When I first went to the States I was blown away by how familiar everything seemed and even though it was my first time I felt right at home straight from the off. I spoke to some friends about it and they said that they felt the same way too and we all came to the conclusion that, in a way, we had been to America before without even crossing the ocean.
Without us realising it, American influences have taken over our lives and from music and art to movies and literature, it’s really no surprise that you get a sense of déjà vu when you hit LAX or JFK international airports.
Business in the States tends to revolve around creating a feeling of happiness through wealth and this capitalist approach is what drives most of the marketing and embodies the philosophy of the American Dream aka: anyone can achieve anything no matter whom they are or where they’ve come from.
To explore the influences that America has imparted on the rest of the world, it’s necessary to look at it from a marketing perspective. The simple model of customer service, desirable products and the illusion of happiness through material wealth has been pitched as a lifestyle and big brands have transferred this approach when setting up shop on different continents.
Nowhere is safe from the American money making machine but it’s not just the mad bad ad men and women that are influencing our perceptions on the American way of life there are plenty of other factors too. Below are five areas where America has influenced the world and if you watched a movie last night, are going for a coffee at lunch or simply listening to the back collection of Michael Jackson then you’ll know what I’m talking about.
From the golden age of Hollywood in the late twenties to modern box office blockbusters, America has been portrayed in many different guises on the big screen. It’s no surprise that we’ve become influenced by what we see and from the language to the instantly recognisable images, we’ve been living in America without even realising it. Even on the small screen we’re watching the States with box sets, mini-series and late-night chat shows infiltrating our front rooms on a daily basis.
Yes, the Beatles and the Who piled over back in the sixties but American sounds have been hitting our shores since day one. Elvis, the Beach Boys, Madonna and Whitney have become so much a part of our culture that sometimes it’s hard to distinguish them from our own recording artists. From the lyrics and smooth sounds of Motown to the House music of New York City, it’s no surprise that America has taken over what we listen to and who we’ve become.
It would have been thought slightly bizarre to suggest that parts of Asia would one day resemble the architectural designs of New York City but from Singapore and Hong Kong to Malaysia and India, skyscrapers and shimmering office blocks stretch for as high as the eye can see. It was somewhat inevitable that this would happen but these sorts of design influences have created mini-American cities all over the world which come complete with: coffee shops, movie theatres and 7/11s.
I’ve noticed that on the back of some DVD boxes the little English flag that displays the language now says American which is no surprise as many language schools across the globe even teach American English as standard. From spelling and pronunciation to using different words entirely, American phraseology and grammar has stealthily invaded our psyche and our vocabulary and as each generation passes we further lose our grip on the real English language.
Fast food, massive portions and sugar-sweet, pretty much some up how Americans like to take their grub and like it or not this style is reverberating around the world. However, so is obesity and other food related illnesses and it’s no coincidence that Asia’s love of all things American is affecting the weight and the health of their children. There’s pretty much a fast-food joint on every English high street and so it’s no surprise that we take it for granted as naturally as if it were our own.
My grand American adventures have taken me all over the country and from Baltimore to LA with Chicago in between, I felt like I’d just walked into either a movie scene or a chapter from a Steinbeck novel. Is it a good thing that America is slowly influencing the world and making us all the same? I don’t know but one thing is for sure: there’s no going back as this meatball has started to roll.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Biog: Chris has lived in Europe and Asia and has noticed the impact of American culture all over the globe.