Different from the book “Andy Warhol Images” which focuses on the view of other people, Andy shows his own perspective towards America.
In this book “America”, Andy convey his idea by dividing parts and showing images. At the first part, he compares America in two different period. When the TV had not come out, life was kind of like in the dream because the only thing people could do to know more about America was to imagine; However, it was dramatically changed after the invention of TV, especially when the movie appears. Andy praises this change because people will no longer be wondering about America. “When they show you how to kiss like James Dean or hook like Jane Fanda or win like Rocky, that’s great.”(America, Andy Warhol, P11)
Then he also critiques the modern America about the lack of attention to great ideas. (America, Andy Warhol, P12)That means he thinks America is not as creative as before. Since TV has come out, people are engaging in observing but not imagining. That is the reason why there are a plenty of cases he is complaining about. For example, the idea of three shifts of eight work hours, the unfair trade of weapons and food, and the suggestion of building a huge modern bathhouses for homeless people.(America, Andy Warhol, P12-16) By the way, in another class of mine, my professor told me that I could not use the America to represent the U.S. because it would be an insult to people such as Canadians. Therefore, it does surprise me that Andy has the courage to declare the U.S is America.
As for the pictures, I haven’t got the whole meaning of the images that show in the preview part. All I can find are the people in different shapes and the heart patterns on T-shirts or plates. Andy may be a patriotic guy and that clearly fits his words. Andy loves America, “America is really the beautiful.”(America, Andy Warhol, P2)
In the second part, Andy shows whole pages of window shopping just as the title indicates. He tries to emphasize that everyone is equal when consuming products, and there are various chances for that. Just as he says, “department stores are kind of like museums.”(America, Andy Warhol, P22) He shows the consumption culture and certificates that America is a commercial empire.
In the third part which is about people. Andy gives us images of Mona Lisa, The Victory Tour, and his daily life. He would like to attract attentions on the phenomenon of half-person. Americans are so busy that they can just care about things happening right now.(America, Andy Warhol, P27) As a result, ordinary people see the celebrities as they are born to be. However, Andy holds a different view. He defines the person who is presented on the media as a half-person. What people know about the celebrities is the half-person showing on the media, but what behind the media makes the celebrities famous or fade. The images are closely attached to the idea that Andy is presenting. For example, we just know Mona Lisa as a famous painting but actually we do not know who she is. We see the Victory Tour as a great success but we do not know the Jacksons family got tight after that.
In conclusion, I don’t think the manifesto of Andy is ironic. Andy loves America and his perspective is objective. All he wants to show us is a clearly modern America with its own characteristics.
1. According to the reading, Andy believes consumption can make us equal, do you think it is true? I just think Andy is kind of money worship.
2. Andy shows that Americans are “now” people. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of being a “now” person?