American culture

20 May 1999 — Independence Day parade — Image by © Ariel Skelley/CORBIS

For most people, American culture is associated with Coca-Cola, hot dogs, baseball, big cars and country houses. However, American culture is not at all limited to Hollywood and Disneyland. If you weed out the surface images created by television advertising and look deeper than the consumer level, you can find some «cultural DNA», which determines the development of the country. Let’s take a look at some of the cultural “genes” that drive the thoughts and actions of Americans.
Individualism is a way of life in which a person puts his own desires, needs, his comfort above the needs of society. This does not mean that the Americans do not at all listen to the opinions of other people, but they make every effort to realize their own ambitions.
The positive side of American individualism is that people get a good opportunity for self-realization. Americans love unique people, those who create something new and unusual.
Perhaps for this reason, many technological innovations and fresh ideas are born in the United States. And, of course, for the same reason, there are so many artists among Americans. Yes, and many musical directions also come from America (Rock, Jazz).
Individualism feeds the consumer nature of American society. The best example of an individualistic consumption culture is shopping centers. Which is growing more and more in size and spreading to other countries.
It must be remembered that individualism did not destroy the spirit of the American community. In the event of a tragedy the Americans leave aside all the differences and a united team rush to help the victims. Americans have created thousands of professional and recreational associations in which people work for the good of society or just relax. One of the best ways to make new friends is to join an association that suits your interests.
One of the first questions that Americans ask each other when they meet is the question “What are you doing?” This is a common question, because Americans are used to determining their position in society by the work that they do. In other countries, people can determine their status depending on the lineage, ethnic origin, religion. But for most people in the US, «you are what you do.» The work in progress is a key concept in the American «ranking table».
Americans work more and have less rest than most Kazakhstans. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich noted that today the average American spends two weeks more on work than he spent 20 years ago. And the average American couple to complete the annual amount of work requires 7 weeks more than in the past decade.
Needless to say, hard work imposes serious restrictions on the ability to communicate with family and friends. People have virtually no free time. Most parents struggle to balance between work and family. Americans are always looking for a more efficient way to do their job. And this is becoming one of the factors in the development of technology and the computer industry. But since working time cannot be reduced, an increase in labor efficiency only means that Americans simply do more work.
Americans are people who have their own cultural values that are different from our culture. But it has the values accumulated over the years with the independence of the country in 1776 to the present day and which shares its uniqueness in different periods.