American Culture: What is in and what is out.

Essay by shortbussracerUniversity, Bachelor'sA, June 2004

download word file, 6 pages 4.2 1 reviews

American popular culture is clearly defined by what is the most fashionable or eccentric fixation that is a trend at a certain time. Examples of this phenomenon are written literature and broadcasting, music, consumer products such as trash compacters and dish washing systems to video game consoles, cars, dance and theater as well other cultural characteristics of social life as distinguished by ethnic, communal, and regional consortium. Americans are the kings of trend and though many countries throughout the world emulate many of our customs and fashions, American trends are generally ephemeral. Trends in America have been affluent and recognizable since the 1950's when the onset of appliance and automobile enthusiasm progressed throughout many homes in the western hemisphere.

On a daily origin, decisions are prepared about what garments we will wear, food we will eat, and how our day will be exhausted. Many people are apathetic in their choice of clothing, personal appearance as well as diet.

The great thing about American culture is the freedom to choose what you covet without repercussions. Although, I believe if an individual came to work in a Day-Glo green three piece leisure suit, that person may be the midpoint of office slapstick or possibly considered irrational and eccentric. I have compiled a list of activities that I enjoy while deployed in Afghanistan as well as activities at home. The ironic thing is I have been doing many of these things prior to them being considered a popular trend.

McBride 2

October 2001 marked a significant historical event not only for American history, but for the American culture as well. The world knows that Americans love to fight but they also know that we are a people who fight for freedom for all humanity and the safety and welfare of the world. American culture was an idea that was built on credentials of freedom and equality for all people. Despite this unpopular war on terror, American forces as well as the world coalition are here to stay for what may be a long and redundant campaign.

For those of us that are here for what seems endless time, we must stay active and try to benefit from the good things we have rather than inhabit on the morbid scenes or violent acts that we encounter. Bagram, Afghanistan is home to a number of activities available for soldiers to participate. I have complied a list of activities that I enjoy that I may not normally partake while at home. One of the primary activities here is weightlifting, this is very popular among soldiers for the reason that it helps in passing time, a soldiers keeps physically fit and they maintain muscular strength and endurance. Physical training is not only a mandatory activity, it is a crucial one. The most complicated phase of physical training is running because the air is thick and brutal on the lungs.

Another activity that is well liked and popular among soldiers is playing music or playing an instrument, such as a guitar. Many soldiers I have met and had the opportunity to play with are talented and excellent musicians. This is another way to pass endless time, keep your fingers and motor skills in shape but have fun as well. There are four members of my organization that play guitar and sometimes we play with each other. Music is in my blood and is something that I have been associated with for many years. This is not a trend for me as it is for many deployed soldiers

Reading is an unpopular activity with me, but popular among my peers. I enjoy reading when it pertains to music or interesting items such as history or magnificent

McBride 3

achievements that defy human odds. Some nights when I am having trouble getting to sleep I will pick up a book because it helps relax and acquire drowsiness.

I enjoy reading text books most of the time because they are filled with interesting artifacts and literature that cannot be obtained anywhere else. This is so with school work, I enjoy research, writing papers, and expressing my views or opinions on paper. I can learn valuable knowledge while obtaining a college degree. Many soldiers are taking classes either here at Bagram or via the internet. Professional development is an excellent way to use time and as well as improvement of knowledge and skills.

Watching movies is another favorite pastime of mine and a great way to pass the time. Every Friday the local nationals have a flea market where people can purchase movies for $3.00 a DVD. Some of the movies of course are bootleg copies of titles currently in theatres which we call "Hajji Vision." I like to purchase movies from the market for the reason that I can get the masculine movies that I enjoy instead of fighting with my wife over "Serendipity" or title of that variety. The picture quality is great as long as the movies have been previously released on DVD. The prices are great as well; I can purchase three movies for the price of one in the United States.

Writing is a reluctant activity at times, but I enjoy writing songs and poems when I have some quiet time. I am a father of three boys and I like to send them post cards or little notes to let them know that I love them and I'm thinking of them. I have written a number of songs in my life but most recently I have written a song to honor my wife and our life. I will confess however, I have never written as much in my life until I became a student of University of Phoenix. Writing is great way for one to express feelings at any given time in an illustrated detail that he or she may not remember the following day.

McBride 4

Finally in my list of activities, there is the everlasting and often times, stressful occupation. Working is the number one activity to pass time while in theatre. Unlike a regular work schedule, we are a twenty-four-seven operation with an extremely volatile function; Soldiers. A soldier's life is not a popular choice of occupation for many Americans, however the last three years has seen a magnificent increase in the number of soldiers who have enlisted to serve their country. This increase of soldiers in the Army is primarily due to the terrible outcome of September 11, 2001. I have talked to a number of young soldiers and their reason for joining the service was for that reason; Patriotism.

I have never stopped to consider whether or not my values or personal cultural artifacts of my life were popular, eccentric, or archaic. I live my life to my standards and I enjoy who I have become. I do not follow patterns of influence from music or contemporary fashions or lifestyles. I have a simple and often provocative fashion statement along with alternative ideas of thought and posture of American society. I don't feel that my activities are indicative of a fad; however they are trend for the reason that I will not continue many of these activities when I return home. I have defined my style over the years not by societal standards or advertisements, but by being an individual and being apathetic toward what anyone outside my family may have thought controversial or impartial to good family values. My life, as well as my family's life is full of joy, love, and above all healthy.

I was raised with the mentality that a person must conform to society and the standards set forth by superiors. I have always been an alternative to that idea because I do not want to be like anyone else. I have tattoos; does that make me a monster to society? That is a fallacy so common in the general public of today. I am considerate of others, I work hard, and I am team player, am I still a monster? My values and perceptions of wealth will prevail over time through optimism and personal desire. I will raise my children to best of my ability while considering their feelings along with the trends and fads

McBride 5

they may encounter with their peers. My children will know right from wrong, but I will allow them to make mistakes. I may be wrong to normal societal procedures in my convictions, but I will not allow society to mold my thoughts or my family's accepted wisdom.

I respect all laws and the values that others may hold true. I live my life to the fullest extent of fulfillment and exuberance. Popular culture is a great and unpredictable aspect of life. Popular culture is what defines our society and the way people live their lives. American popular culture is widely accepted, adopted, as well as abhorrent throughout the world. Our ideas and transactional way of life has inspired great human beings of art, literature and leadership. If I could pinpoint one noticeable trend within American culture, it would be my affirmation that many people in contemporary America are concerned with the actions, thoughts, fads and trends of other people, that it seems we forget about the great melting pot and its colorful ingredients; American culture.