So, we had dinner tonight with my Dad's cousin's family. He lived in the US for a while, has travelled - due to his work mostly - extensively abroad, has a decent education and is in general a sensible human being. When we leave, he shakes my hand and tells me: "Give 'em some culture over there in the US, eh?!"
I don't think I will ever know how to deal with this kind of ignorance. I simply don't understand it. The United States of America, home of Faulkner, of Hemingway, of Twain, I could keep on going, home to some of the best literature written since the early 19th century. A country that produced not only the Declaration of Independence, but also the Constitution and a commentary called Publius which is one of the most beautiful examples of democracy in action while at the same time a piece of political science art. A country that has given the world not one but many absolutely stunning music styles - let alone musicians. What would the world be like without Jazz, Blues, Rock 'n' Roll, Hip Hop?
Now, isn't it astonishing, that a society that has produced so many wonders and beauties receives such a bad rep not only in Europe but pretty much all over the world? Can such illogical (because that's what it is if you look at the facts and I dare pretty much anyone to try to argue this with me) hatred and despisal really have been caused by politics (aka Bush) alone? Or was it here before? Did Vietnam, Nixon, and LBJ play a part? Or is it maybe more general the fear of the hegemon which makes one despise or hate him? I cannot answer these questions, I wish I could at least offer up some better hypotheses.
In the it just makes me sad. I have devoted part of my life to studying this culture, this society, this country. I have done so, because it has proven itself to be interesting and captivating over and over again, and continues to do so, all while my knowledge and understanding of it grows (or diminishes with the acknowledgment that it is too big to ever fully understand, whatever you prefer). People that claim the US doesn't have a culture (or similar statements along those lines), just show themselves to be ignorant. They miss out on some of the most amazing pieces of art produced over the last 200 years. I feel sorry for you.
I feel also sorry for you, my dear 5 readers :), because of the abstractness and lack of logic in this text. I had to express this somehow, I had to get it off my chest, but I am not philosophical enough to be able to do a good job of detailing or answering questions as abstract as this one.