Latest
Guide To
American Culture
Mark Humphries & Evan Williams

America has more Nobel Prize laureates than Britain, more Baldwin brothers than China and slightly fewer shootings than Somalia.

It’s a melting pot. Inside the pot you’ll find the Empire State Building, Moby Dick, orange cheese, the Lingerie Football League and that Beach Boy linked to the Manson murders. Also, outside the pot someone is holding up a ‘God Hates Fags’ poster. It’s not hard to see why American culture has often been successfully employed as a form of “soft diplomacy” around the world.

Music

America has produced many of the world’s greatest musicians like Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin and Paris Hilton.

During his first TV performance Elvis was shot from the waist up to hide the fact that he had no legs

Rock and Roll

Anti-establishment music characterised by loud guitars and fast dance rhythms, Rock and Roll was invented by Elvis in 1953 after he had the innovative idea of playing blues music while not being black. Known for its controversial and shocking lyrics covering topics such as dating Peggy Sue and holding a clambake, Rock and Roll was heavily boycotted in the 1950s by Christian groups who felt that having long hair rebelled against the teachings of Jesus.

Despite popular belief, being good at Rock and Roll does not necessarily correlate with sex and drugs (See: The Dave Matthews Band).

Tony Bennett become America’s favourite crooner by waiting for all the others to die

Blues

Blues music originated in the cotton fields of America’s deep south, used as a form of entertainment during manual labour before the invention of the podcast. Blues music eventually made its way out of the fields and onto the stage, developing signature blues chord progressions and scales. With this musical backing, black performers like B.B. King and Howlin’ Wolf would express their sorrow about the oppression of their people, while white performers like Bill Haley would express their anxiety about rocking around a clock.

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong was one of the most influential figures in jazz music

Jazz

Jazz was invented by Ryan Gosling in late 2016, or by African-Americans in early 20th century New Orleans. No one knows for sure. A favorite music choice for people who own multiple turtleneck sweaters, Jazz is often performed at funeral processions in New Orleans, as a way of making those present envy the dead.

It’s often said that great Jazz is about the notes you don’t play. The best Jazz, for example, involves playing no notes at all.

Woody Allen plays clarinet

Every Monday night, film director Woody Allen plays the clarinet in a New York jazz bar. Free entry for minors.

Hip Hop

There are five distinct elements to hip hop: rapping, DJing, break dancing, grafiti writing and getting shot. While groups like Public Enemy use their songs to spread awareness of racial inequality, rappers like Drake and Future spread awareness of needing some really big rings.

This actually happened.

Broadway Musicals

Broadway is a place for out- of-work film actors to “go back to their first love”. Broadway is best known for bringing the world closer to nuclear war than it has been at any time since the Cuban missile crisis, after the musical Hamilton got into a twitter fight with President Donald Trump.

Hollywood

Weed is extremely popular in Hollywood, due to it’s ability to make Seth Rogan seem funny

All movies that don’t have sub-titles are made in Hollywood. This small region in lower Los Angeles produces over 500 films each year, with only half of them starring Nicholas Cage.

Hollywood is considered one of the most ethnically diverse regions in the whole of California, home to large Hispanic and Latino populations. This diversity is reflected in the wide variety of film roles open to actors from these backgrounds, such as drug dealers, drug runners and drug kingpins. The industry is also open to a wide range of other ethnicities portrayed by white actors, from Emma Stone’s highly convincing performance as an Asian-Hawaiian woman, to Dick Van Dike’s timeless portray of a cockney chimneysweep with a Uzbekistani accent.

Walk of Fame

There is no greater honour in American life than getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. These coveted plaques lining the Hollywood Boulevard are only awarded to individuals of the highest artistic and moral credibility, such as Donald Trump, Bill Cosby and Shrek.

Television

America’s favorite reality TV show and executive branch of government

In 1844, Karl Marx presciently described television as the opiate of the masses, nearly a century before it was even invented. Following the election of Donald Trump, the saying has been somewhat revised, with television now considered the crystal meth of the masses, specifically the kind cut with bathsalts that will make you eat your own face.

According to Nielsen, 96.7 per cent of American households own a television. This means that while over 28 million Americans may not have enough health insurance to cover a trip to the hospital, at least they can still afford to see Dr. Phil.

With the rise of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, and cable offerings such as AMC and HBO, America television drama is currently in the midst of a renaissance of high-budget TV dramas that has been dubbed the “Golden Age of Watching Softcore Porn With Your Family”.

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