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The Forum > Article Comments > American re-visions: itís all about us > Comments

American re-visions: itís all about us : Comments

By Binoy Kampmark, published 6/6/2007

America is less unique than we would like to believe.

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I read the previous article by Peter West and it was full of cliched generalisations. The US is so huge and diverse it's more like a continent than a nation-state and so generalisations are going to be more dodgy than generalisations about somewhere like Australia or Britain.

I could say a lot about why I like the US but one thing I particularly admire is its gay movement which has been pioneering in many respects and a role model for gays in Australia, Europe and elsewhere. America may be home to Fred Phelps, the Christian Coaltion and the like but it is also home to Larry Kramer, Harry Hay and the activists who have fought the religious right tooth and nail and not given into anti-gay bigotry.

Peter West didn't mention this side of America - which is a shame because there is way more to the US than what George Bush would have you believe.
Posted by DavidJS, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 9:30:56 AM
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So 'American re-visions: itís all about us' is making the startling point that 'America is more complicated than the cliches suggest'? Indeed it is - but perhaps we might also expect rather more complex arguments on online opinion than statements of the obvious.
Posted by Gazza2121, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 10:05:22 AM
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A good article in some ways but I must disagree.

It seems to me that the fundamental myth/lie about the USA is its belief in its exceptionalism. At least this ideology is the driving force behind much so called "conservative" thinking---the thinking that drives the neo-so called "conservative" project to bring "freedom" and "democracy", and of course "jesus" to everyone on the planet----using bombs and shock and awe if necessary.
Actually I was wrong there. Bombs and shock and awe have always been the modus operandi---check out the USA invasion of the Philipines.

Check out the contents of Renew America--The American Century etc etc etc and so on---the idea of USA exceptionalism is as and deep rooted as apple pie and of course violence and guns.

Manifest destiny.The Moroe doctrine was the original statement of this intent. The entire planet is now the playground where this doctrine is dramatised. Resistance is futile. Submit or we will bomb the crapp out of you---or sabotage your economy.
A recent book by a Canadian titled America Alone reinforced this deluded hubristic notion.

Simply put the ruling myth is that the the USA is part of "god's" plan for humanity altogether, and that Americans have "god's" mandate to bring "freedom", "democracy" and "jesus" to every square inch of the planet. And of course that "god" is white skinned---you niggers, brown and yellow skins better watch out.

Never mind that the USA was founded on grand theft, genocide and slavery. Slavery being of course theft and murder on a grand scale too. This dark legacy has yet to be accounted for. It has left some very dark shadows or engrams in the collective USA pysche.

Speaking of theft. The USA made hundreds of treaties with the Native Americans. It broke most of them as is still actively trying to renege on those treaties that still hold force.
Posted by Ho Hum, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 10:42:46 AM
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I think bleating out of anti-American cliches again gets ponderous. We've heard it all before. It is too easy to do from Australia, which is smaller has a chronic inferiority complex and sordid history in colonising the land.

This article is a criticism of the "American Dream".

In the opening quote comparing America to an addiction, a drug or a vice, is merely two-dimensional. The dream is as innocent as Disneyland, but the set gives allowances for the belief in snake oil, the bogey man in the haunted castle, goofy and the wonders of pristine make-believe. It is not the reality that is the point, it is the heroics of Don Quixote shooting down "them windmills".

From my experience of living in America, the people are kind, generous, in their insular lives. Their customs are different, they and their bravado are often more an act affirming patriarchal right than a sincere quest. For example, it is considered rude to talk politics on the dinner table there.

The dinner ritual is the norm where the head of the house does the cutting and the bowls are left virgin before the prayer. Then the "kin" hop in for their blessed meal.

Ritual has been lost in Australia as we are not sure which direction to cringe from. We are not sure how to balance responsibility, in our house, at work, or running the system. We obsess about what we don't want rather than what we want. If we want something, it might mean more work. The doors fly open and either a culture or labor from a poor country does this for us, or the control of culture or labor is handed to the superpowers.

As for cultural imperialism that pervades our media, art, and every form of expression, surely this fits a gap where modern blandness left a gap for such quirkiness to be invited in. Australia seems to invite cultural intrusion and complains about it later.

We have extraordinary cultures to protect in Australia and its up to us to uphold them. We can't blame America on everything.
Posted by saintfletcher, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 11:39:25 AM
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welcome to reality, hohum. if it's any comfort, in recent years the native americans have been getting a lot of money back through their gambling casinos, which provide facilities many states don't have due to anti-gambling legislation. poor compensation but a big improvement on nothing.

it's amazing how many people think america is a champion of democracy. shows the power of sustained lying by the yanks, and widespread sycophancy among client governments.

the same technique is used in oz, naturally. most ozzians refer to oz as a democracy, shows the power of politicians, academics, and media proprietors to achieve the same result as a "ministry of truth".
Posted by DEMOS, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 11:42:26 AM
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Just one question.. Is America a Country or a Continent?

I'm from Dominican Republic, and I consider an American, with different culture of Canada, United States, Mexico, etc.
Posted by Plinio, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 12:44:33 PM
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