It is currently Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:57 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




 Page 2 of 7 [ 95 posts ]  Go to page
Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next
Author Message
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 6:06 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:15 pm
Posts: 3414
Location: The back seat of the Red Shark
That's interesting Sands and not totally unexpected. What you're seeing is the product... the output.

But I do think the concept of the American Dream is very ingrained into our social, cultural and emotional psyche. He mentions the Horatio Alger Storys which embodied and helped define The American Dream. (The American Dream, by the way is a very specific concept … thanks for posting those definitions, Liz.) They told the tale that through hard work, bravery, honesty and a little luck a boy (pre-feminist thinking, right?) could pull himself up by the bootstraps and escape poverty.

It’s why Americans hate the idea of welfare so intensely. It goes against the truly ingrained and assimilated concepts of the American Dream.



_________________________________________________________
"The greatest pain that comes from love is loving someone you can never have." ~ Unknown
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 6:11 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:28 pm
Posts: 334
Location: Wales, UK
Well like I said Raven, that's not my own view of America nowadays, more the stereotype I grew up with, and to some extent the view I had when I first read FALILV many years ago. Though I certainly hope to visit one day and get a more accurate picture than I have. I have to say though that The Zone, and especially you ladies on the ONBC, have done wonders for my opinion of Americans :cool: .



_________________________________________________________
'Well, it's a little difficult for me to tell right now because I'm kind of having a bad day'
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 6:13 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 2:14 pm
Posts: 687
Location: Austin, TX
I agree, DITHOT, that Raoul and Gonzo were searching for the American Dream and not their American Dream. And, JD101, I was thinking along those same lines of the American Dream that Raoul finally found was corrupted and twisted and off kilter.

Sands wrote:
I see it as Las Vegas being the American Dream in the sense of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Going to LV isn't hard work and whatever, but it's the reward for the hard work you've put in elsewhere. In other words that's the best thing people can find to do with the free time and the money they've earned with their hard work, their ultimate idea of entertainment. Which is pretty depressing to say the least :-/


I'm glad you said that, Sands, because I was trying to find words to say exactly that and hadn't come up with them yet. (A very bad cold came back with me from my vacation!)

Sands wrote:
Anyway, from a British perspective I'd say the concept of the American Dream has always been kind of a joke over here, certainly in my generation and later, and I'm intrigued to know whether Americans actually take it seriously? To me the idea of them being at the centre of 'the American Dream' in this meaningless, sleazy, glitzy, greedy, totally fake place seemed to make perfect sense when I read it. That's what I always thought the American Dream was, because that was my stereotypical view of 'America' and what Americans wanted. I think the down-home, hard work, courage and determination bit is maybe not so apparent from the outside :-? All we see is McDonalds and Disney and Hollywood.


I think that possibly this is what HST was trying to show us in F&L. I do know that this country was a place where dreams could come true for hundreds of thousands of immigrants and that most of them did (and still do) work very hard and were very determined to better themselves and their children. But somewhere along the line, at least in my opinion, the Great American Dream got to be a joke and has come to mean reaching some over-the-top, totally unrewarding state of having possessions and celebrity/notorioty, etc. So, from this American, at least, you will get no quarrel.



_________________________________________________________
Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! ~Auntie Mame
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 6:20 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:28 pm
Posts: 334
Location: Wales, UK
JD101 wrote:
It’s why Americans hate the idea of welfare so intensely. It goes against the truly ingrained and assimilated concepts of the American Dream.


That's interesting JD101, I'd never thought of it that way. I guess the opposite's true here in a way. The idea of the Welfare State is ingrained in the British psyche, and we tend to fight tooth and nail to preserve it as a way of giving people equal rights. I'd always found it odd that a rich and supposedly progressive country like the US didn't have that, but I can kind of see where you're coming from with that now. Thanks.



_________________________________________________________
'Well, it's a little difficult for me to tell right now because I'm kind of having a bad day'
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 6:21 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2004 12:24 pm
Posts: 1220
Location: a high and beautiful wave
Bix wrote:
I agree, DITHOT, that Raoul and Gonzo were searching for the American Dream and not their American Dream. And, JD101, I was thinking along those same lines of the American Dream that Raoul finally found was corrupted and twisted and off kilter.

Sands wrote:
I see it as Las Vegas being the American Dream in the sense of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Going to LV isn't hard work and whatever, but it's the reward for the hard work you've put in elsewhere. In other words that's the best thing people can find to do with the free time and the money they've earned with their hard work, their ultimate idea of entertainment. Which is pretty depressing to say the least :-/


I'm glad you said that, Sands, because I was trying to find words to say exactly that and hadn't come up with them yet. (A very bad cold came back with me from my vacation!)

Sands wrote:
Anyway, from a British perspective I'd say the concept of the American Dream has always been kind of a joke over here, certainly in my generation and later, and I'm intrigued to know whether Americans actually take it seriously? To me the idea of them being at the centre of 'the American Dream' in this meaningless, sleazy, glitzy, greedy, totally fake place seemed to make perfect sense when I read it. That's what I always thought the American Dream was, because that was my stereotypical view of 'America' and what Americans wanted. I think the down-home, hard work, courage and determination bit is maybe not so apparent from the outside :-? All we see is McDonalds and Disney and Hollywood.


I think that possibly this is what HST was trying to show us in F&L. I do know that this country was a place where dreams could come true for hundreds of thousands of immigrants and that most of them did (and still do) work very hard and were very determined to better themselves and their children. But somewhere along the line, at least in my opinion, the Great American Dream got to be a joke and has come to mean reaching some over-the-top, totally unrewarding state of having possessions and celebrity/notorioty, etc. So, from this American, at least, you will get no quarrel.


I agree with what you both said, Sands and Bix. However, I think the American Dream doesn't necessarily have to be about wealth or celebrity/notority. Although I understand where you're coming from. I think it could also be an emotional state. Like, someone who's coming from another country and looking for freedom. That could be an American Dream. Someone needing freedom, needing to be able to be free.

I think you're correct in your reasoning that HST could've been trying to convey the message in the book as a joke. But what I'm saying is, there could be many sides to that equation, as there are to many things.

Hannah



_________________________________________________________
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Rosevelt
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:34 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12502
Location: The Left Coast
JD101 wrote:
That's interesting Sands and not totally unexpected. What you're seeing is the product... the output.

But I do think the concept of the American Dream is very ingrained into our social, cultural and emotional psyche. He mentions the Horatio Alger Storys which embodied and helped define The American Dream. (The American Dream, by the way is a very specific concept … thanks for posting those definitions, Liz.) They told the tale that through hard work, bravery, honesty and a little luck a boy (pre-feminist thinking, right?) could pull himself up by the bootstraps and escape poverty.

It’s why Americans hate the idea of welfare so intensely. It goes against the truly ingrained and assimilated concepts of the American Dream.


Interesting point of view, Sands. I can see how we might come off that way. I certainly had my share of prejudices growning up within my own country--due to my father, who my mom and I used to call Archie Bunker. Thank goodness I've shedded them. But that's an aside. What I find interesting is that there are many immigrants who have come to our country to live because they believe that they can get a piece of the pie--that the American Dream really exists. But I think their viewpoint of the American Dream is slightly different--they include freedom as a key element of the AD.

I want to take this opportunity to mention right here that one of the things I like the most about the Zone and this experience in cyberspace is getting to know those from other countries--their traditions and their views and finding out how they view us. :cool:



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:38 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2004 12:24 pm
Posts: 1220
Location: a high and beautiful wave
Liz wrote:
JD101 wrote:
That's interesting Sands and not totally unexpected. What you're seeing is the product... the output.

But I do think the concept of the American Dream is very ingrained into our social, cultural and emotional psyche. He mentions the Horatio Alger Storys which embodied and helped define The American Dream. (The American Dream, by the way is a very specific concept … thanks for posting those definitions, Liz.) They told the tale that through hard work, bravery, honesty and a little luck a boy (pre-feminist thinking, right?) could pull himself up by the bootstraps and escape poverty.

It’s why Americans hate the idea of welfare so intensely. It goes against the truly ingrained and assimilated concepts of the American Dream.


Interesting point of view, Sands. I can see how we might come off that way. I certainly had my share of prejudices growning up within my own country--due to my father, who my mom and I used to call Archie Bunker. Thank goodness I've shedded them. But that's an aside. What I find interesting is that there are many immigrants who have come to our country to live because they believe that they can get a piece of the pie--that the American Dream really exists. But I think their viewpoint of the American Dream is slightly different--they include freedom as a key element of the AD.

I want to take this opportunity to mention right here that one of the things I like the most about the Zone and this experience in cyberspace is getting to know those from other countries--their traditions and their views and finding out how they view us. :cool:


Well said Liz. :cool: The Zone brings together the world, for one common purpose....Johnny Depp. God Bless it. :)

Hannah



_________________________________________________________
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Rosevelt
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:39 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:37 pm
Posts: 1406
Location: VA
Hmmm, the American dream found in Las Vegas...I donno, I always get sort of depressed around those types of places...all those old people (ladies in too much makeup, too tight outfits, men in some god awful outfits with white shoes...you know) having the time of their lives, plunking their retirements checks, smoking drinking...and yet, if you asked them, they'd tell you they are having the time of their life, they are living their American Dream.

When I lived in HI, Las Vegas was all the old people's destination vacation...whereas in the Lower 48, everybody's dream is to go to HI when they retire, they all wanted to go to Las Vegas to see sights and experience things unavailable to them. Couldn't wait to spend their money there.

Perhaps Hunter was saying that the American Dream for many Americans just turned out to be a 2 night stay in a glitzy hotel, walking the streets of gawdy cheaps lights, free booze, cheap buffets and smokefilled rooms.

So, maybe he did find the American Dream and found it to be not so much a dream, but a nightmare.

Face it, there aren't any new states and countries we can go stake a land claim on and build a new life, we've got to carve out a life with what's available, and frankly it's getting harder.

I don't know what the American Dream is going to be for my children's generation. From what I hear and see from the generation a decade ahead of them, their dream is as small is being able to afford a place on their own.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:53 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
Sands, that is very interesting. It would seem we are what we export? Those are the slices of American Life we send off to represent us aren't they?

Checkout Tidbit #23 on Horatio Alger and the American Dream for some more background information. I think from that perspective, which has always been my own personal take, the American Dream was the idea that you could become whatever you wanted to be because America was a land of endless opportunity. I think that is the dream that was seen by the immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. Interesting comment on the differences between the perception of the welfare states between the UK and the US.

Maybe the American Dream the really the Dream turned Nightmare in Vegas?

By the way... you guys... :rocknroll:



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 8:34 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12502
Location: The Left Coast
I know you are probably sick to death of The Great Gatsby, but it was important to Hunter. This is what I found in an analysis of The Great Gatsby on Sparknotes:

“As Fitzgerald saw it, the American dream was originally about discovery, individualism, and the pursuit of happiness. In the 1920’s depicted in the novel, however, easy money and relaxed social values had corrupted this dream, especially on the East Coast.

Nick compares the green bulk of America rising from the ocean to the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. Just as Americans have given America meaning through their dreams for their own lives, Gatsby instills Daisy with a kind of idealized perfection that she neither deserves nor possesses. Gatsby’s dream is ruined by the unworthiness of its object, just as the American dream in the 1920’s is ruined by the unworthiness of its object—money and pleasure. Like 1920’s Americans in general, fruitlessly seeking a bygone era in which their dreams had value, Gatsby longs to re-create a vanished past—his time in Louisville with Daisy—but is incapable of doing so. When his dream crumbles, all that is left for Gatsby to do is die; all Nick (the narrator) can do is move back to Minnesota, where American values have not decayed.”


Based on the above, this is what I think about Hunter’s version of the American Dream:

I think Raoul had his own American Dream. It was his romanticized idealism about what a society should be like, which he was reminiscing about in The Wave Speech. Raoul was fruitlessly seeking a bygone era. He longed for his vanished past. But others were searching for the more materialistic dream—that which could possibly be found in Las Vegas--a totally unworthy object. So I think Hunter was showing the two opposing dreams. And in the end Raoul realizes that his dream has crumbled. So, like Nick, he heads home.



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 8:39 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 2:14 pm
Posts: 687
Location: Austin, TX
Liz wrote:
I think Raoul had his own American Dream. It was his romanticized idealism about what a society should be like, which he was reminiscing about in The Wave Speech. Raoul was fruitlessly seeking a bygone era. He longed for his vanished past. But others were searching for the more materialistic dream—that which could possibly be found in Las Vegas--a totally unworthy object. So I think Hunter was showing the two opposing dreams. And in the end Raoul realizes that his dream has crumbled. So, like Nick, he heads home.[/color][/b]


Amen, Liz.



_________________________________________________________
Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! ~Auntie Mame
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 9:17 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:14 pm
Posts: 6552
Location: australia
It's hard to talk about The American Dream,as an outsider and as Sands says,other countries/cultures put their own spin on it,which is coloured by their own prejudices and misconceptions...I'm not saying this is the right way to look at it :chill: ..But to me it always meant that if you worked hard and thought about nothing else but money,then TAD was your..So to me ,it always equated with money,selfishness and greed...the pursuit of happiness through worshipping the great god money and consumerism,. to get rich over the backs of others,without thinking of consequences and without caring for those who need care and support....I think this is how it's seen over here



_________________________________________________________
Life is beautiful.

I have faith in you.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 9:37 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
gilly wrote:
It's hard to talk about The American Dream,as an outsider and as Sands says,other countries/cultures put their own spin on it,which is coloured by their own prejudices and misconceptions...I'm not saying this is the right way to look at it :chill: ..But to me it always meant that if you worked hard and thought about nothing else but money,then TAD was your..So to me ,it always equated with money,selfishness and greed...the pursuit of happiness through worshipping the great god money and consumerism,. to get rich over the backs of others,without thinking of consequences and without caring for those who need care and support....I think this is how it's seen over here


:-O WOW! That is very interesting. Thanks very much gilly for your take on it. :cool: I find it eye-opening the thought that the perception is about greed and getting ahead on the backs of others. I think here in the US the American Dream is seen as hard work to better your lot in life but not in a greedy way...more as an anything is possible way...but not at the sacrifice of others. I keep thinking of POTC and Bootstap Bill... that connotation to Americans I think makes him a sympathetic character. The old "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" idea.

Great discussion. :bounce:



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 12:19 am 
JDZ Web Designer
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 01, 2005 1:21 am
Posts: 20685
Location: Houston, Texas
Wow, this has been an enlightening thread…I really like to hear the different cultural perspectives on the American Dream.

I think Hunter gave his definition of the American Dream on page 18:

Quote:
But our trip was different. It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true and decent in the national character. It was a gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country -- but only for those with true grit. And we were chock full of that.


I think “fantastic possibilities” is what he went looking for -- and found -- in the most unlikely of places; Las Vegas. I believe the American Dream is not necessarily reaching nirvana, it’s the possibility, the chance to reach that goal. From the hitchhiker traveling to the bright lights of the city, to the gamblers who put just one more quarter in the slots hoping to hit that jackpot, to Lucy who traveled to Vegas to meet her idol, to the Circus, Circus owner who now owned that circus of his childhood dream -- all putting their faith in the fantastic possibilities of American life, that we can achieve our dreams if we have that grit.


Online
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 12:23 am 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12502
Location: The Left Coast
theresa wrote:
Wow, this has been an enlightening thread…I really like to hear the different cultural perspectives on the American Dream.

I think Hunter gave his definition of the American Dream on page 18:

Quote:
But our trip was different. It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true and decent in the national character. It was a gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country -- but only for those with true grit. And we were chock full of that.


I think “fantastic possibilities” is what he went looking for -- and found -- in the most unlikely of places; Las Vegas. I believe the American Dream is not necessarily reaching nirvana, it’s the possibility, the chance to reach that goal. From the hitchhiker traveling to the bright lights of the city, to the gamblers who put just one more quarter in the slots hoping to hit that jackpot, to Lucy who traveled to Vegas to meet her idol, to the Circus, Circus owner who now owned that circus of his childhood dream -- all putting their faith in the fantastic possibilities of American life, that we can achieve our dreams if we have that grit.


Wow! Interesting idea, Theresa. And I think you might be on to something. Great examples!



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 Page 2 of 7 [ 95 posts ]  Go to page
Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  


phpBB skin developed by: John Olson
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group