Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Positive and negative images of America

The picture I have chosen to show positive America is one of New York City. This picture shows how populated and developed New York City really is as it is full of different shaped buildings all clustered together. It signifies positive America, as it shows how developed areas of the country actually are which in turn shows how many opportunities and businesses there are available in the country. It also helps reinforce the idea of “the American Dream” because if someone worked or lived in one of the tallest buildings in New York City, one of the most famous cities in the world, they could be seen as “succeeding” in America, and therefore “living the dream”. However this picture could also be seen as negative, with all the buildings symbolising overpopulation in certain areas, and that cities like New York continue to grow and expand year after year, whereas poorer areas which need the growth are not given the support and resources like the bigger cities. Despite this, I think that this picture is more positive than negative as it symbolises that through constant growth and expansion, America has become a world superpower.

The picture I have chosen to signify negative America is of a McDonalds in another country, Japan. This picture shows that America has influenced the whole world, as McDonalds is an American restaurant selling American food yet it has stores in over a hundred countries. Although this worldwide influence could be seen as a positive, the fact that this picture shows a restaurant which many have blamed for contributing to America’s obesity problem, operating in other countries, means that the same problems could happen in other areas of the world. The worldwide influence that some American businesses have, like McDonalds, also mean that cultures in other countries are at risk from constant exposure from American ideas, and could in the long run, be turned into a “second America”


Jodie Atkins said...

If you find the mcdonalds 'spreading' (Americanisation) stuff interesting i have a few articles, links and images I found for the Americanisation lecture this morning which I feel could lead on from your post:

What are the effects of Americanisatiohttp://www.cnngo.com/shanghai/life/shanghai%E2%80%99s-oddest-building-455837n?

American globalization not only wrongly stereotypes us, but also causes many nations to hate the "American Way."

It may have even caused the terrorist attacks on September 11. Thomas Friedman, in an article published in 1998, warns that Americanization not only creates hatred for the United States, but also allows the people who foster this hatred to do something with it - through technology.

Ramzi Yousef, the man behind the first World Trade Center bombing, kept track of all his plans on a Toshiba laptop. Osama bin Laden for a time was running a multinational JOL, Jihad Online (1). Many people blame bin Laden solely for the recent terrorist attacks on the U.S. But is he the only one responsible? Who's really to blame for September 11? Look no further than the clothes you wear, the food you drink. Blame Nike, blame McDonald's, and blame Coca-Cola. These companies are the icons of Americanization - the renewed movement which is taking over the world, destroying traditions, and creating new Osama bin Ladens.

Thomas Friedman writes:
The American message particularly tells young people around the world that we have a better way than their fathers. This is why the Osama bin Ladens constantly speak of "American arrogance" and how America is "emasculating" the Muslims. That's why they just want to kill America. And globalization, through its rapid spread of technologies, also super-empowers them to do just that. It makes it much easier to travel, move money or communicate by satellite phones or Internet.

(1) (1. Friedman, Thomas L. "Commentary: Why Those Angry Men Want to Kill America." The New York Times: Aug. 25, 1998.)

I thought your post was really interesting and is part of a much bigger idea and question about the states. McDonalds and Cocacola are so iconic though, its so easy to use them as examples.

Also really interesting is this thing in China (which went out of business... but) called 'The American Dream Park' which was essentially a replica of America where tourists could 'live' the experience of their fast food, American 'west', theme park rides etc. Plans were made to recreate many of these around China but the first one in Shanghai went bust.

Some pictures (and a replica white house?!)


Jodie Atkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jodie Atkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jodie Atkins said...

The majority of that text is from: https://www.msu.edu/~millettf/americanization.html :)