100% American

Our solid American citizen awakens in a bed built on a pattern which originated in the Near East but which was modified in Northern Europe before it was transmitted to America. He throws back covers made of cotton, domesticated in India, or linen, domesticated in the Near East, or wool from sheep, also domesticated in the Near East, or silk , the use of which was discovered in China. All of these materials have been spun and woven by processes invented in the Near East. He slips into his moccasins, invented by the Indians of the Eastern woodlands, and goes to the bathroom, whose fixtures are a mixture of European and American inventions, both of recent date. He takes off his pajamas, a garment invented in India, and washes with soap invented by teh ancient Gauls. He then shaves, a masochistic rite which seems to have been derived from either the Sumer or ancient Egypt.

Returning to the bedroom, he removes his clothes from a chair of southern European type and proceeds to dress. He puts on garments whose form originally derived from the skin clothing of the nomads of the Asiatic steppes, puts on shoes mde from skins tanned by a process invented in ancient Egypt and cut to a pattern derived from the classical civilizations of the Mediterranean , and ties around his neck a strip of bright-colored cloth which is vestigial survival of the shoulder brawls worn by the seveteenth-century Croatians. Before going out for breakfast he glances through the window, made of glass invented in Egypt, and if it is raining puts on overshoes made of rubber discovered by by the Central American Indians and takes an umbrella, invented in southeastern Asia. Upon his head he puts on a hat made of felt, a material invented in the Asiatic steppes.

On his way to breakfast he stops to buy a paper, paying for it with coins, an ancient Lydian invention. At the restaurant a whole new series of borrowed elements confronts him. His plate is made of a form of pottery invented in China. His knife is of steel, an allow first made in southern India, his fork a medieval Italian invention, and his spoon a derivative of a Roman original. He begins breakfast with an orange, from the eastern Mediterranean, a canteloupe from Persia, or perhaps a piece of African watermellon. With this he has coffee, an Abyssinian plant, with cream and sugar. Both the domestication of cows and the idea of milking them originated in the Near East, while sugar was first made in India. After his fruit and first coffee, he goes on to waffles, cakes made by a Scandinavian technique from wheat domesticated in Asia Minor. Over these he pours maple syrup, invented by the Indians of the Eastern woodlands. As a side dish he may have the egg of a species of bird domesticated in Indo-China, or thin strips of the flesh of an animal domesticated in Eastern Asia which have been salted and smoked by a process developed in northern Europe.

When our friend has finished eating he settles back to smoke , an American Indian habit, consuming a plant domesticated in Brazil in either a pipe, derived from the Indians of Virgina, or even attempt a cigarette, derived from Mexico. If he is hardy enough he may even attempt a cigar, transmitted to us from the Antilles by way of Spain. While smoking he reads teh news of the day, imprinted in characters invented by the ancient Semites upon a material invented in China by a process invented in Germany. As he absorbs the accounts of foreign troubles he will , if he is a good conservative citizen, thank a Hebrew deity in an Indo-European language that he is 100 per cent American.

  • Ralph Linton, The study of Man, an Introduction, pp326-327. Published in 1936.

That doesn’t say much. Most of these countries have been around for thousands of years longer than America has, so of course they invented more things. Not to mention that your 100% American is a descendant of Europeans in any case (and nowadays America’s one of the most multicultural nations in the world anyway). Does that make him less American? No, because the culture of America is different from that of most of the nations mentioned here. Even if America didn’t invent these things, nowadays they produce a heck of a lot of incredibly useful things that are used and imported all over the world (and pop culture’s a biggie).

Besides, a whole slough of the things mentioned here are used or done worldwide, so you could substitute “American” for almost any civilized country and a whole lot of not-so-civilized ones, provided you edit the list a bit.


Read the bottom Cid.

Anyway, you missed the point. Its about how the “American” way of life is not unique, distinct and did not originate in the USA.

i’m too lazy to read all this, can someone give me the gist of it?

Read the damn thing, its funny you lazy bum.

alright, i got around to it…

best thing i’ve read today.

i probably shouldn’t point this out, but you spelled “virginia” wrong…:o

I think that’s a pretty amusing story. I think that’s one of the things I like about being American, taking ideas from all around the world and somehow making them our own.

Kind of confusing but i got the point, and it’s not far from the truth either.

Originally posted by SoulDivider
I think that’s a pretty amusing story. I think that’s one of the things I like about being American, taking ideas from all around the world and somehow making them our own.

Plagiarising isn’t something to be proud of, son 8P. And the Japanese learned to take foreign technology and work it their way before the Americans were Americans. Example: the Japanese writing system.

Interesting I must say.

Originally posted by Sinistral
Plagiarising isn’t something to be proud of, son 8P.

Actually, Sin, you can’t truly plagiarize a way of life. Besides, every single damn type of culture is already taken; the US just took about seven million from all the masses of immigrants that entered the country and melted it into a single culture that became “US Culture”. We can’t be called “indo-european” because there are aspects in our lives that are most noticibly NOT indo-european.

we’re getting things from all these other countries because all of america is either immigrants or descendants of immigrants, really.

Plagiarizing is taking an idea which isn’t yours and saying it is.

Interesting read. I read a similar thing in my Economics textbook about “American made” products.

And does no one find it ironic that ancient France invented soap? :stuck_out_tongue:

it’s called a global economy. It’s a compliment to be a place where everything is so widely integrated without qualm.

This is obviously directed at the people who walk around going “we hate everything foreign made 'cause we are the proud Americans! etc etc”

Anyway, it was really funny when our anthro teacher read it. You guys suck :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m amazed at how everything I say is always misinterpreted. I must be really nebulous.

It has nothing to do with you being nebulous. It has to do with people being blind.

I will now help everyone by saying “helloooo… do you know what a parody is?”


Refined humor is beyond these people -_-;; bye bye thread, it was a good attempt. huggles the emotionally scarred thread