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"Has Johnny really nothing to satorially rebel against?", or "Is 'the look' dead?"

Benny Holiday

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,757
Location
Sydney Australia
And then there's the entire gamut of American popular culture that has been exported to the rest of the world, starting with American servicemen visiting overseas cities during WWII. Here's a link to an interesting article about the influence of visiting GIs on Australian youth, particularly African-American GIs, during and after the War:

https://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/bodgies_and_african_american_influences_in_sydney

Hollywood as well has had a big role to play in exporting all things American to the world. In Australia in the 50s journalists coined a phrase, the "cultural cringe", to describe the change in social focus from the traditional English to a more American influence at that time. Australia fell in love with all things USA, from big cars with even bigger fins all the way through to hip hop and rap today. In the 50s, the "Cultural cringe" described Australian society's desire to be more like America; IMO I think things balanced out over time and in spite of a continuing fascination with American music, fashion and culture, Australians are still quite a distinct people in many ways.

What do you think of the world's love affair with US culture? Does it make you proud that you've created a culture that's touched a chord with so many other nations? Or does it seem strange that French kids in 1950s went to rock'n'roll dances and combed their hair in DAs, or that there are teenagers in the UK who are heavily into rap? I'm interested in the American perspective there.
 

Benny Holiday

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,757
Location
Sydney Australia
I'm not sure whether Aussies should thank the USA for McDonalds or not . . . there are times it is convenient when you're on the road and you know what you're gonna get . . . But I do have to say thanks for KFC. You can only partake of it on the odd occasion, but that taste really is something else! hahahaha
 

GHT

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,336
Location
New Forest
It does cut both ways Benny. All the young of the English speaking nations have been influenced by America's various youth's subculture, but that's because it's been so cleverly marketed. Once the Baby Boomer generation became adult and started to earn far more than there parents ever could, coupled with economy flights to the US, they started to make visits there and saw first hand that Americans were much the same as the rest of us in the English speaking world. It wasn't so much as the illusion shattered as the aura faded a little.

Just as a speculative guess, maybe the image that we had of American youth comes, in part, from our shared language. I know other countries also enjoyed copying America's subcultures, but maybe that's because many of them speak English, even though it's not their native tongue. English as a language is the modern equivalent of Latin, there's almost two billion English speakers worldwide.

On my first ever trip the the US, way back when, I visited a friend who was married to an American national, she had organised a meal at a restaurant and had invited a few of her friend's along. A most convivial evening followed, and I remember being asked what I thought of America. To be fair I had only been there a week and had only seen a very small part of The State of Georgia. My reply brought much agreement, I said, "my wife and I have enjoyed every minute and the hospitality has been heartwarming to say the least," then I added, "but it's not a country that would want to be poor in." To which my host replied: "Most perceptive of you."

And what cuts both ways is that American tourists are no longer just the very rich, and they are finding out that Sherlock Holmes doesn't reside at Baker Street, or that we all speak like the Queen.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
33,047
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
You could send some of that back even before the war -- the British dance band culture of the 1930s owed a very great deal to that of the US, thanks to the international trade in phonograph records -- and when swing came along, it became even more so. European audiences got accustomed to taking their musical cues from the US long before rock-n-roll was even a thing.

There was a wonderful term used by Europeans to explain the explosion of American capitalist-consumer culture after the war -- Coca-Colonization. And it wasn't meant to be complimentary.
 
Messages
10,600
Location
My mother's basement
There’s only so much on the menu, so it isn’t that choices are ever unlimited.

Still, a truer indication of human desire is found where we put our discretionary resources, whatever words to the contrary might escape our mouths. No need to force the run of Europeans to drink Coca-Cola. Or to take in a Tarantino flick.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,779
Location
London, UK
It's been interesting observing how Americana and its appeal waxes and wanes in the UK. The UK is an obvious market for US entertainment product on the one hand owing to the language commonality, though for all that pop culture familiarity, I've never felt so European as when I've been in the US. Very much enjoyed visiting, but I think it is fair to say that there are significant cultural differences that seem almost more pronounced because of our similarities. By the same token, when I first visited India it came as a surprise that for all the English spoken, the overall experience was infinitely more of a culture shock than I've ever had with Beijing (though, of course, Beijing is no more representative of all of China than London is England, or NYC the USA).

As Sean who used to post here as 'Twotypes' once noted, it's notable that the strongest concentrations of people living a specifically American vintage pop culture in England seem to be clustered around foremr USAAF bases. Interestingly, I tend to find that 'vintage Americana' in the UK is most strongly linked to the fifties and rock and roll; speak to Sixties revivalists, it's all about the UK, while for those of us with an appreciation of punk rock, even if we are turned on to the Ramones and the NYC scene, it's still very London-centric and a grey, British view of its history in the 70s.

Sticking with punk rock, I think the Clash, especially Joe Strummer, are emblematic of the complex relationship between people in the UK and American popular culture. On the one hand, you had "no Elvis... in 1977" and "I'm so bored with the USA"; on the other, boys who had a very clear love of Americana, to whom Elvis, Johnny Cash and Joey Ramone were giants, who loved old Westerns...
 
Messages
10,600
Location
My mother's basement
Let us remember that the culture of the U.S.A. (and Australia, and ... ) is much more European than Europe is American.

In the Upper Midwest of my earliest years, teachers and others with authority over us little buzzards often spoke of our various “nationalities.” The clear majority of us in that time and place were of European, and mostly Northern European, descent — German, Norwegian, Swedish, and mixtures thereof.

Kids of Southern and Eastern European origins were fairly well represented as well. Asians were few. Those “nationalities” brought here in chains, who were a small but clearly present minority, were all but entirely left out of those discussions. The indigenous folks were either disregarded or, in what is practically the definition of irony, seen as something akin to exotic.
 
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Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
I'm not sure whether Aussies should thank the USA for McDonalds or not . . . there are times it is convenient when you're on the road and you know what you're gonna get . . . But I do have to say thanks for KFC. You can only partake of it on the odd occasion, but that taste really is something else! hahahaha

I started at a local KFC as an underage cook's assistant and always regret that that time flew by so quickly.:(
 

AvavanBlythe

Familiar Face
Messages
88
Location
US
There is a "hipster" faction around town, mostly men who wear thick, shaped beards, horn-rimmed glasses, tapered haircuts, and red-and-black checkered lumberjack shirts. These are not kids. These are almost universally men in their early forties trying to impress women fifteen years their junior with their worldly ways, their esoteric taste in music, and their encyclopedic knowledge of marijuana. I tell our Kids to stay the hell away from them.

There's a special term for that, and it may make you chuckle: Lumbersexual. I've actually seen males from 27-40 something opt for this look. It's often a suburban to semi-urban style that I've seen on both coasts.
 

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