Saturday, February 17, 2007

Anti-Anti-Americanism

In today's cultural-political climate -- and that which has prevailed for most of my entire life -- there is a certain strain among the residues of "the left" which takes pride in a cynical and generalized anti-Americanism. America, it is sometimes thought -- not entirely without justification -- has a massively destructive foreign policy, consumes a massively disproportionate share of the world's resources, and has citizens that are not only apathetic and ignorant, but apathetic and ignorant about their apathy and ignorance.

To combat the dangers of cynicism in myself, and perhaps also a few friends who stumble across Impure Reason from time to time, I want to begin a list of all the things about America that I love and that are worth loving, in no particular order:

1) Bob Dylan
2) Transcendentalism (Thoreau, Emerson)
3) Jazz (Davis, Coltrane, Brubeck)
4) Pragmatism (esp. James and Dewey)
5) the liberal-arts college curriculum
6) the Constitution
7) Walt Whitman
8) Yellowstone National Park
9) Manhattan
10) hip-hop
11) baseball

Add your own in the comments below; I'll update the list as it grows.

17 comments:

WW said...

Yosemite National Park

Hudson River School Artists (Bierstadt, Marple, etc.)

La Jolla Cove

Carl Sachs said...

Good ones!

Yosemite and La Jolla Cove are near and dear to my heart as well. But I must confess to ignorance of the Hudson River Artists. Who are they?

WW said...

Early 19th century landscape artists who depicted the Hudson River Valley, Catskills, Adirondacks, White Mountains, etc. Influenced by romanticism.

Albert Bierstadt and Fredrick Church are my favorites.

WW

James R. Martin said...

Allen Ginsberg (esp. for his HOWL)

Annie Dillard (for Pilgrim at
Tinker Creek)

The Blues

Aaron Schiller said...

Hey Carl,

Here's my list:

Jimmy Stewart
Philly Cheesesteaks
Skateboarding
Elvis Presley
The First Amendment
Andy Warhol
Mt. Rushmore
Star Trek
The Beats

Maureen said...

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Rosa Parks
The Greensboro Six
Shirley Chisholm
Harvey Milk
Bill Clinton
Jon Stewart/The Daily Show
Rollerblades
All Night Diners with lots of Chrome

Maureen said...

BTW A cynicism fighter to be used when needed: The documentary film "Chisholm 72: Unbought and Unbossed"
While her run for president was unsuccessful and the documentary exposes why that was (which isn't a happy story), it nevertheless leaves one amazed that Americans like her exist.

Maureen said...

Sorry, it's Greensboro 4 (my bad)

Maureen said...

Another anti-cynicism documentary: "February One: The Story of the Greensboro 4"

Carl Sachs said...

Excellent work, hivemind!

I'm impressed that we've been able to conjure up lists of things that are distinctively American -- nature writing, music -- and a distinctively American kind of social protest.

Maureen: I like the genre "anti-cynicism documentary." Such medicines are sorely needed these days.

Kirby Olson said...

The San Francisco Giants
Pee wee football
The Grand Tetons
Midget nuns
The Middle Class
Wegman's Grocery Stores
Jimi Hendrix
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
American toilets/plumbing
Ordinary cows
Red barns
Norman Rockwell
Andrei Codrescu
Mary Jo Frug
Capitalism
Savings & Loan Banks
Central Park in NYC
Local newspapers
Postum

Carl Sachs said...

Midget nuns?

Konst. Kokarev said...

Naom Chomsky.
He is entirely american and left also. Left anti-americanism is sometimes very american.

Kirby Olson said...

I saw a midget nun once in Paris. To me it was the end of the world.

Mike Isaacson said...

Funk
The Harlem Renaissance
Philadelphia
3rd Wave Ska
Slam Poetry
The Aristocrats
Saturday Night Live
Gang Violence (what an effective means of population control!)
Grunge
The Doors
4/20 and Really Good Pot
WTO Protest (Battle in Seattle)
Al-Qa'ida
Dead Kennedys and Jello Biafra
W.V.O. Quine
D.C. Hardcore
Emo (in all its forms)
Cheese Heroin
Discordianism

Up to you to figure out which I'm serious about.

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