Objects indicative of American culture.

npgraphicdesign's picture

Not necessarily in the historical context...more like objects we use daily that are indicative of our culture, lifestyle, etc.

Fast food (McD, wendys, burger king, pizza, etc)
iPod (not necessarily indicative of just US culture, but more generational)
Harley Davidson
Sneakers
Baseball hats
Jeans
Soda

What else? Would love input from someone who is American, as well as any outside perspective on American culture from the international Typophile contingent.

Nick Shinn's picture

Enough already with the American culture thang.

Dan Gayle's picture

I know that my friend from Ecuador says that Coca Cola represents American values in Ecuador. To him, it's the same as our perception of Walmart.

My friend from Myanmar says, "I like Coke. No like Pepsi." Of course, if I give him a cup of Pepsi and tell him it's Coke, he loves it :) That's what I call branding.

cuttlefish's picture

Pickup trucks
used non-commercially as personal transport

Willful anti-intellectualism

Automobile-oriented suburbs (and the related ineffective public transit)

Taco Bell

aluminum's picture

Guns

nina's picture

Being European, but having spent a good year in the US*, I spontaneously think of [this is a very unordered list]:

Cream Soda, Root Beer, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (yum), oversized servings of ice cream – actually oversized everything (like cars and trucks, or people).

Total consumerism.
The constant promise (and expectation) of instant gratification.
Loads of avoidable trash, like heaps of plastic bags at the supermarket.

Simple interfaces, like washing machines that have "hot", "warm", and "cold";
over here you might just need that 50-page manual to operate a washing machine.

A (perceived) strange contrast between a general self-image of total individual independence and a somewhat lemming-like social behavior (like everywhere else, but at least seeming exaggerated).

* My impressions are from uh, 7–8 years ago, and I bet some things have changed.
I haven't been back since, sadly.

Nick Shinn's picture

I told ya.
It's just asking for the beats.

nina's picture

Oh, he was asking about objects of everyday use. My bad. :-)
Well I guess the washing machine and food still counts. And cars and plastic bags.

Nick Shinn's picture

Dental floss.
Well, you should use it every day!

russellm's picture

skiis on the roofs of cars crossing into Canada in July.

-=®=-

Si_Daniels's picture

Growing up in England (around 5 seconds* from Greenham Common Airbase) it was the BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile.

Cheers, Si

*based on typical Soviet-nuke-blast-radius.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

hot dogs
football helmet
apple pie
vinyl records
superhero comic books

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

I forgot to add a basketball to my list. Also, believe it or not, a roll of toilet paper.

It's too bad there are no objects to represent jazz, or the blues...

paragraph's picture

Banjo? Blues harp? Four each: C E7 A A7 D7 G7 C? A hankie over the cornet keys?

blank's picture

• Deplorable beer
• Sports so boring that one can only watch them after drinking deplorable beer.
• People going to horrible restaurants to eat atrocious food and drink deplorable beer while watching terribly boring sports.

paragraph's picture

Oh, James, not in a good mood, I see.
My Czech forefathers had such good tucker and such fantastic beer that they never bothered to sort out their politics. So, the Austrians, then the Germans and then the Soviets had to do it for them. Baaad idea!

Nick Shinn's picture

... basketball ...

Invented in the US by a Canadian; in terms of national importance, probably biggest in Lithuania.
But not really an everyday object?

blank's picture

@paragraph: That explains a lot.

But not really an everyday object?

Depends on age. When I was twelve a basketball was an everyday object.

merkri's picture

Deplorable beer

I'm not sure where you're getting this from. The beer around where I'm at is wonderful.

In fact, a bunch of my foreign friends are always commenting on the beer.

Everyday objects? I have no idea.

bowerbird's picture

things i "object" to about america:

1. lite beer.
2. reagan elected president. twice. landslide both times.
3. biggest selling newspaper = the national enquirer.
4. bush junior elected president. twice. stole it both times.

that's probably all you need to know.

-bowerbird

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Guns.

. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO

cerulean's picture

White socks are apparently uniquely American, or at least North American. It's something we don't think too much about, but anyone else in the world can spot us a mile away by it.

bowerbird's picture

cerulean said:
> White socks are apparently uniquely American,
> or at least North American. It’s something
> we don’t think too much about, but anyone else
> in the world can spot us a mile away by it.

it's true.

especially when plaid shorts show off
those white socks to such good effect!

-bowerbird

cuttlefish's picture

Mens' underpants with a slot in the front?

dezcom's picture

Where I live in Northern Virginia, very few people look American born so it is hard to say. Nobody here who works at McDonalds or drives a cab speaks English. There is as much El Salvadoran and Vietnamese stuff around here as American and we don't even have a Walmart--thank god!

ChrisL

eliason's picture

Mens’ underpants with a slot in the front?

Where do foreigners put the slot?!

Typedog's picture

1. White supremacy counter culture (F-U)
2. Gangs of every shade
3. Huge appetite for drugs
4. Senseless murder
5. Being able to sue for everything
6. Bad freeway system (LA)
7. Crooked politicians
8. Hip-Hop
9. fake plastic women and men
10. The rich rule America
11. Hate
12. That about it!

Guerrizmo+Design
No man is an island unto himself_John Donne

Nachos's picture

Deodorant.

I guess it isn't a very revolutionary item though. It does not seem to be catching on with many foreign citizens I've encountered.

jlt's picture

america: ****, television, six-pack of beer, car, tv dinner

jlt's picture

for some reason, d-i-l-d-o is filtered out here, since apparently we are all children (and since apparently children can be easily injured by words).

Typedog's picture

Tons and tons of overweight people.

Guerrizmo+Design
No man is an island unto himself_John Donne

Nachos's picture

@ Typedog

I really want to just rail on your post, but I have a white supremacy counter culture meeting to get to.

Jan's picture

... or was it that stinky foreigners counter culture meeting?

nina's picture

Exactly! Stinky slotless-underwear-wearing foreigners.

dezcom's picture

"Stinky slotless-underwear-wearing foreigners."

LOL!!! Priceless :-)

Now if we could only come up with slotless parking meters :-)

ChrisL

Typedog's picture

Well, I live in California and we have tons of white trash skinheads gangs,
brown trash Mexican gangs, and Black trash gangs as well. My mother is
a foreigner who became a citizen. Nachos, I would think twice before you
make generalization.

¡Arriba! Norteamérica, México, y Colombia!

Guerrizmo+Design
No man is an island unto himself_John Donne

dezcom's picture

I grew up in the inner city of Pittsburgh in the late 40s and beyond. The city was always full of immigrants, including my family. I guess what has always struck me as American is the mishmash of everything. There are not thousands of years of heritage like Europe so there is this eclectic chaos with no order to it. Today, immigrants are from different places than when I was young. Instead of Poland and Italy, they come from East Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia and Latin America. I wouldn't call it a melting pot but a mixing bowl. This can cause both friction and embracing each-other's culture. It is what you make of it. If you want to think only evil and accept the media's exaggeration, go ahead. The truth is, we are no better or no worse than anywhere else.

ChrisL

Typedog's picture

@dezcom

Nicely put comrade.

Guerrizmo+Design
No man is an island unto himself_John Donne

bowerbird's picture

dezcom said:
> The truth is, we are no better or no worse than anywhere else.

we might not be any worse. (although i'm not sure of that;
i can certainly see the argument that we epitomize evil...)

the problem is that we sincerely believe we are far superior.

and we are smug and arrogant about that superiority, too...

-bowerbird

dezcom's picture

"we are smug and arrogant about that superiority, too..."

only some of us are but they are perhaps quite vocal about it.

ChrisL

guifa's picture

Speaking as an American who has lived in Europe for two years, all I can say is that anyone who thinks America has a white supremicist problem needs to go to Europe (where there are also slavik supremicist problems in Russia). In any case, I can't think really think of any objects that fit the whole of America. Well, maybe freedom of speech something that places like Spain are dearly lacking, but for me and the South

1. Green (so many trees)
2. Food (fried chicken, shrimp and grits, pecan pie, Georgia peaches, Florida oranges, grapefruit in the morning, Alabama peanuts, etc)
3. Friendly people
4. Spacious houses
5. Football
6. Tailgating

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

dezcom's picture

Guifa touches on an important point. The kind of freedom of speech we have in America is such that many things are said outloud or in print that are downright repulsive to most of us but protected by our constitution. I for one would like to see Rush Limbaugh get his mouth permanently taped shut (and he mine perhaps) but I know we have to alow everyone an open mike. This means that people in Europe and the rest of the world hear the worst of our reprehensible blithering the loudest and might assume this is what all Americans think. And yes, we are a friendly people in spite of it all.

ChrisL

bowerbird's picture

dezcom said:
> only some of us are but they are perhaps quite vocal about it.

perhaps.

but outside of dictatorships, very few countries practice the kind of
"we're the greatest country in the world" propaganda america does...

(that "well, we _are_!" that some are thinking right now, is part of it.)

on the flip side, almost all the people i've known from other countries
do indeed confirm americans overall tend to be very friendly people.
in fact, "friendly" is far and away the most common observation of all

apologies to the original poster, though, who was looking for "objects".

-bowerbird

Maxim Zhukov's picture
  • Ice-cold drinks. Everything ‘on the rocks’. Even vodka;
  • Automatic transmission;
  • Disdain for diacritics—to the point when using them looks pretentious (e.g., résumé).
Si_Daniels's picture

Yes, Jesse isn't the only Seattle resident with such views of us foreigners - however I have to say most of them moved here from somewhere else. Fortunately foreigners make up a sizable majority, have all the good jobs, nicest houses, have stolen the local women, and drink the good beer. This makes dealing with folks who don't like us more than bearable. ;-)

dezcom's picture

"Disdain for diacritics—to the point when using them looks pretentious (e.g., résumé)."

Hi Maxim!

You forgot about all of those heavy metal rock bands that stick umlauts over everything just for show :-)

Regards to you, my friend. I hope all is well with you and your wife,

ChrisL

Paul Cutler's picture

typophile

paragraph's picture

Did anyone mention t-shirts, especially in connection with blue jeans and tennis shoes?

cuttlefish's picture

Oh, and baseball caps too!
(they're a T-shirt for your head)

edit: that did get a mention in the first post but it bears repeating

Dan Gayle's picture

@Sii
What percent of Seattle is "original"? From my experience, very few. The rest is made up of 25% Californians looking to get away from the city, 25% Minnesotans looking to get away from the country, and 45% foreign matter.

If only we could get rid of the Californians :)

RE:The original question
Apple, Microsoft, Intel and the rest of the world's computer vocabulary.

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