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North American Culture - What do you think?

centrajapan

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Europe probably is more diverse in languages and accents, but if someone from the U.S. north goes to the south (or vice versa), they have a hard time understanding what anyone is saying!

Some Americans are really easy to relate with while others are completely impossible to figure out. Its just that I dont agree with anything they say where as other Americans are so easy to get along with. The same type of humour but some people. Good god. Weirdos. In that sense US is diverse.
I dont like the current US politics though and I hope they snap out of it soon.
US got good music, movie, entertainment culture.
 

Goldiegirl

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Well it sure would be hard to be a country if we all spoke a different language, wouldn't you agree? The United States has more languages mixed in, we just all speak English (sometimes Spanish) so we can all understand one another. I don't speak Hindu to my neighbors and my Jewish neighbors don't speak Hebrew when out and about. We do need to have some unity which makes for some clarity. The Unites States is as big or bigger than Europe imagine a country that large and having 30 or so languages. How would you even post a street sign. Jeezzz......
 
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i know about that sarapva san
i have read a great deal about how natives live and it is a shame that they cant live in Honor on their own lands or at least what it is left of it
it is enough of an agonizing fact that they have to live as citizens in a country that confiscated their lands..their original lands and changed everything about their way of life
 

Goldiegirl

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We all need to get out of the past and live in the present. I feel bad that Indians had their land taken from them, but that has been going on for thousands of years. There is not one country that is original! What has that got to to with my culture NOW!
 

Mars Man

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NOTE ! There has been too much off-topic here in this thread once again. I ask that we keep it in line with the theme, and that those discussing put more than just opinions out on the table. People, this sub-forum is Serious Discussions, and that adjective does NOT mean 'serious as in the degree of emotional heat,' but rather 'serious as in academical standard.'

Centrajapan san, I am asking you publically here to either stay much more closely on topic in this thread, or not to post here anymore !! That is a warning !!


As some surely have come to realize, and as MP san (if I may shorten that for now) has touched on the understanding--which is very fair academically--that 'culture' can be seen to be a social-construct idea. As Pinker debated in book The Blank Slate--the Modern Denial of Human Nature it may well be a matter that can have a degree of value attached to it, however the substance of the concept is that there is an overall, general activity of a bonded social group from which and by which that group can be distinguished.

In this manner of looking at the concept 'culture,' the conclusion is that of course North America has a culture, just as the Inuit have a culture, Quebec, LA, and Zip City have cultures. As for the theme of this thread, that is what we are looking at, and that is what we are giving our opinion of. I think there is a lot more to be studied about what makes up the North American Culture, and tend to think that overall, it may be more fluid than the overall cultures of most other large social groups. (taking North America as a single social group, of course)
 

MadamePapillon

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I think there is a lot more to be studied about what makes up the North American Culture, and tend to think that overall, it may be more fluid than the overall cultures of most other large social groups. (taking North America as a single social group, of course)

I'm surprised because it's such a rich subject yet very rarely talked about. All across N. America you will find such vast and different cultural differences (yet at the core very similar). From the Mexican/Spanish influences of the southern US, to the hip hop culture of the East Coast and the African slave and Cajun influences of New Orleans. Then you have the French influence of eastern Canada, the British and Native American influences of the west and now the Asian and Indian influence of both western and eastern Canada, then the large Native and Inuit culture of Northen Canada.

The whole of N. America is like one big culture study.

Why do you have to sing the national anthem as often as you do? I just find it to be strange. Before each sporting event you sing the national anthem. Is it because you have to keep reminding yourself that you guys are American? Why do you put your hands in front of your heart? God Bless America. wa wa wa.

Nobody can deny Americans love being American and have no problems showing it. However, I'm sure you'd be surprised to know that many Americans don't even know their own national anthem by heart. I found that shocking when I lived there as over here we are taught the national anthem until we know it forwards and backwards and sometimes in French (when I was in school we had to sing the national anthem at every school assembly and they had the words in English and French on two giant plaques in the gymnasium 😌)
America is surprising in it's lack of education in both it's own country and the rest of the world. The fact that so many don't know their own national anthem is just the tell tall sign of bigger problems, such as the lack of focus and thought in it's education system...but that's slightly off-topic and probably should be saved for another thread.
 

MadamePapillon

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i know about that sarapva san
i have read a great deal about how natives live and it is a shame that they cant live in Honor on their own lands or at least what it is left of it
it is enough of an agonizing fact that they have to live as citizens in a country that confiscated their lands..their original lands and changed everything about their way of life

This is one of those issues in N. America (especially in the US) that is difficult to talk about because it is one of the darker periods of N. American history (right along slavery and witchburnings, but those are primarily the doings of the US).
Looking back now most people would agree that we did the Native Americans a great wrong...however, it can't be denied that we are here to stay, we all have to share this land.
It's complicated because despite all evidence to the contrary, the Native people have, in some ways, contributed to their current situation.
They live tax free, have control of many casino's, have special hunting and fishing rights among other things. Yet many refuse to leave their reservations and rejoin the rest of the country, they form communities with enormous alcohol, drug, and prositition problems and basically live off of welfare....at this point we can do no more, it's up to them to pull themselves up. They are free to leave the reservation, whether they choose to or not the rest of us can't be blamed anymore.
 

Goldiegirl

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There are about a million native indians in Canada so please let's not say it was just the USA that took land etc. I still fail to see what that has to do with the culture now except that they are their own people and are proud of their history and culture.
 

MadamePapillon

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Goldiegirl

I said it was an issue in North America but most especially in the US.
Native Americans aren't as bad off in Canada as they are in many parts of the US, we are fairly open about the issue and in several parts of the country their culture has melded with our own. In fact, the mascots for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics are inspired by their myths and legends.
In contrast, the US is very closed lipped with talking about Native Americans and the subject, in many places, is still taboo to the point where a lot of people wont reveal to others that they have Native blood. Trust me, I lived in one of these places.

It has relevence to modern times because even now we are influenced by Native culture and it continues to remain a subject of debate (to this day) among many people as to if they are fairly treated or if they have to many special privileges. It's, in my IMO, an essential part of any North American culture discussion.
 

Goldiegirl

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I don't see a collective culture in North America. I see many different cultures living between 3 countries, namely Canada, Mexico and the USA.

Please, there are just as many issues with "native Canadians" in Canada as much as the USA. It is just another way Canada tries to look better. Better talk doesn't make the situation better. I am not going to post uprisings bewteen the Mohawks and the Canadian Military over their land being taken to make golf courses or the like. It's fruitless. The native Americans here where I live are hardworking. They have the ability to run casinos to make money and they make A LOT! They donate plenty of money to the local communities which makes them valuable to society here.

As I have said before, I don't think there is one true and steadfast North American Culture. I think what makes this part of the Earth unique is that there are many cultures represented and what is very great indeed is the fact that you can be any culture and live here. If there was one true culture we wouldn't be arguing it then would we? We would be in agreement. I was checking statistics, which always have to be taken with a grain of salt, and in my state about 59% of births are from foreign born parents. That's amazing, and it's even greater in states like Texas, California, have foreign born birth rates well into 150-200%. So please, I just can't see the united culture that we supposedly have...
 

centrajapan

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Americans are more religious than Europeans and Japanese in general and more proud of their nationality. But as many has said North American culture has spread to various parts of the world.

If US could become more like Canada I think Ill be less angry. I couldnt care less if Mc Donalds, Calvin Clein, IPOD is American.

I tend not to buy products because where the brand comes from.
 

Goldiegirl

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Religious, that makes me laugh! How little you know! I think it's ok to be proud of your nationality, if you aren't why does your country participate in the Olympics? If you don't care about your country why live there? That's what I don't get. I like where I live, I don't like all things, but it is my choice to stay. I have the freedom to move or stay. So what it wrong with pride in your country, I don't walk around waving a flag. I don't even own one. Canada is Canada, Mexico is Mexico, and the USA is the USA. We are all different. I find it incredible that in one sense you want the USA to be more diverse (such as we don't have many languages like Europe as you wrote) and then in the next breath you want us to be the same as Canada. You can't have your cake and eat it too!
 

centrajapan

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he United States remains among the most religious nations in the world, according to a worldwide study by the University.

About 46 percent of American adults attend church at least once a week, not counting weddings, funerals and christenings, compared with 14 percent of adults in Great Britain, 8 percent in France, 7 percent in Sweden and 4 percent in Japan.

Moreover, 58 percent of Americans say they often think about the meaning and purpose of life, compared with 25 percent of British, 26 percent of Japanese and 31 percent of West Germans, the study says.

http://www.ur.umich.edu/0304/Nov24_03/15.shtml

I dont think it is bad to be religious. I was merely pointing out a fact.
 

Sarapva

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As I have said before, I don't think there is one true and steadfast North American Culture. I think what makes this part of the Earth unique is that there are many cultures represented and what is very great indeed is the fact that you can be any culture and live here.

That's true - we're still the "melting pot"! I think we're probably all a mix of other cultures - European, Scandinavian, Asian, Hispanic, etc. And then in each town or city those parts are "melted" even further into its own version.
 

uchimizu

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Culture in North America

Hi,

here is my short opinion on this complex topic. North America for sure has a culture: in the 20th centuries, some of the best books and movies were written in the US. Furthermore, America was not created from scratch in the seventeen century. It inherited most of West Europe's cultural bagage (most of all the Christian faith), West Europe having inherited it from Greece and the middle east.

Also, while we europeans are proud of our old traditions, a visit to the middle east is quite humbling. Roman Era is usually the oldest in West Europe's history, but in the middle east, it is considered recent, having come after the Greeks, the Persians, the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians and probably a few I forgot.

What may be different according to me is the fact that America has been a growing power for the last 3 centuries, and did not yet encounter decadence and regression as all the other parts of the world have. In Europe and elsewhere, we can see ruins of failed empires in our backyards, ans we know no material good or political power lasts forever. Maybe this is why we value culture more, as books and songs are usually the only things that remain after an empire has felt.
 

Goldiegirl

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Going to church does not make one religious. I could answer that I go to church weekly, and that would be true, but don't care one bit about religion. I just go to keep peace in my family. I can say that about 3/4 of the people who are there...they are sleeping, there snores are their testimony. Also, as I have pointed out, polls mean very little, they just represent a small sampling of people. It's funny that I read all these polls and statistics and I have yet to ever have been asked for any responses, just who do they ask? So I would caution anyone from reading to much into any poll, or what statistics say. Numbers are easy to distort.

As for the USA not experiencing decadence and regression you must have forgotten the decade of the 80's and all of its glamour and the yuppies and the great depression that started in the late 1920's. The USA has gone through it all, but in a much faster way, our history is condensed.

As for saying Europe has culture because of books and songs, that is just down right unthoughtful and doesn't have any merit. I would like to point out a few authors that you might know. Poe, Hemingway, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Emerson...to name but a few. As for music, do you remember Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ella Fitzgerald, perhaps they aren't hundreds of years old, but they still count.

We all are unique people. What is the point to argue who has more or less culture? We all have culture. We all have our own culture and it means different things to you as it does to me. That is it. To say that all Europeans have the same culture is just like saying China and Japan have the same culture, it's offensive. Its' offensive as a collective and offensive as an individual. It's ok that we are all unique. The things that connect us are simple. Our need for shelter, food, family and friends, a job, all these things make us more alike than we are different.
 

MadamePapillon

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Going to church does not make one religious. I could answer that I go to church weekly, and that would be true, but don't care one bit about religion. I just go to keep peace in my family. I can say that about 3/4 of the people who are there...they are sleeping, there snores are their testimony. Also, as I have pointed out, polls mean very little, they just represent a small sampling of people.

The majority of the true religious, church-goers are from small towns. America has tons of tiny little towns with populations of 5,000 and under and usually the people there have the options of either going to church or doing drugs to keep busy. Also, the South is very religious, then, of course, there's the bible belt. It's not called that for nothing.


In Europe and elsewhere, we can see ruins of failed empires in our backyards, ans we know no material good or political power lasts forever. Maybe this is why we value culture more, as books and songs are usually the only things that remain after an empire has felt.

Europe definetly does have a leg up when it comes to stuff like ruins and legends on the cultural scale. Most countries outside of N. America have fallen testaments to the past. Even South America, though the Spanish eventually took over the way we did with the Native Americans, the Mayans and Incas had built enormous structures and temples that remain today whereas the Natives didn't. So they, as well, are surrounded by the past.

It's true in some ways that Europeans (and everyone else) seem to value culture more but I think it's really a matter of perspective. The countries that appear to value culture more, what it seems to me is that they are holding on to the way things used to be. They place great importance on the past. In N. America, we tend not to have that attitude. We remember the past but we don't try to keep it in the present. I think we are more willing than many of the old countries to let time move on and not try to keep old traditions alive or try and ritualize anything.

This gives the impression of a place with no past and no culture but the reality is that, as I said before, we remember the past but we don't cling to it like some countries do.
 

Sukotto

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Until only the last couple of years when I first saw references to only Canada, Mexico, and the US, I'd always considered those three, as well as the Central American countries to be North America. Taking from geography, I guess. North America. South America. And Central America was a part of the north, only that these countries could also be placed in a sub-section called "central".

Now that people are finally starting to recognize Spanish as the 2nd language of the US, as it has been a "native" language (not exactly, but go along for sake of argument. true native are the indigenous) since the annexation of Puerto Rico and the conquering and theft of 40% of Mexico;

And with economic integration with Mexico (at least on the corporate level) since NAFTA (and other policies which enthrone and expand privileges between countries for the legal construct called the corporation), which are direct causes of emigration of people from their home countries (nafta allowed US agri-business, which was heavily subsidized, to be able to dump corn into the Mexican market, causing poor farmers to go bankrupt and search for jobs in the cities, rippling out into the US);

And since culture (at least real culture) isn't created in corporate marketing rooms, it is very interesting to see what N America (at least the area I live in Wisconsin) will look like in 10 years from now. There have been many German immigrants here a century ago with many schools that taught classes in German. This ended mostly with WW1 as Germany was an official enemy and Germans were demonized. Some places have passed "English is the official language" resolutions and criticized ESL classes for children of immigrants, not knowing their own history of loyal American German schools.

I think it would be wild if we (in the US at least) were to all learn Spanish as another language. Some factories around here actually offer classes to learn some Spanish. Maybe we'd be able to see each other more as human and be less likely to allow (US) gov't to get away with such things are arming death squads or propping up dictators that operate in the interest of those above mentioned corporations which are the ones that push for and primarily benefit from the likes of NAFTA.

A future NAmerican culture could be less hierarchical among groups of people. One place hierarchy has no place being applied - ever. And money (or technology) does not make one "blessed" as a better either.
 

uchimizu

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Hey,

thanks for answering my message. Actually, I fully agree that the US have culture, and as I said, some of the best 20th century stuff was produced by Americans (many writers you quoted here, I could add Faulkner, Blues and Jazzmen..., many Hollywood directors from the 50s and 60s, maybe I would not put Sinatra and Elvis in that list, but this is just my opinion).

However, I still think America did not experience yet a real "fallen empire" experience, although the 1930 were the closest thing from it probably. By it, I am meaning the country occupied by foreign troops, big cities looted, your president brought in chain to another country, becoming a backyard of history for several centuries, the end of your political system major starvation. Just look at what happened to China between 1850 and 1970. What the Chinese people endured is on another scale than the 1930 recession.

So maybe I think people who remembered being part of fallen empires have a slightly different approach to life. Maybe they value more cultural goods, and a little bit less power and material success, because they know the cultural stuff is the only thing that lasts.

Would be glad to hear more opinions on this idea. Have a nice sunday.

As for the USA not experiencing decadence and regression you must have forgotten the decade of the 80's and all of its glamour and the yuppies and the great depression that started in the late 1920's. The USA has gone through it all, but in a much faster way, our history is condensed.

As for saying Europe has culture because of books and songs, that is just down right unthoughtful and doesn't have any merit. I would like to point out a few authors that you might know. Poe, Hemingway, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Emerson...to name but a few. As for music, do you remember Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ella Fitzgerald, perhaps they aren't hundreds of years old, but they still count.

We all are unique people. What is the point to argue who has more or less culture? We all have culture. We all have our own culture and it means different things to you as it does to me. That is it. To say that all Europeans have the same culture is just like saying China and Japan have the same culture, it's offensive. Its' offensive as a collective and offensive as an individual. It's ok that we are all unique. The things that connect us are simple. Our need for shelter, food, family and friends, a job, all these things make us more alike than we are different.
 

Haruspex

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Before culture, we are individuals. An intelligent American person is pretty much the same as an intelligent European or Asian person, and an European ***** is the same as an Asian or American *****. Why argue about culture? Especially now that it isn't exclusive, it belongs to all of the world, everyone, and a country that wouldn't have and teach anything but his own history, literature, and other arts would sink quite low in a couple of years. Be open to the world, don't label anything yours, or alien. Simply research what you wish, what catches your attention, and everything will be great.
Those who wish to bicker and complain... let them, what can you do about it? Probably they have amassed a huge load of complexes, let them sink or swim.
 

centrajapan

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Americans like to think they are in the middle of the universe. Only in America would they call something World Series without inviting the world.
 

Goldiegirl

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he New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


Oh and just in case your forgot one thing about the World Series being American, the Canadians have teams too! :)
 

centrajapan

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Its hillarious. World Series. They should call it North American Series. That would be correct. World Series is a misleading term. Its simply wrong.

You never have Europeans calling themselves World Champions in football for winning their domestic league.
 

Goldiegirl

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Well if that's a big complaint why don't you do something about it? You could start a petition and get all the Europeans to sign it and send it off the USA. If that is one of your complaint, it really is silly and simple mindedness. I suppose Milwaukee shouldn't have a "Summer Fest" because summer happens all over the world?
 

centrajapan

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It just proves my point that they think they are the world. Most people think they are a part of the world.
 
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