Sunday, September 30, 2012

Images Of America

“In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it.” - Barrack Obama
Patriotic America

When I think of America, I think of the patriotism that is so predominant in every state in America.  

What is the purpose of patriotism?! It serves to create solidarity among member of the same group or country.  It unifies and strengthens bonds between different groups or individuals to create a larger, stronger group.  It can produce a positive outcome in a sense that it can inspire people to do good things, invent things and to strive for greatness. 

America celebrates patriotism through many different occasions, one being the Fourth of July, a federal holiday which is also known as Independence Day.  This was first created through the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776,which declared independence from the UK.  American's celebrate through fireworks and patriotic songs, including the national anthem 'The Star Spangled Banner', 'God Bless America' and regionally, 'Yankee Doodle' in the Northeastern states and 'Dixie' in the Southern States.

After 9/11, Patriotism became even bigger with an increase in flag sales, people joining the American Army and blood donations.  The Red Cross says more than a quarter million people decided to donate blood for the first time post 9/11. 

Furthermore, Americans are prouder of their country than are any other people in the world, according to a study of patriotism by the 'National Opinion Research Center' at the University of Chicago.  The survey found that nearly 90 percent of Americans would rather be citizens of the United States than of any other country. That rating is the highest of the 23 nations studied for 'National Pride: A Cross-National Analysis' the largest and most comprehensive international study ever conducted on national pride. 

'We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic.  Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.' Jimmy Carter, 39th US President (1977-81) Nobel Prize for Peace in 2002

Negative View Of America

Today, America is seen as a multi-cultural society; known as a 'melting-pot'.  The metaphor was used to describe the fusion of different nationalities, ethnicities and cultures.  It was used with the different concepts of the US as the 'new promised land'.

Although America's population is 12.2% African-American, Hispanics are 16.3%and Asian are 4.7%, there is still a predominant feature of xenophobia and racism in America.  After Obama's election in 2008, there was a 244% increase in Patriot groups including Militia and groups against the Federal Government.

Also, Obama has received 400% more threats against his Presidential power than his predecessor George W. Bush.  Furthermore, there has been an increase in anti-immigration groups from 173 in 2008 to 309 in 2009, which equates to an 80% increase. 

Post 9/11 saw a fear further arise in American's as prejudice escalated, causing people to assume a fear  towards anyone who is Muslim or Middle Eastern.  After 9/11, a younger generation brought up in an environment where certain groups of people are to be stereotypically discriminated against because of their ethnic background or colour of their skin.

Moreover, the American Government are clamping down on immigration from Mexico to the United States.  They are wanting to restrict the numbers and prohibit immigration.  Immigration law has been back and forth throughout the 20th century, sometimes welcoming them and other times slamming the door shut on them.  Also, the public reception of these people has been unpredictable; Mexican immigrants have been involved in American communities but frequently have to battle hostile elements in those same communities.

Images that represent American- Positive and Negative

I have chosen this image of the Brady Bunch family because, I believe it shows how some people portray the ‘Typical American Family’ in a postive mannor. The Brady Bunch was a series broadcasted in America in the late 1960’s early 70’s and was very succesful. Through the series you begin to get to know each character, and each character deals with issues and problems in the typical everyday American life. These problems are solved and over come with the idea of working through the issue and working hard and idea from the American Dream- Work hard and you will benefit in the long run. The audience is able to relate to the characters through this. The Brady Bunch family convey, the happy american family image with a christian background, this kind of sterotypical happy American family is also shown in other films and series such as ‘Stepford wives’ a classic example of how the American dream is/was sculpting America. I believe the American Dream is a key factor in this image,each family member is smiling, and portraying and almost perfect family portrate image. This image also is effective in showing how wonderful the American lifestyle can be, enouraging people to live like the Brady Bunch too!

I believe this image is incredibly effective in portraying a negative image of America. The Image shows Black American men behind prison bars, not all the faces are shown, which could suggest there is more than meets the eye, with the amount of Black men in this particular prison. I believe this image says a lot about America and the less glamourized image America often tried to convey. Leads us to think actually how far has the USA really come? Although slavery has been abolished and American now his it’s first ever black president, actually how many black people are affluent as white people in American Prisons?

Barack Obama has come far with his success of being the first Black president in the United States however, with images like this it really makes us question whether the rights for black people living in America has really changed post slavery abolishment?! And are black people misrepresented? Statistics show there are more black people in prison than there are white, what does this say about America? Statistics show that 12%-13% of Americans population is African American and 40.1% of this population are in American Jails and prisons. Statistics also show that the male African American population of the United States aged between 18-24 is 1,896,00 and according to the Bureau Of Justice Statics 106,00 African Americas in this age group were in state prisons .According to  the same data 530,000 of these African-American males were enrolled in colleges and universities in 2005. .  Again what does this really say about America? More young African American men are in prison than there are in University.  
This image also makes me think is Barack Obama an effective representative of Black people in America- with statics and imagery like this? I believe this image is a very  effective negative image representing America.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Images that mean America

Gangs- (image from 

 As a negative image of America, I chose the topic Gangs, When I think of gangs I think of guns, violence, drugs and America. Gangs officially started in America, in prisons but soon did spread to the streets and then globally.This is still a current problem in America. Rival gangs fight for 'turf' and for 'respect' though it seems that many people die to get this, many in there own gang but also a few innocent people have died because the gang has targeted the wrong person or the 'war' had spread. Many gangs are growing, many are forming, it seems that still America still cannot stop the violence that does and could happen.

Technology- Apple etc

I chose Technology as a positive image of America, When I see, for example, the Apple image which is an American company, I think of America and the technology they have, and how they have developed this. Notably the 'apple' symbol is now one of the most recognisable symbol through out the world and there products like the 'iphone' are most wanted pieces of technology to date.  
Apple is just one of many company's that are from America so I believe that the technology that has been developed by the country has had a positive impact on many people for example having devices to aid learning. which is why I believe this is a positive image representing the technology in America.

Images that represent 'America' to me.

The Empire State Building. 

The Empire State Building, is and will continue to be, for many years an iconic symbol that represents the United States of America. Constructed during the years of 1929-31 and opened on May 1st 1931 by President Hoover the Empire State Building has remained an unmistakable feature amongst the Manhattan skyline. It cannot be questioned that the Empire State Building is one of America's main tourist hotspots with over 10,000 people visiting it each day, and its inclusion as one of the '7 Wonders of the World' only demonstrates its significance. The Empire State Building has not avoided the fame in which it arguably deserves, featuring in well known blockbusters such as 'King Kong' and more recently 'Independance Day.' However it also has been witness to disasters; 1945, a plane crashed into the 79th and 80th floors of the building killing 14 people, and 24th February 1997 where a gunman shot dead seven people on the buildings observation deck. Despite these negatives, the Empire State Building is seen by many as a national treasure and one to be proud of; the Empire State Building is a positive symbol of America, and a positive symbol that is recognised world wide.

The Twin Towers


3 words that mean so much to so many, unfortunately it is negative emotions that are felt when these words are heard. America and the Twin Towers were subject to the worst terrorist attack in history, an attack witnessed by billions. Based in the center of New York, the Twin Towers were the hub for all America's financial business, where thousands of people worked and were prominent features of New York; however the attack on September 11th 2001 changed this and meant that from that day onwards the towers would be forever associated with victims of terrorism. Both towers were completed in the years of 1970/71 and therefore stood as the prominent buildings amongst the 'World Trade Center Complex.' The Twin Towers were subject to numerous attacks other than those on 9/11, most famously the 1993 bombings, in which a truck filled with explosives was detonated underneath the North Tower, killing six and causing substantial damage to the Tower itself. However it is the attacks of 2001 that are imbedded into the minds of all of us. The Twin Towers represented financial stability and wealth, however this image has now changed. The Towers now represent terrorism, the day that thousands died, the worst attack the world has ever seen. However, it could also be argued that the Towers mark the day America and its allies challenged terrorism head on, as George Bush said in his speech "Our nation, this generation, will lift the dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail."  9/11 is a date that is known across the world and through generations and date that will never be forgotten.

Adam Mussell

Friday, September 28, 2012

Images that represent 'America' to me

Independence Day Celebrations

To me this particular image portrays everything that could be regarded as 'America' or 'American'. It features one of their most historic and notable landmarks, the Statue of Liberty; and is also displayed with the Independence Day or the Fourth of July celebratory fireworks in the background. 
America to me has always been about power, patriotism and unity. Americans aren't shy of showing off that they're American and that they love their country. Be it flying an American flag outside their residence, celebrating the Fourth of July with their families or giving a typically 'American' "Woop!" whenever the question "Are there any Americans here tonight?' is asked. With the Independence Day celebrations as my main focus, I think that as a culture they pull together and unite more than any other nation in the world. There is something special about the connection Americans have with each other especially when you take into consideration some of the awful things that have happened over the years. 


The topic of guns/firearms and the ability to own one is probably the most controversial thing about America, second only to the issue of poor dieting and weight issues, which was my original negative thought when I think of America. 
My reasoning behind choosing the idea of guns as the most negative thing about America and as my picture shows - guns are so accessible. No matter how much we joke about how 'all Americans are fat' - these people aren't the problem, they aren't the source of crime and deaths. It is acceptable for certain people to have a firearm in the US, which to some will be for protection or for hunting or whatever they could possible 'need' a gun for. However, if you think back a few months or so ago when the new Batman film was released, one man decided he would use his own firearms and open fire on a movie theatre, killing 12 and injuring many others. Similarly in 1999 when two students decided to take a high school in Columbia into their own force and massacre innocent people before turning the gun on themselves. Again, the ability to acquire a firearm has taken the lives of many prolific people including Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy - all of whom stood politically for something, two of them being Presidents. You can't buy an alcoholic drink until you're 21 in America, however you can buy a shotgun or a rifle from a department store or a gun store at the age of 18 - this is why this subject is argued strongly both for and against a vast amount of the time. To me I think that being able to buy firearms causes such a rift, politically and socially across America.What is difficult to challenge is that would America be the same if guns weren't as accessible as they are today? Would making them illegal create more crime such as smuggling weaponry across boarders or creating 'high in demand' black market for firearms? 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Images that mean 'America'

(Image: John Wayne in The Searchers, 1956, Warner Bros.)

One could argue this instantly means 'America' positively, in any shape or form. Notably, John Wayne is classed as an 'American Hero.' Renowned for different Westerns and War films. His impact on film through the 1930s to the 1970s was formidable. His trademarks such as his height, voice and heroism are some of the imperative factors that made him an 'American Hero.'

I chose this image as a negative view of America. As its known to society, the global corporation McDonald's was founded in America and we normally associate McDonald's with American values. A critically acclaimed documentary was made in 2004 by Morgan Spurlock, named Supersize Me, that investigated obesity in America. Importantly, McDonald's was the main corporation under consideration and Morgan Spurlock identified states within America, such as Mississippi, that proved his hypothesis right as being 'the fattest state' in America. Interestingly, as it can be seen from the picture in the top left hand corner, this picture was taken in a McDonalds somehwere in Asia, which implies obesity is widespread. Moreover, it would be equally as accurate to say this picture is American and for us as the viewer, at first glance, it looks like America. Obesity is a fundamentally common problem globally, however, America has a tendency to be the main focus of this subject.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Welcome to the blog for my group in AM1111.

We meet in my office, TAB 214, at 10.00 on Monday morning.

Please make your first post in good time. You can find the blog task in the Handbook, but here it is:

Post any TWO images which instantly mean “America” to you. Choose one positive, the other negative and explain your choice.

To insert an image, just click on the little picture icon above when you select "new post." Any problems get in touch.

See you