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Themes of American Culture

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 2119 words Published: 12th Oct 2017

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  • John Pollina


Today I will be a guest speaker at an elemtary school in China to discuss some themes of American culture. I will examine a particular American film, television show, and lastly a genre of music that depicts the aspects of American culture. The movie Rocky, the television series The Sopranos, and rap music all represent various ideas of American culture that children of China has benefit from a great deal.

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The film that shows an important theme of American culture is the movie Rocky. Rocky was introduced in 1976 starring Sylvester Stallone. This American classic shows the true underdog story of what the American dream of open mobility is all about. Rocky starts off in the film as a young street thug earning money through illegal work and straying down a bad path. After meeting local boxing coach Mickey Golmill, Rocky begins to train under his guidance and become one of the most successful boxers.

After winning some local fights Rocky works his way up and makes a name for himself. An agent reaches out and offers Rocky a once in a lifetime opportunity to fight against the heavyweight champion of the world named Apollo Creed. The idea behind this fight was to give an average Joe fighter a shot at the American dream by getting the opportunity to fight the best combatant. Moreover, the second half of this film focuses on Rocky training and working for the biggest opportunity of his life. What follows is a brilliant montage of Rocky training through the tough streets of Philadelphia and ends with Rocky on a run by the middle being followed by a few to an entire crowd at his back finishing up the museum steps raising his fists in victory.

The film continues by building up to the anticipated fight for the heavyweight title of the world between the amateur Rocky Balboa and defending champion Apollo Creed. What was looked at to be a quick fight that would most likely end with Rocky being knocked out in the first round, turned out to be a shot for shot war of sorts in the ring. Rocky loses by decision in the first film but by the second gets a rematch and claims the belt.

Overall, the film Rocky is all about American values and achieving the American dream. Rocky went from rags to riches showing that people in different social classes can move up in the world. Anyone who has the motivation to succeed, the determination and hard work to make it will indeed make it. Rocky first fought in the slums of Philidephia and worked hard to becomet he heavyweight champion. He truly represents the average American in this country that has built a name for itself as the land of opportunity. America is the place where big dreams and hard work could lead to countless oppurtunities to be successful. Apollo Creed in this film represents the golden road to success that every American opportunist strives for. With that road comes great struggle for what you wish to achieve, which is why this film is such a beautiful portrayal of what it means to dream big and accomplish that dream.

Secondly, a great American television show that shows a strong portyal of American culture is the series called The Sopranos. This series features actor James Gandolfini who plays lead role and crime boss of North Jersey, Tony Soprano. Tony lives a very complex life juggling the difficult tasks of being boss of a mafia crime family life at home with his wife and children . he also faces a number of internal issues such as anxiety and panic attacks. One of the many ways The Sopranos portrays American culture and its ideals is through the form of greed. Greed is a constant theme on the show as well as in the history through current events of American culture. Although there is many ways to be successful in this country like earning an honest living, that is not always the case in our culture. The other way of being successful is through illegal revenue. This path pursues money through stealing and taking what you want through any means. Although an honest days living is clearly always the way to go, The Sopranos shows that our culture also appreciates a great storyline through crime that most certainly always ends up with drama.

Another American culture aspect that we see during The Sopranos is money,sex, guns and violence. This culture sees these acts as a part of being successful accomplishing those aspects and being the dominant alpha of sorts. In The Sopranos we see consant competition to achieve that alpha status and to get that power every individual or even crime family combined will do whatever it takes to achieve that. Just like in American culture reguardless of it being the crime business or even the corporate business the fight to be number on never ceases to exist. You are what you make yourself in this culture that we call the land of oppurtinity.

Overall, the most important theme of American culture in this televisous series is the idea of what the American dream happiness really means. Everyone believes that is is the American dream to have a big house, have nice cars, have children an help children achieve their goals will lead to a happy life. We see at the end of the seven year series that this is not what constitutes as being happy. The Sopranos had wealth, a successful business, and educated children however, they are shown not to be so happy evenr with all of this success. Disappointment is attached to such unattainable perfect standards. The characters seek so much happiness through material objects shaped by society. Through all the money and material wealth, these characters were never truly happy people. The perfect life doesn’t men you have to be rich or famous. Money makes things easier but it does not make you live a fulfilled life especially when you go through criminal means to obtain your goals.

In addition, a genre of music that represents a theme of American culture is rap. Rap music has been apart of American tradition for some time featuring artists that come from a vast array of different cultures and backgrounds. Even though rap music ranges in many different tones and styles, tells us a story on the life of the artist rapping. The song and the background music is a way of self-expression for ones feelings.Rap songs in this culture are songs that people relate to for whatever situation or life path they are going through. Some songs might be about love others could be sex and the traditional style of guns and violence. The freedom of expression that we have in this country is very clear in the music that has been produced in the past and songs that will continue to be released in the future.

In the American culture we do not see much of a filter of the rap songs that we listen to as opposed to other countries were it is not accepted to produce or even listen to profanity. A rapper that is well known in American culture is Marshal Mathers more known by his stage name as Eminem. Growing up through the tough streets of Detriot, Eminem faced the harsh realities that many underprivileged American children do. He dropped out of school at an early age and began working for minimum wage to support his family. The thing about American culture that Eminem clearly understood is that no matter what position you are in success can be right around the corner if you work torwards it. This culture sets the bar on how successful you are by the car you drive the amount of money you have and the home you live in. This is why most rap songs are about the underpriveliged life the rapper has gone through. They wear this on their sleeves showing that they made it out of that life to something better.

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When listening to Eminems music you get the sense of what kind of person he is. America can be a very tough place and people in this culture who become truly successful are never ones to look for a handout and hardly ever get one. Emeniem understood that as he was making his way up he when he was promised record deals, studio time, and oppurtunities to present his music to recording artists. Many people tried to cheat him and steal his hard work. However, after so much disappointment and failure trying to make his dreams become a reality, he knew that being a success was something he had to do on his own if he ever wanted to make it out of the poverty stricken town of Detriot he grew up in.

Fast forwarding a few years and in 2030 a movie was written from a foreign prospective based on the movie Rocky. In Asian culture honor is a very important factor amongst the community. Therefore, the character who portrays Rocky treats others, especially elders, with more respect. This is different from the American viersion of Rocky since the American boxer has a more defiant attitude towards people especially torwards his future trainer Mickey who was much older in age. Another difference is the fighting style that the boxers take on. The American boxer has a different style compared to Asian fighting. Chinese fighting preparations are much different than in the U.S culture including training routines and the fighters diet that needs to be maintained. In the American Rocky a classic scene in all the movies is Rocky cracking raw eggs in a glass and drinking it for protein. However, in the Asian version we might see the Asian boxer eating a fish of some sort for protein since that isa more traditional dish amongst that culture.

Moreover, the sceneary of the film will be much different. In the American Rocky, he is training through the streets of Philidalphia passing historical American monuments that we in this culture would recognize. However, in the Chinese version we would see the fighter possibly training through the streets of China and finishing his training run up the great wall of China which would more appropriate in this version being that its something the Chinese viewers would know and understand.

The music soundtrack from the Chinese version would be much different then the original soundtrack from the American Rocky. Chinese music is much different in terms of the tones and instruments played. The lyrics that we hear in the songs and the lyrics that are sang from the artists. Chinese music is also very highly censored so the music would most likely be in a very proper manner. Chinese culture and regulations from the government only allow things to be produced that bring positive reinforcement to the greater good of China so you might find some of the plot changed up and the messages given to viewers would differ as well. Lastly, the end scene will be different when we see Rocky raise his fists in victory at the end of the fight the Chinese Rocky might bow because that is a sign of honor in China.

All in all, American culture has many beautiful tings to offer in terms of the films, television series and music. This country has shown time and time again we produce things that inspire the world. Although when reproduced in other countries there are some very different variations that we see. Every place in the world has their own ideals and messages that is viewed and perceived as a norm, but America has and will continue to produce things that inspire.

There are many reasons as to why these specific medias are important and should be shared with the Chinese culture. China has so many censorships on all types of media. They refuse to display anything to their people that contain obscene and vulgar substances, murder, violence and even bloodiness for some examples. The Sorpanos and rap music by Eminem contain most of these contents that are prohibited by the Chinese government. However, they should be more open-minded about the messages that are being sent through such content. This is because even with violence and bloog and vulgar language, there is a lesson that is trying to be portayed and those messages are very important. The Sopranos continually showed that money does not make happiness and the theme of the movie Rocky and Eminimen’s music shows that those at the very bottom can make it in life with hard work and perserverence. Chinese culture respects hard work and education but they don’t see that what they deem negative content can show the same ideals but in a different way.




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