<The night of the Las Vegas>
America, the Kingdom of Imagination
These are informal dialogues between Kim and Taylor after watching Iron Man III at AMC. Taylor is a 22-year-old White American girl. Kim is Taylor’s roommate and he is a 24-year-old international student from South Korea. They discuss about unique characteristics of America that absurd imagination filters into the hearts of Americans. Kim explained how he feels about America as a Korean, and by making conversation finally both reach a conclusion with four impetuses for imaginative America.
Taylor: Dude, Tony stark was awesome, huh? Did you enjoy?
Kim: No doubt. It was definitely better than the one before.
Taylor: I love these kinds of movies! Let’s enjoy Star Trek and Man of Steel later together!
Kim: For sure. Summer is coming, and big blockbuster Sci-Fi movie will start to be released. I think American is crazy about fantasy. You know what? Last winter, the people stood in a row more than three blocks for the final Twilight series!
Taylor: I know. The Twilight series were typical Sci-Fi movies which is a figment of imagination, like E.T., Avatar, or Inception. The main characters have unrealistic abilities and the settings are beyond space and time which is made of high CGI technology.
Kim: Yeah. America is such a kingdom of the fantasy. I am always surprised by how imaginative America is.
Taylor: I think this is why we have been surrounded with those things from very young. Kids are fanatical about the imaginary characters of Disney or Pixar. And as we have grown up, we have been stirred by fantasy images of larger scale than cartoons. So, Americans are truly enthusiastic about imaginary genres.
Kim: That is interesting. Contrary to American cartoons which are focused on implanting dreams into the hearts of children, in my home country, most kids’ cartoons cover the real life characters.
Taylor: Maybe that is why I feel bored when I watch European cartoons. I took a European humanities class last semester, and the professor showed us the Asterix series as one of example of French cartoons. I was really surprised at how young children could be interested in those historical stories based on actual events.
Kim: With a typical European’s viewpoint, America might be seen as the country addicted to imaginary image. One French cultural theorist defines America with two words, ‘Astral America’.
Taylor: I think that our short history makes Americans look far ahead into the future, not look back into the past. Comparing to Europe or Asia, we have relatively nothing to reminisce about. However, we have enough capital and technology to expect and fulfill the virtual future world. On that account, we do not excavate ancient ruins, but develop three-dimensional paradises such as Disneyland or Las Vegas with illusionary creativeness and technological integration.
Kim: This might be a good definition: short history, capital strength and high technology as three impetuses of imaginative America. Hey, I want to add one more peculiar characteristics of America, the freedom and openness. An independent way of thought derives limitless creativeness. I will give you a pop quiz. If Thomas Edison were born in Korea, then what would he become? Korean says he would be just a normal mechanic. This joke reflects that Koreans do not tend to accept being different. America’s atmosphere of embracing difference leads rich imagination. A patency to everyone goes without saying. Racial, sexual, and cultural diversity derive the various and liberal mind which is the fundamental base of imaginative thinking.
Taylor: That is right. American always open to difference even it is pretty weird. If one abnormal-looking guy acts weird in the street, people will just laugh and go. Nobody judge, criticize or kick him out. That’s America, and that is American. Whoa, it seems like Iron Man gave us a pretty informative discussion topic this night!
Kim: I think so. Let’s dine out. This is on me!