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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 12:24 am 
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theresa wrote: 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.


Agreed, theresa. And that is what I find so interesting in the perspectives of our posters outside of the US. :-O



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 2:40 am 
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I think the American Dream is the belief that anybody can make money in America "the land of opportunity" And I beleive Vegas is the main nerve becasue it is all about gambling, what is that? One of the biggest money makers. I think that The American Dream, is kind of shown in a negative light, or at least just looked at from a few different views. The faliure of the American Dream. Despite the belief that anyone can make it, not everyone does. I think things like social welfare are fround upon becasue of this. People who need welfare( or something similar) have failed or not worked hard enough because if you have not made lots of money it becasue you didn't work hard enough or because you are lazzy. Also I think privatisation is a strong elelment of the American Dream, which gambling reflects that money earning.
Sorry just throwing some ideas around.
Hope it makes sense.
It finally comes to this question and I come in LATE!! And forget everything I was going to say.
EDIT:
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.

Woops did not see you had mentioned that, but I agree.
Also wondering whether people from America hwo they view the American Dream, do htye see it as a positive thing, do they believe in it.
I have always seen it as a cowboy mentality a "get rich quick" dream. Interested to hear other peoples idea. I beleive the idea of the American Dream really explains a lot of how America has formed and become what it is today.


Last edited by shame_about_rasins on Sat Oct 01, 2005 2:55 am, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 2:54 am 
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Sands wrote:
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.

Unfortunalty acoriding to me I think Australia is becoming more like America in an American dream way, privataising all the public services, the privatisation of Telstra and ESPECIALY health services, while we are no where near as bad as America's healthcare system people are scared it is heading that way. When I likved in America we lived nextdoor to somone who had to sell their house when their daughter got asthma to pay for the medical bills. I know somepeople probably dissagree with me, but that is how I see it, I am interested how other people see that Americans and other countries. :cool:
Hope none of what I have said has offeneded anyone. :chill:



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:16 am 
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This is such an interesting thread..It's great that we can discuss this :disco: Well, I guess we all have the chance now to reshape The American Dream or The Australian Dream or The English Dream and make it what we want.I think this is one of the messages Hunter was sending..To not accept other's ideas necessarily but to forge ahead with our own dreams...



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:28 am 
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Not really answering the Q, which I'll think about later, but to illustrate what we over here think of as The AD, I'll tel you about a couple of lessons I do with Year 8 (age 12-13) about migration and the AD. We watch a few clips of The Simpsons, and Friends, list all the people in the clips, their jobs, their clithes, homes and so on. Then we think about the number of countries these programmes go to, and what they are telling the world about the US. We also listen to America, from West Side Story, and go through highlighting the lyrics to show the idea of a promised land where everyone has the chance to achieve. The US is certainly seen as a place of opportunity, and like HST in the novel, it just seems tragic that so many of its citizens don't make the most of it. But I could say that of here, and no doubt a lot of other countries too. In the end, it's individual choice... how you deal with the chances you are given, and a lot of people waste them, expecting others to provide for them instead of making the most of their lives.



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 10:22 am 
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Wow

I have been out of the loop & I have got through about half this thread. I will read the rest of it but had to go ahead & say my thoughts before I lost them, there are so few that stay with me these days. lol

Without studying the deeper meaning of Hunters words. Just reading this book for the first time way back when. I had viewed the movie only a few times. My first thoughts of what Hunter meant of being in the Vortex of the American Dream was in the center of madness (which was Circus Circus) & totally messed up on Acid and whatever else they had in their bodies. Still able to function to some degree. they were freaking out on everything around them and no one seemed to care.

On the surface of this book and reading it just as it seems I felt that it was all about the "trip" they were on and see how far they could get before the "Fear" took hold of their minds & they had to get out!

so to answer the question from this point of view I would say yes they found the American Dream, they survived Vegas on multiple Hallucinogens. :hypnotic: :lol:

after getting a shower and thinking more on this. they were doing all this while getting paid for it. Hunter was there to d a story.



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 11:17 am 
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Sar wrote: I think the American Dream is the belief that anybody can make money in America "the land of opportunity" And I beleive Vegas is the main nerve becasue it is all about gambling, what is that? One of the biggest money makers. I think that The American Dream, is kind of shown in a negative light, or at least just looked at from a few different views. The faliure of the American Dream. Despite the belief that anyone can make it, not everyone does. I think things like social welfare are fround upon becasue of this. People who need welfare( or something similar) have failed or not worked hard enough because if you have not made lots of money it becasue you didn't work hard enough or because you are lazzy.

Also wondering whether people from America hwo they view the American Dream, do htye see it as a positive thing, do they believe in it.
I have always seen it as a cowboy mentality a "get rich quick" dream. Interested to hear other peoples idea. I beleive the idea of the American Dream really explains a lot of how America has formed and become what it is today.


I think Vegas symbolizes the perversion of the American Dream. The opportunity to make money quickly but without the hard work that should be required. My personal view of the American Dream is that anyone can come to America and with hard work make a better life for themselves, the Horatio Alger version. I think it is rooted in the tide of immigrants that came here believing it to be true. I never saw it as a get rich quick dream unless you add in the hard work part of the equation. Do I believe in it? Hard to say. I think to an extent but I think it is much more difficult today unless you have access to a good education, including the chance to go to college. When America was a growing and booming country I think the opportunities were greater.



Quote:
sar wrote: Hope none of what I have said has offeneded anyone.


No offense taken at all sar! I find this fascinating!

Quote:
Endora wrote: We watch a few clips of The Simpsons, and Friends, list all the people in the clips, their jobs, their clithes, homes and so on. Then we think about the number of countries these programmes go to, and what they are telling the world about the US. We also listen to America, from West Side Story, and go through highlighting the lyrics to show the idea of a promised land where everyone has the chance to achieve. The US is certainly seen as a place of opportunity, and like HST in the novel, it just seems tragic that so many of its citizens don't make the most of it.


Interesting choice of television programs. Is that because those are on over there? I always thought the characters in Friends were spoiled brats, amsusing but annoying. I hate to think of them being seen as representing us! The Simpsons is a satire which I love. I think the song America, from West Side Story, is a good reflection of how Americans see the American Dream. It is tragic that not everyone makes the most of it but I also think the rise of the welfare state and continued, ingrained racism makes it more difficult to achieve.



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 12:13 pm 
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I do find the difference in views of the Welfare State very interesting. Leaving aside personal views as to which view is 'right', I'm realising there's a fundamental difference in our cultures there. For British people the Welfare State IS part of the 'British Dream' if there is such a thing. After the depression years of the 20's/30's and the Second World War there was a huge movement here towards creating 'a better life, and a fairer world for our children', and free health treatment, old-age pensions, unemployment benefits, etc. were very much a part of that. And I would say that's true for most western European countries.

Thinking about it now I'm wondering whether it has to do with our history which was much more class-based and fundamentally unequal than in America. In previous centuries in Britain (and most of Europe) no amount of hard work could raise you from the working class or peasantry to the rich and powerful classes, you had to be born into them or tough luck. Hard work, determination and courage might help you survive, but it was virtually impossible to break out of your position in the class system. And that was still true to a great extent when I grew up in the 50's (some people would say it still is). Of course this is the very reason why so many people emigrated to America, to escape those restrictive systems

Of course there has always been a strong feeling here too that the state should only provide for people who genuinely deserve it and not for those who are just too lazy to work. But perhaps we're more used to the idea that people are not born equal, and that not everyone is going to make it, however many opportunities they get?

I'm also beginning to understand why the ideas of Marxism and even Socialism were so much more abhorrent to Americans than Europeans.

I'm not sure what I think about all this, but it's really got me thinking. I'm gonna have to go off and delve into the comparative history of Europe and the US. Wow, for a book club the ONBC sure gets me thinking about a lot of stuff other than books! :-)



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 12:26 pm 
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Sands, that's quite interesting. :-O I learn so much here. :bounce: Thanks for sharing your insight.

I think your point about our (as a country in general) abhorance to marxism and socialism is key.



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:12 pm 
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sands, I think one of the big differences in our welfare system tends to encompass a large minority population. Yours seems to be less that way. Is that a fair assessment?



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:46 pm 
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I'm really not sure how our population statistics compare with yours actually DITHOT. Maybe someone can enlighten us?



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 7:13 pm 
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Sands wrote:
Thinking about it now I'm wondering whether it has to do with our history which was much more class-based and fundamentally unequal than in America. In previous centuries in Britain (and most of Europe) no amount of hard work could raise you from the working class or peasantry to the rich and powerful classes, you had to be born into them or tough luck. Hard work, determination and courage might help you survive, but it was virtually impossible to break out of your position in the class system. And that was still true to a great extent when I grew up in the 50's (some people would say it still is). Of course this is the very reason why so many people emigrated to America, to escape those restrictive systems.

Indeed, Sands, I know that when I was in elementary school, we were taught that people immigrated to the US to escape the European class system, basing their hopes on the concept that anyone, through hard work and determination, could become successful. My grandmother, whose family came here from Norway, certainly believed that hard work, determination, and education were the keys to success.

Sands wrote:
Wow, for a book club the ONBC sure gets me thinking about a lot of stuff other than books! :-)

That's the truth! I can't even use my Neutrogena in the shower without thinking of the ONBC!

DITHOT wrote:
Sands, I think one of the big differences in our welfare system tends to encompass a large minority population. Yours seems to be less that way. Is that a fair assessment?

Interesting you say that, DITHOT. I listened to an hour's worth of NPR earlier this week on the topic of the face of poverty in the US. The majority of welfare recipients in the US are rural and white--very different from our perceptions.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 7:31 pm 
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fansmom wrote: That's the truth! I can't even use my Neutrogena in the shower without thinking of the ONBC!


:lol: We're everywhere!!! :yikes:

Quote:
fansmom wrote: Interesting you say that, DITHOT. I listened to an hour's worth of NPR earlier this week on the topic of the face of poverty in the US. The majority of welfare recipients in the US are rural and white--very different from our perceptions.


:-O Thanks for sharing that! I gues being a city girl I was going with my urban perceptions. :eyebrow: Very interesting!



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:00 pm 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
Quote:
fansmom wrote: That's the truth! I can't even use my Neutrogena in the shower without thinking of the ONBC!


:lol: We're everywhere!!! :yikes:

Quote:
fansmom wrote: Interesting you say that, DITHOT. I listened to an hour's worth of NPR earlier this week on the topic of the face of poverty in the US. The majority of welfare recipients in the US are rural and white--very different from our perceptions.


:-O Thanks for sharing that! I gues being a city girl I was going with my urban perceptions. :eyebrow: Very interesting!


It's a big surprise to me, too. You learn something new every day--at least here.



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 9:07 pm 
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Wow. This thread is very enlightening.

As a 15th generation American (which is incredibly long compared to most Americans) I can vouch that The American Dream was one born upon the notion of class.

To me, Las Vegas is the antithesis of the American Dream. LV is a city built on luck - where the American dream was about hard work. To my ancestors, hard work was all that was needed to achieve whatever they could dream, not what a Lord or Kaisor dictated.

Greediness? How could the US be deemed a land of greedmongers? Haven't we been there every single time a nation was in need? I have long felt we would be better served by the notion that charity begins at home.

The welfare system in the US has so very little to do with the welfare in other countries. The generations on welfare in the US have no intention of making a better life for themselves - which I feel is the true meaning of The American Dream. Work hard, save your money, buy your own spot of earth, anything is possible - that's what The American Dream means to me.

Hunter knew that...after all.

JMHO


Last edited by CarrieKY on Sat Oct 01, 2005 9:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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