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Reverse Question: Western/American Culture

 
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LucentShade



Joined: 30 Dec 2003
Posts: 542
Location: Nebraska, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reverse Question: Western/American Culture Reply with quote

This topic was inspired by the debate on ric2's post about Asian women and foreign men. This is also something that I have been curious about. To English learners everywhere, what do you think about American culture (or Western culture in general)? How does it appear to you in movies, TV shows, music, and other possible sources? What are some things that seem extremely different, weird or strange when you compare it to your own culture? (Things like attitudes towards work, time, money, or family, for example.) Again, I'm interested in the perceptions that people have of the U.S., not only politically, but at a cultural level as well. I hope to hear a variety of responses from the learners out there.
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Excalibur



Joined: 19 Jan 2004
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2004 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is true.
I I don't undestand either why always topics are talking about culture, lifestyles of USA or Europe. As far as I know Asia Comunity who are living in my city they are kind, shy and trying to preserve their styles of lives. In fact, Most of them dont need to learn our languages. Maybe, ours culture is more open mind.
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liebe



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 117

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2004 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The modern western/American (I personally don't like the term "American", since this culture seems to equally dominate the Western countries) seems to me to be all about sex and money and materialism. And I hate it and what it does to people.
I was raised in a large city in Israel, and since the Israeli cities are heavily "Americanized", there is no major difference (at least I found none) between the culture here and there.
One thing that's different, however, is that in Israel there are more teenagers who have hobbies like reading, painting and etc. There is a greater variety, greater difference between one and Israeli and another. Americans often seem to be all quite the same (but I hate saying so--I hate stereotyping), to have exactly the same interests and hobbies (if any).
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blackguy-n-Asia



Joined: 24 Mar 2004
Posts: 21
Location: Toronto,Canada

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simply put, American culture is about money, sex....violence and independance....did I say sex?

Most cultures that I have spoken to are shocked by the gratuitous violence in Am culture. Some stereotypes that abound in the world may be traced back to Hollywood!!!! As early as TV, Americans have put out the most malicious steriotypes of people..this has persisted through WW1(Germans) and WW2 (Japanese/Germans) and even in cartoons (Blacks/indians/native indians/latinos/etc). Have you seen some of the older WB cartoons with blatant racist stereotypes? This 'acceptable' manner gets passed on to other countries and they duplicate it and so on.
I believe, most cultures are jealous of the American wealth, but they would not prefer the glossy culture. Am I too hard on the Americans?
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Anxious Heart



Joined: 02 Dec 2003
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blackguy-n-Asia wrote:
Am I too hard on the Americans?


... you just put the same stereotypes, you complained about, on the people living there. What you told reminded me of the America, which is to be seen in the TV. Maybe many Americans (and even that I doubt) are the way, you described the culture, but what about the rest? I can't imagine someone, who wants to be jugded by these stereotypes of his own culture. So maybe it is senseful to speak about the Western society (which not only contains the USA) instead of people, you don't know.
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liebe



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 117

PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anxious Heart is right. You can't really say that ALL Americans are like that. Besides, other countries also make movies that are violent with lots of sex and etc. Other countries stereotype too. I remember reading this book by Agatha Christie (she's a British writer). I'm not going to bore you and tell you the whole plot here, but to make long story short, there was this one nasty woman, a shop-keeper, who was always so mean and angry, and who also happened to be Jewish... I remember thinking to myself "Why do Europeans always have to do that? To emphasize someone's being Jewish if he's a bad person (as if all Christians are angels!), and to ignore one's being Jewish if he happens to be a decent human-being." So, you can find stereotyping and racism in the literature and film-making of every country--not just the U.S.
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blackguy-n-Asia



Joined: 24 Mar 2004
Posts: 21
Location: Toronto,Canada

PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2004 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course...

A countries culture can be more easily stereotyped, but how can anyone stereotype millions of people?

I'm speaking of what we (you and me) see on TV. Western culture. NOT all western people.

It is easy to say that America dominates western culture.
It is easy to say that only a small segment of society controls the media and I'm not talking about one race, I'm talking more about the people who are in the know and has their hands on the media. These people cannot represent everyone in the west, but their voice and say is magnified...to the exclusion of all others.

If the question was 'what do you think of American culture?' I would say what I see, and that is stereotyped violence, sex and bad teenaged liberation movies.

Am I too hard on Western Culture?
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Anxious Heart



Joined: 02 Dec 2003
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2004 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

blackguy-n-Asia wrote:
Am I too hard on Western Culture?


Of course you aren't, maybe you just accidently forgot the counter-movements of the stereotypes you mentioned. What about the peace movement, humanities, arts or sciences, which bleong to the Western culture as well? I guess, it is not useful to judge a culture just on its negative points, as well as it is senseless to do this upside down.
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coffeedecafe



Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 140
Location: michigan,usa

PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2004 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i shudder sometimes when i have heard u.s. political leaders over the last 20 years pretend that my country has all the answers for the rest of the world. my country has forgotten some of its best lessons.
i would say, inquire carefully and choose only the best the west has to give. i do not want to be specific here because i do not need to point out that some countries have stronger family groups than the u.s.
some are richer in non-monetary matters.
every country benefits from courageous and charitable citizens. do not think the world of tommorrow will look like the world of today.
much that the u.s. has learned it received from england when its power was high. some of its tradition goes back to the roman empire.
being a christian, i wish our country had encouraged more missionaries and drafted fewer troops. still, we did the world a favor by joining wwII[my opinion]
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