience a 'new' beginning, in the sense that you would be met with a warm welcome, be hired, earn a high amount of money and develop yourself into anything you want to be, for example Crevecoeur mentions in his book (page 56) - "there is room for everyone in America" "he need not go many miles, nor recieve many information before he will be hired, well fed at the table of his employers, and paid four or five times more"

This is shown in the success of Hugh Laurie who is hugely talented as he is an English actor, voice artist, comedian, writer, musician, recording artist and director and so is hugely successful in both England and America. Since 2010 Hugh has been the highest paid actor in a drama series on US television and has also been listed in 2012 Guinness Book of World Records as the highest paid actor in a TV Drama where he earns around $700,000 per episode he does in the US drama House. Providing evidence to Crevecoeur's view that anyone can go to America, can start afresh and earn four or five times more money.

Another example of this is Mark Zuckerberg (co-creater of the social networking site Facebook) who although is from America, is only 27 and yet at such a young age his estimated personal worth is $17.5 billion. Giving the impression that America provides all the neccessary oportunites for anyone to do what ever they want from this reep the benefits very quickly, earning much more then they would be able to anywhere else.

Barack Obama

Crevecoeur’s ‘Letters from an American Farmer’ puts forward the ideas that if you work hard and to the best of you’re ability, you can achieve great things in America. You undergo great change that would be not possible in Europe and can reach your full potential. In particular in Letter III What is an American? Pg 59, Crevecouer writes, ‘From nothing, to start into being; from a servent, to the rank of a master; from being the slave of some despotic prince to become a free man, invested with lands to which every municipal blessing in annexed! What a change indeed!’. This portrays America as the place of transformation, the place where you make something of yourself through hard work and dedication. This ties in with the contempary example I have chosen to use of Barack Obama the current US President who came from humble beginnings and through hard work and determination made a name for himself. ‘I was raised mostly by a single mom and my grandparents. And Michelle, she had sort of a ‘Leave it to Beaver’ perfect family,” he said to laughter. 'She did. They were wonderful… By the time we graduated from law school, we had between us, about $120,000 worth of debt. We combined and got poorer together. So, we combined our liabilities. Not our assets.’

I think the phrase on pg 44 ‘The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas and form new opinions’, made me think instantly of Obama. Obama I feel, represents the new vision of America we experience today through his campaign for change and the fact he is the first black president publically overcoming slavery and segregation once and for all.

“It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.”

Here, Obama appreciates the hard work from the past and preaches how the nation has to work together to achieve the change in America today. Obama said in a speech during his campaign, ‘Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the one’s we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek’. I think these quotes from Obama both tie in with the idea that Crevecoeur represents in particular on pg 44 Crevecoer says, ‘Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labours and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world’. This shows that he believed people produced change in America through their own hard work and dedication. It also has strong significance to equality shown through people of all nations coming together to create a new race 'the american', which can be related to the overcoming of racism in America through the positive action of a black president.

Crevecoeur and America's Next Top Model

'He is Arrived on a new continent: a modern society offers itself to his contemplation, different from what he had hitherto seen.'

Crevecoeur mentions that 'This country will flourish in it's turn', meaning that it exists as it's own and will form it's own proud existence, more importantly however is the idea that America is new and that 'a modern society' exists today as much as it did then, which brings me to my reference, when we think of new and modern we think of the youth and America's fashion industry certainly demonstrates this, especially given the success.

This is a controversial link which shows supermodel and presenter of the show America's Next Top Model, Tyra Banks shouting at a contestant for their bad attitude. The presenter no doubt has diva tendencies which can prove quite comical. The bigger issue however is that this is unlikely to be the kind of response made within other countries in Europe. We can take from this clip, America's attitude to fashion is to work hard and get far. This notion exists within the Letters from an American Farmer, however fashion is exceptionally profound in America and the multi-million dollar industry has made way for some massively successful American designers, detailed in the link below,

Tyra banks demonstrates clearly what America is all about, working hard and being passionate and proud. It is common knowledge that if you want to be a successful actor or model, you go to Hollywood. America is leading the way for film and fashion, the clip demonstrates its serious attitude to stay exceptional, the same point Crevecoeur makes about America in the 1700's.

De Crevecouer in Today

Cheryl Cole Moving to America
“I think any artist would like to break America. If you break there, you can break anywhere. It's a big, big deal and a lot different to us. I'd like the success of breaking in America”

Talking to Glamour magazine, the pop starlet revealed that the Californian sunshine has made her "feel alive".

De Crevecoeur writes about America being the land of new opportunities a land of promise for those who are willing to work hard ‘search for the subterranean riches it no doubt contains’ ( p16); they will ultimately live a better life than in their previous homeland. Cheryl Cole can be seen as falling into his trap as she decided to up root her successful life in London and move to L.A. The main reason she left was to kick start her singing and popularity career believing that America held that promise. To this day many singers who have once conquered the U.K look to states as their next goal, believing that they will achieve more fame, more money living a better life (Tine Tempah and Adele). Another reason why Cheryl Cole fits in with De Crevecoeur would be because she changed who she was so she would be more appreciated and welcomed by American Society almost becoming American, she had many speech lessons to try and change her Geordie accent.

"I kind of have to change the way I speak. I used to hear British people and think, 'Ugh, why are you saying 'take out the trash'? But I had this thing the other day because I'd said 'quarter past one' and they didn't get it.’’

Looking at the picture Cheryl shows an unbelievable similarity as an American actress, gone is
the sleek hair and mini-dress, in their place is a huge bouffant hairdo and purple flares. Cheryl Cole tried to reinvent herself as something new and improved something the American people would try and accept and like. De Crevecoeur writes that the new people who come and settle
in America will become a new born American, thinking like Americans. ‘An American who leaving behind him all his antient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode he has embraced…The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas and form new opinions.’

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Acceptance and America

In the news release with “Dhaka Dust” Ms. Ahmed poses a question that is not often asked: “What does it mean to be a Philadelphia-born Bangladeshi-American woman, a writer of color with a Muslim surname raised in small Midwestern towns?” “Dhaka Dust,” winner of the 2010 Bakeless Prize for poetry, is her attempt at an answer. Though she’s American, Ms. Ahmed makes it clear that she’s been honed and haunted by her ghost homeland, Bangladesh. But that knowledge offers small solace, only dual exile:

My sister hisses, they know

by your walk you aren’t

from here, never mind

your dark hair, your skin.

(in “Dhaka Bazaar before Departure).

She understands that she’s dust, not unlike the Depression-era Okie dust of Woody Guthrie’s “Dust Bowl Ballads”: She’s dust whipped across continents to land in, of all places, Ohio; dark-skinned dust to be spurned, shunned or boot-heeled; immigrant Muslim dust that is feared but also fears.

There are many ways America can be "new" and "exceptional" in contrast to other countries, but the one it prides itself on the most is it's liberal acceptance of all peoples. It doesn't matter what you were in the past or where you're from - you are going to be equally accepted as a new person once you're American. De Crevecouer states in Letters from an American farmer his vision that he will be accepted by the Americans, and "be adopted soon after our arrival". America still prides itself on this today, and are proud to have an African-American president to show the equality. However, despite what America as a whole claims - a lot of the people don't see and treat their neighbours equally within American towns and cities. It is not as "new", "exceptional" and as liberal as it claims it is and as the vision most likely soon disappears. On the other hand, The Media and Hollywood also still promotes equality and idealistic liberal ideas to American Citizens causing the vision to be there in the first place to those outside of America, still making America "new" and "exceptional" to others, and those who live in it and believe it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Speech by Powhatan, as recorded by John Smith, 1609

Why will you take by force what you may obtain by love? Why will you destroy us who supply you with food? What can you get by war? . . . We are unarmed, and willing to give you what you ask, if you come in a friendly manner. . . .
I am not so simple as not to know it is better to eat good meat, sleep comfortably, live quietly with my women and children, laugh and be merry with the English, and being their friend, trade for their copper and hatchets, than to run away from them. . . .
Take away your guns and swords, the cause of all our jealousy, or you may die in the same manner.

This speech is written by chief Powhatan to the English settlers (recorded by John Smith). The story of John Smith his travels to America are most commonly recognised alongside Pocahontas who was actually chief Powhatan’s daughter, although the story of Pocahontas’s and John Smith’s relationship has been written stating very different views of the story. The speech above indicates that Powhatan and his tribe welcomed the English and were somewhat happy with sharing their land and resources with the travellers, however it seems that this did not go to plan. From the speech above it seems that Powhatan was shocked and could not understand why the English wanted to start a war with them as in the speech he says “why will you take by force what you may obtain by love? Why will you destroy us who supply you with food?” Some of the stories of Powhatan’s tribe and Pocahontas, talk about how the tribe had supplied the travellers with food as the English didn’t and couldn’t find or source their own and when the English wouldn’t trade their guns for the food the tribe stopped supplies and so the English started a war with the tribe. This speech written by the chief was to the English in a bid to stop the war. It seems that he was even willing on sharing everything the tribe had with the English in order to keep the peace and get to know these new people and culture in order to learn – which leads to part of the speech “take away your guns and swords, the cause of all our jealousy” The tribe were interested in these new tools (guns) and so if they were removed from the equation they would be able to live in harmony. However it seems that the English did not rise to the offer of chief Powhatan and so the war continued.

1656 Account by an Early Settler

Below is an extract from account in 1656, John Hammond, who wishes to clarify the rumours about Virginia.

'The Country is reported to be an unhealthy place, a nest of Rogues, whores, desolute and rooking persons; a place of intolerable labour, bad usage and hard Diet, &c.'

The account doesn't deny these claims, but makes references to how Virginia has changed and is now 'fruitful' and 'replenished'. It's a positive account of the land and the entire extract also makes links to the native Americans who live there, the whole document can be found on the link at the bottom. The extract below details the main comparison which the account makes to England, mostly about the food offered and how 'venison is a tiresome meat'...'Turkey is frequent' we can already see a reference of America's introduction of Turkey,

'The Country is as I said of a temperate nature, the dayes, in summer not so long as in England, in winter longer; it is somewhat hotter in June, July and August then here, but that heat sweetly allayed by a continual breaze of winde, which never failes to cool and refresh the labourer and traveller; the cold seldom approaches sencibly untill about Christmas, (although the last winter was hard and the worst I or any living there knew) and when winter comes, (which is such and no worse then is in England,) it continues two monthes seldom longer, often not so long and in that time although here seldom hardweather keep men from labour, yet there no work is done all winter except dressing their own victuals and making of fires.

The labour servants are put to, is not so hard nor of such continuance as Husbandmen, nor Handecraftmen are kept at in England, I said little or nothing is done in winter time, none ever work before sun rising nor after sun set, in the summer they rest, steep or exercise themselves five houres in the heat of the day, Saturdayes afternoon is alwayes their own, the old Holidayes are observed and the Sabboath spent in good exercises.

The Women are not (as is reported) put into the ground to worke, but occupie such domestique imployments and houswifery as in England, that is dressing victuals, righting up the house, milking, imployed about dayries, washing, sowing, &c. and both men and women have times of recreations, as much or more than in any part of the world besides, yet som wenches that are nasty, beastly and not fit to be so imployed are put into the ground, for reason tells us, they must not at charge be transported and then mantained for nothing, but those that prove so aukward are rather burthensome then servants desirable or usefull.

The Country is fruitfull, apt for all and more then England can or does produce, the usuall diet is such as in England, for

the rivers afford innumerable sortes of choyce fish, (if they will take the paines to make wyers or hier the Natives, who for a small matter will undertake it,) winter and summer, and that in many places sufficient to serve the use of man, and to fatten hoggs, water- fowle of all sortes are (with admiration to be spoken of) plentifull and easie to be killed, yet by many degrees more plentifull in some places then in othersome, Deare all over the Country, and in many places so many, that venison is accounted a tiresom meat, wilde Turkeys are frequent, and so large that I have seen some weigh near threescore pounds; other beasts there are whose flesh is wholsom and savourie, such are unknowne to us; and therefore I will not stuffe my book with superfluous relation of their names; huge Oysters and store in all parts here the salt-water comes.

The Country is exceedingly replenished with Neat cattle, Hoggs, Goats and Tame- fowle, but not many sheep; so that mutton is somwhat scarce, but that defect is supplied with store of Venison, other flesh and fowle; The Country is full of gallant Orchards, and the fruit generally more luscious and delightfull then here, witnesse the Peach and Quince, the latter may be eaten raw savourily, the former differs and as much exceeds ours as the best relished apple we have doth the crabb, and of both most excellent and comfortable drinks are made, Grapes in infinite manners grow wilde, so do Walnuts, Smalnuts, Chesnuts and abundance of excellent fruits, Plums and Berries, not growing or known in England; graine we have, both English and Indian for bread and Bear, and Pease besides English of ten several sorts, all exceeding ours in England, the gallant root of Potatoes are common, and so are all sorts of rootes, herbes and Garden stuffe.'

“Another Race of White Men Come Amongst Us”

Native American Views as British Replace the French in the Lower Mississippi Valley, 1765

Below is a brief quotation, though the link is given below for anyone wishing to read the whole thing.

"When I was Young the White Men came amongst us bearing abundance along with them, I took them by the hand & have ever remained firm to my Engagements, in return all my wants & those of my Warriors & Wives & Children have been Bountyfully Supplied. I now See another Race of White Men Come amongst us bearing the Same abundance, & I expect they will be equally Bountyfull which must be done if they wish equally to gain the affection of my people.I and my Men have used the Guns of France these Eighty Winters Back, I wish I was Young to try the English Guns & English Powder both of which I hope will flourish & rejoice the Heart of the Hunters thro' the Land and Cover the Nakedness of the Women...I am not of opinion that in giving Land to the English, we deprive ourselves of the use of it, on the Contrary, I think we shall share it with them, as for Example the House I now Speak in was built by the White people on our Land yet it is divided between the White & the Red people. Therefore we need not be uneasy that the English Settle upon our Lands as by that means they can more easily Supply our wants.Source: Mississippi Dept. of Archives and History, Mississippi Provincial Archives: English Dominion, compiled and edited by Dunbar Rowland (Nashville, Tenn: Brandon Printing Co., 1911), 240–41."

This account is quite a positive account - and the moments which are written with a negative experience were usually turned positive with a hopeful conclusion. The Native American writes about how generous the settlers are, and how although he hears stories he hopes they have 'no truth' in them, and how he 'could not believe' they would be sent to 'deceive' them. The one story he heard and knew had no truth in, although he hoped it did, was how the 'white men' treated the tribes' women, and how some 'generous' Indian sent his own wife to share with them.

The Native Americans were accepting and seemingly got on with the settlers - not much is written complaining about differing beliefs or ways of life - and were even happy to share their homes with the 'White Men' as it was built by them. Yet the relationship between the two seems to be based primarily on fair trade and trust, which can be easily broken.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Indian Trader John Lawson’s Journal of Carolina, 1709

I have just taken small parts of Lawson's Journal of Carolina but the whole thing can be found on a link attached at the bottom.

"Next Morning very early, we waded thro' the Savanna, the Path lying there; and about ten a Clock came to a hunting Quarter, of a great many Santees; they made us all welcome; shewing a great deal of Joy at our coming, giving us barbacu’d Turkeys, Bear’s Oil, and Venison…Here we hir’d Santee Jack (a good Hunter, and a well-humour’d Fellow) to be our Pilot to the Congeree Indians; we gave him a Stroud-water-Blew, to make his Wife an Indian Petticoat, who went with her Husband…
Viewing the Land here, we found an extraordinary rich, black Mould, and some of a Copper-colour, both Sorts very good; the Land in some Places is much burthen’d with Iron, Stone, here being great Store of it, seemingly very good: The eviling Springs, which are many in these Parts. issuing out of the Rocks, which Water we drank of, it colouring the Excrements of Travellers (by its chalybid Quality) as black as a Coal. When we were all asleep, in the Beginning of the Night, we were awaken’d with the dismall’st and most hideous Noise that ever pierc’d my Ears: This sudden Surprizal incapacitated us of guessing what this threatning Noise might proceed from; but our Indian Pilot (who knew these Parts very well) acquainted us, that it was customary to hear such Musick along that Swamp-side, there being endless Numbers of Panthers, Tygers, Wolves, and other Beasts of Prey, which take this Swamp for their Abode in the Day, coming in whole Droves to hunt the Deer in the Night, making this frightful Ditty 'till Day appears, then all is still as in other Places…These Indians are a small People, having lost much of their former Numbers, by intestine Broils; but most by the Small-pox, which hath often visited them, sweeping away whole Towns; occasion’d by the immoderate Government of themselves in their Sickness."

Lawson's account of the Native Americans is a positive one and is written in 1709 suggesting that during this time the early settlers and the natives got on well. Throughout the passage, Lawson reveals that the native brings them food to survive and is showing Larson the way to another village to help him continue trade. The account shows that the Natives are excited to see them as they make the settlers welcome bringing them more food and drink this could be in exchange for weaponry and clothing. Lawson highly regards the natives and they hire a guide to help them, suggesting that the settlers are new and don’t know the land very well and are extremely dependant on them. This can be confirmed when they hear strange sounds and don’t know what it is. This account is very interesting as it gives a small but very valuable insight of Native Americans; it shows us that the Natives where extremely resourceful living off the land and being able to survive as long as they had meat. From Lawson’s account he does seem to be sympathetic towards the dwindling numbers of Native Americans affected by disease and small pox signifying concern and caring, suggesting that he sees them more than being savages. However, this could be due to the fact that if the Natives dye out then he can no longer trade with them. Lawson description of Carolina suggests that he is amazed at the country as he lists so many natural resources America has to offer in such a small part of the country. Suggesting that America is a land of opportunity to make yourself rich from export and trade.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Views of America

This link directs you to a blog written by S. Czuratis, a German who is curently living in America. In his blog he talks about how Americans have asked him how they are percieved in Germany - to answer their questions he created a survey which he sent home to his friends and family back home in Germany to gain an honest and unbiased German opinion of how they percieve America. The main results were that Germans percieved Americans to be stupid, fat and heavily armed. However this is only the opinions of a small amount of Germans, he then goes on to explain why they feel this way - Americans are percieved as stupid mainly because good education is expensive and so leaves the less fortunate younger generation uneducated as they cannot afford a decent education. Americans are also percieved as stupid as they seem ignorant of other cultures and countires - whereas he then goes on to say from his experience that Americans are very curious about other cultures and countries even though he has been asked questions like 'do they have electricity in Germany?' Really?! He states that the main reason Americans seem to only know about themselves is because they do not have good sources to information and news, for example American news stations only cover stories that involve America and local news rather than world news.

However the statement that America is ignorant of other cultures and countries is flipped (as discussed in this website - which talks about how most information which the world thinks about America is wrong and exaggurated, for example the site says that 80%of Britons believe that the US sold Saddam Hussein more than 25% of his weapons when in fact the US only sold 0.46%, whereas countries such as Russia (57%), France (13%) and China (12%) supplied far more.

The previous blog also goes onto discuss that one of the main things that Germans think about America, is that all Americans are fat. But they justify this by saying that this is becasue hamburgers from a local McDonalds in the states only costs 49 cents whereas an apple from their local stores will cost them far more - $1.29.
The other website also talks about hte eating habits of Americans by saying that the French are well known for their hatred of American fast food such as McDonalds. However the site points out that one out of every two French people visit McDonalds at least once a year and that McDonalds in France is the second biggest money maker in the world after the USA!

A Spanish View Of America.

The link above takes us to a translated article written by Antonio Cano entitled, ‘Is Steve Jobs Just an American Product?’ and gives us a Spanish view of entrepreneurs and inventors in America.

The Article looks at the Apple co-founder Steve Job’s successfulness and states that it would not be possible to achieve this in any country but the United States. It is believed to be a shared view supported by numerous comments by other people mentioned by the writer for example, Jordi Sevilla a Spanish politician wrote on Twitter, ‘a success such as the one had by Steve Jobs would be impossible in Spain, since in Spain it is forbidden to make computers in a garage, and no one would have lent the money that he needed for his company to him’.

The article outlines his opinion on how America stands different from other countries making reference to ‘the American dream’. ‘[The United States] has always been the land of opportunities, and if every day thousands of people are still crossing the borner illegally, it is because one keeps believing it is.’. There is no hint of bitterness, it has mainly a positive tone, recognizing America’s ‘brilliance’ through praising comments such as ‘perseverance and optimism are the main distinctive factors of this country’ and being critical of his own country ‘Frequently in our societies, good contacts have priority over good ideas’.

However, the article ends with a negative tone ‘However worse that that is the fatalism that sentences some countries to a timeless secondary role’, indicating that the Spanish public may feel as if America has overtaken the rest of the world and other countries are beneth it. Although there are some slight criticisms ‘Maybe nowadays, Americans do not have the level of ambition that their ancestors had; nor do they have their spirit of shared sacrifice.’, it manages to uphold a fairly positive tone.

I think it is a fairly valid opinion as it is true that most of the successful inventors and entrepreneurs do seem to originate from America. A Lot of the biggest corporations come from America, Forbes (Business Magazine) recently compiled a list of 2000 of the worlds biggest companies and found that the rankings spanned 62 countries with the US, (515 members) followed by Japan (210 members) dominating the list. The writer backs most of his points up with facts and although provides evidence of people who agree we cannot say that he represents the spanish opinion as a whole.

French View Of America

The link below takes us to an essay which was written by Denis Lacorne, he is French and he directs the masters programme on American Politics at L'Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris.
It includes the results from a SOFRES (SOFRES is part of TNS, a leading market research group) poll done in 2000 which had the open-ended question, 'When you think of the United States, what words and images come to your mind?', 56% of French answered negatively to this question and the most common issue that came up was that of violence (21%). All of the findings can be found on the last two pages of the essay.
Denis has also detailed 'three quick swings' of public opinion which has occured since 11th September, 2001. The first phase is that of empathy, the idea that the french government have imposed a three minute silence and hundreds of drawings elementary schools in normandy sent to the US embassy, then the second phase is the different opinion France took on American intervention in Iraq, 78% of a polled sample, opposed the American Intervention and more surprising, a quarter of the French said they were 'on the iraqi side'. The third stage is that of reconciliation and the preperation for the G8 summit, giving oppertunity for friendly relations.
What's interesting is that Denis mentions ...
'We Believe we know a great deal about America, but in fact we know very little...There are numerous reasons for such ignorance: nigligence, lack of depth research, excessive reliance on hearsay and reductionist stereotypes, old-fashioned prejudices, and no doubt, a certain arrogance, based on a feeling of European cultural and moral superiority'
Is this another way of saying France is more cultured than America? Or at least, does the French think it is? The essay is detailed and worth reading, it was written in 2005 however, but it offers some interesting data results and opinions from what seems a reliable source, rather than the abundance of blogs swimming around the web.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A European View Of America: "A View of America From Across the Ocean"

"Having lived for extended periods of my life both in the United States and in different countries in Europe, I feel as if I belong somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean -- so maybe I can look at both sides with something that can possibly be called objectivity, or at least a view from the outside.

I love the United States, I love the variety of people, of climates and scenery and of ways of life. I love the openness and immediate friendliness of Americans. I have lived in France longer than in any other country, I still feel somewhat like a foreigner when it comes to their amazingly rich culture, but also their stubbornness in always sticking to their own way of looking at history and the world.

But there was never any real indication as far as I could tell of anti-Americanism in France. The French life style and the American life style are so different that there has to be some kind of a culture shock when the two meet. On the other hand, there is a healthy amount of curiosity about things American in Europe in general, an interest in America, its people and its institutions of learning."

by Siv O'Neall, Lyon, France, written in 2004.

The writer explains how Europeans have a disbelief in the American's "level of acceptance [that] George W. Bush is receiving still today" and why they are so "so utterly blind and deaf to what's really going on". Obviously that does not still apply today, but that was the case during the time the essay was written, and was the "European" view on America then. Impressions and views are hard to change though, and people worldwide are constantly questioning American Politics still. Most of the essay revolves around the writer complaining about American foreign policy and American unawareness. The writer also touches upon the differences between the value of money - "In America you are honored because of the money you possess. It is a virtue to be wealthy". The writer also complains that while Europe is getting more liberal in the sense of equality, America still has it's firm Christianity beliefs which heavily influences the nation's people and their ignorance. The writer also criticises the nation's media - "Why don't Americans realize that they are so obviously being manipulated?"

To sum up the French writer's views on America, it is mostly a criticism of how ignorant the people are about their own country's policies and media. I think it is best summed up in that as a whole they are more concerned for their everyday lives and small towns (or cities) then the rest of the world or their nations policies and propaganda. The small praise they received was for their "immediate friendliness" and "rich culture" (which is a first I've heard that from a European!).

An Irish persons View on America

There is absolutely no animosity towards Americans in Ireland, quite the opposite in fact; I'd say if there was one group of 'outsiders' we would welcome to Ireland first it would be Americans.
BUT what there is, is a deep dislike/distrust of the current US administration, whose policies in Iraq and elsewhere have created instability in the Middle East, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents and done untold damage to the reputation of America not just in Ireland but in pretty much every other country on earth. GWB's attitude to the rest of the world has stank, and unfortunately it's the average American traveler who pays the price.

This was blogged in 2007; it starts of extremely positive outlining how welcome Americans are received in Ireland. Historically, from 1848 - 1950 over 6 million adults and children emigrated from Ireland to America as they fled from hunger and disease caused by the famine. Escape was seen by many as the only chance for survival. Americans being well received in Ireland could suggest that they are returning the favor, showing that the relationship between the two countries has grown.
However further down the blog the persons comments tend to shift, giving America a negative view. Even though this person comments negatively on ‘US administration’ they don’t suggest what polices it is that paints America in a negative light, though they have suggested that the U.S have caused more harm in the Middle East. This could have something to do with the Iraq war which many Irish people thought was unnecessary as it killed many innocent people, who caused no threat. The writer also comments on the former president George Bush attitudes on the world, implying that he may have caused the rest of the world to have these negative views of America as he is the face of America.
This quote was taken from the G-8 summit in Japan.
(“Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter." -in parting words to world leaders at his final G-8 Summit, punching the air and grinning widely). Leading many people to believe that many Americans where just like him.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

From what was brought up in week 2 about how we view America, the map above seemed quite appropriate, given the faltered shapes and locations. It shows how someone from Japan may illustrate America. If you look to New York, it may not surprise you that they have shown us that New York is apparently on an island. This is an interesting thought, it has always been shown in films and such like, surrounded by water. Goes to show that this has been taken literally. The biggest difference is that there is no Canada and something else which is quite funny is the location of San francisco, as a reminder, look to the map below for comparisons. Comparatively, Alaska is an Island like New york, it has been labelled with Ice Palace. Ice Palace is a 1960 film, taken from the 1958 Novel by Edna Ferber. It is completely fictional. it can clearly show that our class weren't alone to have a skewed perspective of the country.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Map of State TV Shows

This map shows one mans view of the different states of America and the different television series that are associated with it. The TV series has to be set in the state or the state is referenced in the TV show. This map is interesting because it reflects just how important television is to Americans and reflects the ever increasing American television industry as most American series are shown worldwide. This map is also interesting because only in America can a map be produced based on TV shows as in England the just don't make as many shows, showcasing different towns and cities as they import roughly over 75% of television series from America. It also shows just how iconic American television has become as someone can watch 'Frasier' and immediately think the Washington state or 'Cheers' for Massachusetts.

This map titles 'The United States of Shame' is interesting to me as it pin points which state is worst known for - highlighting its shame. The shame ranges from violence, crime and drug abuse - to not so shameful things such as that of Ohio who's shame is that they are the nerdiest state. However some correlations can be made between The United States of Shame map and the United States of Awesome map which was posted by Hannah, in such as the 'Awesome' map Ohio's most awesome for their highest library usage, and on the 'States of Shame' map Ohio's shame is that it is the nerdiest state, but is this really something Ohio should be shameful about? In addition to this in the 'Awesome' map Arizona is known as the sunniest state which I think has a direct link to Arizona's 'shame' which is Alcoholism.

United Statements Of America.

This map shows the different states of America and the key motto and phrase associated with each state. America is united through the motto 'In god we trust', the belief of unity within the states, American freedom and democracy. This map shows however that America can also be divided in its states, through its culture. Statements are wide in variety. A lot centre on equality, 'equal rights', 'equality before the law' Unity, 'United we stand, divided we fall' Religion, 'God enriches', 'In god we trust' and Independence 'She flies with her own wings'. It shows that common themes exist within the states but although united as a nation they are also divided through what is most important to them. Only 24 of the state mottos are in English, 20 are originally in Latin and the rest are made up of French, Spanish, Italian and Greek. This may be due to influence these countries had on particular areas of America from the 16th century. I thought this map was interesting as it gives us an insight into America's states and the difference it holds, through its people, languages and cultures.

The United States of.... Awesome? Map

I thought this map was interesting - listing the best thing about each state. It's quite a positive image - of course, since it highlights the "United States of Awesome". The interesting thing about this map is that most of it's "awesome" things are related to health and well-being. The second-most most "awesome" thing about the states is economical. However, Illinois' most "awesome" thing is that it's... average. Though to some people that may be seen as "awesome". For some the question really is 'If that’s the best thing about those states, what might be the worst?'

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Negative Image

I chose reality television such as The Hills, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, The Real Housewives of Atlanta etc, as although we do all love them to a certain extent, I feel that they provide viewers with a very limited and fabricated view of American life. For instance some shows like that of The Hills have had some of their scenes scripted and made up in order to retain viewers and keep them interested in the show, and so taking the 'reality' out of it. I think American reality TV is entertaining but it gives the rest of the world the wrong ideas and impressions of America as they are usually full of fabricated scenes which can actually mislead viewers and because they are mainly made for profits and ratings rather than to get the opinions and views of people who they are filming across to the world.

Positive Image

I chose this to be my positive image as the large, tall buildings of New York have always been an amazement to me and to have an urban park surrounded by such massive buildings is a good contrast of busy city life and the calmness of nature (even if it is a man made park). The city of New York itself to me feels like you can do everything and can achieve anything, offing hope and a new start to anyone who is dazzled by the bright lights and fast pace. Not only this but to also have an urban park as big as Central Park situated in the middle of the city offers a place of refuge to anyone who feels like they need to escape from the city for a few hours - especially in the winter when both the city and the park look and feel magical and like a wonderland.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Positive and Negative Pictures of America

An American Icon. The quintessential beacon of every girls dream. The wannabe 'BFF' of every gay man in America? Not quite, this contender for Miss United States was first runner-up in 2009. Kristy Cavinder demonstrated on live TV how a lot of Americans grow up and will obviously continue to grow up opposing same-sex marriage. A Video of her response to same-sex marriage can be found on YouTube and friend of the stars, Perez Hilton was appalled by her response that he swore if she had won, he would have ripped the crown off her head. The response created a lot of controversy however, rightly so, the federal government does not recognise same-sex marriage in the United States, even though it is recognised by some individual states. New York for example became the most recent state to pass laws of same sex marriage, on 24 July 2011. The issue is, although America is forthcoming in Media, Film and Consumerism, the basic concept of human rights can still remain a problem, especially that of equality, seeing as many Americans base their lives on tradition and Christianity. These may been seen by others as values, but for myself this will continue to be a negative image as it suggests America isn't confident enough to move forward with other the values shared by other countries.

Apple has been in the US rich list, second from the top since May last year when it overtook Microsoft. Having visited this exact spot, the innovative impact it has is quite surreal. New York is leading advertising into the future; it is the US prime location for consumerism having almost 20 million residents, as New York is the largest Central Business District of the United States companies will go to any length
to be at the forefront. There's a definite sense of admiration when you visit New York. In my experience, the advertising was my appeal. This image perfectly demonstrates the intuition business' have to stay afloat amid a competitive demographic and thriving state.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Positive and Negative Photos of America

I choose this image as a positive image for a few reasons; one was that my first connection with America was through Disney. That is the primary reason why this image instantly means “America” to me and I think the same goes to a lot of people worldwide. Lots of people grew up watching Disney films (along with westerners, musicals, etc from Hollywood) and grew up on their values, songs and messages. Lots of people now compare love from wanting a fairytale romance to a Disney romance (notice how it goes from something international and old folk stories to a commercial American company "love"). Though aside from the childhood connections, the reason this image instantly means “America” to me is also because Walt Disney is one of the most widely known success stories of the American Dream. This image to me shows the hopeful and idealistic characteristics of the American nation and that blissful innocence (or perhaps blissful ignorance?) of childhoods/the inner child.

But there's the negative sides too. For me this image shows the commercialism of Disney (and America!) which is increasing as each year passes. The company now groups it's story characters together and by adding (some-what sexist) sugary pink backgrounds and sparkles to "lure" little girls (and their parents) who want to be princesses too. There's also ranges for pirate/boys, and whatever your age, you can get anything and everything with some sort of Disney character on it.

My positive and negative pictures of America

America has always pushed ‘the American dream’ the belief that contentment can be achieved through ambition and initiative, and its beliefs of strength and patriotism within the nation. I feel this picture sums up America’s main themes perfectly, through the national pride the picture exerts with the patriotic flag and the incredible feat of walking on the moon itself. Also, the fact that America who was in competition with The USSR, managed to win the ‘space race’ and be the first nation to step on the moon makes the achievement even more triumphant. It gives America the desirable image potraying the nation as hardworking and self reliant, and helps us to understand how America has and continues to grow, into the dominant and influential superpower it is today.

Although Facebook is considered a positive factor in our modern lives, I’ve chosen to use it as a negative aspect of America to represent America’s growing culture that can sometimes be overwhelming. Facebook is a social networking site and is one of many of America’s global icons that has taken over the world. Facebook can be thought of to promote a sense of unity and connection between friends, however I also feel it promotes a growing lack of socialisation and perhaps in cases, an unstable sense of identity through the newly created idea of ones new ‘e-dentity’. Facebook is forever changing in order to keep the users attentions, representing the American culture as ‘new’ and ‘fresh’ however I think a materialistic view of the world is created from this, an image not everyone can keep up with.

Postive and Negative photos of America

This is my positive picture of America showing New York at night representing the Upper East Side where mainly affluent New Yorkers live indulging in the famous boutiques, like Gucci, Micheal Kors, Chanel and the famous department stores Bloomingdales and Barneys. I think it is a positive picture of America because it shows may different people clustered outside of the building obviously living the 'American Dream', they are succeeding in life and can afford to shop and live in one of the most expensive cities in the World. It captures one of New Yorks famous sayings 'the city that never sleeps' showing to the rest of the World that America is always on the go and chase that dream . This picture can be considered negative because some people living in these expensive areas can not afford to do so with America's current economic climate, borrowing money to try an live this materialistic lifestyle.
This negative picture shows a tramp begging for money, highlighting the extreme inequality many Americans face, symbolising that income inequality has steadily raised throughout the last century in America. The picture shows that for some the 'American Dream' has truly been just that, a dream that has never materialised as a reality and representing a never ending life cycle. It also shows the negative side of capitalism, where the rich remain rich and the poor remain poor illustrating an uneven distribution of wealth. The failure and outrage of Medicare which focuses extensively on those facing poverty and hardship, may illustrate that the American public are unreceptive to change.