Thursday, 27 May 2010

Contemporary America
Final blog post is to locate one website which typifies contemporary America. It was difficult to find a website which typifies contemporary America, so I chose CNN website for my blog.

CNN is a news channel and was the first network to provide 24 hour television. I think CNN website shows contemporary America to the viewers to tell the news about America and also from all over the world. Viewers can learn contemporary America by reading news from different kind of issues such as business, sport, entertainment.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Contemporary America

When first looking for a good site to choice I found a lot of them fairly boring then i stumbled across this one because of the name Chomsky which i have heard of through friends who really enjoyed reading his stuff and when reading this guys review of the interview i found it very hard to swallow what Chomsky was saying. however he did raise some good points and i found it very interesting i have not watched the video yet but i am sure it is also good.

I think this website shows a contemporary America because it shows maybe how paranoid some of the people are, the fear people feel and other aspects of decline and that people don't have the faith in America they once had. 10 or so years ago someone would not be speaking of America in this way. there would be no need. no one would question the American way and its future

I also can not remember what i said earlier when i was talking about it in the group. so i hope that will go towards this blog task.

I did really enjoy reading this and i found Chomsky's re-Marks very interesting how he compared modern America to a country state it was in 80 years ago and has inspired me to read more of his work in the near future

Contemporary American

This week i have found it hard to find one website that I felt was the best or the only website that showed contemporary american in the best way. But I found a news story on ABC news website that I feel shows contemporary american. The page is about the wars going on in Iraq and in Afghanistan and that for the first time there are more in Afghanistan than Iraq. This shows that America is still focus on war and the idea of protecting the world as well as it se;f as it has over the years, with the war with the soviet union, ww1 and ww2 and its own civil war.

But the ABC news site I feel is as a website a good example of contemporary America as it covers all the issues on a day to day basis that shows how America use to be and has grown and is still growing in a contemporary world.

Contemporary America.

I chose as a website that I feel represents contemporary America. The website was set up by the government to show the American people, and the rest of the world how they were planning to rebuild America. It is a way of showing people that the recovery act is working, and where exactly that money is going. I believe this type of website was set up by the Obama administration as not only a new way of communicating with the American people, but also to regain their trust which was lost during the Bush administration.

The website shows the Recovery bill in its entirety. It also shortly summarises what the act plans to do, such as create new jobs and invest in long-term economic growth. I believe this website shows contemporary America as I feel it shows how the new America government are trying to work with the people, and trying to unite Americans, instead of turning them against their government. Interacting with the American people in this was also shows how the government are taking a more modern approach to reach more people.

Contemporary America

This blog task proved to be hard as most of the websites were about Religion and Race. However I have chosen this website because it shows contemporary America from 1945 to the present time, I also noticed that it contains the rest of the american history on there but the contemporary is what we are focusing on.

The site shows 54 articles of contemporary America including that of the 9/11, I felt this was a good site because shows what america planned after the effects of the 9/11 it also shows how soft power has branded America and how some earlier events have helped to make the contemporary America such as the presidential timeline and different wars that America has struggled through but survived.

I feel that this site typifies contemporary America because of its wide search of the recent events and it shows that the federal agencies want to teach and educate new Americans.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Contemporary America

This website, for me, most typifies Contemporary America as it is a website detailing Americanisation. It talks of all the products that have been spread across the world, such as McDonald's and Coca-Cola. It has some powerful images of the brands which are instantly recognisable which shows the amount of soft power that America has as they are recognised all over the world. It also talks about an 'American Dream Park' in Shanghai, which is an amusement park which copies the typical American culture and food.

It also illustrates the bad points of Americanisation, saying that the globalisation of American products could be the reason for hatred towards America, and possibly the reason for the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

At the end of the article it asks the question of when, if ever, will the Americanisation of the world end? I think this article typifies America as it emphasises the iconic products that are the epitome of American culture which are universally recognisable.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

American Declinism

When I goggled American Declinism I found a blog entitled The Rational Optimist. I found this page particularly interesting because of the optimistic view it took on the decline of America. The writer declares “Declinism” as a favourite theme for pessimists. It looks in depth at Americas debt and their GDP. It debates that despite the fact that Americas military budget is equal to all other nations combined, it is only 5% of the nations GDP. However, it does consider that with the GDP being around $14 trillion, the spending the government is obligated to do comes to around $50 trillion at the very least. This makes the idea that America can still live in luxury with this debt unbelievable.

The piece is summed up in an interesting way.

“as long as the US still remains fantastically productive, with the energies and creativity of its people continuing to churn out a cornucopia of saleable things, and with technological advancement continuing to enhance our output even more, we will not starve. Not only will we go on enjoying a high standard of living, it will likely get even better.”

It seems as though the writer does not see it important for America to be the top superpower, but just for it to be able to provide an acceptable living standard for its citizens and produce enough products for the country to get by comfortably. I find this to be an interesting view as it shows that some Americans do not feel that it is important to them that America is the top superpower.

Declining Declinism

I enjoyed this article because instead of all the other articles i read online this one was different in a sense that it is not all doom and gloom and it is not the end of America. "its best days are behind it" one historian said but as history as shown this sort of economy landscape has happened more than once before and America has pulled its way through and people can not predict the future in the 60's has the cold war a ivy league historian said that declinism was happening then. This was before the huge Internet boom which helped out the economy.

This article makes it seem that even though it is going through a rough time at the moment America with get through this and come out the other side. still the one last remaining super power.

"Don't believe the historians and economists who say America's best days are behind us." is the title to the article which shows this piece of work is different from others. it covers allot of the main issues that have come together to create this declinism. such as war. the debt.

Daniel Gross the writer of this article makes it seem that any day now America will pick it's self up and launch its self into "an unprecedented era of growth, prosperity, and rising asset prices."

American Declinism
For this week topic, from the google research about American Declinism, I chose an article by David Kampf. In this article he says that even though it is fashionable to speak of America's fall and the rise of other countries, America will remain the world's default power for years to come.
According to Josef Joffe, he says 'The history of declinism shows that doom arrives in cycles, and what comes and goes, logically, does not a trend make'. The US economy is worth three times as much as Japan, which is the world's second largest economy and about the rising powers which is about China, he says that China still has a way to dethrone the US. He also says at the end of this article, 'as the 21st century unfolds, the United States will be younger and more dynamic than its competitors'.

The Default Power and American Declinism

The reason that I have chosen this website is because it offers an insight on the fact that America knew it was on a decline, although it was on a steady progress of roughly every ten years and then it was predicted by many different people that America would decline rapidly due to over expansion and abroad this mainly started by the end of te Bush administration, as the facts show we can see this to be true also there would be a power shift from the United States to Asia. There is reference that America is experienceing the same problems that started the fall of Rome.
Even though this powershift is true it can still be said that America out ranks other powers in different ways such as its military and income and there is also signs that it also has the highest education pass rate.

American Psyche - Election

I found this blog task slightly difficult because many of the articles did not make any sense to me, but then I found this one article that I think I may have made some sense into it. The task was to locate an article and see whether it is relevent to his fiction or to the contempory America and that we should comment on the vision of the USA it offers.
The reason that I chose this article was because it talks about the elections even though it does not link with my presentation, I feel that it offers a view on contempory American life, while reading the article I noticed that many of the signs that are there are insults to other people, from this I got the idea that some people do not elect on the things that they offer but rather the name that they carry. Also it links in with Saunders idea of irrationality within an exaggerated form, the signs could show how the candidates would be if they got elected.
This comment also offers a negetive vision on America as in this exaggerated form shows american leaders as they truly are.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

American Psyche Written In Advance

For this posting i know there is no relation between this article and the story but I read this and really enjoyed the article and the way it is written. I really enjoyed this because it reminded me of one of my favorite writers. the long tangent he goes on is very enjoyable to read and i do not really see the point of this article and makes me wounder how it got printed because it has no relation with any current issues of the time it was printed. How he goes from talking about writing an article on December 12 that will be printed on January 12 to being caught by giant rats in an apocalyptic word. and constant talking about the past in the present in an article which is written in the past which when it will be published be treated like it was written earlier that day.

His sort of cynical way of life makes a very good read and very amusing to read. I would say he cynic because with all the situations he could of suggested that would of happened he picked the sudden end of the world and everyone dying expect for whom ever the reader was.

I guess if you read into it it could be a sign of paranoia or maybe what george may think of the american land and what could happen to it in as little as a months time in this hectic world we live it and one day you could find yourself the last man/woman alive. This crazed confusing piece of writing which has a completely different start to its finished may show how even when he speaks his mind in this small article you must read into it like all his stories in the book for it to really make sense.

Google search on "American Declinism"

This weeks task was to type the words ' American Declinism' into google and see what websites came up. The website of 'Unca Darrell- old,conservative, christian, in love with my wife, texas, america,western civilisation, and jesus. Sorry about the decline of newspapers.'talks about that yes America is in decline but like other great nations before it the collapse will happen suddenly and not over the next century. he says like the Roman Empire which collapsed over 5 decades or Ming dynasty went fell over eight years, or the most recent the decline of the Soviet Union over less than five years. These example show the path that some americans and others around the world feel will happen to america as it has happened so many times already throughout history. Unca Darrell make an interesting point as he talks about the signs that have already started to come through about the american decline one of which is that 'Alarm bells should therefore be ringing very loudly, indeed, as the United States contemplates a deficit for 2009 of more than $1.4 trillion -- about 11.2 percent of GDP, the biggest deficit in 60 years -- and another for 2010 that will not be much smaller. . . .' which shows that america is already in trouble so it is easy to see how things can carry on getting worse in the near future. But American are still being expected to muddle through and come up with a solution as the decline of american will effect the globe as a whole.

But there is also the opinion of Josef Joffe, co editor of Die Zeit who has a more optimistic opinion which is that 'he United States remains first on any scale of power that matters -- economic, military, diplomatic, or cultural -- despite being embroiled in two wars and beset by the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.'

Both opinions are valued but its up to americans which one they chose to believe and live by because that could lead to if they get up and trying to stop the idea of a decline or to just sit down and except it and let it happen and allow a nation such as china to become the next super power of the world.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

American Declinism

This article is on the decline of America and tells us of the figures of its economy that America has at the moment, saying it has an economy of $13.13 trillion dollars, which is 20% of the global output. The article is trying to defend the idea that America is in decline. It's trying to give examples of how America is still coping and not in decline, after starting off outlining the history of declinism, for example the Imperial Overstretch of the country and that Hurricane Katrina exposed a weak country.

The article also focuses on Americanisation and Globalisation of products around the world. The author emphasises that it is impossible for America to be in such steep decline as everyone says it is when globalisation is doing so well. He gives figures of how many stores have been Americanised around the world, such as he says there are 30,000 McDonald's restaurants not in America, and that 70% of Coca-Cola drinkers aren't from North America. This shows that America is still doing well, and is spreading its Soft Power throughout the world, despite it being in decline. Therefore its gathering all this money from other countries, which contributes to stopping America from declining.

George Saunders

I chose the article about Christmas from 'American Psyche' series from The Guardian. I couldn't find any relevant article about story Christmas from 'In Persuasion Nation' which I am going to do a presentation, so I chose this which I thought interesting and can consider to contemporary America.
George starts his sentence which says America will be Christmas from late July. When I first came to England I saw people buying Christmas presents in the late October and thought it is really first, but in America it starts from late July which surprise me.
I think its not just America but nowadays people's thinking of Christmas had been changed.
As George says, in the past Christmas was filled with people freezing to death in their fields. However, in contemporary, everyone looks healthy and has presents in their hands. People nowadays make Christmas nostalgic with many illuminations which I think exaggerated.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

George Saunders

The article of George Saunders from march 2007 has a very strong link to the short stories he wrote 'My Amendment' from the book 'The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil' as both can be seen to be based around the new article about a Pastor called Ted Harggard who had a following a over 1,000 and was accused and he admitted to paying for homosexual sex and taking drug whilst being married and having four children. The story of 'My Amendment' talks about how some americans and people throughout the world being against same sex marriages. It then goes on to coming up its own new prejudice idea where it can also be wrong for masculine women to marriage feminine men as it can be seen as being that the women want to marriage a women and not really a man. This idea can be seen in my opinion to be just another way for some americans and others to judge and pick on others for their own pleasure and to boost their own self-estem.I feel that the aim of this article is to take Ted Harggard's situation and show america that there are different types of people who need to be excepted and if you can't except your self you can learn to or go to therapy which Saunders dose not believe work but can make the situation worse not always better.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

George Saunders - Advertising

I found this article by George Saunders on advertising which links with the short story 'My Flamboyant Grandson' which is what my presentation is on. In this article Saunders talks about the techniques of advertising and how they persuade you to buy the products they are trying to sell.

One of the examples he uses is of a stapler advert. If you show a man buying a stapler with 9 supermodels around him, then the message is buy this stapler and you will be attractive to supermodels. He also gives many other examples of this technique.

He concludes his article by saying "My point is advertisements are a big lie. I'm going to break free from the false seductiveness of that ad and live in the real world." This links to 'My Flamboyant Grandson' as he writes of how fake America is in it. Every time the Grandfather goes into a public space he is forced to watch adverts which try to persuade him to buy their products and in his article it is much the same in real life as advertising companies are still trying to make you buy things through falsely persuading you into believing the product will do something or cure something which in reality, it probably wont do.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Remembering 9/11

I choose this video because i thought it was very powerful with the video clips of the planes flying in to the buildings and with the buildings falling down then with the still images of the distress on peoples face and the emotions they are feelings. I found this video very moving and i found it very hard to watch it all the way through because of the disturbing images of the moments the planes went soaring into the world trade center. still after 9 years gone i still feel my stomach turning when seeing the clips another aspect of this video which gripped me was the use of music aswell. very powerful classical music to set the mood and tempo of the video. also the video has still images of biblical messages on it

The first still image you still is of an American firefighter standing on the rumble that once stood the towers standing alone in a very Salome image then the next image is of the street below with rumble scattered around the streets and people in despair with the American flag still blowing and flowing in the wind. This video is very patriotic and encourages emotion out of the person watching the tribute video.

The video shows the buildings falling from different angels and different news stations and i think showing the same scenes from different television stations.

The Video tribute i think is very hard hitting and emotional and makes me remember the day when it happened and seeing the clips for the first time 9 years ago.


When I saw the first plane hitted the World Trade Centre on TV, it was midnight in Japan and when I first saw it, because I was young and couldn't recognize it was really happening in the world, I thought TV is showing an action film. I also remember my father was saying that this is going to change the world.

I found many videos from Youtube about 9/11, and I chose this which is for the 5th anniversary memorial video for World Trade Centre towers. This is a video which shows World Trade Centre and people who were near there. It shows when the plane hitted the building, collapsed, a lot of paper falling down, people running and panic, and New York covered with a huge cloud of dust. The last image putting up the flag is showing tribute to the sadness of the terrible attack and also not to forget.

Don't forget the 9/11 - Tribute

I have chosen this video for the tribute of the 9/11 because of the images that are shown throughout the video, they are not all about the attack some of them are childrens innocence and others are what firefighters used to do before that day. One that was striking was an image of the american eagle crying for its country that it is so proud of. The images consisted also of the before and after effects so that we could see the effect that it had on the American community. Another reason that I chose this video was because it is a tribute to 9/11 and the song that is behind it is called Heaven, using the lyrics with a girl singing it we can hear that she is still waiting for her dad to come home even though he's not. It also asks not to forget about the 9/11 even though this day is very traumatic and upsetting, they could find that if they forget this then they will lose that memory of what America used to be like.

I do not really remember 9/11 however watching this tribute with the lyrics and the pictures made it very hard for me not to feel emotion towards the Americans by wondering how many Americans have had their lives changed by this and the devestation that it caused.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

9/11 Tribute

I have chosen a tribute to 9/11 by the world famous American band U2. I chose this because its different to all the other tributes as it doesn't actually have any images of what happened on that day, and you wouldn't even know it was about 9/11 unless told before the performance. The tribute was performed at the half time show at the Superbowl, one of the most watched sports in America so it could be seen by as many people as possible. The tribute is powerful as it has a back drop with all the names of the people who died in 9/11 running whilst they are singing. The back drop falls down in the song which is powerful as it symbolises the falling of the twin towers. It is also notable that the stage they are performing on is in a heart shape, and Bono makes a heart shape with his hands on his chest towards the end of the song showing compassion and love for the country at a difficult time. At the end Bono lifts his jacket and reveals the American flag in the lining which shows his patriotism and that America are still a strong country even when they have experienced a terrorist attack.


9/11 as a date or in a sentence is know for pain, terror and disaster. When typing the date into facebook you start to realise the amount of people that use images, soundtracks and video footage to experience and deal with the feelings around that day.

The tribute I have chosen about 9/11 is titled 9/11 plan and simple, straight to the point. It opens with a single image of Bush reading a story book to a group of young kids when being told the news about the world trade centre and is then followed by many more images of himself. These images are then accompanied with the bush addressing his nation of the horror that has just taken place ' shows the world we will pass the test', ' attacked by a faceless cowered', and americans witnessing the second plane hitting the south tower. The rest of the video is made up of TV news segments showing the towers collapsing, crosses made out of rubble, black clouds of smoke, people witnessing other fall and jump from the burning towers, and the flying of the american flag.

The view i have about the overall video is that bush feels like america is the central of the world and that they are in control and the all might powerful and this is an attack on that idea. Besides bush I see that this shows how much america was effected as a whole even if they were not effect personally tho lose that they were still effected by, the idea it could happen, had happen and the the scale it happened. The song use though out the video is all about coming together and make sure the everyone is ok and that they can together get through this and together they will. But the use of the live footage and the reactions of on lookers on the second plane hitting makes it seem really in years to come will make it stay like it was really real and that they have overcome that struggle and america as a whole can carrying even in the hardest of times as a nations and then go to war.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Faith within America

If you think American you automatically when the question of religion is brought up you think America as christian and they do not hide this fact either. The protestant Christianity was the backbone of America when it was first created and you can see how the idea of God is used and how people look up to him, any American family based show will show moment where there characters are either praying or go to church. You can tell by the grand services they have in great meeting places to celebrate there religion and the identity of America is found upon by religion. some of there stereo types for America besides its negative ones are that they are a very Christian country.

But the idea of America is that it always gets the newest things first and lot of fad's to come out of America to the rest of the world one example of this is new religions have come out of this and is often eaten up by celebrates then other people follow them.

Scientology, the website it self looks like a website for a holiday resort and they also have an advert that runs upon clicking on the link, i for one have not witnessed a advert for religion....
this religion has taken a lot of people to believe it in and some A list celebrities believe in it too some of the more known for it are Tom cruse and John Travolta.
But however it is acepectable in America this sort of behavior its the land of the free and not only is religion is apart of the American identity but also freedom of choice and the vast amounts of different religious path's you can choice from. i do not think one religion can be chosen to represent America even though most people would say Christianity i think the all the different religions make up the Identity of American.

The one that has created the most stir is scientology which has hit America in a big way and they now have churches in the UK aswell

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Tribute to 9/11.

When typing 9/11 on YouTube, so many different videos come up. Some tributes, some footage of news reports from the day, and some talking about the conspiracy theories behind the attacks. I chose this 4 minute tribute video because out of the many I watched, it was the only one I can across that had no music. It simply shows a montage of photos of the twin towers. Some photos used are from before the attacks. One image that particularly caught my attention was one of the New York skylines before the attack, with the American flag faintly in the background, and in the far corner is the bald headed eagle, a significant symbol of America. The video shows images of the heroic fire fighters who risked their lives to save others, even when there was little hope left. Another significant image that is shown about a minute into the video, is one that I used in my very first blog post. It is one of 3 fire fighters raising the American flag at ground zero. I think this is a positive image of a negative thing. It shows that in awful times of disaster, Americans are still extremely patriotic, and come together when their nation is being attacked. Towards the end of the video we see patriotic images remembering 9/11, ones that people have made, including one from a non American who writes “pardon my English”.
I chose this video because it reflects on all parts of the attacks on the twin towers, including the aftermath, and also shows how it united many Americans. I believe that this video’s silence leaves time to reflect, and takes nothing away from the images, making it thoughtful and significant.