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Sunday, June 25, 2006

There Is No American Culture

One definition of "culture" is "a set of learned beliefs, values and behaviors the way of life shared by the members of a society."

California's Department of Education has a long list of books approved for use in schools' literature classes, and the Department has divided those books into groups based on what culture they represent. For example, some books represent "Black/African American Culture;" some represent "Latino/Latino American" culture; and some, "Middle Eastern."

Conspicuous by its absence from the list, however, is "American culture." See for yourself at the California Department of Education website.

Are our children to believe there is no such thing as a distinctly American culture? Is America instead an empty vessel that does nothing more than hold the cultures of groups from around the world?

What about Mark Twain? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Kurt Vonnegut? Tom Wolfe? Plug their names into the list's search engine, and you'll see they do not represent any particular culture; that field is blank for those authors.

Forgive me for saying so, but respecting other cultures should not entail denying the existence of our own.

31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Walter -

Or maybe there is no true American culture when it comes to texts. American culture is a mesh of other cultures, and cannot be simply defined as "American" ya right wing moron.

June 25, 2006 4:05 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I find it interesting that even though this was in the media last week not one politican or school board member has made a comment.
CANCER STUDY CITES HAZARDS OF INDOOR AIR FOR NY AND LA. TEENS....Survey of students finds health risks for formaldehyde and dichlorobenzene in homes and schools...biggest culprit by far, responsible for half of the Los Angeles teenagers' cancer risk.
For the Los Angeles teenagers, 41 from Jefferson High researchers reported that the cancer threat was seven times higher than an estimate for the city used by the Environmental Protection Agency, which does not include the effects of indoor air.

June 25, 2006 7:20 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

To 4:05 p.m.:
So you seriously contend there is no such thing as American culture? Rather, our nation is merely a "mesh" -- whatever that is -- of other cultures?

The First Amendment, for example, where does that come from? Which culture? Equal rights, and the rule of law in general -- are they from China? Jazz -- Did that originate in New Zealand? Cowboys and individualism -- merely an import from Mongolia?

June 25, 2006 8:14 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

P.S. Elvis.

June 25, 2006 8:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If there's no American Culture, there's no reason for an American Nation. Those folks at the Department of Education should be arrested as traitors.

June 25, 2006 8:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Well, the Department of Education recognizes Black/African American culture. I guess White/American culture would be considered racist by the State of California. School vouchers, anyone?

June 25, 2006 8:32 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

That's simplistic bs, 4:05. You need to do some traveling. There are many, many aspects of American life that are nothing like anything else in the world. The U.S. doesn't have a culture that is as uniform and easily defined as, say, Japan’s, whose population is ethnically pretty homogeneous and whose relatively small territory is completely surrounded by ocean, but simply because most of the U.S. population is only 3rd or 4th or 5th generation doesn't mean American culture is simply a "mesh" of cultures brought in from other places.

These are some things that go together to make U.S. culture unlike that of any other country's

- entrepreneurship
- affinity to and expertise in science and technology
- respect for the Constitution and the law
- the "American dream"
- preoccupation with free speech
- preoccupation with low taxes
- preoccupation with improving one's lot
- car culture
- American music (where do you even start with that one)
- predominance of Christianity
- Wall Street (and widespread involvement in capital investment)
- workaholism
- vocational mobility
- baseball, basketball and football (and general indifference to soccer)
- high school and college sports
- the American university system
- barbeques
- movies and television
- suburbia
- fast food
- developmental sprawl
- infrastructure
- houses with swimming pools and lawns
- tons of lawyers and litigation
- political correctness (and its older sister Puritanism)
- doing laundry in a machine
- credit cards
- The "valley girl," "computer nerd," "New Yorker," "southern good ol' boy," "stuffy New Englander," "flamboyant gay," "hippie," "gangsta" and "Hollywood glamour" personas, among hundreds or thousands of others.
- amusement and theme parks
- food festivals
- cook-offs
- tolerance of leftist morons, dolts and jackasses such as yourself

June 25, 2006 8:58 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Who says schools are supposed to teach "culture?"

Which one of the 3 R's is that?

June 25, 2006 10:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Realism. Important in life.

June 25, 2006 11:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Aaron Spelling, great purveyor of American popular culture, RIP.

June 25, 2006 11:18 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

8:58 PM-

"The U.S. doesn't have a culture that is as uniform and easily defined as, say, Japan’s, whose population is ethnically pretty homogeneous..."

You hit the nail on the head with that one. This country is only 70% white, and that 70% is nowhere near homogeneous. The lack of an "American" label on texts Wacko speaks of should give you a hint that it probably deals with white mainstream culture. Those that deal with minority issues are clearly labeled, to Wacko's chagrin.

June 26, 2006 2:22 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

To 8:58:
Great summary of American culture! Funny and true.

June 26, 2006 6:36 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

To 2:22:
So now it's "racist" to assert that America has its own culture? When someone asks you what you want for your birthday, here's an idea: a dictionary.

June 26, 2006 6:38 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Anon 8:58 -

Since most principles of the US Constitution came from British and French writers...its hard to label most of your list as being "American".

-Entrepreneurship has been around since... well ...forever.

- You think the US was the first culture to love science and technology?!? IDIOTA

- Constitution was modeled on other nations' philosophies.

- Free Speech isn't really American Culture..its a law that at times has been thrown out alltogether.

- Wow...low taxes...I guess that is American Culture...LOL Like peasants didn't revolt in the Middle Ages against kings for over taxing them.

- Car culture?!? You really are a moron. Please...go to anywhere OUTSIDE of the Southwest and show me this car culture.

- So now you're saying Christianity is an American thing?

- Wall Street...which affects what...maybe 1/5 Americans IF that.

- workaholism...yup..thats American culture

- And then you just rattle shit off that really isn't culture. In fact...the only "American" culture thing I see there is "fast food".

-By the way...the Puritans didn't start in the U.S.

-Amusement and theme parks...wow...I wonder what the UK and other parts of Europe did for amusement...oh wait...they had FESTIVALS.

So please...next time you're trying to "identify American culture", don't just throw random bullshit out that Americans like...because 9 times out of 10...it wasn't started in America.


Bitch

June 26, 2006 7:05 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

American culture is what has made this country great. It's why California is a markedly different place than Baja California, for just one example.

June 26, 2006 8:43 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

8:43

American culture is the mixing of other cultures. It is not its OWN culture like african cultures or asian cultures. Its a worldly fusion of other cultures that makes America what it is today.

June 26, 2006 9:10 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

America has, to date, successfully assimilated other cultures. It is not a "worldly fusion".

FYI: There no "asian" culture. There is no common language, religion, political philosophy, or social ethos that binds the countries of that continent. Compare Thailand to Japan.

June 26, 2006 9:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Wacko:

Who's mentioning racism, if not you? It's clear from your comments that you abhor the fact that public education agencies focus on minority studies. Why do you have a problem with that? Because you're a racist fuck.

June 26, 2006 1:14 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Rednecks, white socks and Blue Ribbon beer.

June 26, 2006 1:21 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

You equate culture with race, and I'm the racist? I see now.

Here's some free legal advice: if you are a college graduate, you may have a right to a refund of your tuition. Spend it on a dictionary.

June 26, 2006 2:49 PM  

Anonymous partyanimal@ucla said:

7:05,

Detail for us the culture of another country. Take your pick of any country.

June 26, 2006 2:57 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

2:57

When did I say other countries had an independent culture? Thats the mistake you and Walter made.

June 26, 2006 3:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What? I have to go back 400 years to find a culture my kids can identify with? How is that inclusive?

June 26, 2006 3:28 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

what's with the "independent" qualifier? Getting soft on us now?

June 26, 2006 4:13 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Just like gay ass Wacko to hide his racism behind technicalities. You're a xenophobic redneck cracker and you know it, fucker. Quit your holier-than-thou therapy, cuz it ain't working.

June 26, 2006 10:32 PM  

Anonymous Warren Buffett said:

Have you guys ever heard the one about the gay ass nameless poster? That cowardly wuss of a nobody who had nothing to contribute to the world except anonymous sniping and whining on the internet? It's a good one if you haven't.

June 26, 2006 11:07 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

How to destroy America: (1) deny it has a unifying culture, (2) highlight culutral differences, and (3) watch it blow up.

June 27, 2006 7:42 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 27, 2006 7:43 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

To 11:07 p.m.: LOL.
Did you notice how now it is not only "racist" to assert there is an American culture, but also "gay?" What is it with this guy?

June 27, 2006 7:45 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

11:07 PM--

You're speaking about yourself here?

June 27, 2006 8:33 AM  

Anonymous CTL said:

8:58 should have included patriotism in the list.

June 27, 2006 3:14 PM  

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