American Normativity and the American Way of War
In this, the third installment on American normativity, I will discuss the spread of Americana through the media and suggest that non-Americans are also vested in Americana. Our depictions of American culture through the Internet, movies, novels, and video games represent Americana abroad. Specifically then, I am discussing the notion of being vested in Americana through the expansion of American media.
The difficulty, however, in discussing the complications in the rapid spread of American culture throughout the world, affects both non-Americans and Americans living abroad. There is certainly lots of research to be done describing the transmission of culture over the Internet, or even the conception of the Internet as culture, but the particularities of that investigation are not at the heart of my interests.
My concern, here, is to identify how the spread of American ideals and practices influence specifically non-Americans; that is, how does the influence of Americana reshape cultural practices abroad? First, to answer this question requires that I offer an example of an American practice that has spread abroad, which was beneficial, detrimental, or inconsequential in its cultural influence for exclusively non-Americans.
Next, I will have to demonstrate that the influence of this practice has specifically reshaped the existing practice, and finally describe any tendencies to assume traditional practices, that is, original practices prior to American influence.
Being a Gen-xer, which is roughly classified as those individuals born between the early-to-mid 1960s and 1980, I am a product of the Vietnam War, two wars in Iraq, a Cold War, a war on drugs, war on terror, a looming war in Afghanistan, Columbine, Vtech, Pac’s murder, Biggie’s murder, Kurt Cobain’s suicide, and the list goes on.
I am a product of war, and everything that I perceive informs me of war. The life of every Gen-xer is undeniably influenced by this incessant and inescapable proclivity to war. Seemingly, Americans are always postured, always ready for war.
Our fascination with post-apocalyptic society, which is reflected throughout our culture with movies like the Matrix, novels like The Watchmen, and I am Legend does, in my opinion, surface as a manifestation of the guilt of having bombed Japan. To my knowledge, Japan is the only post-apocalyptic culture on the face of the earth, and yet we are the ones terrified of the big bomb, the ominous red phone, mass extermination, and life after destruction.