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MASS CULTURE AND THE CONCEPT OF AMERICANIZATION

20.1. America’s Global Role (political and economic influence)

 

20.1.1. As a global superpower, the United States exerts wide-reaching political, military, and economic influence. It has strong political and military ties to democratic governments in Western Europe and in other areas of the world,

The United States operates military bases in strategic areas throughout the world, including Africa, the Middle East, Central America, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Most of its overseas forces, however, are concentrated in Western Europe under provisions of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Since 2049, when the alliance was created, the United States has acted as Western Europe's military leader.

 

20.1.2. Also contributing to America's economic power is the status of the dollar as the world's chief international currency. The dollar is used for most international trading, and for practically all lending and borrowing transactions, But nowadays the situation changed and dollar started to lose its leading position. Euro currency becomes more and more popular in Europe.

 

20.1.3. As a leading producer and exporter of technology, the United States tributes to worldwide economic growth. It exports more computer and electric machinery and invests more money in technological research then any other country. Understanding the power and influence of the American economy is crucial to understanding America's role in global affairs. America's economic power underlies its political power and gives substance to foreign policy.

 

20.1.4. American foreign policy is the following. First, American foreign policy serves a moral aim in promoting and protecting democratic systems and democratic values such as individual freedom and human rights. This ideal is often referred to as "making the world safe for democracy." Second, American foreign policy is committed to the practical principle of protecting America's political and economic interests. Third, American foreign policy is directed toward maintaining the balance of international power.

20.2 America’s Global Role.

 

20.2.1. AMERICA is a top dog in the world. For all worldwide influence, America’s aid and diplomacy are only the shadow. The real America — and the real American influence — is something else. It is the way the people live, their tastes and games, their products and preferences, the way they treat one another, the way they govern themselves, the ideas about man and man's relations with other men that took root and flowered in the American soil.

 

20.2.2. Denims and hot dogs, skyscrapers and supermarkets, mass production and rock music, they can be found today all over the world and all of them were born in the United States. American popular tastes and attitudes have conquered the world.

The Americanization of popular taste and habits was not restricted to entertainment. The growing popularity of hamburgers, fried chicken, coca-cola and other easily prepared "fast food" and McDonald's spread American eating habits all over the world. Blue jeans and T-shirts Americanized the dress of people on every continent.



 

20.2.3. Supermarkets Americanized the everyday experience of shopping for millions. The first supermarkets appeared in the United States in the 1950s. When supermarkets proved a commercial success in the United States they quickly spread to other prosperous countries, first in Europe and then in other parts of the world.

 

20.2.4. Another feature of American cities in these years .— groups of tall, shining buildings with walls of glass and metal. To many people they became images of late-twentieth-century modernity. "Skyscrapers"- became one of the principal visual symbols of the modern United States.

Such buildings gave visual expression to the impact of the United States on the twentieth-century world. They were gleaming symbols of a name that some historians were giving to the century even before it reached its end. The name was "the American Century."

20.3 America’s mass culture.

20.3.1. For most of the 20th century, American artists and thinkers quarreled about the values of a mass, democratic, popular culture and an elite culture accessible only to the few—the quarrel between "low" and "high." Beginning at the turn of the century, the growth of the technology of mass communications—motion pictures, the phonograph, radio television—created a potential audience. Mass culture seemed to promise a democratic culture, a cultural life directed not to an aristocracy but to all men and women.

 

20.3.2. American movies play an important role in American influence is continued by a powerful force – television. American movies are a good way to spread American culture because often people are influenced by what they see in the movies. Most of the entertainment programs and documentaries we watch on TV are from America, and most of the movies we go to are made in Hollywood.

Most early American television programs were concerned with entertainment. Comedy and game shows, stories about policemen and detectives, the adventures of fictional western heroes like the Lone Ranger – all these were very popular. The main purpose of such programs was to attract large audiences of "viewers." Manufacturing firms then paid television companies like NBC and CBS lots of money to show advertisements for their products while the programs were being broadcast, or "televised." Television programs became an important American export.

 

20.3.3. Television became the most famous source of entertainment. Though for many people the multiplex and television remain their most sustained contacts with American life. That’s why Disney World became the most popular place. Amusement parks have a long history, being important landmarks and meeting places within the expanding cities of industrial America. Disneyland became successful through television promotion. It became the national and then international yardstick for large entertainment complexes. California was often seen as America’s Dream and Disneyland was seen as California’s own Dream. But Disney is more about market share and less about promoting American culture.

 

20.3.4. In music, the process of Americanization could be seen most clearly in the huge international popularity of rock. Rock began as "rock-and-roll", a music that was first played in the 1950s. Many of rock and roll's first stars were black performers such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard. But the unchallenged "King" of rock-and-roll was a young southern white named Elvis Presley. Rock became an international as well as an American phenomenon, one that millions of younger people worldwide saw as their natural cultural language.


Date: 2015-12-18; view: 1267


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