Expressive Americans


I am a TV series lover. When I was young, I enjoyed watching Chinese TV series, most of which are history dramas. They are mostly about ancient dynasties, or wars between China and Japan in 20th century. As time went by I turned into a teenager. Taiwanese and Korean TV theories were my favorites at that time. Stories were always about how a poor but kind girl fell in love with a wealthy and handsome boy. Over and over again I started to get bored. For British dramas, I didn’t watch much but you can tell their trend easily by their names. Sherlock. Death in Paradise. The Body Farm. Ripper Street. They are always about ghosts, crimes and detectives. But somehow it’s hard to define American’s style of TV series—it’s just difficult to tell. I started with the Friends, a sitcom that made me laugh and surprised of American’s openness about sexual topic. Then I wanted to watch something romantic, so I started with the Vampire Diaries, which turned out to be more bloody than romantic. Then I went to Gossip Girl. OMG. It was another complicated type: complex relationships, secrets and conspiracy, materialism and elites. I also tried Broken Girls, and foundd myself gradually adjusted to some uncomfortable jokes. I enjoyed Big Bang Theory for some time, and laughed at how cute Sheldon is. The most recent one is Pretty Little Liars, an adapted version of Gossip Girl, plus some horrible elements.

It seems that Americans don’t have preferences for specific genres. They are not fond of typical kind of story telling. However, they have a bunch of interesting characters. To view this in a broader way, Americans don’t have shared values. They have too many ethnic and interest groups. But they do enjoy one common thing: to play cool, to become special, to express themselves.

I can even imagine when they are in one conversation.

(Big Bang Theory) Sheldon: “Silence! Penny, get away from my spot. Now, as I added human development ranking 6th in my interest list, just between watching Star Trek and making jokes about Will Wheaton, I’m happy to announce that I’ve just created a marvelous theory about how America, after 238 years of ideology evolution, has come to the point that its people are so fond of expressing themselves fearlessly…”

(Gossip Girl) Blair: “Stop it Sheldon or I swear I would tell Will Wheaton that someone put a dime in your nose when you were in primary school and it’s still there. “

(The Vampire Diaries) Damon: “Well, well, well. Look at who is here. Someone talks louder than me and guess not, I will snap his neck.”

This trend lies not only in TV theories. There are various super heroes in sci-fi and fantasies: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash Man, Green Lantern Man, Cat Woman, Spiderman, X-man, Fantastic Four…… People respect them because they’ve got super powers, and people love them because they are expressive. They are not just capable machines. They face problems, too, because of their human nature. No matter how absurd those characters are, as far as they are not hiding their feelings anymore and speak up, people can feel their real existence.

Free expression in medias certainly influences real life.

American people have a strong will to talk. (Apple even created Siri like a spokesperson!) I saw people on the street talking loudly about Christianity. I found students talking directly to professors in class. Julian Paul Assange’s expressions were so strong and straightforward that even American government can’t handle.

Sometimes, this American way of expression can be hurting. I saw companies directly attacking opponents in ads for the first time here in this country. For example, the Microsoft company created some offensive commercials. In one commercial spreading words about its searching engine, they compared Bing with its competitor, Google, and declared that most people actually preferred Bing to Google. In order to advertising Windows Phone, they attacked Samsung Galaxy series again by comparison. I don’t think this is a polite and healthy way to do advertisements. If they want, this headquarter of IT industry has the capability to come up with fantastic ideas of creative advertising. It’s shocking that they dare to express themselves in this way. American’s expressions are so overwhelming that sometimes they even hurt other country. Put it in another way, they are intervening with other country’s business, for instance, expressions about religious affairs in China. In my picture I showed a controversial religion in China. American medias attack Chinese government by saying that they “persecute” this religion. However, as far as what most Chinese who really live in out homeland know, this religion is banned because it took away a lot of people’s lives in an unnatural and cruel way. I also heard that some Americans even think that China don’t allow Christians to exist. They say that Christians would be put in jail if found out. Come on. In every city of China there are Christian churches and I have a lot of relatives believe in Christianity. Americans criticizes people in a straightforward way, but sometimes the criticism is left to doubt.

Expression is such an important part of American life that sometimes, it dissolves into the way they do their jobs. They put expression of environmental protection into benches on the street. They expressed pursue of efficiency and profits unconsciously in fast food. They declare that “we are energetic” on wall paintings in study room. Everywhere you can see their intentions.

America is so expressive. Nobody can stop them from speaking up, and everybody have rights to expressive his or her own idea. I believe in most of time, most people would be willing to express themselves except for once:

Me: “Siri, what do you think of Samsung?”

Siri: “I really couldn’t say.”

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One Response to Expressive Americans

  1. wuyue2004101 says:

    What I want to exhibit in my manifesto in my opinion of this nation’s characteristic, just like what Gruesz said, “Seeking out the meaning of America might be said to be a national characteristic, if that proposition were not in itself tautological”1(Keywords, Kirsten Silva Gruesz). With that purpose in mind, I came up with a theme: America is so expressive.
    In order to express what I mean, I made a spliced image based on four pictures. On top of those four pictures, I added a safari browser bar cropped from a snapshot of an ipad screen.
    I myself am an apple fan. Apple products are so expressive. They are the combination of high technology and aestheticism. The design of look is really simple, with a single button and pure color. But you can explore the fantasies of the whole world using their touching screen. This is a really amazing contradiction. Like what Apple’s advertisement says, “there’s iphone, then there’s everything. ” So I chose an element of Apple to lead to my “American is so expressive”.
    The picture on the left is about a bench being built on 3rd street in downtown Davis. I took it a month ago and now it has already been finished. It’s not simple bench because it is made of recycled bottles. I don’t think this bench can save the environment or resources much. However, I think it’s more like a street art, expressing the idea of recycling and reusing. When I see it, I feel this bench is talking to me, “Recycle trash and put it into good use. Make it a habit.” I can sense the strong expression.
    The picture of parade was taken on picnic day in 2010. I found this picture online. The people in this parade are from a controversial religion, Falun Dafa. Because Falun Dafa harmed a lot of people in China, both mentally and physically, it was banned by Chinese government. However, American government encouraged this religion to exist and make their move, which makes no sense to the majority of Chinese people. I was really surprised and a little bit scared to see this bunch of people in the parade. This issue of Falun Dafa is often brought up by American media to blame China for religious persecution. This is another example of American expression with invasion of other country’s policy making.
    On the middle bottom I put a basket of fast food including chicken strips, French fries and toasts. It was taken by myself in Dairy Queen. These kinds of food are processed in advance and stored in fast food restaurant, and heated or fried when ordered. They don’t care about how unhealthy they are; they are expressing explicitly that they only need high efficient and they want to make more profits.
    The last one was taken at the end of winter quarter, when there’s no one inside the ARC’s study room. It is an artwork on the wall. I was impressed with its strong colors and comic-style contents. This free expression of energy, youth and wildness can’t be seen in my home university.
    All in all, American presents herself to me as a person so eager to express her ideas in strong colors, unlimited ways, and somewhat offensive and extreme styles. These four pictures don’t have a uniform content, but they show us how America is so expressive.

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