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Old 2010-09-04, 20:49   Link #21
yoropa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
Like I said already, yoropa, your extroverted peers are not a very good representative of America. Partying, sex, etc, is more accurately 'college culture' if you want to call it anything, and I hesitate to even do that. Yeah, those people are the loudest and most obvious about what they enjoy, which is probably why you keep bringing their lifestyle up. But looking only at those types of people is disingenuous if you really want to understand American culture.
Then start by answering - What do Americans do for fun?
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Old 2010-09-04, 20:58   Link #22
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Okay. Some things I think are widespread in America are multicultural cooking and food tasting, appreciation for popular and live music that has evolved from a long tradition combining country and city roots of jazz and blues, bodybuilding/powerlifting which is popular in some parts of Europe but is mostly an American phenomenon. There is a lively culture revolving around environmentalism which can be traced back to the progressives at the beginning of last century, as well as an anti-establishment subculture that can be traced back to the hippie movement in the 60's. With those subcultures come various meetings and collective groups for furthering goals (at least in environmentalism's case). There are also some other subcultures I've never really gotten involved in myself, like hunting and gun collection. And there's plenty more I didn't mention, but trying to represent culture through what people do for fun is kind of difficult so forgive me for that.
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Old 2010-09-04, 21:19   Link #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoropa View Post
Then start by answering - What do Americans do for fun?
Simple same thing as other nationalities.
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Old 2010-09-04, 21:41   Link #24
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What a peculiar question. It's not like we're hive mind or something.

But I will say that some hobbies are based on region.

Spoiler:
For example, what CL said, hunting. Based on stereotypes, that would be mostly a Southern thing.
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Old 2010-09-04, 21:42   Link #25
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Well the question becomes:

What defines a culture's idea of "fun".

Is it the most prominent thing done for fun? If so then a lot of places are going to seem exactly alike. Since people are people and we tend to enjoy similar things.

Or does it mean: "What are the unique things that Americans do for fun that most other people don't?"

If it is the second then some obvious things come to mind that have already been mentioned:

The sports that were invented in America: Baseball, Football, Basketball, and some less popular ones such a Skateboarding, and Surfing.

Rock and Roll.

Some that haven't been mentioned that are more common in America then most places it seems:

Hunting (mainly a Western thing actually)
Camping
Backpacking
Fishing
NASCAR
Tinkering around with old automobiles and motorcycles (ie treeshade mechanics)
Playing around with Fireworks, homemade and illegal as well as store bought. (There is a reason the Mythbuster episodes with explosions are so popular).

There are also differences in between ages, genders, and between generations.

For example, building tree forts and exploring the woods was a very popular activity when I was a kid.

Comic books and comic conventions are probably more popular (and acceptable) in America then in most other places.

But as you pointed out, Americans are very much a "do what I want" kind of country. We don't have most of the unifying cultural aspects of other countries- especially when applied to leisure time.

In fact America is mostly unified by our politics and to a lesser extent by religion (I know, Americans are rather rough when it comes to both politics and religion). Still Americans, however much we may disagree on election day, actually place a very high value on our founding and the political principles espoused by that founding as our unifying cultural aspect.
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Old 2010-09-04, 21:46   Link #26
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Guns, alcohol and mud bogging with a lot of sports but mostly NASCAR the good all white trush culture
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Old 2010-09-04, 21:50   Link #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoropa View Post
Forgive me if this thread already exists.

Let me give some context on myself. I was born and raised here in America as the son of immigrants. I have spent my entire educational life in the United States, in schools where I was the only one of my particular ethnic group. As in, I did not go to a specific school meant for children of immigrants, I went to a school meant for Americans. Yet despite this, I don't understand what constitutes American culture. This thread is for a discussion on that where you can ask, answer, and discuss this.

I'll begin with a question:
What do most Americans do for fun?

I have been curious for about five years, yet I have not figured out what people in this country do for fun, beyond the vague terms of "whatever I want." I have pinpointed that Americans like to party and enjoy alcohol, sex, and shopping. I also have determined that Americans like going to the movies, and certain groups enjoy video gaming, but a lot of groups enjoy television. I still feel like I know very little on this. It would be helpful to know.
There is one thing you forgot to put which is Marijana
Just thought I let you know
Most people including young children smoke pot
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Old 2010-09-04, 21:51   Link #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetPrincess View Post
There is one thing you forgot to put which is Marijana
Just thought I let you know
Most people including young children smoke pot
Its such a sad situation for people these days
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Old 2010-09-04, 21:55   Link #29
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Originally Posted by Hooves View Post
Its such a sad situation for people these days
It really doesn't hurt you in any way I was studying it don't ask why (I don't do it either) But whether its good or not doesn't mean you should do it
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Old 2010-09-04, 23:44   Link #30
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Watching some information shows introducing new technology(Next World, etc) I find that the US media is still force feeding the mass with materialism. "This will be the MUST HAVE of the future", "You will not be able to do Bllablla without THESE in the future" and so on and so worth.

I wonder how long the US will be able to maintain this fast paced consumption hungry lifestyle.
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Old 2010-09-05, 00:50   Link #31
Reckoner
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First of all, about every state in America is different, and this is especially true when you go from region to region (Midwest, East, West, South and South east).

Now, we are not a country of one main ethnicity that is associated with us. We are a country of immigrants, and thus it is hard to grasp what makes Americans, well Americans.

So what makes us American then? Is it the big SUV's, our love of baseball/american football/basketball, our gluttony, or any other stereotype made about Americans in general? I would say no to this.

What makes us Americans, I feel, is our pursuit of the ideas of individual freedoms, and our independence. This can be traced back to our colonial days, with our desires to be independent from Britain, and to maintain our land as a place of opportunity, as well as a land of "freedom" (I quote because of course the old story of slavery).

That's what makes American culture, and that is the one thing almost all people in this country share.
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Old 2010-09-05, 00:59   Link #32
Tri-ring
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Individual freedom is fine but it also carries the burden of individual responsibility that the US needs to emphasize to their citizens since some may not understand, recognize or flatly rejects to carry out.
This again I believe is connected to the reckless pursuit of materialism fueling fast paced consumption hungry lifestyle.
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Old 2010-09-05, 02:01   Link #33
yoropa
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
And there's plenty more I didn't mention, but trying to represent culture through what people do for fun is kind of difficult so forgive me for that.
Naturally you cannot accurately sum up an entire culture by what they do for fun, but knowing what they do for fun will give you information on a piece of the culture, yes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrestrial Dream View Post
Simple same thing as other nationalities.
Which would be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetPrincess View Post
There is one thing you forgot to put which is Marijana
Just thought I let you know
Most people including young children smoke pot
Sadly, yes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sackett View Post
Well the question becomes:

What defines a culture's idea of "fun".

Is it the most prominent thing done for fun? If so then a lot of places are going to seem exactly alike. Since people are people and we tend to enjoy similar things.

Or does it mean: "What are the unique things that Americans do for fun that most other people don't?"

If it is the second then some obvious things come to mind that have already been mentioned:

The sports that were invented in America: Baseball, Football, Basketball, and some less popular ones such a Skateboarding, and Surfing.

Rock and Roll.

Some that haven't been mentioned that are more common in America then most places it seems:

Hunting (mainly a Western thing actually)
Camping
Backpacking
Fishing
NASCAR
Tinkering around with old automobiles and motorcycles (ie treeshade mechanics)
Playing around with Fireworks, homemade and illegal as well as store bought. (There is a reason the Mythbuster episodes with explosions are so popular).

There are also differences in between ages, genders, and between generations.

For example, building tree forts and exploring the woods was a very popular activity when I was a kid.

Comic books and comic conventions are probably more popular (and acceptable) in America then in most other places.

But as you pointed out, Americans are very much a "do what I want" kind of country. We don't have most of the unifying cultural aspects of other countries- especially when applied to leisure time.

In fact America is mostly unified by our politics and to a lesser extent by religion (I know, Americans are rather rough when it comes to both politics and religion). Still Americans, however much we may disagree on election day, actually place a very high value on our founding and the political principles espoused by that founding as our unifying cultural aspect.
My question was more on in general as opposed to uniquely American, but both work since uniquely American also applies for generally American (though not vice versa).
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Old 2010-09-05, 18:21   Link #34
NightbatŪ
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You're going about it wrong

To understand culture, you got to experience it

and you have ample ability to do so

asking questions will only turn you into an indigenous tourist
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Old 2010-09-05, 22:02   Link #35
Urzu 7
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Unfortunately, a large number of Americans do like to party for fun, usually this includes excessive drinking and/or doing drugs. It is too bad, I think.

Lots of leisure time spent with multimedia. Plenty of TV viewing and watching movies (at home and in theaters), video games, browsing the web, listening to music, and let us not forget the niche hobbies of anime and manga. Reading fits in there some where, but definitely not above all the others mentioned.

There is also plenty of sports, outdoors activity, and exercise to balance things out.

This is kind of a recap of what various people mentioned in this thread already, but those are three major categories (and broad ones) for what Americans do for fun. It isn't limited to just those three, but they are three major ones.

Someone posted a map with the country in regions. People are right, you'll find variety amongst states and regions. What region of the country do you live in, OP? You sure will find differences between, say, Pennsylvania and Texas. You find a lot more variety with outdoor activities and sports. In Boston, people love the Boston Red Sox. Go to LA and you have people more enthusied about Basketball and the Lakers. Or people interested in hitting up the beaches there.

Also, do you live in a very rural area, or a big town or city? Very notable differences between rural areas and urban areas for entertainment and activities for fun.

Entertainment and leisure time spent with multimedia is pretty univeral among Americans. You'll find people who enjoy watching TV and movies and listening to music all throughout the nation.

Also, in some nations, dining out and eating food is a past time. It is so for America, too. You may have unique eating experiences in your region of the country. In New England, lots of people like sub sandwiches, pizza, and seafood. Go to Texas and lots of people love to get BBQ food with their friends and/or family.

You don't have to give a specific state, but if you tell us what region on the map you are from, posters here can help elaborate on this subject in accordance with the specific region you live in. Then you can explore your area and first-hand experience the culture in your area; for any things mentioned in this thread that you are not too familiar with or are unfamiliar with.

Vacationing is another thing Americans like, and a lot of it happens within the nation. For example, I live on the east coast and in less than I month from now, I'll be on a two week vacation in Colorado.
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Old 2010-09-05, 22:57   Link #36
Vexx
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This is the classic mistake of assuming that the people you're standing around constitute some definitive examples of what people in general do.

The people *I* stand around... do all sorts of things for fun. They build things, garden, go to concerts, make music, shop, gather together to share hobbies, hunt, fish, read, knit, etc.

What each one does for fun rather depends on their age, socioeconomic condition, family activities, and general outlook.

I planted bamboo today, it was fun. Later we picked blackberries, also fun. We're going to an art festival tomorrow - fun. The family cooks together - fun. I'm practicing bass guitar - fun. Later tonight, my sons and I and a couple of friends will play an MMO.

We used to belong to a medieval re-enactment group. We hike, go to the beach, visit museums, etc.

We're in the Pacific Northwest... though we used to be from Texas and did similar things there.
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Old 2010-09-05, 23:00   Link #37
Last Sinner
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Vexx, you truly are a modern citizen of the world. *bow*
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Old 2010-09-06, 00:20   Link #38
Urzu 7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post

What each one does for fun rather depends on their age, socioeconomic condition, family activities, and general outlook.

Yeah, a lot of factors come into play. A college student could write a hefty paper on this. I think a lot of us are just trying to simplify things, at least just a little, for the sake of the OP and helping him better understand American culture. Maybe more in depth analysis will help him, but perhaps it is important that he understands that in America, and in the west, people do "whatever they feel like" for fun; as mentioned by some other posters in this thread.
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Old 2010-09-06, 03:42   Link #39
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I like to see like this, America is whatever and mix and match of the subcultures you happen to be a part of, and what ever you can make of it. (That's all I can offer, really.)
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Old 2010-09-06, 13:00   Link #40
yoropa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightbatŪ View Post
You're going about it wrong

To understand culture, you got to experience it

and you have ample ability to do so

asking questions will only turn you into an indigenous tourist
Thanks for your input, but I don't think you understood my posts. Despite living here, I don't know how it works, and I'm not in "ample ability" to figure it out, so I'm asking.

Honestly to me the people avoiding the question saying you can't define a culture sound like people who don't know how to describe a culture well. People on here are able to talk about Japanese culture and (mostly) subculture and succeed in doing so, so why is it so many people on here avoid answering what American culture is? Is it that they themselves don't know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Urzu 7 View Post
This is kind of a recap of what various people mentioned in this thread already, but those are three major categories (and broad ones) for what Americans do for fun. It isn't limited to just those three, but they are three major ones.

Someone posted a map with the country in regions. People are right, you'll find variety amongst states and regions. What region of the country do you live in, OP? You sure will find differences between, say, Pennsylvania and Texas. You find a lot more variety with outdoor activities and sports. In Boston, people love the Boston Red Sox. Go to LA and you have people more enthusied about Basketball and the Lakers. Or people interested in hitting up the beaches there.

Also, do you live in a very rural area, or a big town or city? Very notable differences between rural areas and urban areas for entertainment and activities for fun.
North, city type.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
This is the classic mistake of assuming that the people you're standing around constitute some definitive examples of what people in general do.
It's wrong to assume that Americans would follow American cultural trends? News to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Urzu 7 View Post
Maybe more in depth analysis will help him, but perhaps it is important that he understands that in America, and in the west, people do "whatever they feel like" for fun; as mentioned by some other posters in this thread.
I still don't know what "whatever they feel like" entails, and I know some wise ass is going to respond with "whatever they like means whatever they feel like," but that's just not helpful to answering this question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FDW View Post
I like to see like this, America is whatever and mix and match of the subcultures you happen to be a part of, and what ever you can make of it. (That's all I can offer, really.)
I actually think this is the best answer so far, personally. At least we can define and locate the subcultures pretty easily.
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