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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Guys, I love America*

by: Mason

I love America. Let me tell you why:

We have Founding Fathers.

Also, since behind every great man stands a great woman, we have Founding Mothers, too! Hooray for women!
And these Founding Parents cared about us! They didn't want us to live under the tyrant King George (the third)! No. They left England prepared to set up a new nation, with freedom of speech and of press and of thought. They wanted the slaves to be free and the rich to be equal to the poor. Most of all, they wanted universal healthcare!

You may ask, "Mason, how do you know all this?" Well, I know this because I read the Constitution. Our Founding Parents meticulously composed all of our basic governmental documents, solidifying, even then (two hundred and fifty years ago), the rights we all know and love today!

America's most beloved president (Benjamin Franklin) said, "Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech," foreseeing the tight restraints England's (or Airstrip One, as we know it)'s government would put on thought - and even the English language itself - in the coming centuries.

All in all, it's great to be American. We can say what we want, think what we want, speak/drive/eat/do what we want. Plus, we choose our leaders, and they'll help us out. What's cooler than that??!!!

Tell me, why are YOU glad (or not) to be American (or not)?


by: Luis


I have been wondering to myself; what does it mean to be an American, what is it that makes people want to become one, and why are they resented worldwide?

I have been given the opportunity to explore these questions in depth. I have always wondered what people think about the American dream and the meaning of America, and also what people are willing to do to become Americans.

Before I can continue with my research, I must first stop and think and define in my own mind what America is to me.

America is the land of opportunity; the "land of the free:"

To me, America truly is the land of opportunity. I was not born here, and my family, like many others, had to make the journey here from my home country. We came here looking to build a future. I have lived in the United States for 15 years now, and have become a part of this society. My love for this nation has made it my new home, and I feel indebted to this country for the opportunities that have been presented to me. I say "presented" and not "given," because this nation is the land of opportunity where a man has the opportunity to fight for his future.
Some people have the misconception that in America opportunities are just handed over to people, which is not the case. I have had to fight for everything that I have accomplished up til now. I have had to make an effort to stand out. I give thanks to this nation for those chances that I have been given. I look at what I could have been if I were to have stayed in my country and realize that I would have been a different man. This nation is a place where a person of my simple upbringings can fight for a place in society of equality and freedom; where a person like me can work hard to someday become someone. My parents brought me here in hopes of fulfilling that dream, and their hard work and sacrifice are what pushes me forward.

In my home country it is hard to overcome obstacles. Though we have free university, the drive to study is not really pushed on to the young people. It is a different culture. Corruption in the government (and society in general) holds generations of people down; not allowing them to grow or succeed. My parents saw this threat and brought me here to this nation; where with hard work, I have come to the place I am today.

American Pride

by: Natalie

I've been thinking much lately about what it actually means to be an American. Does it mean spending summers eating hot dogs and hamburgers? Oh wait... we stole that from the Germans. Does it mean watching football every Saturday (Ok, so it's a rip-off from English rugby, but oh well)? Does it mean spending all year planning Thanksgiving dinner (which we wouldn't have if the Indians hadn't shown the Pilgrims how to do it)? While I don't really think any one of these things classifies me as an "American," I think they all certainly help shape my view of what being an American entails.

To me, being an American means celebrating my German heritage and encouraging my fellow Americans to celebrate their heritage as well. No one is inherently American. We all came from different parts of the world. But, we live in this great country where we can embrace our heritage in unison. That is what makes us American. Our country is diverse, yet we all relate on some level or another. What other country is made up of people from all over the globe? This makes us unique, and so when we celebrate our American citizenship, we should also acknowledge the places we have come from and how they play a part in the "melting pot."

I am proud to be an American and to have the opportunities I do from living in this country, but I am also proud to be a German and to be able to share my unique experiences with other Americans standing by my side.

What does it mean to be an American?

by: Jenny

So many people have different ideas about what it means to be an American. The stereotypical American is someone who loves baseball, apple pies and hot dogs... or something like that.

I have also heard that an American is someone who loves the above-mentioned baseball, hot dogs and apple pies... plus the New York Yankees, peanuts, and Coca-Cola.

Rodney Atkins' new song, "It's America" shares his views on what it means to be in America:

It's a high school prom

It's a Springstein song
It's a ride in a Chevrolet
It's a man on the moon
And fireflies in June
Kids sellin' lemonade
It's cities and farms
And open arms
One nation under god
It's America

I actually have to agree. To me, America is about the memories that I have had growing up. It is my sisters and I setting up that lemonade stand in our driveway and selling about three cups (two of which were to my parents). It is staying outside playing Red Light, Green Light until my mom called us inside because it was time to go to bed. It is spending summers at my lake house and watching the fireworks explode over the water and hearing the "surround sound" of the noise being carried through the neighboring mountains and valleys. America is about running through the grass and lying on our backs counting the millions of stars, and wishing on the shooting ones. It is about being spontaneous. It's about lying in the street; going to carnivals and state fairs. America is learning how to ride a horse or drive a stick-shift for the first time. It's about happiness. It's about bliss. It's about falling in love and making memories.

America to me is home. I know there are things going on in this country that I strongly disagree with. But America is the only thing I know, and maybe that makes me ignorant of problems we face domestically... or maybe not. This is home, and I am proud to live here and be a part of this nation.

Now I turn the question to you... what do you think it means to be an American?


by: Jenny

I have always been full of spirit towards things. In high school, I was always the one that dressed way over-the-top during "spirit week". I was the girl that would paint her face and wear green, black and silver from head to toe to cheer on our football team. I played volleyball, basketball and ran track, and my twin sister was a cheerleader; so school spirit was something I could not escape (nor did I want to).

I was so spirited that during my senior class awards, I received the "Most School Spirit" award. No surprise there; Although I must admit I would have liked to have received "Most Athletic" or "Most Likely to Succeed." However, "spirit" it was, and I was content.

That same spirit carried from my days as a high-schooler into my college life. I love to invest in my school and its activities and to support them. I love to wear the GFU colors, logo, and name proudly, and believe that EVERYONE should be proud of where they are.

Granted, not everyone is; which saddens me. Why not be proud of something that has such a big impact on your life? Sure, school may not be for everyone, but you may as well enjoy it while you're there, right?

This mindset of being spirited in everything I do started when I was little. I grew up with the idea that America was the best place to be and that I was extremely fortunate to be here. I love that we are a free country and I love that we are granted so many freedoms. I am extremely proud to be an American. I know that many people get the impression that we are "fat, lazy, and materialistic," which may be the case for some, but I am so proud and blessed to be here.

I realize that there are a lot of bad things in America; for example, we are a country that is pressed for time. Drive-thrus are popular and if we have to wait more than a few minutes we get angry. We run from thing to thing, and often forget to stop and enjoy the scenery. We have a government that is often ridiculed or unsupported (I am NOT going to post government/politically-related posts in this blog if I can help it. I do not know enough about these areas to take on a knowledgeable standpoint and therefore will not comment).

But there are also so many good things in America: We are a strong country. We have so many advantages and blessings that many countries do not have. We are a country that so many are willing to defend. We are a country of diversity and we are a country that strives to be the best and the strongest.

We are America. And I am an American.


by: Jenny

Before I dive into my thoughts on America, American life, the American dream, etc., I wanted to give a brief introduction as to who I am and why America is so important to me.

My name is Jenny. I am a 20 year old college student, studying to become a journalist. Hence my enrollment in the journalism class that these assignments are for. I do want to note that this blog belongs to me and therefore I plan on reflecting my thoughts, my feelings and my raw emotions. I do not want to make this blog fit standards or take on an indifferent position towards things. This is my blog and my thoughts.

That being said, it is time I begin my posts.

I pray my posts will document my journey as I explore more and more in depth what it means to be an American. Hopefully by the end of the semester I will have grown and my posts will reflect that growth I experience.

Well, here I go. Wish me luck on this task, as there is a lot in America that I could blog about.

Happy reading! :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Searching for Meaning

Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era — the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run … but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant… .

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time — and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

by: Casey

The late Hunter S. Thompson is one of my favorite authors and my favorite journalist because of insights like this. His stream-of-consciousness style, scathing indictment of political figures, unapologetic analysis of pop culture... it all comes together in a genuine (and slightly deranged) summary of the times. History textbooks give the obligatory details, the cataloged evidence... but they fail to convey the feeling of the era.

Thompson coined the term “gonzo” journalism, the practice of including oneself in the reporting of the story. He had no self-serving allegiances to consider while writing, and the result was a vicious, hybrid breed of reporting. Honest, hilarious, brutal... adjectives not associated with today’s reporting.

He makes me question when (or if) this generation will experience that pinnacle of energy and intent: Unification behind a singular cause for the accomplishment of something that remains to be seen. The internet allows us to communicate new ideas instantaneously, but I get the sense that nothing new is being shared, or maybe too many things are flying around to get a true sense of what is really happening... what people are really thinking.

Nevertheless, I pledge to keep my eyes open. And moving.

How to Begin

by: Caitlin

When first asked to come up with an American cultural immersion experience in my Intercultural Communication course, my mind went blank.

The point of the exercise was to recreate a cultural experience for the benefit of the Chinese international students that made up the remaining half of the class. As our group began to explore different options for a “cultural American experience” for the Chinese students to participate in, we found ourselves drawn to American holidays. Easter-egg hunts, opening presents on Christmas Day, setting off fire-works on the Fourth of July, and passing out Valentine’s Day cards all immediately came to the forefront of our discussions.

We finally landed on the idea of a BBQ Fourth of July celebration, complete with flag-printed napkins, hot dogs, potato chips, and sparklers, and to top it all off, we blasted patriotic music from the overhead speakers. As the international students cautiously entered the room, they began to ask questions about this particular tradition in American culture. Our only point of relation came through their celebration of the Chinese New Year.

As the remaining American students filed into the room, they started laughing and cheering with the sounds of “Proud to be an American” filling the air, and a small projector flashing American flags and fire-works on the wall.

The topic of conversation then took a different turn: “This is the essence of America: food, more food, and the American flag,” yelled one student. As all the Americans joined in laughing at the sarcastic remark, the Chinese students remained quiet; looking down or off into the distance.

Despite its obvious joking nature, this comment raises some serious questions. Is our internal definition of American Culture flawed? Is it even existent? Does it revolve around materialism and consumerism? How do external definitions of American Culture contrast with our own?

I feel like all of these questions are of great importance and are longing to be answered. Now... how do we begin?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Loaded Question

by: Lia

What does it mean to be an American? Wow, what a question. Being an American can mean so many different things... it just depends on who you ask.

I am sure there are a lot of people around the world who might not have anything too pleasant to say about Americans. Heck, there are a lot of Americans who don't have anything good to say about Americans.

I must say... When the majority of the class voted on this topic I was disappointed. I thought, "Who cares about being an American? I'd rather learn about any other culture..."

In many ways I am ashamed to call myself an American. All that we have done to others through war (in the name of freedom, but in actuality because of our greed) just makes me sick. Other countries may have corrupt governments, but at least they are open to the fact; not hiding it and pretending things are one way when they're not.

I get that we should count our blessings; that we have democracy and all the freedoms that accompany it (but do we really?). We talk about equality like it's something that we have attained; but we haven't... not for the African Americans, the Latinos, the Asians, and women in general, regardless of race.

It's easy for someone (especially someone who is Caucasian) to be blinded to the sufferings of people they don't usually come in contact with. It is especially easy to be in your own little bubble as a college student; thinking the world is just peachy, and that in America we are free.

Well I have news for you: We have a LONG way to go people... and if you think we don't, then I want to encourage you to truly open your eyes and look around.