Journalism 2 Class luis jennifer mason robert forrest casey caitlin sarah mason lia alexandra luis natalie

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Final Word

After creating a project on the American Dream within the country’s society and people, I came across several unique discoveries.

The first, and perhaps most surprising, was the immediate thoughts held by the youngest generation regarding the American Dream. Through my interviewing and research, I found the younger generation (fifth graders specifically) to hold a very negative and pessimistic view on the American Dream. Most didn’t believe their parents were living out the American Dream, and most didn’t think it possible for the current Millennial Generation, let alone for themselves.

The second, which vastly contrasts the first discovery, was the thoughts held by the oldest generation regarding the American Dream. In contrast, the older generation was very optimistic of the American Dream, suggesting not only does it still exist, but also they achieved it within their lifetime. They do not dismiss the current Millennial Generation in their pursuit of the American Dream, but instead encourage that they will achieve and surpass their expectations.

This obvious opposition in thought was not only drastic, but also somewhat discouraging.

What in society deters young people from believing they can not only hold goals and dreams, but have the opportunity to reach them?


According to a recent US Today survey, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars holds the two spots for top watched television shows.

What makes these shows so popular?

I was surprised to ultimately find some controversial issues surrounding both shows. American Idol has been recently criticized for racism (Elton John), vote manipulation ( and, disqualifications due to personal connections with networks (Joanna Pacitti), etc.

Following game shows, reality television, and talent contests will always be possibly controversial to American ideals and standards.

Yet a majority of Americans follow these shows on a consistent basis.

The First Amendment

One clear distinction of the United States is its promotion of a religiously tolerant and free country. The First Amendment to its Constitution prohibits the government from leadership or authoritative roles in religion, allowing free expression of religion in society.

It’s no doubt that to most Americans, the freedom to practice any religion without persecution is without a doubt an immediate human right that should be upheld in America.

A majority of Americans identify themselves as Christians, but a multitude of different religions are represented within the country.

Personally, I feel like freedom to practice and hold any religion is a significant element to America. It allows not only for religious tolerance, but cultural tolerance and acceptance, which promotes a more aware and understanding people.

Proud to be an American

The popular song “I’m Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood depicts a classic understanding of American pride and patriotism.

The main lyrics of the song suggest the common patriotism is shared all across America, from “the lakes of Minnesota” to “the hills of Tennessee” to “the plains of Texas.” This shared feeling expressed as freedom in Greenwood’s lyrics.

Freedom shared, that every American can identify with and support, is the ultimate bond between our society.

Ultimately, expressed by Greenwood, this freedom is upheld through our armed forces.

Is what makes America “great” really defined solely by its army?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Americans need high intensity stimulation at all times. We need to be entertained every moment of the day. When we aren't, we complain.

Hollywood has done an excellent job of producing movies for our entertainment. The problem is when they are terrible, and what do we do? Complain of course!

The movie theaters now charge upwards of $10 to see a movie. TEN DOLLARS. It's obscene. I'm not going to pay ten dollars to sit in a chair for 2 hours. I can wait until it comes out on Redbox and then rent it for $1. It really makes me mad, but people still pay it on a regular basis. When will the price cap? Soon we'll be paying $15 for a regular movie, not even a fancy 3D IMAX movie...just a plain old movie. Shiver.

But what else do we do for entertainment? Activities are fun but those take strenuous effort. Sports are fun, but again, take effort. Books are great, but you can't do that with a group. Eating? Yeah but then what...everything goes back to movies. We love our movies, and sometimes it's our primary form of entertainment. I think that's part of living in America.

I don't know of any other country that gets so excited about movies. I mean to wait in line for hours and hours to see a movie? Sounds crazy doesn't it? But it's what we do, and we love it. It draws us together because no matter where you go in the country, you can always talk about movies. It's a good conversation starter and can preface a good laugh.

Hollywood has permeated America, but if you're not complaining than neither am I. Pull out your $10 and let's go see a movie!

Living in the Northwest

I often ask people from other states what they think of Oregon. I mean, there's nothing too special about Oregon. Sure, Portland is beautiful, and we are known for being oh so "green," but what else?

"I imagine hicks live in Oregon," said someone I met a few weeks ago. Hicks? Well, yeah we do have a good number of tiny rural towns which may lend toward the "hicker" side of things. But we aren't all hicks!

"Oregon is full of hippies and Birkenstocks," another person said. Ok, that's actually pretty accurate. Although not everyone would consider themselves a hippie, just walk downtown for an hour or two and guaranteed you'll smell some body odor you didn't know could exist. And Eugene? Absolutely known for its hippie dwellers and Birkenstock wearers.

"Everyone is nice there." I would mostly agree with this. But drive down the Terwilliger curves around 5:30 p.m. and you'll see very quickly that we get nasty during rush hour.

I think it is fascinating to ask people from other parts of the same country what their impressions are of other states. We have these assumptions about parts of the country, and sometimes they are accurate, and others they are way off.

How amazing is it that we can live in one country but have so many parts that are completely different? Traveling to the South is an absolutely different experience than traveling to the Northeast. I think it's really great. And for now, I'll continue to reside in my hick tendency, hippie dwelling, Birkenstock wearing, really nice state of Oregon.


Even though Starbucks is a global corporation, I feel like it is distinctly "American."

It started in Seattle in the 1970s, but who knew espresso would become a morning necessity? Before the drive though coffee window and the 30 second latte, there was percolator coffee and instant coffee granules. Sorry, but I am not going to drink anything called "granules."

I say it is distinctly American because where else in the world can you find people willing to spend nearly $4 on a cup of coffee every single morning? Europe maybe. But even there they are drinking 5.5 ounce cappuccinos that maybe cost $1.50. And to them it's not this do or die situation. They sit and relax while they drink their cappuccino. In America we can hardly get out of bed without our coffee cup in hand.

I've worked in the coffee industry for over 2 years. I've seen the earliest of mornings and the latest of nights. It is amusing to me the different kinds of coffee people. There's your 5:30 a.m. "I just got finished at the gym and now I'm powerwalking before taking my kids to school" housewife who always comes adorned in her black spandex pants, long sleeved shirt, and hat. There's the 7:30 a.m. crowd who is on their way to work but already looks inconvenienced before they get there. There's the 9 a.m. leisurely crowd who has nothing better to do but come sit in a coffee shop and read all day.

These things are funny to me because it seems like American's lives revolve around the morning cup of coffee. Like our days cannot get started and cannot possibly be productive without it.

Starbucks took this concept and expanded it to all corners of the earth. Starbucks is a landmark in America. But I think people like it that way.