Monday, January 17, 2011

Jamie Fletcher; Differences Across Western Cultures

There seems to be a distinct difference between the amount of need for material items in the United States than in the rest of the world. Even in other Western cultures. Jamie Fletcher, a graduated law student and TA at Surrey in London, spoke with me about these cultural differences.

Q: Why were you originally interested in coming to the United States?

A: I wanted to understand why it was so unpopular with the rest of the world and to see for myself if people had redeeming qualities post Iraq and Iran invasions of America. There
seemed to be a different side of America historically founded in more egalitarian ideas that could transcend the George W Bush foreign policy which was so popular around the rest of the world. America seemed so diverse. And it is. But everyone’s supposedly backwards. I wanted to see first hand if I could justify this on the basis of my political viewpoint.

Q:  Did your visit here disprove at all that people were so "backwards" in the US?

A: It resulted in contrary developments in this theory.It disproved that all were unaware of the backwards and ignorant of image around the world. Many do care for world and its development and the future. It reaffirmed the consequences of the unrelentless capitalism. Capitalism of live or die trying. The most shocking image of this that I saw was when I ordered a taxi to get from central to the outskirts of Philidelphia, As we drove away out the back window you saw big sky scrapers looking rich and asthetically pleasing, representing the strong city. Out the front we drove towards the edge of abject poverty, where houses had bars on windows, thievery, and people walked up and down streets with baseball bats. It seemed this truly represented a very niche belief in the ability to beacon the rich.
Michael Harrington said,  “America has the best dressed poor the world has ever known.”
You can get rich but you can also get very poor very quickly. Just because food and clothes are cheap the poor are still just as poor as in the rest of the world, though asthetically they have changed.

Q: Is this what has kept you coming back or have you found new reasons? So do you feel that our handling of capitalism is the main dividing difference between what makes america more backwards seeming elsewhere?

A: I think it is. I think one of biggest issues clouding minds is pursuit for a dream but when you really see it on an abstract level see you absurdity of it, that the majority is owned by such a small percent of the population. Look to Joe plumber in the past election. Opposing the idea of people being taxed who are making over $250,000, while the vast population will never see this much money. Yet they still reject idea of taxing wealthy. There’s no logic in this. Healthcare is a shocking example of this. How is it that 50 million people could achieve more affordable healthcare and find it as an attack on liberty. This is beyond his understanding of common sense.

Q: So do you feel that our handling of capitalism is the main dividing difference between what makes America more backwards seeming elsewhere?

A: It continued in my pursuit for better understanding. I found that everyone has different view point. And the rest of the world is going this same way towards this “independent freedom,” though the freedom’s not being achieved eventually in the end. The American idea has exported around the world. I hope to in end find positives of this idea, though right now the negatives surely outweigh the positives. It’s just awful can’t understand it complete rejection of everything.

Asking if I had seen the new American version of Skin’s that has recently started showing on Mtv, he said that it “Lacks any grit and seems so forced and fake. But maybe I don’t understand the American references and terms.”  Philosopher Wittgenstein said that if a lion could speak English we still wouldn’t understand because points of reference and phrases would be so different that they’d be rendered meaningless to us when referred to American culture.  Seems so different that it doesn’t carry same meaning.

It seems that there exists a divide in many aspects of culture spanning across many different levels between America’s consumerism and materialistic values that separate it from the rest of the world.

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