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Old 2010-09-06, 18:32   Link #41
Vexx
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Originally Posted by yoropa View Post
It's wrong to assume that Americans would follow American cultural trends? News to me.
Its wrong to assume "Americans" are all alike which many of your posts have assumed. The US is not a small homogeneous country. A little less of that kind of snark, please, especially when you're mischaracterizing what I said. FDW basically is telling you the same thing -- that there are no brief packaged answers.
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Old 2010-09-06, 18:43   Link #42
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Originally Posted by yoropa View Post
It's wrong to assume that Americans would follow American cultural trends? News to me.
You know? I don't think you're ever going to get the answer you need from this thread, because American culture is so varied and so diverse that there's really no set way of having fun; ways you have fun comes down to your own personal preferences, not which culture best suits them.

So, really, I don't think you're going to get a firm answer here. You're using a narrow definition. Worry less about the American culture aspect of it and just have fun. You don't need to understand American culture to do things that give you personal pleasure and happiness.
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Old 2010-09-06, 19:31   Link #43
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Originally Posted by yoropa View Post


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.


The poster RadiantBeam says what I basically was to say:

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Originally Posted by RadiantBeam View Post
You know? I don't think you're ever going to get the answer you need from this thread, because American culture is so varied and so diverse that there's really no set way of having fun; ways you have fun comes down to your own personal preferences, not which culture best suits them.

So, really, I don't think you're going to get a firm answer here. You're using a narrow definition. Worry less about the American culture aspect of it and just have fun. You don't need to understand American culture to do things that give you personal pleasure and happiness.

What I was going to say is that America is probably the most diverse country in the world; in large part due to having the biggest blend of cultures. There is American culture, which is in part the culture it is do to its diversity and subcultures. With so much diversity, it is no wonder that so many Americans choose such a diverse array of activities for leisure and entertainment.

I think that, for you who is looking for activities that a majority of Americans enjoy, we can speak of broad things. Like I mentioned, multimedia (very broad category) and sports are two major categories which Americans seek for leisure and entertainment. In contrast, you don't find as much enthusiasm for sports in other countries, such as Ireland and Belgium. Heck, the favorite sport of those two countries is probably the same one, even (football [soccer]).

I hope I'm helping. American culture is a very different beast compared to the cultures of most nations in the world; basically due to it being the melting pot of the world.
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Old 2010-09-06, 22:59   Link #44
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Its wrong to assume "Americans" are all alike which many of your posts have assumed. The US is not a small homogeneous country. A little less of that kind of snark, please, especially when you're mischaracterizing what I said. FDW basically is telling you the same thing -- that there are no brief packaged answers.
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Originally Posted by yoropa View Post
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.
When someone says "whatever they feel like" it basically means that whatever the person finds interest in and if you are wondering what those interest are all I can tell you is it differs with different people, I can't give an exact answer and no one else can
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Old 2010-09-06, 23:22   Link #45
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AHEM... Anyways...


American culture isn't limited to what was started here, what was brought over here, or done just for here. Like any other culture we have access to the outside world and we are able to various things. I don't think American culture is as black and white.

My summation anyways.
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Old 2010-09-06, 23:27   Link #46
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Originally Posted by yoropa View Post
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?
America is a much more diverse place than Japan. We have people from all over in large numbers (the race with the most people here in America isn't the first race that got here. If you understand what I'm saying here, you're definitely American enough); Japan is >90% Japanese people. Modern American culture mixes traditions from so many other nations, while Japanese culture has been left mostly untouched in comparison. Even then, most people on this board aren't from Japan, and don't call themselves Japanese by nationality; it's easy to study something foreign, but to pick at what you've known for so long that's been ingrained into your mind as normal (American culture, in this case) is extremely hard.
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Old 2010-09-07, 00:48   Link #47
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I know I barley realized when I went to his profile page

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Originally Posted by Komari View Post
America is a much more diverse place than Japan. We have people from all over in large numbers (the race with the most people here in America isn't the first race that got here. If you understand what I'm saying here, you're definitely American enough); Japan is >90% Japanese people. Modern American culture mixes traditions from so many other nations, while Japanese culture has been left mostly untouched in comparison. Even then, most people on this board aren't from Japan, and don't call themselves Japanese by nationality; it's easy to study something foreign, but to pick at what you've known for so long that's been ingrained into your mind as normal (American culture, in this case) is extremely hard.
Perfect Explanation!! We have a Vast amount of different races, which means there are many cultures and not just one SO the American culture is.... everyones culture...?
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Old 2010-09-07, 21:36   Link #48
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Alrighty, let's move on from the weekend question, since I think we've got a lot of content (and anger and confusion and all other emotions) on that. Besides, the conversation has shifted to something more on what makes up American culture in general. Somebody earlier said something I really liked, which was that the American culture is composed of multiple smaller cultures (not sure if I want to use the word subculture in this context), and that the sum of these (which is different per person) makes up a unique American culture for each person. But the additive property of culture here is what makes America America.

So then from that we have...
American culture on a macro level
American cultures on a micro level
American subcultures

How would you guys differentiate between those three? Or, maybe you think that there should be more/less in terms of categorizing it? Let your thoughts be known fellow Americans/observers of Americans! And don't worry this time I won't come off as such a close-minded douche (unless you perceive that, in which case I apologize in advance).
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Last edited by yoropa; 2010-09-07 at 21:52.
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Old 2010-09-07, 22:28   Link #49
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Well, I'm sure a lot of people will contribute to identifying American culture in those three aspects you mention.

For starters, American culture on the macro level. Unfortunately, there are some negative things to be said about it (for one, we live in a throw away society, that is for sure). However, there are positive things to be said, too. We are a progressive nation, and Americans on the whole value freedom and rights for individuals, and there is also much value for human rights; something I wish many nations (which do not strongly value this) would value greatly. There are negative things to be said about American culture on a macro level, but those positive things mentioned sure are top notch qualities for a nation to have, if you ask me.

Another thing to note, Americans believe in individualism very much. A lot of Americans see this as something great, but I like the Japanese view of fitting into a social fabric and living your life in a way that is beneficial for society. In America where individualism is valued so much, you tend to see a lot of people think and act selfishly about themselves/themselves and their loved ones. With the Japanese, many of them do try to benefit society, and it works out that their society benefits very much from the actions of many contributing to its well being. I wish America had more of this. A lot of Americans are exclusive in their thinking when it comes to this, rather than inclusive.

Those are some observations on American culture on a macro level.
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Old 2010-09-08, 02:43   Link #50
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Originally Posted by yoropa View Post
Alrighty, let's move on from the weekend question, since I think we've got a lot of content (and anger and confusion and all other emotions) on that. Besides, the conversation has shifted to something more on what makes up American culture in general. Somebody earlier said something I really liked, which was that the American culture is composed of multiple smaller cultures (not sure if I want to use the word subculture in this context), and that the sum of these (which is different per person) makes up a unique American culture for each person. But the additive property of culture here is what makes America America.

So then from that we have...
American culture on a macro level
American cultures on a micro level
American subcultures

How would you guys differentiate between those three? Or, maybe you think that there should be more/less in terms of categorizing it? Let your thoughts be known fellow Americans/observers of Americans! And don't worry this time I won't come off as such a close-minded douche (unless you perceive that, in which case I apologize in advance).
I'm still confused.

American can't be different?

Not going to analyze the whole country, takes too long. Just analyzing Californian culture would take a long time.
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Old 2010-09-08, 03:47   Link #51
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Many people from elsewhere forget there are 50 states.. each with its own somewhat general attitudes and then the major fundamental differences between urban and rural settings within each state. Its not much different than trying to characterize the former Soviet Union, which was a rainbow of very different cultures and ethnic peoples (though that was masked by the heavy Moscow/Leningrad presentation to the world).

For example, New York and the Pacific Northwest are so culturally different they might as well be different countries in attitudes and values. Another example (from someone who is a pharmacist), regional dialects vary wildly enough that a number of patients from New Jersey discussing a prescription with a pharmacy call center stationed in Alabama accused the pharmacy mail-order company of outsourcing the call center overseas -- they couldn't understand Alabama-speak.
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Old 2010-09-08, 07:00   Link #52
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You're not going to get a good answer by asking Americans, who make up a good chunk of AS members.

Maybe if someone from outside looking into this country, could better answer your question.
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Old 2010-09-08, 07:39   Link #53
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Originally Posted by Komari View Post
You're not going to get a good answer by asking Americans, who make up a good chunk of AS members.

Maybe if someone from outside looking into this country, could better answer your question.
If you go by this Pole I know, America is all about pot and drugs, and if you go by this Korean I know, America is all about murderers and rapists. Not helping. XD

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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Many people from elsewhere forget there are 50 states.. each with its own somewhat general attitudes and then the major fundamental differences between urban and rural settings within each state. Its not much different than trying to characterize the former Soviet Union, which was a rainbow of very different cultures and ethnic peoples (though that was masked by the heavy Moscow/Leningrad presentation to the world).

For example, New York and the Pacific Northwest are so culturally different they might as well be different countries in attitudes and values. Another example (from someone who is a pharmacist), regional dialects vary wildly enough that a number of patients from New Jersey discussing a prescription with a pharmacy call center stationed in Alabama accused the pharmacy mail-order company of outsourcing the call center overseas -- they couldn't understand Alabama-speak.
So you're saying to ignore looking at the country as a whole and focus on a smaller region. That's clearly easier, and I can think of many things unique to each state (MD is known for crabs, SC is known for fireworks, DC is known for everybody being high always even the cops especially the cops), so I guess a different way to word my original question, which certainly will bring up a lot of discussion (knowing me, probably rage as well) I'm sure:

Is there a specific cultural aspect that almost every American has?

I use the term "almost every" because it's impossible to attribute anything to "every" no matter where you are. We're looking for the thing that has the least amount of dissent among Americans.

For example, American football is big here, but there's enough people in the country that care not for it. Drinking alcohol is big here, but there's many who won't touch it due to personal or religious reasons. English speaking isn't applicable nowadays either, there's many foreign language communities in this nation where English is not the norm (especially in northern VA and I'm going to assume CA, though I can only talk on experience from northern VA).

So, I guess a second way to word the question: What is the cultural aspect that is most common among all Americans?

The only thing I can think of really is knowledge of the National Anthem, but I'm not sure how strong people know of it in this country. To be fully honest I myself don't know all the words, but the melody I can easily recognize.
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Old 2010-09-08, 11:07   Link #54
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Talking about American culture is difficult for a number of reasons. Americans tend to not really dwell on the issue and the question takes them by surprise. Non-Americans tend to get their impressions from Hollywood, TV shows and other exported media, which often gives an inaccurate picture.

I've lived in a number of different countries long enough to get a feel for their cultures, and long enough to see my homeland through their eyes. Like having a mirror helps one to describe oneself, being a long-term expat helps give one insight into what America might really be.

I'm glad that you dropped the "What do Americans do for fun?" question, as a detailed list won't bring any understanding. The real answer is that Americans are uniquely skilled at having fun. If there is some activity that is fun, then Americans have pursued it. For fun, Americans even do things that are not fun at all, like running up mountains or swimming in holes cut through the ice of frozen lakes. The question should have been "What do Americans NOT do for fun?" Ans: Differential Equations? No, America has DiffEq clubs...

Such an answer might seem meaningless until you contrast this behavior with other advanced cultures. For instance, in the years that I lived in Japan, I almost never saw a cruising sailboat. The Japanese are certainly wealthy enough to afford such things, and the coastlines are beautiful and lined with picturesque little village ports. Do all Americans own sailboats, or sport fishing boats, or cabin cruisers? No, but enough do to crowd all of America's ports. I never met a single Japanese person who owned a cruiser, though.

Another example: I like to hike and mountain climb. Japan has a fantastic network of hiking trails and some awesome mountains for technical climbing, and I spent a fair amount of time exploring these. Very rarely did I ever meet other people my age on the trails, however. The trails seemed to be used exclusively by retirees and groups of children out on school sponsored treks. I usually had whole mountains to myself. In contrast, mountains with decent trails in the US are often quite crowded on weekends or holidays.

Americans do ALL kinds of things for fun, and I do mean ALL. Useless answer? Only if you leave it at that and don't try to understand the cultural implications. Consider that in Japan, one of the worst things a person can be is a NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training). This attitude is changing, but still quite dominant. Japanese people identify themselves with their job. They ARE their job. They live to work. Most Americans, on the other hand, work to live. For the typical American, work is just the hell that they put up with in order to do the things that they enjoy. If a Japanese person wants to sail a boat, for example, he or she will feel compelled to train, get corporate sponsors and then sail professionally as part of a racing team. It would be an unusual and eccentric Japanese person who could lounge in the cockpit of a cruising yacht with straw hat pulled low over eyes, sipping a margarita and steering with a foot on the tiller and taking the slow and easy route to no place in particular. It is no small number of Americans, though, who live for such a scenario.

In a most generalized sense, a key American cultural value is to be an individual and follow your own path. Americans are expected to be responsible for creating their own dreams and then putting in whatever effort is needed to make those dreams a reality. Americans take to heart their inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness, and tend to see their particular experience of that pursuit as an aspect of their individuality. Many Americans even see the effort to make their pursuit of happiness a unique experience as a responsibility rather than a right. Many others have already pointed out in this thread that as an American, you are expected to "do your own thing". This is not optional; it is an obligation.

Now, this pursuit of individuality may not seem to offer much in terms of social cohesion, in the sense that the nationally shared experiences of things like school culture festivals and such tightly tie the Japanese people together, but it does promote an environment where misfits can self-actualize. This is important because if one looks throughout history the greatest thinkers, creators, and leaders that have moved our species forward have all been misfits.

There are many other aspects of American culture, but if there was any single thread that could be considered closest to universal for the country, I'd say the above would have to be it.
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Old 2010-09-08, 11:50   Link #55
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snip
I could not that better myself. Now for a little explanation of my part of America, The San Francisco Bay Area. If there's one I can point out in this area after living here for the past 9-1/2 years in how much everyone here is obsessed with money, I know it seems odd given the stereotype of people of people from San Francisco being Gay Communist Hippie's who ride Cable Cars, but I Swear, everyone here is passionate about making money in one form or another, regardless of where you sit on the economic ladder.
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Old 2010-09-08, 12:04   Link #56
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Here's one of the few national cultural tags I can think of: the endemic self-denial of the waves of obesity across America. I'd class this as a major American cultural dysfunctionality at this point:

Example: vanity sizing (the quiet transformation of clothing sizes so people can pretend they're not fat to themselves). Its been a trend in women's clothing for the last 20 years and now its crept into men's clothing. My wife can attest as a personal example. In 1995, she was a size 4 - since then she's been reclassified as a size 0- this year. The problem is she's exactly the same weight and 3sizes she was 15 years ago. SHE didn't change. She's still 4'11" and 95lbs and the same 3size. However, she's been pretty much shoved out of the women's department where they sell clothing I could use as a car tarp.

As for men... the industry is just flat lying about the waist size now to enable corrosive fantasies:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0..._n_709004.html

------
In regard to regional variation and chiming in with FDW .... well, Pacific Northwesters are stereotyped as being mellow coffee drinkers with eclectic hobbies and strong politics (despite the large rural population, the tendency of White Supremacists to hide in the hill country, and the rather intense metro/rural cultural divide).
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Old 2010-09-08, 15:16   Link #57
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I probably sound like a complete moron, but think about it

I think bacon is an embodiment of american culture , come on we put it on everything.
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Old 2010-09-08, 18:48   Link #58
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I think bacon is an embodiment of american culture , come on we put it on everything.
And cheese! Not the hard or sharp tasting stuff that the Europeans like, but the gummy, salty stuff that's almost indistinguishable from lard. American cheese (or more charitably 'mild cheddar') is put on everything from ice cream to fried potatoes, just in case the substrate didn't have enough sodium and kilocalories to start with. America is the land of cheesy cheese.
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Old 2010-09-08, 19:14   Link #59
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Hmmm, maybe the cultural value that cuts across all spectrums in the US is .... "living in self-denial of the truth" and "defiantly uninformed" no matter what the subject.

Now I'm starting to sound like H.L. Mencken or Mark Twain.... both had extremely illuminating thoughts on the US that still apply today.
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Old 2010-09-08, 19:31   Link #60
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The "defiantly uninformed" is something I agree with. It is something I've seen in many states, red or blue.
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