Whether you recognize it or not, American culture is largely a media based culture. Sure, sure, pledge allegiance, support the troops, fly the flag and all. But aside from our military culture of various traditions that go back to bygone eras, our culture is by and large pretty much just a byproduct of media penetration over the collective consciousness of society. Movies, television, and music are what make up American culture. I don’t care how many wars we’ve fought in because that’s not who we are. But who we are is reflected in how we’ve been directed by artists, writers, actors, directors, musicians, producers, and the entrepreneurs that surrounded them along the way who were merely trying to help us make sense of who and what we are in a complex environment such as life itself often tends to be. We are sold our culture as dictated by people who’s very purpose in life is to deceive you into buying products for sale on the market. Don’t think so??
One of my first childhood disappointments was on a hot day when I was thirsty and shouting “hey Kool-Aid” had absolutely no effect. The walls remained intact.
But all jokes aside, I was there, dammit!
I was there when Morgan Freeman was the cool black guy with the happy-face patch on the Electric Company and Rita Moreno would kick off every episode by shouting “hey you guys.” Little did I know that one day he’d have to drive a bigoted ass old lady around to attain Godhood while Rita was saving souls in a maximum security prison.
I was there when George and Weezy moved to the Upper East Side of Manhattan into a deluxe skyscraper apartment because of his successful entrepreneurship in the dry cleaning business, much to the chagrin of his bigoted neighbor, Archie.
I was there when James Evans died after years of hanging in and jiving, scraping and surviving just to keep his head above water through all the temporary lay offs and easy credit rip-offs by making a way when he could, and still his wife, Florida, kept it together and kept Michael out of gangs.
And dammit if I wasn’t there when Han Solo got his ass handed to him by some big bald Nazi just before the Kraut got splattered by a airplane propeller right around the time that the dude from the Dr Pepper commercials got shot by London PD after some confusion between him and a rabid dog.
Truth be told, Seth McFarlane wouldn’t even have a career if not for these truthisms because he too, like I, was there when some dickbag South Bay Bro got into a pissing match with The Fonz which ended with the Fonz getting on the water skis and jumping over a caged great white shark. South Bay Bro totally punked out last minute too, and Seth even knows that contrary to popular opinion, Fonzie’s shark jump didn’t signal the decline of Happy Days because that shit went on another 6 or 7 seasons. We know this because that’s American culture, our television, movies, and music.
Only in America can they drag our 3 year involvement in the Korean Conflict out for 11 years, and make it so funny that it would be syndicated 7 days and/or nights a week since the late 1970s up to this very day. But we all know that show was the funnier up until Rada let everybody know that Liutentant Colonel Henry Blake died in a helicopter crash, and anyone who’s anyone knows that Trapper John McIntyre M*A*S*H beats the shit out of BJ Honeycutt M*A*S*H, and that’s Gospel.
When I was just a kid, Michael Corleone had become Capo di Tutti among the five families of NYC and Damien Thorn had already killed off his adopted parents, surviving family and took over all of their wealth and businesses by the time he finished military school. So believe me when I tell you that shit has been going down since I was just a little squirt. I even witnessed Travis Bickle save a 12 year old girl from a life a prostitution and drugs, forever burning an iconic Mohawk sporting Robert DeNiro into my soul forever.
Television, movies, and music influences and shapes our culture in so many ways that help the people understand their own societies and selves. In fact, it’s always been a joke of mine: if you ever want to know what the Anglo American Establishment is really up to, just watch television. They’ll tell you. Hey, I was there when Sonny Crockett pretty much got it straight from the horse’s mouth that the countries that make the drugs Americans consume have debts to pay and they will be paid one way or another, regardless of the efforts of law enforcement.
Not only that, but people from other cultures learn about American culture from American music, American films, and American television shows. In fact, my wife came to the United States from Japan roughly twenty years ago. We’ve been together for fourteen of them, but before we met she had absorbed American culture and was better able to fully grasp American English by simply watching VH1 Presents the 70s and VH1 Presents the 80s. Because of this, Mrs S immediately got more than 90% of the jokes on Seth MacFarlane’s hit show, Family Guy, which for a foreigner isn’t exactly the easiest feat in the world.
Which brings me to what made me write this piece in the first place. We love our celebrities, musicians, artists, and influencers and everyone has their favorites. My wife and I were Netflixing and chilling when we got into a funny discussion about Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves. We’ve all known them for quite a long time and you almost can’t escape from finding a “5 things you never knew about so-n-so” video on YouTube or on your Facebook News Feed. Also being that the fairly recent legalization of recreational marijuana in California has everyone talking, we got to asking ourselves silly questions like this one: