American Culture – Serfdom & Political Divide

American Culture – What defines it? George Carlin once said American politicians hide behind three things: the bible, the flag and children. No truer words were ever spoken. Political campaign catch phrases are wrought with colorful monologue that invokes cheap and easy predictable emotion. This has become the soup du jour tactic to insure blind servitude, ignorance and passive obedience to authority. The US political culture is dominated by such “panem et circenses”/bread and circuses mentality. The illusion of choice between bipartisan politics is nothing more then a distraction between the ruthless banking oligarchs who control wealth through stealth like criminal acquisition, effectively robbing the blind citizen serfs who dutifully pay taxes, vote indiscriminately and through ignorance and complacency believe rhetorical slogans of change and prosperity.

Politics has become a great divider among the classes, causing a marginalizing of the American culture, especially the middle class worker. The political warfare surrounding the issues has become more important then solutions. Divide and conquer because without the unity of the proletariat you will never have another “French” style revolution. This has become the underlying cause and effect of American subculture in regards to politics. In essence, foreign countries and their respective citizens are well aware of the typical American ignorance prevalent in world affairs but also the very ramifications and the role/actions that their government has in negatively impacting countries and cultures worldwide. Professor Chalmers Johnson of UCLA in his book “Blowback” (a term first created by the CIA in response to it’s covert actions worldwide) stated “The American people may not know what it’s government does in their name but people all over the world certainly know what is being done to them.” Ignorance is not bliss was his premise.

Values are self created and perpetuating. American culture is directly influenced by bygone puritanical/religious beliefs. For example, the growing fundamentalist Christian movement has a great influence on GOP politics and conservative legislation. ie: stem cell research, Roe v Wade, Immigration law, Globalization, Gay rights..etc Regardless many of the founding fathers knew the dangers of religious influence on politics and advocated a separation of church and state. However, today we have creationism being advocated and taught along with evolution. This policy on education and what/how is taught eventually in a globalized and industrialized world will create a counterproductive image of the USA and it’s citizens. Media and the role of entertainment, are seen and emulated around the world through the explosion of mindless reality TV shows, unrealistic/melodramatic dramas and sports fanaticism giving rise to mindless hooliganism and violence. This creates an contrary image to what are true ideals of American society.

Reading John Taylor Gatto’s works on education and the consistent dumbing down process of America over the decades support the facts that show why America currently trails many industrialized countries in math, science and engineering. It does not help matters when nearly a third of the US population is illiterate or barely literate and a third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. This anti-education perspective has become a staple of American youth and the prevailing ghetto mentality culture. In her book, “Ghetto Nation” Cora Daniels defines what values and traditions are becoming the social norms of what today represents a great deal of American culture. She exposes all the aspects of American society that reflects how the ghetto mentality flourishes today. She sites the entertainment industry, Madison Avenue, professional sports, as well as the everyday instances which once thought only a part of the inner city has become commonplace and now permeates all areas of American culture. This is the culture and image we export through mass media & technology. It is verified when Americans travel and are confronted, unable to answer or converse, debate on issues outside pop mania.

Through the internet, music and movies, this ghetto nation culture has been exported to other countries to represent a huge aspect of social culture which reflects values, traditions and beliefs once alien to foreigners. For example, the pirates in Somalia often don similar styled clothing and emulate their thug counterparts singing songs that were crafted in the drug and violent ridden streets of Crenshaw blvd, LA before going on raids. I once saw a documentary called Ghosts of Cite Soleil. The Haiti dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier was forced into exile leaving the country awash in severe sectarian violence. Two drug dealing rival siblings drove around in Cadillac SUV’s sporting the usual thug attire and blasting American gangster rap running violent raids to terrorize the citizens into submission. A UN commission once named that city the most dangerous place on earth.

This violent stereotype attached to American culture is demonstrated by it’s greatest export of mass entertainment which indirectly influences the world view of American culture as a whole. It’s justification lies in how powerful an effect this has on altering the social norms of the society in question. In Anthropology, I believe the term described was acculturation as America’s dominant entertainment culture which reflects it’s values and traditions and some beliefs are not only directly influencing outside the traditional borders, but also much of the reason for the negative connotations. I saw this same cultural dominance in a Japanese documentary called “Young Yakuza” about a young Japanese male’s inability to become initiated into the Yakuza (mafia) in a traditional manner in Japan- His American influence and interests, especially in pop culture and music created a disparity between family, tradition, honor and self absorbed shameless selfish interest. In the end he was unemployed, living alone and marketing himself as an unsigned rapper.

The unfortunate role of a hegemonic nation is the resulting reliance and co-dependence created through military and economic aid to it’s middle state powers, especially those considered non-industrialized third world. The byproducts of this reliance is the exporting of many negative influences of a society steeped in complacency and ignorance, surrounding domestic issues (except pop entertainment) and extends to world matters that are often initiated by the hegemonic government. I believe the solution is less cultural dependence (India’s Bollywood is a perfect example) and more independence to reduce the negative influence which is exported and directly impacts Americans in their personal contacts with outside cultures. In order to address that issue, much repair has to be initiated on a domestic front (education, voluntary social reforms) as the general population can no longer afford to be this blatantly complacent and apathetic in both domestic and foreign matters, culture or education. In closing, George Carlin also said when you are born into the world, you are given a ticket to the circus. When you are born in America, you have a front row seat. As a hegemon that is unfortunately true.

This video which is a perfect example of ignorance at work among the voting masses. So long this mentality prevails and is justified by actions (voting), so will the world stereotype of the befuddled American consumed with mass materialism, selfish monetary gain and Hollywood glamor and glitz, albeit uneducated and easily manipulated by government (media) in light of draconian laws and the eroding freedoms (Patriot Act) once cherished by generations of lost compatriots.