Wednesday, 7 December 2011

American Doubt

A Primer on Crime and Delinquency Theory recognises that crime can be a result of individuals aspiring to achieve the American dream. This theory relates to The Great Gatsby, because Gatsby partly achieves economic success through crime, possibly through bootlegging.
Steven F. Messner and Richard Rosenfeld state that the American dream is '"the goal of material success.'" Therefore, if an individual is unable to gain economic success through the legal means of working hard, they will resort to working hard illegally, because every American citizen is supposedly entitled to the dream. This definition also shows how materialistic America has become, as one of the cardinal purposes, or perhaps the cardinal purpose of American life, is to obtain as much money as possible in order to gain material items. In relation to The Great Gatsby, Gatsby achieves material success illegally. For example, he lives in a mansion, holds parties and drives a Rolls-Royce. As a result, he illustrates that some individuals are able to achieve material success through illegal means.
However, Messner and Rosenfeld's definition of the American dream can be seen as unreliable, because they have a middle-class bias. They assume that 'crime and delinquency among lower-class individuals are reactions to their failure to achieve middle-class goals.' Therefore, these theorists suggest that the lower-class are unable to achieve the American dream and this is echoed within The Great Gatsby, because George Wilson is represented as a lower-class citizen, who wishes to progress upwards into the middle-class. However, during the 1920s this would have been toilsome as arguably, the lower-class and upper-classes dominated society at this time. Yet, Wilson does not turn to crime in order to achieve, instead he works hard in his garage, hoping that one day his hard work will be worthwhile. Therefore, it appears that individuals who obtain morals will not result to crime in order to achieve the American dream, even if they are in an unfortunate situation. Wilson demonstrates a sense of morality through his religious language, for instance: 'God sees everything.' (Page 146.) In contrast, Gatsby resorts to crime in order to achieve, therefore he can be portrayed an an immoral character.

The Jazz Age

The 'Jazz Age' is a movement in the 1920's when the American economy was flourishing. I have chosen this theme for the blog as the era is widely explored in the Great Gatsby through the eyes of narrator Nick Carraway. The movement began at the beginning of the First World War and its rise is attributed to the introduction of mainstream radio. The radio allowed people to listen to Jazz music in the comfort of their own home and although Jazz is accredited to African Americans it was widely popular to white middle and upper class America. The emergence of Jazz is down to the extravegence and prosperity experienced during the 'plenty twenties' where parts of American society indulged and the music was seen as a way to rebel against traditional American values. Prohibition also attributed to this rebellious nature and jazz and alcohol helped create an underground movement of revelry. In the book Nick experiences the revelry first hand at Gatsby's various parties and instead of portraying the lifestyle positively, he is quite negative and describes it as being enjoyed by selfish people who had poor morals. Women who participated in this lifestyle were known as 'flappers' due to their drinking and smoking as well as their short skirts. Daisy and Jordan as well as a number of guest at Gatsby's parties are flappers as they are described as not conforming to normal social standards.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

American Consumerism

This is an advertisment for the Lager Budweiser. This is an American drink which origins are from German roots. The advertisement has a vivid red background in order to grapple the viewers attention. The subliminal messages that are given off in this advertisement are that of; authority, power and being on top. Calling it the King of Beers is a is similar to Carlsbergs' claim it's 'probably' the best in the world. This is where the American(ness) comes out in the advertisment. There is no probably this is an all out statement of what this beer and America is. Not necessarily king but, they are on top. The angle of the picture is to give the feel that the beer is looking over you dominating you to an extent much like America does at the present time. The picture contains a presence of power and authority which is what the world has come to see of the U.S.

Monday, 5 December 2011

This Cover Girl cosmetics adveritsement i think is set on introducing 'New' and Fresh' values when it comes to beauty and skin care. Putting a famous celebrity on the front instantly interests the buyer as they believe that if they are endorcing the product it must be a good brand worthy of star quality.

Selling the foundation as 'A breath of fresh air' says to the buyer that this is the newest cleanest product on the market unlike anything before. The model has cleverly been airbrushed to have flawless skin on the cover alowing the consumer to belive that if they prchase this product they too can have skin like her and ultimatly look and be like her herself.

'Light as air feel' says to the buyer that this is a lighter product unlike the heavyer foundations that you can get that make you look like your wearing too much make up. So what this product is trying to do is sell minimalism and focus on 'Real beauty'. This is evident as they have cleverly made the model look as if she is wearing little to no make up. Making the consumer believe that this product gives the illusion that you are a 'Natural beauty'. This will ultimatly attract the buyer as every girl wants to believe that they dont need alot of make up to be beautiful. So what this advertisment is doing is targeting the audiences self esteem, making them think that if they buy this product they will become a better version of themselves.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

American Consumerism

This Nike advertisement is striking because it places emphasis on the slogan 'Just Do It,' rather than the logo or the product. This message supports the American ideology of optimism and hope, as the advertisement motivates individuals to be enthusiastic about football through the use of the imperative slogan. The logo need not be in a large print because the slogan has become familiar around the world and audiences are likely to associate football with this sports brand, therefore this demonstrates how powerful the company has become. On the other hand, Nike could be opposing the consumerist culture by making the brand name insignificant.
Firstly, the advertisement has symbolic value, because it suggests that people from around the world are unified by football, regardless of wealth or race, seeing as this advert depicts a person without shoes therefore the individual may not be wealthy, but nevertheless he is worthy of being represented in a Nike advert because materialism is unimportant. Furthermore it represents equality and diversity, as the setting implies that the individual may not be in America, seeing as the U.S. is stereotypically shown in advertisements through vibrant cities. In addition, the setting of this advertisement depicts the globalization of companies such as Nike and suggests that the values it represents are applicable to society as a whole. Furthermore, Nike may have chosen to specify football rather than any other sport due to its popularity, particularly in European countries.
Although the age of these individuals is unclear, they are likely to be children or teenagers, therefore the advertisement appeals to the youth around the world who are becoming the prime targets for consumerism, because stereotypically they exercise vanity. However, marketing towards the youth is beneficial because Nike represents sport and this in turn, advertises exercise. This is relevant to Americans, especially today, as nearly 20% of children in the U.S. suffer from obesity. The advertisement highlights the athletic bodies of these individuals and as a result, consumers may aspire to become fitter and healthier.
Due to the athletic figure of these individuals, it could be concluded that the advertisement is aimed at males, however the photograph does not include the upper half of their bodies, possibly because the sex of these people is insignificant and this once again implies a sense of unity between consumers. The advertisement focuses on the sport, rather than on popular football players for example; thus proving that Nike is capable of resisting the consumer culture.

This is an advertisement for Nike. By using a cheetah (fastest land animal) it is giving the reader the impression that Nike is the master behind the secret of speed and by buying Nike they can improve their performance.
In terms of the use value, sports goods made by Nike tend to be made cheaply outside the USA (Asia) so the value will be low. The exchange value will be much higher than the cost of making the products and the profits will be great (3 months upto Aug 2011 $645m). The symbolic value of Nike is extremely high which is helped by the marketing of World famous celebrities such as Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Lebron James as well as the famous 'swoosh' symbol. Nike is also seen as the product of choice for top professionals in the majority of sports which enables Nike to charge higher prices for clothing/equipment/footwear etc. than other sports brands.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Horatio Alger Myth This website gives a simple definition of what the myth is. The idea of working hard in order to get some form of gain has been common knowledge long before this book was written. Alger manages to capture this ethic in a way that hadn't been done before. Applying it to contemporary society can be done. By looking at many of the billionaires and millionaires around the world. Mark Zuckerberg worked hard to get where he is and he has made considerable gains financially.
Horatio Alger Myth

This description that i found i believe sums up the Horatio Alger Myth simply but succesfully. It breaks down the ideology that if you work hard in like you will gain success. I believe this is a true statement and does relate to Ragged Dick due to the fact that Dick starts off as a shoe shiner making his way through 'pluck and luck' to being a clerk earning 10 dollars a week. While this does indeed relate to the Horatio Alger Myth there is never a clear indication of what 'succes' really is, means or represents. Whether success is financial, cultural or personal. Dick i believe achieved all of these aspects but it would not be so in comparison to pther people in reality who have achieved greater success. Success is deemed i believe more often than to be measured upon wealth and finance, so if taking that into consideration the Horatio ALger Myth does not relate to Dick as he was not greatly wealthy.

Gun Control: Anti - Pro The National Rifle association is an Anti gun contol group created in 1871. By looking at the website at face value it isn't hard to tell what sort of group this is. There are clear signs that the organization is politically active with an array of articles linked to politics and the interpretation of the 2nd amendment. It's clear that the site is organized with links to 'Friends' of NRA and to the other places of a similar nature. This a Pro Gun Contol site named after a victim of a shooting who was paralyzed in the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan. This organization has tried to pressure and help raise awareness of Gun related crimes and the damage they cause. A significant way they do this is by having a little post at the top of the screen which says how many people have been shot just on that day.
Given my view on politics it seems the Brady campiagn is the most convining. This may be because it is playing partially on fear and it seems the smarter way of doing things.

the horatio alger myth

Articles on the 'Horatio Alger myth' appear throughout the internet and many of them suggest that Americans like to believe in the ideas from 'Ragged Dick' - hard work can lead to prosperity. However most websites also make the point that although Americans want to believe in the concept, most evidence of modern day America seems to put forward that the myth is now untouchable.
''This idea is still used by conservatives who defend the gap between rich and poor by saying that there are opportunities for the poor to succeed if they work hard; and that those who don’t succeed remain poor because of their own faults.''
This article is strongly against capitalism and blames the government for the widening gap between the rich and poor and the lack of opportunities available for people to make a success of themselves.
''the purchase of lottery tickets, and gambling became the substitute vehicles for this pursuit of success.''
This website also attacks the opportunites available for people to achieve the ''dream'' of financial success.
Overall contemporary views of the myth seem to be negative. Without doubt Americans want to believe but there are many obstacles stopping them from achieving which hard work and perserverance (the ideas behind the myth) cannot overcome.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

'The Horatio Alger Myth'

This American University in Pennsylvania uses the phrase, 'the Horatio Alger myth' in relation to the frequent narrative of 'rags to riches' in musicals during the 1930's. On the one hand, this is an accurate interpretation of the Alger myth because in Ragged Dick, the character progresses upwards from a lower class 'street arab' to a respectable middle-class citizen. This was made possible through Dick gaining employment as a clerk, allowing him to earn ten dollars a week. Therefore, this was a drastic increase in economic terms for Dick, as 'Ten dollars a week was to him a fortune,' (Chapter 27) and as a result, Alger demonstrates that the myth involves an acquisition of 'riches.'
On the other hand, this is an inaccurate diagnosis of 'the Horatio Alger myth,' because Dick does not rise from 'rags to riches.' He simply gains employment as a clerk; 'riches' is therefore an inappropriate term to use for a minor profession and additionally, this profession was in reality, difficult to elevate in, therefore his new occupation is merely a minor step towards progress. Furthermore, it may be an exaggeration to suggest that Dick transforms from poverty into a middle-class citizen, seeing as Dick is only a child and fortune usually benefits those of the older generation stereotypically, because experience is rewarded with wealth.
'The Horatio Alger myth' seems to receive a more justifiable description on this website, which utilises the myth to explain the westward migration movement. It states that '"pluck, luck, and moral rectitude would advance one's station in life."' This implies that the myth is not simply materialistic - as the 'rags to riches' concept suggests, because there is no mention of wealth or status. Horatio Alger wished to encourage children to act morally through aspiring to the character Dick. Therefore, the Alger myth is indeed the progression of an individual, but the importance is placed on the means of the progression, rather than the end result.
However, the reference to 'moral rectitude' can be questioned in defining 'the Horatio Alger myth,' because the character Dick is ambiguous. He is predominantly portrayed as a moral individual through his many selfless actions, for example in chapter 20 he demonstrates his generosity by lending money to his friend Tom Wilkins. However, Dick's morality can be questioned, for instance when he fights Micky Maguire in chapter 18 because he is willing to use violence. Consequently, it could be argued that Horatio Alger intended to create an ordinary character that young boys could relate to, rather than a character that obtains a number of seemingly perfect characteristics. 'The Horatio Alger myth,' can as a result, be described as the progression of an ordinary individual, making the myth applicable to the majority of American society.
In conclusion, 'the Horatio Alger myth' is more complex than the simplification of 'rags to riches,' which implies that the process of individual achievement is straightforward, when in reality, an individual must obtain certain characteristics and must additionally struggle against the perils of city life. If the idea of 'rags to riches' must be appropriated, it must be emphasised that an individual will gradually progress from one class to another as Dick did. The process is not automatic and this is proven in the bombardment of obstacles that Dick must overcome in order to progress.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Gun Control; Anti or Pro??

''Tireless Champions of Sensible Gun Laws''.
The brady campaign is linked to the Brady Handgun Violence Act of 1993 introduced by President Bill Clinton which required that every sale of a gun by a licensed dealer would be referred to law enforcement for a background check. This act came about due to the events in March 1981 when a mentally deranged young man, John Hinckley, attempted to assassinate the President, and shot both President Reagan and Jim Brady who suffered a serious head wound that left him partially paralyzed for life. Since leaving the White House, Jim with his wife Sarah both fight for common sense gun laws. The website outlines the organisations goals on gun control. They don’t want to ban guns and regularly state; ‘’we believe that law-abiding citizens should be able to buy and keep firearms.’’

In contrast the following webiste disapproves strongly about any forms of gun control.
This group describes itself as "The only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington."
Their main goal is to preserve and defend the second ammendment and the group have been involved in legal proceedings in almost every state in the nation, in the hopes to maintain and further pro-gun legislation, and pro-gun rights. They make efforts to differentiate themselves from the larger National Rifle Association (NRA) , and have publicly criticized them on multiple occasions for what the GOA considers to be the selling out of the gun rights movement. This is where their slogan on comprimise is used to distance themselves from the NRA.

A common theme with the websites is the use of the colours of the American flag which give them both a patriotic feel. Both websites put their views across very well but due to Britain not having the same attitude towards guns as America it is easy for me to agree with the Brady campaign which seems to want common sense to prevail in the making of gun laws. They do not call for a complete ban on guns, just rules that prohibit the availability of weapons that are beyond recreational (AK-47 etc) as well as not allowing criminals to buy guns. These policies seem logical but the gun owners of America preach about the second amendment which they claim allows anyone to own any gun they desire. Surely they just need to look at the tragedies that have taken place in recent years to see that gun control is a necessity. Instead they see any control as a breach of their freedoms.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Gun Control

'Armed Females of America' supports the use of guns in America. The Texas State Representative Suzanna Hupp states that guns are necessary in America, because individuals have ' the right to defend one's self and family.' This 'right' is found in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights 1789, therefore Americans should bear arms because it follows traditional American principles and values to do so. Furthermore, obtaining a gun in the household enables a family to feel safe and secure, because intruders are likely to escape when confronted with violence.
On the other hand, the website 'Coalition Against Gun Violence' which is based in California, is against the use of guns in America. They state that 'Freedom from fear is a basic human right.' Once again the emphasis is on the 'rights' of the individual, therefore both arguments are legally valid. However, the use of guns can provoke fear because there have been many murder cases in America as a result of guns, for example the Columbine Massacre in 1999 which received media coverage that further escalated the terror felt by civilians.
Nevertheless, 'Armed Females of America' argue that Americans should bear arms because this is an 'inalienable right endowed by our Creator.' Some Americans believe that the Bill of Rights is divinely inspired, therefore these individuals will most certainly obey the document, as it is God's will for civilians to own guns. This view may have formed from the Bible which teaches the sacredness of life: 'God created mankind in his own image,' (Genesis 1:27) therefore Americans have a duty to defend their lives.
Yet the 'Coalition Against Gun Violence' recognises that the use of guns in America 'costs our nation thousands of lives and billions of dollars every year.' The sacredness of life can also be an argument against the use of guns, because the weapon has the power to destroy life and this principle is condemned in the Bible: 'Thou shalt not kill' (Exodus 20.) Also, the right to bear arms can be costly in economic terms because of the investigations into gun crimes, medical treatment of victims and the attempts by the government to introduce policies that control the use of guns.
Overall, it seems that the majority of Americans support the right to bear arms, because it is included in the Bill of Rights, consequently it is a founding principle of America which can not be abolished. However, even though the right is not able to be removed, this doesn't necessarily mean that the right is justifiable. There are other means of defending oneself without ending another persons' life.
'Armed Females of America' offers merchandise, including a Rosie the Riveter mug which has been altered to encourage the use of guns. One of the websites' positive attributes is its representation of women, as they are shown to be strong, confident and able to defend themselves.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

This is a picture of Sitting Bull (Tatonka-I-Yatanka) taken in 1885 stood next to Buffalo Bill.This picture was taken after Sitting Bulls victory at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Many pictures of Native Americans were taken during this period as they were quickly being wiped of the face of America through the land captures by the U.S. government. Sitting Bull is in his full tribal outfit as is Buffalo Bill in his full gear. This image gives off the idea of the savage tribal leader and the uniform white man but, it isn't done through a malicious way. For example in this Buffalo Bill is the only one who is armed giving off the impression he is near a dangerous man and needs to keep up his guard at all times. Both men are looking in the same direction however Bill has got his head up having an aura of confidence about him while Sitting Bull seems shy and slightly downhearted, this could be because by the time this photo had been taken he'd surrendered to American troops as his tribe who'd fled struggled in isolation. The background of this picture is of the wild and though it is more than likely a picture to provide effect it sends out the message that the white man has tamed the wild America. When I say wild America I don't just mean the Nature but the natives also. Though it wasn't until the 1890's that the fighting started to decrease more rapidly. The picture makes out that the White man is able to walk on the land of the Indians without fear anymore but he should still be wary (hence the gun and the posture of Buffalo Bill).

Saturday, 12 November 2011

This image shows us a good idea of qhat the landscape would have looked like suring native American settlement. It shows a divide between he Wigwams and the houses suggesting a separation between the Indians and the Americans. The land available is vast highlighing the aspect of freedom between the people and the importance of nature. The picture shows an aspect of community however between a certain group of people gathering at the hill suggesting this was a socil way of living, divided or not.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Native American Photo

This photo was taken in the 19th century when the native Americans were being 'resettled' due to the aggressive westward expansion of the United States.
The photo is of a native American camp which gives us an insight into their lives during this period. It can be seen as quite a depressing image as the natives are expressionless as they look at the camera and the conditions look extremely miserable. In the background there are numerous tipis bunched together and does not look as plentiful as described by the early settlers. The land could be unfamiliar to the natives which could explain why they are sitting around and why they look so unhappy.
What the photographer wanted to show from this photo is unclear but to me it could either be a way of proving how uncivil the natives were or perhaps to demonstarte the hardship being experienced due to the relocation laws.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Native Peoples

This painting by George Catlin is called "The Buffalo Chase 'Singling Out.'" The picture is striking because it shows how close the native American is to the wild animal that is much larger than he is. This would have been a highly dangerous activity and it illustrates how difficult it was for native Americans to obtain food. Nevertheless, the picture shows that the native American had courage and masculinity, because he would risk his life for his family and tribe. It also shows that native Americans were skillfull, as they had to ride their horse at a high speed whilst accurately aiming their bow and arrow.
On the other hand, the close proximity between the native American and the buffalo demonstrates that the two have a connection; wilderness. Both the native American and the animal are shown to be strong and fierce, additionally the native American can be seen as an animal because he is hunting his prey by singling it out from the herd, portraying him as violent. Furthermore, both the native American and the buffalo are close to extinction as they have both been victimized by white Americans. This is emphasised in the painting because it shows the isolation of the beings, as there is wilderness in the background and no evidence of civilisation.
The native Americans had to hunt in order to survive and they generally didn't waste any part of the animal for example the meat was used for food, the skin provided shelter and the horns could be used for tools. Therefore the hunting of baffalo was efficient and necessary rather than cruel.
European influence is demonstrated in the painting, as the horse was introduced to the native Americans by the Spanish. As a result, this implies that the native people were not entirely self-reliant because they would have found it more difficult to hunt buffalo on foot, therefore the act of trading between Europeans and native Americans was beneficial.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The New Republic
To start I feel it's necessary to say what the Tea Party stands for but, the amount of variation and the political wants of the seperate arms of the party make this party rather vague and unique. One of the main messages I recieved from the website is they believe wholly and fully in the constitution and, what they are doing is saving it from a leftist attack. While reading the blogs it is easy to see that they are extremely anti-federalist! Within the site is links to state tea party movements giving the movement a grass roots feel about it. This is what they would argue is the basis of Americas' political creed. They have a stimulus on attacking certain aspects of the so called Liberal America i.e Obamacare and other such welfare initiatives that have been made by the Democrats.

This website i found shows a video of rallikers who call themselves the 'Tea Partyers'. They believe that the Tea Party stands for what they believe in which is a 'Limited Government'. They believe that the political system today is corrupt due to the fact they believe Obama has riddeled them with debt and has put the lives of their future children and grandchildren in jeperdy. This tells me that the Tea Party was in fact a critical and indeed relevent time in history that is still highly regarded today for Americans. This idea of a new corrupt governement putting the country at risk is clearly making these civilians question whether America should go b ack to its roots and build on the foundations of their founding fathers and the values that they and 'The Tea Party' stood for.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The Tea Party Movement describes the Tea Party as a movement that 'challenges the security, sovereignty , or domestic tranquility of our nation.' These ideas are similar to those found in The Constitution, which states that "Safety and Happiness" are of upmost importance, therefore the Tea Party bases its ideologies on traditional values similar to the Republican Party.
The website makes reference to 'Christian values' consequently this emphasises a sense of tradition because The Constitution also contains religious language, for example 'all men are created equal.' This suggests that the Tea Party recognises equality and additionally it shows how religion has the power to influence politics in America.
Furthermore, there are '15 Non-negotiable Core Beliefs' and from this title it can be interpreted that the party is inflexible in its philosophies. One of the key beliefs for instance is that "A strong military is essential' therefore the Tea Party is concerned with the security of America and is willing to fight in order to defend itself, showing a munificent sense of national pride. However, the movement could be seen as obtaining a violent element, as they also believe that "Gun ownership is sacred" and this demonstrates that Americans are willing to defend themselves as well as their nation by any means necessary.
The Tea Party slogan is 'We The People Rule!' This highlights that the movement believes that the government should have minimal control over the people, because too much control caused The American Revolution therefore it should be avoided and freedom should instead be embraced. This seems to be exercised today to a certain extent because the President has a fairly limited control compared to a monarch, however there are circumstances when this limitation is exceeded for example when the President declares war. also contains a list of events, such as the 'Media Protest' which aims to stop the media from being bias and untruthful, therefore the movement believes that the American people deserve to know the truth about the government. It could be argued that the protest also shows a disagreement with consumerism because false stories in the media generate money.
Finally, the website contains photos, one of which further illustrates the traditional values of the Tea Party through the representation of the Founding Fathers. On the other side, the current system is shown to be false through the large grins and balloons, suggesting that parties today are too concerned with persuading citizens to vote for them.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Tea Party Patriots
Below is a list of extracts from this website that show this tea party's motto and mission statement;

Our motto is "Ordinary citizens reclaiming America's founding principles."

Mission Statement

'The impetus for the Tea Party movement is excessive government spending and taxation. Our mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets'.

From exploring the website it is clear to see that this organisation is campaigning for a change/return to the principles and ideas on which the nation was founded. This is highlighted by the three core values in the mission statement. It claims to be a national grassroot organisation that supports over 1000 community based tea party groups around the country and the website has a section where supporters who they describe as 'average Americans' can donate to 'support the fight'. It is a well organised website containing a forum where fellow 'patriots' can post their views on the Obama administration where they claim that he has a deep hatred for the USA due to him being a Kenyan and not an American. Its not just personal attacks on Obama but also on his administarion's policies, spending and taxation. The use of grassroots at the top of the webpage highlights the local community side of the movement. Also, the use of the colours of the national flag in the party logo gives the movement a sense of patriotism.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

I chose this American University website as it celebrates and praises the hard working latinos in the society and thanks them for theyre contribution to America and praises them for theyre drive to want to reach the American Dream. 'From the braceros program of the early 1900s to the harvest pickers and line workers of today, we say gracias and we continue to organize and help Latinos get on their way to reaching the American dream.' This highlights the drive of the Latino people as they are determined to reach the American Dream and believe the only way they can do this is through hard work and dedicattion to the country. This therefore proves that this ideology survives today in America, if you work hard and work your way up in the state and society you will reach that Eutopian goal.

This directly relates to De Crevecouer’s idea of 'The New and Exceptional' as he talks about the importance of hard work and how that is all it takes to reach the American Dream and that is why America is an exception to places such as Europe where they live in a far more structured, class driven society. ' I am far from rejoicing to hear that there are in the world me so thorouly wretched. They are no doubt as harmless, industrious, and willing to work as we are.' ( Letters, Letter 2, P-24) This backs up my statement about De Crevecour's strong opinions and dedication to hard work, mirroring that of the Lationo hard workers in my example proving that this work etic and drive has not been lost on society today.

Monday, 31 October 2011

The New American
This is a Christian Television Network website although it may not seem to relate to De Crevecouers' ideas or that of American exceptionalism however it does. America was founded on religion and many Americans such as De Crevecouer had a puritan work ethic this was the idea that if you work hard then you will gain reward. De Crevecouer discusses this pleasure most thoroughly in Letter II declaring his enjoyment for work and the rewards it brings him not necesessarily through money but through doing a hard days work. This notion I feel is kept in America today and it is in part due to the religious belief that is in America to this day. No other country in the Western world believes like America. As another point of reference on American Religion are the Louis Theroux documentaries.

Exploration and Expectation
This is an account by William Bartram he explored through North and South Carolina. He describes how the Native Americans he met had already made contact with White European settlers by looking at their equipment and from discussion with them. He describes the areas he goes to in great depth to describe his surroundings for example 'the leave are lanciolate and intire, two or three inches in length one in breadth' To pay this much attention to detail of the landscape he must have found the area fascinating. The way he describes it also shows though it is wonderous in its beauty it is also untamed land that one must be wary of and always keep on guard 'having good reason to dread the subtle attacks of the allegators, who were crouding about my harbour'. Although this was written in the 1700's much of America was still wild and would if possible strike you down at the first opportunity and this I find important as it wasn't only a new life that they were looking for but to protect themselves from the elements that were posed against them.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Big government is a website containing political articles, one of which, created by a financial writer called Chris Street, looks at American exceptionalism which is a theme seen throughout De Crevecoeur’s book. Street writes about the recession in America in great detail using statistics to show the struggle many Americans are going through. By first looking at the negatives, Street then looks at the factors which will enable America to gain the advantage over other countries once again. By looking at the two quotes below, one which is located at the beginning and one located at the end of the article, you can see that Street believes that America's economy is now back on its way back to greatness and therefore the USA can be seen again as the land of opportunity;

'that will lead to result a rebirth of American manufacturing, coupled with positive business trends'

'Once again, America increasingly looks positioned to economically dominate the 21st Century.'

The word in these quotes that sticks out is 'rebirth' as in De Crevecoeur’s book he is constantly referring to America as being born and uses the word 'new' regularly. Both writers describe the USA in a positive way as a land where anyone can succeed with an obvious difference being that Street is describing a boom in modern industry and doesn't look at the land owning and farming boom described by De Crevecoeur;

'you will easily be made acquainted with the happy effects which constantly flow, in this country, from sobriety and industry, when united with good land and freedom.'

The New and Exceptional America

The website "Common Dreams" written by professor Olga Bonfiglio, examines Godfrey Hodgson's book, "The Myth of American Exceptionalism." This modern view of America can be compared to De Crevecoeur's "Letters From an American Farmer"because both texts discuss the newness and exceptionality of America.
Firstly, an example of De Crevecoeur expressing America's newness and exceptionality is found in Letter III, "What is an American?" This question is answered when he states that an American is a person who, leaving his past country of "prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds." The repetition of 'new' greatly emphasises that America is unique and one of the reasons for this is because it has a shorter history compared to other countries such as Britain, consequently it has little tradition and culture therefore it must be created. However, this is viewed in a positive light because it allows America to distinguish itself from Europe. Furthermore, this passage implies that anyone can immigrate to America because once you enter the country you become an American. This seems to be an original idea that can be contrasted to American immigration to Britain, because it seems that Americans will always remain American in Britain because they are distinguished from us. In this respect, this proves that America offers a renewal or rebirth of an individual as it accepts anyone without distinguishing them or discriminating against them because of their background, allowing people to leave their past behind them and begin a new life for the better.
If anyone can become an American, this implies that Americans share certain values; ideologies. An example of this can be found in Godfrey Hodgson's book as he says that "colonialists saw themselves as a 'chosen people' destined to 'fulfill a unique historical destiny.'" Therefore this suggests that America is new and exceptional partly because of religion, as it implies that God predestined America to be unique from other nations. De Crevecoeur expands on this as he appears to compare America to the Garden of Eden because it is presented as a utopian society. This idea is still relevant today, as Hodgson states that presidents such as George.W.Bush have used religion to elevate America in times of crises. The combination of religion and politics is arguably a new and exceptional way of addressing and uniting the public. This also supports De Crevecoeur's view that America is a place without discrimination because the country follows Christian morals.
However, this common unity between Americans can be seen as detrimental and this is illustrated when De Crevecoeur states, "Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men." Arguably, this shows that the idea of newness and exceptionalism can be a negative aspect because the strive for a strong community minimises individualism.This point is also relevant in modern times, as Hodgson makes reference to the Cold War when there was a "new militant sense of exceptionalism." America's reasoning behind the arms race was to protect the threat of communism, therefore further proving that America is unwilling to accept those who oppose American ideology or those who are individualistic, portraying the country as obtaining old and outdated viewpoints rather then new and progressive ones. Also, America's constant struggle to create new and exceptional ideas can cause serious problems, as the nuclear weapons formed may have increased knowledge in technology, but the nuclear weapons also had the potential to destroy the Earth.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

I chose this article to study as i found it interesting due to its talk on the struggle of the first settlers into James town. The article talks about first settler Captain John Smith and his crew and how they managed to form a colony in James town despite the rivalry between them and the already colonised Algnquian Indians.

'Almost immediately after landing, the colonists were under attack from what amounted to the on-again off-again enemy, the Algonquian natives.' This struck me as i wasnt aware that there was such majour conflict between the two, a state of war almost, telling me of the clear passion and pride the Native Americans must of had in their land. 'While disease, famine and continuing attacks of neighboring Algonquians took a tremendous toll on the population, there were times when the Powhatan Indian trade revived the colony with food for copper and iron implements.' This comment also struck me as it shows again the tremendous struggle the first European (Spanish) settlers must have had when they first arrived and by pushing through the struggle how determined they were to claim the land as theres and revel in their discovery. However as this extrect goes on it talks about how they were partners in trade, suggesting there must have been some sort of understanding and unity between the two settlers at some point.

'It appears that eventual structured leadership of Captain John Smith kept the colony from dissolving. The "starving time" winter followed Smith's departure in 1609 during which only 60 of the original 214 settlers at Jamestown survived.' This interested me as i had never heard of the 'Starving time' before and it gives a better insight into what life must have been like for settlers, lack of food and how there must have been a definate struggle to establish a strong supply of food which ultimatly has shaped the population of today.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Account of an early settler in the United States

This is an account of a French settler: Etienne Veniard de Bourgmont who describes Louisiana in great detail. The first striking aspect is the description of the landscape as Bourgmont states "This island is all sand," therefore this implies that there were little resources and consequently it must have been difficult to inhabite. However, he then surprisingly explains that the little woods they had were suitable to make "masts of ships" because they contained large amounts of sap, therefore this proves that they had the necessary resources and it also implies that the settlers had to consider the matter of moving in an urgent situation, as the materials needed to make ships are mentioned. This implies that land could be occupied by others and there is also the possibliity of running out of resources, forcing settlers to move. Furthermore, he states that the sand "produces much grass to feed the cattle," as a result, the settlers had access to food and the cattle would have nourished the land making it useful for a long period of time. Another interesting point is the use of the word 'island' as clearly Louisiana is not an island, as today it would be called a state because it now has its own independance.
Additionally, Bourgmont mentions the "frame houses" which settlers lived in. These were made from wood and mud which may seem basic but they provided settlers with necessary warmth and shelter. Furthermore, the building of these houses demonstrates a strong sense of community as it would have taken the co-operation of many in order to build these. The establishment of these houses also shows the intention of the French to attempt to settle in Louisiana as it offered all of the resources they required.
Bourgmont also mentions that "tobacco does not grow at all badly" which appears promising because tobacco could be sold for large sums of money, therefore the settlers would have had an advantage from this resource. There is also the ability to trade as Bourgmont describes two harbours which could be used to buy and sell goods from other parts of America and from around the world. Another benefit was the discovery of a tree bark that was said to cure "swellings of the gums" and he further explains that the Indians used this "with success." This statement suggests that Europeans learned many necessary skills and practices from the Native Americans and it also demonstrates the early stages of medicine, seeing as settlers were only able to use the natural resources around them.
However, there are also negative aspects to settling in this part of America, as Bourgmont explains that the lower part of the Mississippi river contains "crocodiles, snakes and other insects." This shows that the natural landscape and wildnerness of America can also be detrimental as there are many dangerous wild animals that occupied the same areas as humans. Another danger is presented in some of the Native Americans, as the Colapissa tribe "consists of about 300 men bearing arms." This suggests that some tribes were very protective of their land therefore Europeans were not able to dominate Native Americans easily. It further insinuates that men were prepared to fight whereas the women generally stayed at home, for example Bourgmont claims that "women customarily make quantities of pottery." This once again emphasises that the Native people were very skilled in using the natural resources around them.
Finally, Bourgmont states that "If one wants to settle these countries, it is necessary to place plenty of people there." This suggests that there was plenty of competition for land and ultimately the majority would outweigh the minority, thus this provides one of the reasons for the decline and extinction of some Native Americans.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Account of an Early Settler

'Account of the discovery of the Buffalo, 1599' is taken from and tells the story of a Spanish expedition searching for herds of cattle in the West of America and their accidental discovery of the buffalo.

This article describes all aspects of their trip including encounters with the natives that allows us to get an idea into the relationships the Spanish tried to develop. The extract below shows how the explorers exploited the knowledge of the land in exchange for western goods.
'The sargento mayor gave presents to all and won them over. He asked them for a guide to the cattle and they furnished one very willingly'.

The explorers also detail how they set up a corral to try and enclosure their new prize but were shocked by the aggressive behaviour by the buffalo which was not seen with western cattle such as cows or goats:
'they killed three of our horses and badly wounded forty, for their horns are sharp and fairly long. They attack from the side putting their head far down, so that whatever they seize they tear very badly'.
This is an example of that parts of America were still unexplored and shows how these journeys into the unknown could be extremely dangerous.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Muslim World still anti-Western Despite Obama is a Islamic website with a strong anti-western feeling. The article examines this feeling throughout the muslim world and looks specifically at opinion of the USA. It claims that the majority of muslims blame America for their troubles. The article also debates whether President Obama's efforts to improve America's relationship with the muslim world have been effective which by the looks of the opinion polls studied in the article shows that he doesn't seem to have succeeded in this. The article suggests the cause of the problems between the USA and the muslim world are rooted in history and no amount of positive actions by President Obama will change this.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Foreign views of America
I chose this article by the Tehran Times which is a Iranian article it also is significant as Iran is in what is previously known as 'The Axis of Evil'. This article is extremely anti-American as you can tell from the language in it. Comparing the deaths in the Afghanistan conflict to the holocaust which is an incredible comparison given the reason for being in Afghanistan.
There has been a lot of tension between Iran and the U.S. since the late 70's. It was greatly increased with the invasion of the middle east when Iraq and Afghanistan were invaded. Iran doesn't see the presence of the U.S. in the middle-east as a positive move as they see it as a western invasion of some sorts. There was alos tension with the Arab Spring which was greatly supported by the U.S. and feircly opposed by the Iranien government. America looked to push it's influence against Iran to its full as they believe they are making nuclear weapons which, America hypocritically has but fear foreign countries having them. It is clear within this article that they are against the war that America is involved in and by using statistics and strong language you are able to see how negative this article is to the U.S.

I chose to analise this Chinease article on the relationship between China and Obama as I feel that the relationship between the two countries is an important one due to their economic and social influence on the world. The blog discusses two articles from two different websites on thier view on Obama and how he has effected China. The article from Hexun suggests that Obama will put a dampen on the foriegn trade market as opposed to the some what out of control policy under Bush. The article includes the phrase 'The pressure is great for chinease foriegn trade'followed by a letter Obama sent to a textile organisation in the US promising to put pressure on China to reduce exports. This thus makes you think the relationship between the two is negative, however the article goes on to suggest a common ground between the two as they work together to solve the current financial crisis.

The article from Sina projects a far more positive Chinease attitude towards Obama pointing out that he has a reputation for pragmatism considering any possible policy changes towards China. This shows how Obama ia willing to help China ia crisis suggesting an alliance which is relevent to America because if they are ever in trouble they will have a strong alliance. The article then somewhat explains this positive relationship explaining how Obama spent four of his formative years in Indonesia leaving him with a positive attidude on Asia.

What The World Thinks Of America

The German news website "Deutsche Welle" has produced this article regarding America's hope for an increase in foreign investment. In general, the article presents a critical view on this proposal, for example the author Christina Bergmann describes the promotion of foreign investment in America as "a rather unusual topic." The author therefore implies that she disagrees with the discussion of this topic as a solution to America's economic problems.
Bergmann continues in this negative manner as she states "The situation is so dire that even rival companies have become partners." This quote suggests that American companies allege to share each others interests, but in reality companies are merely interested in the profits they can produce for themselves. On the other hand, it may be unfair to automatically assume that American companies have selfish motives because they may be attempting to solve America's economic problems.
The article also addresses the issue of Americanisation or globalization as Peter Solmssen, part of the board of directors from the German company 'Siemens,' explains that his company feels "very American." The idea of Americanisation can be seen as an exaggeration of America's influence on the world, however this source is an indication that the theory is a reality. Consequently, freedom and individuality are removed from foreign companies which is likely to create frustration.
America is then compared to China and India, perhaps with the purpose of downgrading the superiority of America, as the author states that America "is lacking skilled workers." Although the article contains quotations from sources that are able to support this claim, this is nevertheless a criticism of America's policies. The comparison to other worldwide countries that are successful in foreign investment suggests that America will soon demise if it chooses not to follow in the footsteps of others, seeing as China is predicted to become the richest nation in roughly thirty years time.
One of the issues with foreign companies expanding into the US is "the increasing health insurance costs." There is no positive aspect of this displayed in the article, however the cost of health insurance can be beneficial for those who can afford it as they receive the best health care available. Additionally, the question arises of whether or not the cost of health insurance is enough to deter companies from expanding into America, because it is likely that the outcomes would outweigh the means if America is the land of opportunity.
Overall, this article highlights come of the criticisms of America from another countries perspective, however articles can sometimes contain personal opinions that fail to project the countries opinion therefore the source must be questioned. However, it may indicate a change in opinion of Barack Obama because his strategies are questioned in this article.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Map analyse

This map shows the most negative aspects of each state in USA. Also, posted with this map was an alternate map which gave the most positive aspect of each state. Apparently, most of the ‘shameful’ things about each state can be backed up by reliable statistics, which means the map gives us a realistic insight to the negative side of America’s states. When juxtaposed with all the ‘awesome’ things about each state, this make becomes even more interesting as for some states it shows important correlations between the good and bad aspects of each state. For example, the worst thing about Ohio is that it is supposedly the nerdiest state and the best thing about it is that it has the highest library usage. However, many of the relationships between the good and bad don’t make sense.

Map of America

This map of America shows some of the stereotypes that surround the country. America is synonomous with aspects from a foreign view point for example their problems with obesity in which an area of the country is named 'obesity epidemic'. It is very generalistic of certain American states also. I think this map has real significance in what some people see when they think of America in terms of it's diversity even though this isn't what could be called a serious description of America. Americans are on a serious not generalised in other ways such as; the South west east north, by coast, accent, ethnicity, political agenda (hippies in Washington State).


This map that I found on 'Stange Maps' outlines where there are the most single males, and single females living in the United States. Blue representing single males and red representing single females. I found this map interesting as socially a persons 'Relationship Status' is what drives the actions of everybody not just in America but in the world. What this map is showing is that the most male singles live on the West Coast and the female singles live on the East Coast. 'Strange Maps' makes a very interesting analysis asking the question, due to there being most male singles on the West Coast is that why there is the most gun crime in LA? Following this, if there are the most single females on the East Coast is that why 'Sex and the City ' was filmed in New York instead of LA? Leaving the question hanging, if everybody just met in the middle would it make our lives a whole lot easier?

Friday, 7 October 2011

Olympic Medals Map

This map of the 2004 Olympic Games demonstrates America's success in sport, as they won the most medals with Russia following close behind. Although America has a huge obesity problem, this map shows that there are many fit and healthy American citizens who are achieving the American dream by becoming successful athletes. Furthermore, although the map doesn't specify the ethnicity of the medal winners, America encompasses people from many ethnic backgrounds therefore it is likely that ethnic minorities were also successful in these games, illustrating the equality of the nation. On the other hand, it could be argued that America and Russia were only successful because they have large populations, therefore they are more likely to produce professional athletes. In addition, America is one of the richest countries in the world, consequently athletes have access to the most advanced technical equipment which may seem unfair as poorer countries don't have this luxury.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Map - Evolution

This map shows where, and to what standard the theory of evolution is taught in schools throughout the USA. As you can see there are still many states that refuse to ignore the ideas from the bible which claim that God made the Earth and everything on it.
It is interesting to see that the 'red' states are not just located in the so called 'bible belt' of America but are instead spread throughout the country. The theory of evolution is a disputed subject in parts of the US due to strong religious beliefs. However, the religious states of North and South Carolina scored satisfactory which shows that even though they are located on the 'bible belt', they still believe that the teaching of this theory is important.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Positive Image

I believe one of the best things about America is the way they almost enforce their constitution and democracy (debatable I know). Especially with the freedom to protest and the freedom of information act which has always kept many politicians on their toes. They are also very involved in the politics of the nation from the grass roots level which is to an extent what makes it the most democratic and fair society in the world (arguably).

Negative Image

I chose this photo as it shows the border between the United States and Mexico. People remember the civil rights yet there is little said about the poor treatment of 'aliens' and their treatment when they cross the border. The U.S had declared a war almost on immigration especially with the border states such as Arizona looking to put in strict and harsh laws designed to remove illegal immigrants. It is also good to know about the 'minutemen' who probe the border and use any force necessary in order to halt any assailants. Apologies for this being late...I am very bad with computers.

Positive Image

I chose this image of a group at an american summer camp because I think that it gives off a positive image of unity and friendship within America. I think that America is partly famous for its yearly summer camps for youths where they get the opportunity to make new friends, come together and have a great time. With so many negative things that have occoured over the years within America I find this image almost refreshing as it shows that it is still possible to have fun and come together regardless of what else is going on. I think this image projects the idea of an 'escape' for youths giving them a reason for hope and excitement within their country.

Negative Image

I believe this picture of Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan ( Both American celebrities) are projecting a negative body image to the women and girls across America. Eating disorders have always been aparent in America and the world. But images of popular figurs such as these have a majour influence on the youth of the country due to the power of the media and the celebrity culture in America. This image therefore acts as an idellic model of what a woman/girls should look like in America, making the viewrs feel they must copy this image leading to an lack of confidence, self esteem and a healthy diet and lifestlye across America in an attempt to 'fit in'.

Positive Image

I found choosing a positive image of America a difficult thing to do compared to finding a negative one, the one thing my mind did keep going back to is the love most Americans seem to have for their country.I think this picture of a house flying the American flag is positive image because it shows the patriotism that an ordinary American citizen has for their country.