08 October 2006

americans and their myths

i just read a forward from a friend of mine and i'm looking for some discussion. imagine that!

it was a really solid piece written by jean-paul sartre - in 1947! he could've been speaking about today. i was featured in the nation magazine a few years back.

what follows is my initial-gut-response to him:

i have to agree - sartre is spot on, on many levels, in all of his existentialist glory! he makes a bunch of interesting points in his analysis. the thing that struck me most was what the man said to him about americans trying to be more american then their neighbors - yet, what does that even mean, exactly? he says that we constantly try to define/rework in our gropings what being an american is. we've been fed our history through hollywood and textbooks, true. we are babies in the grand scheme of things... i think about the class i took about thomas paine, and the other course 'america from the outside' (this piece reminds me a bunch of what simone de beuvoir had to say) - we have such great potential, and great things seem to always be expected of us, yet we always seem to fall short of what i would expect from a country that always touts itself as being the biggest and the best. we used to be so revered in the world, just 50-60 years ago! (as an aside, did you see the film, 'why we fight?' - eisenhower's parting speech!) it seems that *that* myth of america is what still rings true to so many people in the culture today. hope this makes sense...

anyone? anyone?

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