One need only look as far as the Nacirema’s ritual of signing its history for a definition of culture. “for the land of the free, and the home of the brave”. The perception that this nation is free is of monumental importance. Equally is the reminder that this country is also where the brave call home. The American Culture is one of not only being one of freedom and bravery but to espouse that edict at every opportunity.
There is more to the American Culture than braggadocio ~ there is also gluttony. As much as the natural inhabitants of the United States would like to portray their country as the sole beacon of justice there are other facets of American life that shine through as bright as our starts and stripes. Similar to the idea in advertising that one’s brand is not only a collection of actual behavior exercised but also how it is perceived.
Further, I asked the question could brand replace the word culture in most contexts. The brand of the United States is more than just its logo ~ the brand is blood on that logo. Fighting for independence, either phenotypically or otherwise, is a feat worth defending in conversation and standing on in attitude. That independence was earned and was the last (and most recent) such independence of note.
And too often, the American Culture is all these traits combined into just one anecdote or just one look or whatever the proverbial contextual response required of the moment.
Similar to “Kii mac inwol in wikech” I often find myself saying “Life is good.” Each day, as Americans meander through life, eating their burgers and earning their diplomas, we find ourselves indulging in life’s great pleasantries. Albeit simple and often mundane we celebrate the freedom to be mediocre ~ the freedom to simply exist unabashedly. There is a quote from a renowned American poet/artist that reads,
“Never looking back, or too far in front of me. The present is a gift and I just want to be.” ~ Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.
In this excerpt is a solemn cry to simply exist. A demand to stand in the moment and be. I believe subconsciously the American Culture seeks refuge from the world’s doldrums as wraps itself in the Constitution, not out of fear but because it was earned.
A friend of mine, in answering a question about the origins of Native Americans, made it very clear what his definition of American Culture was. – the ability to know or be concerned with the world’s problems and know that in America those problems would not infiltrate our freedoms. Our bravery would prevent those conflicts from ever reaching our shores and that as long as that were true there would always be at least one beacon of light in this world.
I admit, if this is somehow the case then I am glad we have shaped our American Culture to be impenetrable against criticism. Even if it means we’re blinded by ignorance, we’re protected by hope and opportunity no matter what.
What American Culture ~ that one.