“I am an American.” Rachel Cutler
What does this statement mean to you? Try sifting through all the political and economic propaganda. What do we think this means to the rest of the world? Can you steer clear of a muddled, lengthy answer? Can you deliver something compressed, convincing, and to the point? Now check with your neighbor. Do they have the same answer?
THIS COUNTRY IS ANYTHING BUT SIMPLE. There is no easy explanation as to what an American can identify with culturally. It was built upon great acts by people who had clearly defined beliefs. That isn’t to say that people of the same measure haven’t contributed to this country’s vast history, but what a great act means has become messy and confusing. Who, in the American culture, do we look up to today? Who are the American icons?
We the people… used
to know exactly who we were. We didn’t question our rights, beliefs, or our identity. We weren’t embarrassed, or ashamed to say “I am an American”, and we certainly did not let other countries define our identity for us. We were a “Take It Or Leave It” group of united individuals, and proud to be that way. Browsing through history, one slogan and it’s
accompanying image surfaces; “I Want You”. Dating back to the War of 1812, this remains one of the most American charged sayings. However, has it stood the test of time, or has it become a dated icon? Can the American culture of today still identify with the same icons of one or two centuries ago? It may very well just be something that defines America’s past.
American culture has experienced a shift in definition. It’s hard to pinpoint when, or why. We now have a desire to hold on to the past in order to try to maintain a sense of cultural self. Too much has changed since our country’s forefathers wrote “The Declaration of Independence” and “The Constitution”.
We can’t apply all the same icons with our country’s beliefs and firmly convince ourselves and others that it is what being an American is about. It’s not that American culture isn’t booming, because it is. What people often forget is that change is one of the main things our country was founded on. Once the sole idea of change is embraced, then the people can finally find their lost and forgotten American identities, and keep a firm hold on them.
It is time to focus on where America as a united people is right now and where it is going. That is not to say that the past should be forgotten. Where would our culture be without our past? Americans should hold â€œtimes gone byâ€? very close to us, like in a scrapbook. However, the past should not be the sole foundation any longer. Through tools provided by design, our current and future identity can take its place.
Our cultural identity is there, it just needs to be edited, sorted through, and molded into the clear definition that American people need. I want nothing more than to be able to declare â€œI am an Americanâ€?, and be completely confident, knowledgeable, and proud in doing so. Let this be the first of many things that the American people can agree upon when it comes to the identity of this culture.
TERMS TO CONSIDER (other than American)
THE AMERICAN DREAM
CULTURAL IDENTITY MEDIA
ROCK STAR > MUSIC
UNITED STATES CULTURE
D O ORIGINALITY M E S T I C
AMERICAN ROCK MUSIC ELVIS - HENDRIX
AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC TRADITION
PREVIOUS PROJECTS Anna Kövecses’s theoretical redesign of American Airlines
By Knockout Studio
Miller High Life Logo
DESIGN PROPOSAL Through this thesis my goal is to awaken the American people to the problem of their unclear American Identity. Doing a re-branding of the country is the best way I see fit to acheive this goal. Even if my rebranding of the country is not what â€œthe peopleâ€? want, it will at least bring attention to the problem. Putting the change in motion is my main focus presently.