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When you think of American culture
| 文章来源:网络 | 文章录入:henry | 收集整理:嘉兴英语教学网 | 更新时间:2007-3-3 |

  When you think of American culture, what first comes to your mind? McDonald's? Coca Cola? Levi's? Disneyland? Michael Jordan? Julia Roberts? Many people imagine American culture is a collection of popular symbols like these. Actually, these symbols are only one small part of American culture-"pop culture."

  What is pop culture? Well, pop is short for popular. The origins of pop culture can often be traced to popular movies, television shows, music stars and sports figures. Pop culture is also promoted by business and advertising. The most common examples of American pop culture appear among high school and college students. Trends set by famous personalities quickly become part of young people's lifestyles.

  American pop culture has spread around the world. One major reason for its popularity is that English is a universal language. English is the language of diplomacy, international business and transportation. Since language and culture go together, learning English means becoming aware of English-speaking cultures. Also, America is a world leader in movies, music and magazines. The kind of American culture communicated in those media is pop culture. Finally, pop culture is easy to package and to export. For that reason, it is easy to "sell" to the world.

  (at a cafe in Paris, France)

  Pierre: I just saw an advertisement for that recent American movie "The Pelican Brief". Sounds interesting. Want to go see it with me?

  Jean: I don't think so. I've got too much to do. Besides, all of this American influence really bothers me. Everybody's going to see American movies, listening to American rock music and eating American fast food.

  Pierre: Oh, come on. Don't be such a grouch. People just want to find out what America is all about. The movies I've seen make American lifestyles seem exciting. Maybe we could learn a few things from them.

  Jean: Learn a few things! Yeah, sure. We'll learn how to be American and forget how to be French. If we follow American ways, it's going to change our own culture. Americans will be the winners, and we'll be the losers.

  Pierre: Now, wait a minute. You're forgetting that we have a global economy now. If we want to do business with Americans, we have to understand their culture.

  Jean: If American culture is Michael Jackson, Mickey Mouse and McDonald's, I don't want to understand it.

  Many people assume that American pop culture is what America is all about. Does pop culture reflect the true culture of America? Yes and no. Pop culture does represent a portion of American society-especially urban young people that are tuned in to the media. But American pop culture is faddish and ever-changing. It is an artificial and superficial picture of America. If you want to learn about real American culture, you'll have to go a little farther than McDonald's.

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