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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ism's Avatar
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    Default The American Nation

    I was re-reading a few articles from last year and came across this during my research. What are your thoughts?

    Whatever the American people are (and they may well be sui generis), they are not a nation in the pristine sense of the word. Indeed, while proud of being a "nation of immigrants" with a "melting pot" tradition, the absence of a common origin may well make it more difficult, and conceivably impossible, for the American to appreciate instinctively the idea of the nation in the same dimension and with the same poignant clarity as do the Japanese, the Bengali, or the Kikuyu. It is difficult for an American to appreciate what it means for a German to be a German or a Frenchman to be French, because he psychological effect of being American is not precisely equatable.
    It's from Walker Connor's "A Nation is a Nation, is a State, is an Ethnic Group, is a . . . " Link here.

    It's pretty long, but a really interesting read. Then again, I like reading about stuff like this, so I'm biased.

    Personally, from my own anecdotal experience, I think this is true. It is certainly the case that a sense of one's nation is stronger elsewhere than it is in America. The mythology is different, comes from a different place, and the American narrative emphasizes different aspects of the national culture that are more abstract than ones other nations provide.

  2. #2
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ism View Post
    The mythology is different, comes from a different place, and the American narrative emphasizes different aspects of the national culture that are more abstract than ones other nations provide.
    And not everyone accepts that narrative either.

    Personally, my answer to that is that there should be mandatory military service. Not necessarily for wartime, but just in general. It forces people to work together.

  3. #3
    Meat Tornado DiscoBiscuit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ism View Post
    I was re-reading a few articles from last year and came across this during my research. What are your thoughts?



    It's from Walker Connor's "A Nation is a Nation, is a State, is an Ethnic Group, is a . . . " Link here.

    It's pretty long, but a really interesting read. Then again, I like reading about stuff like this, so I'm biased.

    Personally, from my own anecdotal experience, I think this is true. It is certainly the case that a sense of one's nation is stronger elsewhere than it is in America. The mythology is different, comes from a different place, and the American narrative emphasizes different aspects of the national culture that are more abstract than ones other nations provide.
    It's far easier to have a culture with a more homogenous populace.

    This might be one reason, popular culture (media etc.) has supplanted any real culture that we could have once pointed to.

    It's the problem with the melting pot, and why being an American is of secondary importance to other more regional or ethnic identities to many people.
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  4. #4
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    I enjoy this about being American. We are a modern people for the modern times.

  5. #5
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jontherobot View Post
    I enjoy this about being American. We are a modern people for the modern times.
    I don't know.. Maybe I read too much crap in the "Comments Section" of news sites, but "modern" isn't the word I'd use for many Americans. There's a lot of shit under the covers that comes out on the internet.

  6. #6
    Let Go Of Your Team Zarathustra's Avatar
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    I think some people experience America as a true nation.

    Unfortunately, far too few do.
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    "I trust what you are doing though…I just see it a little differently.
    I don’t see it as you stepping away from the fire. I see it as the fire directing your course.
    No matter how airy or earthy or watery you become... to many of us you will always be...a super nova."

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Ism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    I don't know.. Maybe I read too much crap in the "Comments Section" of news sites, but "modern" isn't the word I'd use for many Americans.
    Why... why would you do that to yourself? The comments section on Yahoo news is like the shithole of the internet.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    This might be one reason, popular culture (media etc.) has supplanted any real culture that we could have once pointed to.
    What do you think that culture was/is, out of curiosity?

  8. #8
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Why should people identify with lines on a map? Seems arbitrary and silly.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  9. #9
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Trapped in America

    Quote Originally Posted by Ism View Post
    the American narrative emphasizes different aspects of the national culture that are more abstract than ones other nations provide.
    Sure, America is an environment that, like all environments, is invisible to Americans.

    And being naturally concerned with making it in America, or realising the American Dream, Americans are necessarily blind to America.

    For instance, we only discovered 'The Environment' when we went to the Moon and turned the camera around and saw the Earth for the first time from the outside.

    So is it possible for Americans to see America from the outside?

    The answer is no. So we are reliant on outsiders like Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville and his book, "Democracy in America", to see America from the outside.

    And fortunately on an international site like Typology Central a greater possibility exists to see America from the outside.

    But as they say, "We all have two countries: our own and France; and we all have two cultures: our own and American", so we are all trapped inside American culture.

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