Wednesday, 25 September 2013

America's Positive and Negatives

America's film industry has had a huge impact across the whole world. Hollywood has set the way for other countries to create their own film industries, enabling a diverse range of genres to be shared. The scope of films coming out of America are so diverse that they create an escape for everybody and give the audience recognisable actors and actresses to link themselves to. Without the association of these actors and actresses, Hollywood would not be experiencing the phenomenon that it now is. From the 'Golden Age of Hollywood' we have created a connection between the escapist movies and the characters within them. Additionally, the opportunity for jobs that America's film industry provides is massive and can only be desired by other industries.

The infamous events of the American civil rights movement such as Little Rock and the Montgomery Bus Boycotts show America to be the controversial country that it can be. It has still failed to progress in its ideas, particularly in the deep south and the ideas that people shared about different races were shocking. The concept that the segregation was so extreme is something that we often forget about America today, failing to remember that it once pushed incredibly harsh rules into the foreground of its society. Although it has mostly passed these extremities, these events are still a huge part of the country's history and should not be looked upon lightly.

Positive and negative iconic American images

A negative iconic image of America is the great depression and the fact that the economy has still not fully recovered. For example, the last recession America had was the worst economic crisis since the great depression (1929)  The Great depression was a pessimistic period for all Americans due to the wall street crash. The image to the left depicts a migrant mother of seven children, taken by Dorothea Lange. Her look of despair illustrates that America needed to create a source of hope. Lange had stated that there were 'Seven hungry children. Father is native Californian. Destitute in pea pickers’ camp … because of failure of the early pea crop. These people had just sold their tires to buy food'   This illustrates the struggle Americans had to endure. The American dream was a source of hope for those who endured long periods of poverty during the great depression. The dream states that Americans have personal freedom and that all Americans have equal opportunities throughout their lives, and this 'American dream' is an iconic image to everyone and it is what attracts us to America. However, the dream is not equally available to all. People in America now are no longer ambitious to become more successful and unemployment continues to soar. Therefore it could be considered that the American dream is merely a myth. 

A positive iconic image of America is the foreign aid which they provide for other countries. This also illustrates that America is not in fact ignorant of the rest of the world. USAID works in over 100 countries across the globe. Their aims include protecting human rights and advance agriculture. As stated on the USAID website, more than 3 million lives are saved every year thanks to USAID. This is an iconic image as it illustrates that America looks out for the well being of others as well as their own American dream.

Positive and Negative American Images.

I think a very dangerous part of American culture is this "photoshop generation" in which we find ourselves. When the public is only exposed to pictures in which celebrities look perfect, the revelation that, Britney Spears has cellulite, or that Madonna's skin is not totally flawless, become exposés, instead of just facts that people grow old, they get fat, and they might not wear makeup all the time. This perfection seeking culture also further reinforces the misogynistic concept that women should always look their best; they should constantly strive for the unattainable excellence that even the Hollywood celebrities whom we perceive to look that way don’t. They only look like that once some person on a computer has spent hours smoothing their skin and making their waist smaller.
This photo, for me, encapsulates the amazing steps forward that America has made in regards to equality. Only a few years ago, the mere idea of having an African-American president was outrageous. Let alone an African American president who supports LGBT*+ rights, including their right to marry. As a nation, the USA has a long way to go until equality is achieved between genders, races or sexualities, but I think that the current political climate is one of progression. And that is a beautiful thing.

Positive and Negative images

Negative - Slavery;
I chose this image of a newspaper advertisement from the 1780's, advertising the sale of  '250 fine healthy negroes' to represent the slave trade. The slave trade in America lasted from the early sixteen hundreds to the end of the civil war in 1865 and cost any where from 10 to 20 million lives. It is estimated that almost 25% of households in southern America owned at least one slave at some point. The slave trade is definitely a negative time in US history if not the most negative time in US history.

Positive - Wall Street;
Wall street is the financial centre of the world and has been home to some of the most powerful institutions in the world such as the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ as well as many of the worlds banks headquarters. It has created more opportunities for all people to succeed in America and is one of the primary reason for Americas wealth and standing in the world today. It is a positive icon of America and still represents the economic power of the nation.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

This is an obvious positive iconic image of America and the way America is seen by other nations, and by themselves as a hugely changed nation from the racism and discrimination that surrounded black people in the 1950's. This profound image shows clearly how far America has come as a nation from the fight for freedom in the 1950's, that Martin Luther King was a significant part of fighting for to Obama being made president in 2008 and the support that follows Obama from people of all different races and nationalities. It is clear to see the distinct change and development in the way people think and accept people that are different to them which makes this such an iconic image.

Both of these images are something that a lot of people, no matter where they're from, will link to America and how much gun crime takes place and is frequently covered on the news. The reason gun crime is so common and subsequently shocks so many people in other countries is because of the 2nd amendment, the freedom to be able to own a gun and so the lack of control over people and their actions. In other countries after the repeated gun massacres that have occurred in America, especially in schools, strict laws would have been put in place, but very little seems to change in America which causes continuing events to take place and so for everyone clearly a huge negative in American culture.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Welcome to the blog for AM1111 for your group. For the first exercise, post any TWO images which are iconic of “America.” Choose one positive, the other negative and explain your choice in 150 words or so Please don't link to images - post them to the blog as images (use the picture icon that shows at the top of the page when you start a new post.)