American Dreams: A Rousing Commentary on the Vietnam War, But Not Really

American Dreams sitting on an American flag.

So it’s Independence Day for Americans on Wednesday, and knowing that I myself, and probably this blog, have both enjoyed insulting Americans for sport, I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate all the good things that America has given us.

After an extended period of trying to remember all the good things that America has given us, I am proud to present this blog’s first mini-series: American Dreams.  I hope you enjoy.


Hello, Johz fans.  Today (or at least some point during the course of today, according to the varying timezones that span this blue-green sphere) is the Fourth of July, or American Independence day, and indeed the whole entire point of this mini-series.  So, I thought, rather than stealing the glory on this beautiful day, I’d let someone else have a go.  A fellow blogger, indeed.  A fellow American blogger.

Considering most of my fellow bloggers are Australian for some reason (although Australia does have “Australia Day”, taking the mickey out of Australians is too easy, and so this blog rarely attempts it, so a mini-series celebrating Australia would be pointless.  Although Australia Day?  Pfft…) I decided to contact NationStatesLandsVille, the great American Doctor Who fan and blogger.  You might realise that he’s a Doctor Who fan.  You might also realise that he’s American, but we won’t comment on that.

Anyway, here he is.  You are allowed to visit his blog, but remember that his favourite Doctor is Matt Smith.  Says it all, doesn’t it?


As I spent six long seconds deliberating what I should write this post about, for I know shit all about “imports”, “exports”, and “the birds and the bees”, I decided that the only American export worth discussing is rather obvious. Me. I mean, I’m great, and everyone knows that, but I did decide against it. I felt bad about the idea of taking all of Johz’s business, and sending it over to my blog, bowtiesarefantastic.wordpress.com, since Johz was kind enough to let me do this. Well, I really do want to do that, which is why I just linked to my blog, but doing it up front isn’t clever. I like clever, which is why I didn’t know Johz had a blog until he asked me to do this. No, I realized that I, as a native American (fuck off, Pocahontas, it’s our title now), have an obligation to my country. I have a duty to spread America’s message to everyone I can. And that message, besides the one about shooting brown people? Bullshit. Bullshit and freedom.

The UK’s own Winston Churchill once said, “Franklin, get your damn wheel off my foot or I’ll break this bottle over your head”. He also said, hopefully in a less drunken manner, but likely not, “All of the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom…” He then went on to a list a bunch of pussy socialist shit like “honor”, “mercy”, and “justice”, but that’s not important.

What kind of commie pig title is “Sir”?

Basically, what Winston was saying was that freedom, being the ability to do whatever the fuck you want, whenever you want, barring certain dangerous things like murder, arson, and marrying someone who has the same body part as you, is damn awesome. And this man knew awesome; he hired Count Dooku to stab Nazis.

How did he cram Christopher Lee in that thing?

Now, I’m sure many of you are wondering; “what the fuck does that have to do with America?” Well, ignoring slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, women’s suffrage, interracial marriage, gay marriage, that whole “Occupy” debacle, copyright law, and anything else that makes us look bad in any way…

Like this. This never happened.

…we’re pretty much the greatest nation in the world. Also, we invented freedom.

Back in 1776, a couple of old white dudes gathered in a room and angrily yelled at each other like a bunch of children arguing over a toy until they reached a decision that would affect everyone in the land (something we now call Congress), a tradition that the English stole from us and named “Parliament”. And this decision? To get pepperoni and extra cheese, a hard fought decision at that. The sausage camp was very dedicated. Oh, and they also decided to secede form England, those 12 colonies and also Maryland, and to found their own union, which would be called “the United States of America”, the first republic of the modern era.

Hm? Articles of Confederation? Shut up, we don’t have time for that.

But, anyways, instantly everyone in America (except brown people, women, and the poor) were free to govern themselves, free to express themselves (unless you were nice to the French, which, really, just makes sense), and free to own guns. Apparently, they were pretty damn big on the gun thing. At least, that’s what the GOP tells me, and the GOP would never lie. Right?

The infection of freedom spread, from France to Russia (dropped the ball there, guys), from Canada to somewhere else, democracy battled the demon of monarchy and slew it on the spot. Yes, folks, no kings nor queens survive today, and everyone is in a happy, happy American-style, non-corrupt, republic. Even Russia.

And why’s that? Because America exported its freedom. You’re welcome, the Universe.

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American Dreams: Consumer Culture

American Dreams sitting on an American flag.

So it’s Independence Day for Americans on Wednesday, and knowing that I myself, and probably this blog, have both enjoyed insulting Americans for sport, I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate all the good things that America has given us.

After an extended period of trying to remember all the good things that America has given us, I am proud to present this blog’s first mini-series: American Dreams.  I hope you enjoy.


A shopping trolley in a river.

This is probably symbolic. I’m not sure what it’s symbolic of, but it’s important that it’s symbolic.

I could not be considered a true player of the NationStates game if I did not mention Max Barry’s favourite American Export: the power of consumerism.  It’s an old chestnut, which may or may not actually exist, but certainly has been invented by that lovable entity we know as America.

The concept behind a consumer culture is simple, and it is what drives any Capitalist society.  Essentially, the whole of such a society is geared towards the consumer, and his or her needs and wishes.  It drives the whole culture and economic system from top to bottom, regulating quality and effectively making everything tick.

Of course there are some – Mr. Barry, for example – who might be tempted to argue that we are merely presented with the illusion of choice.  Does consumerism really exist, or do corporations tells us what we want, and then proceed to sell it to us at their own prices?  However, regardless of which side has the power, the culture that surrounds consumerism is real. massive, and a major export of the United States.  We see it in the concept of branded clothing, in fast food on demand, even in the number of channels we have on our television.  If someone wants it, they can have it.  For a price, of course.

It is very easy to consult consumerism, but we take a lot of the benefits it brings for granted.  Cost wars drive down food prices when we go out shopping.  Companies today struggle to sell shoddy products in the face of damning reviews on the internet.  Even having Fair Trade products on our shelves is a result of consumer pressure in some form or other.

Much of this is, admittedly, connected to modern forms of communication, particularly the internet, which allows anybody to have a voice.  However, even with these many mechanisms, it is doubtful whether we would have had a such an impact as consumers had America’s culture not been so prevalent in our daily lives.

American Dreams: Friends

American Dreams sitting on an American flag.

So it’s Independence Day for Americans on Wednesday, and knowing that I myself, and probably this blog, have both enjoyed insulting Americans for sport, I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate all the good things that America has given us.

After an extended period of trying to remember all the good things that America has given us, I am proud to present this blog’s first mini-series: American Dreams.  I hope you enjoy.


Friends

Friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought we should begin with the basics.  What gift has America exported that has most affected your average 18-21 slob, sitting around on the sofa all day, watching daytime television?  That’s right, Friends.  Not real friends, of course, which are way out of the league for our poor slob here, but Friends, the television sitcom about a group of American 20-somethings in Manhattan.

Friends, undeniably, was a classic.  Talk about the best American sitcoms in the UK (and we have whole channels devoted to them) and you might get some sort of recognition with classics such as ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’, or a current series such as ‘How I Met Your Mother’.  You might even hear some mention of ‘The Big Bang Theory’, albeit usually coupled with an explanation of “That show is so weird, I don’t understand most of what they’re saying”.*

Yet none of these match up to the instant recognition of Friends.  Not only that, but the Friends theme tune (“I’ll be there for you…”), the Friends opening sequence (where they jump into the fountain), and any of the Friends actors are instantly recognisable as part of the Friends brand.

But why was Friends such a successful show?  The trite thing to say here would be that the show represents our own lives, but this is actually (and sometimes worryingly) true.  Even for British audiences, most of whom have never been anywhere near America, the situations that characters fall into, and indeed the characters themselves, all ring surprisingly true.

The stuff on top of this basic recipe, however, is just as important.  The show would not be the same without impeccable timing, well-written scripts, and a perfect balance of humour and emotion.

Is this the greatest American export?  That’s for you to decide.  But the popularity and strength of the show cannot be denied, which is why it deserves a place in this hall of fame.

*As an aside, if you don’t understand a joke in The Big Bang Theory, just laugh anyway.  It would have been hilarious.