In one of our discussions we spoke about Lawn People by Paul Robbins. One of the topics we discussed was the Hegemony Ideology and how that had a big impact on why a majority of the people did the things that they did. Time has passed and people have gotten more educated, so why does Hegemony still persist? Is it passed down from generation to generation? This may be one of the main reasons, but it may also be that being your own self is too much work for people. Going out and being a leader is stressful for most, so they give up without really trying much. It’s a lot more easier for people to see a group of others doing something and decide that’s what they want to do; whether it’s how they act, dress, or live. In the song In My Dreams by Kid Cudi, he ends it by speaking about people not wanting to be leaders in this time and age and how people much rather just follow others. He claims that people don’t stand up to the system that controls us, meaning the hegemonic ideology that we all live by, because it is a threat to the system. One thing that strikes me is that people know that we live under this ideology that makes us do most of the things that we do, but people have such a hard time spreading this. What is one way we could make others more aware of this Ideology and help them break out of this subliminal control they live by?
In class we discussed what does it mean to hear America sing. America has come a long away from where it starter but yet there is much work to be done to achieve the goals set forth during the creation of this country. The cultural object I chose is the music video for American Oxygen by Rihanna. The video as well as the lyrics are both a significant components in encompassing the actual meaning. The video shows various moments of history such as the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King Jr., 9/11, the Olympics, and much more. The lyrics try to send a message of an American dream that everyone is chasing and how we are a new nation, a new generation. The video shows flashbacks and clips from present day and how eerily similar they are. We have a new generation of hope and we can inspire change because so much progress is yet to be made to achieve this idea of the American dream. To make progress we need to inspire change and deviate from the patterns of the past. The lyrics and video almost are a contrast which plays at the perception of America.
In lecture we have talked extensively about what makes up an American. Some argue that it is not what an American looks like thats important, but how they act and what they say. Americans have a strong sense of national pride. The song Made In America by Toby Keith reflects the opinions of many Americans’. He says that “every day is independence day” inferring that America lives up to its nickname as the Land of the Free.” The song also talks about how Americans are willing to spend a little extra money in a store “for a tag that says U.S.A.” to show their faithfulness to our nation. However, not everyone is willing to pay those extra few dollars for products that are made in America. Imported products are often times cheaper, but the American economy is effected when the demand for American products decreases. Our society is to worried about finding the best price to realize how much we rely on imported products. The song is reminding us to take pride in our nation and to spend those few extra dollars for products made in America. As it simultaneously voices the opinion of many Americans. A lot can be learned about American culture just by listening to the words of a song.
Humans have developed ways to emerge as the predominant species on this planet, but the real question lies on how we manage them, whether for good or for evil. We can visualize here how humans have been able to manipulate technology for their own benefit, as seen in The Body Electric, and how these sort of alterations cause chaos. This is evident in how the government denies the fact that they are not involved in projects, but evidently it is contrasted by the struggle of America trying to be the top dog. The concept of disability is positive here because people are being treated regardless of their disability. There is also a grim atmosphere that we might be creating a haunted America on a whole other level. Who knows, we might be causing our own destruction. How far will we allow technology to go?
In light of the reading (“Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History”) by Douglas C. Baynton I was intrigued by one of his arguments that disability acted in place of nationality; specifically before nationality based quotas were established. In addition to his point, I argue that quotas and disabilities attributed to nationalities are the same thing. The process of restricting immigrants based on their nationality is no different than than the “old” viewpoint that other nationalities are disabled (or inferior) compared to Americans. The above image demonstrates severely limited European immigration due to a quota-based system as mentioned. The depiction of such restriction is equivalent to collectively viewing European nationalities as inferior to the American nation. If you sought to immigrate to another country, would you agree with unequal quota-based restrictions (which effectively imply inferiority) based on your nationality?
After listening to one of Professor Szu’s first lectures on “sounding like America”, I couldn’t help but question the current sounds of America. Popular music is now brimming with innuendo to sex, drugs, and the degradation of women. For the past few weeks The Hills by The Weeknd has remained in the top spot on Billboard Top 100. Not only has it remained the number one song in America for several weeks, but it has also remained in the top 100 for twenty weeks. Although its appeal may be purely due to its catchy tune, this song alludes to a sexual affair, influenced by drugs, that must be kept hidden from the public eye/ “the hills”. Music is said to reflect and/or relate to people’s ideas or experiences within a culture. Through this song alone we see both interest in keeping up public appearances (also portrayed in the “Lawn People” reading), and the the appeal of drugs and sex through influence of the media. What does this song, and others alike, say about American culture today?
As we learned in lecture, at the time of our country’s birth there was controversy over whether or not the United States had its own unique culture. Today, American exceptionalism is hardly a topic of debate for us since we have clearly defined our culture with images of eagles, flags, footballs, and McDonald’s logos. However, due to transnationalism, these elements of our culture have spread all over the world. American icons and businesses are seen nearly everywhere and our systems, values, and visions for the future have stuck with them. Consequently, it appears that American’s now share more things with someone halfway around the world than they did a hundred years ago. Just looking at the two photos above we can see many similarities even though one was taken in Japan and the other in the United States. Since the two places look very similar it is only natural to guess that the people living around both areas share similar qualities, likes, or dislikes. Therefore, by defining ourselves as a transnational country and making it a part of our culture, is our culture actually becoming less unique?