The peculiarity of American culture

In the early days … stories of the American people began to show its specific features and traditions, the contours of the future of public institutions. American civilization begins in XVII century, when the project was carried out Western expansion. It should be borne in mind the important fact that in North America, this project came from the concept of a rigid ascetic puritan ethic. Not by chance, the researchers among all sources of influence on the formation of American culture especially allocate Puritanism, nine-tenths of which has British roots.

It is clear that American culture has evolved over a long time due to the migration of representatives of many nations. But the foundation of American culture was built during the colonial period and it has not changed fundamentally since then, despite the subsequent "multilingual invasion" of immigrants. This confirms the serious study of the modern scientist E. Urbanski "Ispanoamerika and its civilization. Anglo-Americans and Hispanics, "which are comparative characteristics of Latin American and Anglo-American civilizations (See Urbanski ES Hispanoameryka i jej cywilizacje. W., 1981). If the foundation of civilization ispanoamerikanskoy caused by mixing of Spanish and Indian blood, and the adoption of the Indian language and religion of the conquistadors, the denial of the English feudal ideology and its hierarchical system and the perception of the British moral and legal system, together with the growing awareness of the common destiny of the colonists became the foundation of Anglo-American civilization.

Ispanoamerikanskaya and Anglo-American civilizations used the cultural heritage of Europe, but its reception was different, due to the special features of metropolises. The Spaniards brought with them a great heritage of humanistic knowledge, art and architecture, which greatly enriched the Spanish colonial culture. Colonists from Britain and other Anglo-Saxon countries characterized by a lack of deep traditional culture, they did not bring any lawyers or scientists. Nascent Anglo-American civilization (and ispanoamerikanskaya) used the framework of Western European civilization, which has had a profound influence Renaissance. However, the cultural heritage of Britain by virtue of the nature of the Puritan colonists had taken the full. E. Urban characterizes this significant moment in the development of Anglo-American civilization: "Intellectual flexibility and speculative spirit of the islanders led to the flourishing of the Renaissance in England. English Renaissance spirit manifested itself in various works of literature, in which the philosophical and moral values were mixing with theological concepts and scientific reflections. However, the revival could not come to fruition in the American colonies because of the theological mentality of the Puritans, who loved the simple life. Evidence of this are some examples of British colonial architecture in New England and Virginia, which evolved more functional use, rather than artistic beauty. Humanistic literature also was not well accepted, because the Calvinists and Lutherans, who had an impact on education in the colonies, rejected these ideas. With the exception of some writers and architectural sites, as well as a small number of schools and theological colleges, which were later converted into universities, the colonial culture in America was modest. However, she expressed the moral and social values, its roots stretching back to the Renaissance ideology. English colonists left to future generations the values of North Americans who later created the modern civilization. All are actively involved in the creation of this civilization through work and general education. In contrast to the Anglo-American exceptionalism ispanoamerikanskoy not numerous civilization began in the cultural sense movement of the masses. In the end, how ispanoamerikanskaya civilization formed religion and art, so the Anglo-American labor and established a school »(Urbanski E. Op. Cit. S. 49-50).

Colonization of the Americas occurred during the ideological and religious battles between the Catholic and Protestant dogmatic rationalism, then raging in Europe. The result was a fundamental difference in the spiritual foundations acting in both parts of the New World since colonial times. Rationalism is often brought more British success in the material, rather than in intellectual areas. Puritan religious conception, is inextricably linked to social, economic and theological ideas, which also had a profound effect on colonial Protestantism, too, has left a strong imprint on the Anglo-Saxon mentality. Rationalism is often advocated as the main inspiration of British colonization, and it is not surprising that the Anglo-American civilization and culture is imbued with pragmatism and utilitarianism. It is necessary to reckon with the fact that the development of a vast area of North America during the extermination of Native American tribes, fighting for a place under the sun made to American culture aggressiveness and violence.

All of the above characteristics of American culture, "incorporated" in the course of its genesis — the emptiness, primitive, rationalism, pragmatism, utilitarianism, aggression, violence, and now it is inherent. The wave of violence in American culture a lot written in the press, and said in the media. Now the "sverhnasilie", which has long been a characteristic of popular culture came to the fore in today's movies and books. America is inherent addiction to fictional violence like the addict that requires more and more of the drug to cause the same effect. "It creates a fictional world, not necessarily positive, but also negative, the main thing — that it was bright, full of temptations and adventure, with strong passions of any sort, with spectacular horrors of superhuman beings and situations" (Zinoviev A.Ukaz.soch.S .322). Thus satisfies the needs of the "little" people whose lives are becoming grayer and duller in vivid impressions, including those in the artistic version of horrors.

Yet the mind of people is really destroyed by the impact of brutal violence, which is now imbued with movies, television and radio programs, films, theater performances. Today, violence is depicted with anatomical precision, particularly sexuality and elaborate design. If the old black-and-white thriller murder happened, all that he saw the audience — it's a cloud of smoke and a puddle of blood. Now the situation is different — many young directors have passed school commercials and now modern Cine allows the viewer to clearly hear the sound of broken human bones and the resulting blood tortured victim. Scientific research has established that "the excitement of deep layers of the cortex — subcortical — causes a predisposition to violence and insensitivity" (Hope M. space communications. Kiev. 1998. P.15). Modern color films and films made for television affects not only his own consciousness, but also in the sphere of the unconscious man. Modern pop culture is full of atrocities, pornography and eroticism that violate the human psyche, and provides individuals "Twilight" consciousness, which inevitably leads to shizofrenizatsii society. American popular culture and is fueled by propaganda, and life itself, and the fear of death. First of all, at the beginning of the last two and a half decades in the United States began to develop a secret project "Jedi" — the creation of a soldier Superman, which is endowed with psychic powers and is able to participate in the future of psychotronic warfare, and therefore the industry of mass culture through fiction and films with their mystical thriller began to have a corresponding effect on the highly mythologized consciousness of Americans. "The public is already so soaked with thin Srednevvekovya spirit that even the appearance of a flying witch on a broomstick would not surprise farmer" (Gevorgyan E., N. Yutani The poor in spirit are not looking at the stars / / If. 1998. № 10. P.16). Furthermore, the very life of American society, where many are immersed in a void of mass culture and do not have broad-minded, support the phenomenon of escapism (escapism), and the desire to search for the layman of life after death. In an interview with a famous Soviet writer V.Simonovym famous American writer S.King on the question of interest to the horrible, supernatural says: "In many ways, this is escapism. Spirits, vampires, and "second sight" — all this, of course, scary, but the charm of this fear is this: forget that at the end of the month must pay the electric bill. See what I mean? This is an outlet for horror everyday life. In addition, declares himself craving to touch what lies beyond the boundary of the five senses. Inherent inhabitant search for life after death … In fact, popular culture in her otherworldly version — it's a kind of civil, secular religion "(Simon B. What you breathe, America? M., 1987. P.287, 288). It should be borne in mind is the fact that in this context we are talking about mass, "low" of American culture, which is designed for the masses.

It is a mass American culture is a completely new phenomenon generated by the industrial and post-industrial civilization. In the past, its analog part are the mass action and spectacle of ancient Rome, especially the gladiator fights, partly mysteries of medieval culture. However, in its comprehensive form of mass culture is formed and established only in the XX century America. The American sociologist 3. Brzezinski said about this: "If Rome gave the world the right, England — parliament, and France — culture and national republic, the contemporary United States of America gave to the world of scientific and technological progress and mass culture."

The emergence of popular culture in America is due to the fact that it was largely devoid of historical and cultural past of the inherent Old World. Therefore, the traditional humanitarian culture has not found suitable conditions for their proper development. It is not formed and unsettled stable and solid traditions and schools, which affected the development of such an integral core culture as philosophy. In the last America was able to create a very modest philosophically over — pragmatism which, representing in fact the ideology defines the uniqueness of the American mentality. It is the basis of morality, in which the supreme goal and value personal success serves to justify any means and the way to it. It forms a pragmatic attitude of Americans to traditional, classical humanitarian culture. Uzkoutilitarny approach to the last to appear in relation to the study of the humanities in the universities of America, its criticism of the book is devoted professor of philosophy, University of Chicago A. Bloom's "The Decline of the American scholarship." He vividly defines the humanities as a third island at the university after the natural and social sciences, which, like the ancient Atlantis is completely submerged in the water. Humanities as a third component of university education are more other damage due to practicality, lack of respect for tradition in a democratic society. Considering the problem of cultural and educational level of the representatives of the future elite, A. Bloom calls refer to the great classics of the past and present to them in the future not be divorced from the cultural values of Western civilization and the world (See Bloom A. The Closing of American Mind.NY, 1987. P.371, 373).

Pragmatic, utilitarian attitude to human culture is manifested is observed on the example of Art — America has not had time to create a real classical art (except in this field is literature, which, by its artistic quality is not inferior to the European). Let's listen to the wonderful American William Faulkner: "No, I repeat, the artist does not need America. America did not find the place for him — for him, which is only concerned with the problems of the human spirit, rather than use their fame to trade soap and water, or cigarettes, or pens, or advertise cars, cruises and resorts … "Yet in America there is no "art", which is hard to be called art in the true sense of the word, and which claims the title of "modern" art.

It is generally recognized that the center of artistic life after the Second World War, moved from Paris to New York, because in it there are new trends, are the embodiment of the boldest ideas here from all over the world flock to the artistic elite. Artist Christo moved to the U.S. in 1964. By this time he was already quite well known in Europe, but in New York City began a new and significant stage in his creative life. The name of Christ has become firmly associated with contemporary American art, as in Europe with associated steady notion of "Americanism" — a synonym of scale, grandeur, scope (See Alchuk A. Art amaze / / Foreign literatura.1996. № 10.S.274) .

Feature of his art is the wrapping or packaging of various kinds of objects — packed into the matter, and tied with ropes everything from tin cans, magazines and chairs and ending barrels of oil and machines. "Later this constantly recurring pop artovskoy gesture, as if pointing to the absence of hierarchical boundaries between objects to the fact that in a certain context, any object can get the status of a work of art (think Duchamp's urinal, exhibited in 1917 in Paris) was firmly associate in the art market with the name of Christ "(ibid.. S.274). For his artistic "works characterized by the grandeur and costliness. Together with Jean-Claude, he created an inflatable structure without a supporting framework — "Packaging 5600 cubic meters", which weighed 6,530 pounds and was tied with ropes a total length of 3.5 kilometers. Cristo lot of time and effort invested in the construction of various projects, they ultimately performative and democratic, first of all, it belongs to the largest of them: "Wrapped Coast. Small bay. Australia "(1969)," Running the fence. California "(1972-1976)," Surrounded Islands. Bay of Biscay. Greater Miami. Florida "(1980-1983)," wrapped the Pont Neuf. Paris "(1975-1985)," Umbrellas. Japan — USA "(1984-1991)," Wrapped Reichstag. Berlin "(1971-1995). The "Surrounded Islands" — a pink edging matter of eleven of the artificial islands of Biscay, primarily designed for dropping litter. Researcher of Christo and Jeanne-Claude J. Baal-Teshuva, especially rising above the bay by helicopter, describes what he saw: "The old landscape for a short time transformed into another beautiful reality: the dazzling circles of matter, tropical vegetation islands shine sky over Miami and play Light in shallow bay — all this creates a feeling of extraordinary, breathtaking harmony. I remember the water lilies by Claude Monet. " The project's success has surpassed all expectations, reporting on "Surrounded Islands," occupied the front pages of newspapers around the world "(ibid. P.275-2760). And although the work by Christo and Jean-Claude are not of a commercial nature, they cause economic boom associated with the influx of tourists to the place of their implementation. So, while the project lasted "Surrounded Islands," the organizing flights over the Bay of Biscay helicopter company had sold 5,000 tickets at $ 35 each. The perception of this kind works of "art" involves the release of the load hanging over their historical, cultural and political associations, which supposedly is the "essence" of modern art in general. It is no accident Cristo works are New York Pop Art, which is a corruption of true art. Art critic and writer F. Ferney writes: "The New York Pop Art will teach you a great lesson: there is no difference between a hot dog and Elvis Presley, among a can of Campbell soup and the Virgin Mary. All false, flawless, faceless, sacred, a one-off. Art — on the street: garbage, graffiti, garbage, illuminated signs, posters, announcements. It ghosts, pacifiers "(Ferney F. city where extremes come together / / Geo.1998. № 8.S.53). A truly American art of this kind — it's a dark night in which all cats are gray.

In general, it can be argued that America did not work out its own modernism and the avant-garde in different kinds of art, apart from the avant-garde in architecture, which emerged and existed largely thanks to architects, immigrants from European countries, especially Germany. Emerged on the cultural scene of America after the Second World War and the Avant-garde currents neomodernism (pop art, photorealism, and others) were closer to popular culture than to modernism. Even American cinema, serving American muse, his worldwide fame acquired by foreign producers, which attracts Hollywood fantastic fees. "In general we can say — concludes DA Silichev — that the United States from the very beginning developed mainly as an industrial civilization, not culture. In this respect, they are closer to ancient Rome, the achievement of which were for the most part in civilization than to ancient Greece, which became famous for its culture "(DA Silichev Kulturologiya.M., 1998.S.290). The emergence and rapid success of popular culture were due course of scientific and technological progress and emerged the "cultural industry."

In American culture, especially in music culture, have made significant contributions of African-Americans. "Dozens of black dancers shuffled across the floor a small rural church, treading heavily on the floorboards in a uniform oscillating stroke and beating the palms complex rhythms. The leader of the loud sounds reminding chanting and the dancers instantly answered him. As soloist, tired of flinches rhythms, heat and breakneck speed of singing, falling on the bench, the other sang a tongue clucking kept reminding singing "O My Lord; Well, Well, Well. I've Gotta Rock. You Gotta Rock. Wah, Wah, Ho; Wah, wah, wah, wah, Ho »". So in 1934, describes the African-American folk music of an American music critic R. Palmer. This is when American researchers folklore J. and A. Loumaksy began collecting African archive American folk music, an integral part of this music was, for example, the old, the rural ring Schouten, who was still singing in the black churches, as well as jazz and rock.

In the United States, jazz has evolved as a symbiosis of music culture of black and white. Of ground black music (rhythm and blues), and white music (country-music) emerged as a rock-and-roll. "In all the varieties of American folk music was always present" rock ", be it in the rhythms of blues dance music of color or religious songs sung in the black churches of the old running from the ancient tradition when during the service the pastor shouted appeals, and the congregation was echoed at him. At first the music and performing form called "rowing-and-coated handle," which means "a swing and swaying," she later became known as the "rock and roll". Negro just can not play an instrument and rock out with the dance. Connect singing and movement of the body perceives color as something natural, natural, precisely because many of his songs have a rhythm of movement during operation. Significant only for the Negro movement and expression of the body, accompanied by the singing of "(Shmidel G." The Beatles "- life and pesni.M., 1989. C.4). In the early '50s variety of blues music, rhythm and blues and country music enriched the elements of boogie-woogie in the form in which boogie-woogie performed loggers in the north and laborers in camps in the south.

Along mass culture in America is also elitist, "high" culture for a narrow range — it really concentrated the best examples of world culture (it is enough to use as an example the music of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, literary works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and others). It is this "high" culture was formed as a result of mutual contacts with Europe, America and Asia as based on cultural exchange, and because of the immigrants introduced elements of their culture. However, it was driven into the intellectual ghetto, pushed to the periphery, became inaccessible to the masses. "The last statement may seem paradoxical, since technically it looks the opposite: modern methods of mass production (ie depreciation of art) and the mass media (ie, cheaper and easier to deliver them," the consumer ") seems to have made" high art "is more accessible to a wide population . But this is an illusion. First, replication and delivery channels so clogged works of pseudo-that "consumer" is usually not even a suspicion of the existence of true art, and second, the formation of the needs and aesthetic plants occurs in a "dopotrebitelsky" period: the family (usually the fully integrated " mass culture ") and in the school, which today already alienated from the culture and the educational and upbringing: the American high school, for example, is — sports, sex, poor education and a complete lack of education, the American Graduate School — is the same, plus an ultra-narrow specialization . Third, the real art, even if it comes to the masses, served as entertainment, that is, as a commodity, "consumer" is not able to perceive art as art, that is, as a way of learning and understanding of reality, not able to survive the catharsis, he perceives a subject art as a "product" — that is, it behaves as a consumer. In other words, he is not able to perceive the internal laws of the aesthetic of "high culture" and uses it according to the rules of the consumer society, and in accordance with the aesthetics of a consumer society (vivid examples of this are given in the novel by F. Leiber "Silver yaytseglavy" where the hero, a victim of "mass culture "unable to perceive Dostoevsky's novels as otherwise boring written detectives)" (Tarasov "middle class" and "petty bourgeois paradise" / / Free mysl.1998. № 1.S.47).

The carrier and the consumer of mass culture is the American middle class, whose existence revolves primarily utilitarian in the field of human life and is focused on money, acting god. Not by chance, in his article by Ricks Marlow draws attention to the fact that the great theme of the North American culture are the things and their acquisition, ie "The greatest of all the cultures that ever existed is a material degree of North American culture." The main theme of life are the things — they predominate in it, but the lack of genuine spirituality in society is doomed ultimately to self-destruct. This great theme of things and ways to deal with them entered into the stage of know-how, which is a "embodiment of excellence and to show off." North American culture as a dream is the American dream "to live better and better," which means continuous improvement of material well-being, and that is reflected in the game, which is associated with the mentality of "stunt-deceiver." It is the embodiment of the "great American dream" and is at the heart of the American way of life, which touted the ruling elite of the United States as the world's best.

See also

As Tempered Democracy

Do not perceive contemporary art? Do not worry, it is not designed for cattle


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