Question 1: I think our culture is distinctive for a number of reasons, but first and foremost is the concept of the American Dream. By that I mean owning your own home, having the white picket fence, the perfect marriage and the 2.5 children. It is an image that has been promoted for decades and I think it still resonates deeply in our minds. It is something that has been inculcated in our brains. I’m not sure how. It is not explicitly taught through education or expressly said by your parents when you are toddler, but it is something most people in this country aspire to. Achieving it is what makes you a true American.
An offshoot of that is the rags to riches story. To clarify my point, it’s the idea that you can obtain anything you want if you just put forth effort and attempt it. Granted it’s a lofty premise, but a terrific attitude. It is like the sky is the limit for everyone and there are no boundaries.
Also, on the flip side, there can be some negatives about our culture. Americans sometimes seem to have a holier than thou attitude. I’m sure every person has some propensity to think their ways and beliefs are the best, but many Americans are not very open-minded. They tend to judge quickly and carry arrogance about them. I think that is the negative aspect of our
culture and rather ironic. If the sky is the limit and anyone can achieve anything, than why wouldn’t that carry over into all aspects of thinking as well as behavior towards others?
Question 2: I think the ad agency chose this method to promote their product because that type of thinking is ingrained our culture. If you don’t want a dropped call, we will make sure that doesn’t happen. It definitely is a power play and goes back to what I referred to in question one, it’s the attitude of if you want the best you have to pay for the best. I have certainly encountered that kind of attitude. It’s everywhere in American society. Just look at the rise of social media and the cultural icon of selfies at this point in time. What makes one person or one company better than the other? It should be merit, morals and ethics but our culture is defined by who the top is. As I said, some of aspects of it are positive or can be taken that way, while in this case, it clearly shows what sells and what the popular beliefs are.
Question 3: I did not need to perform an Internet search on the swastika as I was already aware of the symbolism it held from my readings prior to this course. That’s why it is such a shame that Hitler chose that to represent his form of genocide. The swastika has always been a truly good symbol and he crafted it to wield evil so it will never be looked at the same way even though it has centuries of good fortune behind it. If I saw temples emblazoned with this symbol it would make me sad. It would remind me of how a fanatic twisted something that was considered to be a talisman of good fortune and portent of excellent will into something that is reviled in our society. Although the history of the swastika must be taken into consideration, it is true that our world and generations to come will only see the bad side of it. Not only because that is our most recent memory, but because of the effects of it.
Keeping that in mind, it is important to note how culture does affect and apply to you. Not only for what occurs in the past or the present but for the future. It enables you to keep an open mind and to be more accepting. What you have learned as your behavior or attitude may not always be the true representation of something. Maybe people should research things a bit more with the knowledge that is at their finger tips instead of immediately applying a prejudicial viewpoint. Culture and awareness of it can keep us more honest with ourselves and make us better human beings.
Question 4: I would be as kind as possible and simply decline in as nice as a fashion as I could. I understand the point of nudity not being an issue or implying anything in other cultures. I’ve even happened on a nude beach when I have been on vacation overseas and did not feel threatened or have a problem with it. To each his own as I am open minded, but I am personally not comfortable enough with my own body to do something like that. That definitely has to do with my culture as I think it is ingrained into our psyche about physical beauty through print media. I always thought it was my own hang up until this assignment, but maybe there is more to it than I thought before. It could be something I picked up along the way and need to work on to rid myself of that conception of my body.
Question 5: As far as power relationships go in respect to minorities the obvious example is men and women in this nation. Women outnumber men but still are considered a minority. Many white males would disagree with that statement, as they now feel they are the minority group when it comes to selection processes for higher education, etc. However, this county is still dominated by white males. I think that is changing as reviewing the recent election results and the fact Hilary Clinton is highly probably to become our next president, but our country remains
in the hands of white men. They make more money for the same positions and look at television. In sports tv when you look at the credits do you see female producers? They are always relegated to the sidelines as reporters or “eye candy”. I realize old prejudices die hard but I feel this is still true.
Lincoln Park Strategies. “The Changing Demographics of the United States and Its Implications
on Electoral Politics” lpstrategies.com. Web. October, 2011. Retrieved on November 7, 2014
Feministing.com. “Mainstream Media Outlets Ignore People of Color” feministing.com. Web.
July 29, 2010. Retrieved on November 7, 2014 from