Initiation into American Culture: The Hollywood Smoke Screen As a foreigner looking inward through a glass window, the foundation of the American culture appears to be based on the idealism of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Each year thousands migrate into the United States in search of freedom, democracy and the distinguished American Dream.
The perception of the American Dream is initiated by several secondary sources; one of significance being American films. The cultural initiation made by American films is a drawbridge between one's ethnic social behavior, and the comprehension of the American culture. Foreigners are initially exposed to American culture by consuming images projected by Hollywood productions. Conversely, once immigrants experience life in America first-hand, they are shocked by the false perceptions created by the Hollywood smoke screen.
The American culture is glorified by its film industry. Each year films such as The Secret to my Success (Michael J.
Fox), Coming to America (Eddie Murphy), Switching Places (Eddie Murphy), and Pretty Woman (Julia Roberts & Richard Gear) are viewed by millions across the globe. The movie screens portray illusions of freedom, wealth, romance, and happy endings. To Foreigners, the phrase "life in America" brings to mind images from the television series 90210 and Melrose Place - perfect people, in perfect neighborhoods, living the perfect American Dream. Those of us who reside in the United States recognize the reality - that for the average population the American Dream is nothing more than a myth. Hollywood and American television advertise freedom, economic and social wealth, and justice. Individuals initiating the transition into American culture see only what the camera allows them to see, a filtered image of American society. FreedomsÃ¢ÂÂ¦confined by the boundaries of laws and regulations. Economic and social wealthÃ¢ÂÂ¦for the already wealthy. JusticeÃ¢ÂÂ¦served sparingly by an...