”Americans have no culture”

Uppgift Engelska 1.

The statement Americans have no culture shouldn’t be taken literally. It is of  course quite obvious that every nation or state possess some form of culture. Culture defines peoples way of life, way of thinking and how they act within a given geographical area. Culture is art, science, literature and religion. But it is also cultivation (spiritual), good manners, tact and common sense. And I think it is the latter definitions of the concept culture that has made the headline such a common phrase. Because it is ”common knowledge” in Europe in general and in ”cultural strongholds”, such as England and France, in particular that Americans are boorish, rude and that they lack all signs of common sense. They find the big country in the west to be sick. And American produced movies, TV-shows and music is considered symptoms of disease. But to me it all strikes me as pompous boloney. Because, really, who is to say what good cultural really is? To use an old cliché: isn’t up to the eyes of the beholder?

To illustrate the cultural snobbism in Europe one could use the film industry as example. In Europe American blockbusters are considered to be mental food to the slow-witted. Still, people all around the world enjoys and gets happy by these movies. They want to escape the everyday- life and experience something great – something where everything is black and white. They want escapism. And Hollywood provides it.

And let us be honest the epic saga about Luke Skywalker and his struggle against the evil space empire, in Star Wars, is nothing but a master piece of escapism film making and it could not have been done anywhere but in USA. And the reasons for that lies in the fact that USA has got the most dynamic and powerful cultural climate in the world. Simply because American movie makers are let to ignore the difference between art and entertainment. They lack the inhibitions European colleagues are forced to be stuck with as a legacy from an old history.

European culture is because of its history precocious, over-pretentious and pompous. America, however, is still in its youth and is like children in general more creative and playful – and this youthfulness has colored the cultural climate in a positive way, but (no offense) it has on the other hand made Americans somewhat shallow, egoistic and boorish – just like children in general. Therefore the above headline is such a common phrase in Europe (you almost never hear it in the new world).

So, as a conclusion, I think that the statement ” Americans have no culture” have its origin in European contempt for the American way of life and all its shallow ideals  and jealousy for its dynamics.