Nov 10, 2008 - USA    23 Comments

The American way of life !!!

A couple of months back; I was attending school in Europe and was snoozing in the class when my reverie was broken by the whole class breaking into laughter. I asked the girl sitting next to me and she said that someone made a joke about Americans and their obsession with fast food. I smiled and thought, there goes a couple of ‘super size me’ jokes. Please remember, it was back in September 2008, before Barrak Obama got elected and people were still ridiculing United States of America for all things ludicrous.

I wanted to go back to dozing off, but one of the American guys said something which woke me up, and a few others, fully. He said that Americans eat more fast food than the rest of the world because they work harder than everyone and don’t get time to make home cooked meals. He actually believed that eating fast food is an “American way of life” because they are so damn hard working.

I literally bristled and said that the rest of us work as hard as Americans, at times harder, but still cant make enough to get two square meals a day, so please don’t give the hard-working-Americans-eating-burgers-because-they-cant-make-salads argument because it is stupid. Again, back in September, it was almost politically correct to crack jokes about Americans being stupid (how the world changes and so fast). My friend Maja and I laughed at the ‘American way of life’ comment for the next three days.

A few years ago, I was out shopping with girl friends in Toronto when some American high schoolers (yes, I checked, they were Americans and on a school trip) broke into a food fight at the food court of that shopping mall. In a couple of minutes, everyone joined in. A doughnut flew dangerously close to my head but I decided not to take part in the food fight and ducked. When I lamented the fact that so much food was wasted in a few minutes, I was told that it was “the American way of life” (yes one of my friends there was from United States).

Last night, while browsing through ‘The Independent’, I saw Joan Smith’s comment where she said that Obama might be enlightened, but a liberal, he is not. She quoted Obama verbatim where he said, “We need Christians on Capitol Hill, Jews on Capitol Hill and Muslims on Capitol Hill” to oppose taxes which favour the rich. In her words, Obama was calling for ‘an injection of morality’ in the political debate as though believers have a monopoly on fairness and justice.

She further cited research conducted by University of Minnesota which claims that Atheists are the most despised people in the USA, way ahead of Muslims, homosexuals and Jews. They are regarded as “a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public” and almost half the country wouldn’t vote for an atheist as president.

I am sorta confused. What is truly the American way of life? Is it eating more fast food than the rest of the world, getting engaged in more fights (food fight as well as real fights that drains their economy and has a humongous collateral damage) than the rest or being more centre-right than the rest of the Western world?

Is “American way of life” that radically different from the rest of the planet that it needs to be emphasized time and again or the current economic melt down would force the Americans to live more frugally (responsibly)???

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23 Comments

  • well as they say in lil britain… most americans stay in america all their lives… and the rest of the world is thankful for that!!!

    lol…

    i still think nothin has changed… obama or no obama… i will still think 90% americans to be burger eatin extra cheese upsizing muscle car driving people… and i still think thats the politically correct definition of the american way of life !

  • “I want”.

    Thats it.

  • Uncle Sam has always been pretty smug about this….Remember President Bush(Senior) at the Rio Earth Summit back in ’92??? “The American way of life is non-negotiable” and other such horse manure……

  • Well, as an American, currently living in India all I can say is that all of the above and yes so much more is true about America. Yes, Americans waste food, but they also go out of their way to give food to the hungry and help in whatever way they can. Yes, there are Americans who don’t know how to handle Atheists, but they also don’t know how to handle Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, etc. America is diverse. You will find all types, personalities, preferences and peoples. America is not Nebraska, or Texas, or California. It is all of these places. One of the reasons that Obama was so clearly elected was that he represents this new, younger and DIVERSE America. To me, this is “The American way of Life”. Diversity and acceptance of such.

    Bush has never represented all or even a majority or Americans. Never. He has just embarrassed us.

    As for the fast food, those who eat fast food the most are those who live in the inner cities of the US and have little money and less time. They do work long hours, multiple jobs and such. Fast food is cheap and calorie laden, it is a quick easy meal when one doesn’t have the time or energy to cook a meal. Mind you- I am not defending fast food! Can’t stand the stuff myself.

  • Now youre talking! 😉

  • Well said Cindy, I agree with you.
    I hate studies. I dont agree with them. American way of life that I have learnt in the past five years is pretty much live and let live, agree to disagree and Live for the weekends. But when it really matters voice your opinions.
    I have never seen food fights, not even at school:(

  • I came back to your blog after a long time.. and found this to be a nice article! Among the Pakistani blogs have been a regular at Rubab’s Pak-times.com and Ghazala’s Pakspectator.com apart from Pak Tea House of Raza.

    US is as much of a contradiction as India is. Any society with diversity will have contradictions.. so I find it encouraging.

    Cheers,
    Desh
    drishtikone.com

  • lol..it is funny and i know you said it all so that it comes across that way…relax people ,nobody really cares what americans do with food,we have a number of problems of our own to sort out!
    you find diversity everywhere where two people get together,humor is the best way to get to the heart of the problem ,sounds better than “preaching” virtues anyway!

  • WTF!? Athetists more hated them muslims?!

    damn you america, you take THAT away from us too?!

    🙁

  • ‘The American Way’. Three words used to explain away any idiocy or misbehaviour by Americans. That’s all it seems to me.

  • believers vs disbelievers. Theists vs atheists. The cosmic war of ideas, dogmas, philosophies, emotions. Of course, when the majority of people are believers, why would they vote for disbelievers. Vice versa should be true as well.

  • I think it’s “great” when Americans feel the need to remind the world that they are so many citizens and how diverse their country is, as if they are unique somehow.

  • They know truly how to enjoy their lives…..I admire them….What you witnessed that might be accidental….

  • Kadri, don’t get me wrong, I never said or implied that other countries were not diverse. There are other countries that are just as diverse as America. I was just trying to say that to me, based on MY life and MY experience,that this diversity and the general acceptance of such, is what defines the “American way of Life”.

    And for the record, I have witnessed a food fight. 7th grade. I hid under the table.

  • I agree with Cindy. America is truly a melting pot, a place where you can see people of all colours and religion. Yes, racism and Islamophobia and anti-anything can be witnessed but it truly is a great country where people can practise their religion freely and state their opinion without being persecuted.
    Kadri, if Pakistan was a bit more tolerant and more accepting of other religions, people of different statures and colour, we wouldn’t have such wide class differences, suicide bombers and fair-and-lovely =)

  • Oh and please don’t get me wrong. I’m a Pakistani and true at heart. I accept my country for what it is and I fight for it. But it also gives me the right to state what’s wrong and how we can improve it.

  • I agree with you YH.

    Those among us who fear Pakistan may break up because of its diversity and vast cultural, social and economic differences among the various classes etc, should look at how diverse some other nations are. There surely are lessons to be learned.

    But I don’t see much of a benefit in studying or criticizing the Americans or American way of doing things unless and untill their actions don’t affect me (you know what i mean 😉 ).

    During a recent visit of Imran Khan – Chairman PTI – to the US, a US senator asked Imran, ‘so what should we do for Pakistan?’
    Imran bluntly replied ‘we want you to do NOTHING for us.’

    So, dear Americans, stay away from us, live and let others live and enjoy your American way of life (whatever this term means).

    Request: And, if I could say so, please stop bombing us with planes which have no pilots inside them. To see robotic jets (can’t recall the right term for such monster machines) killing our civilians is a little insulting 🙁

  • Well this is all what America is about…
    they just creat a phenomenon and tell people this is the american way… regardless of the fact how empty it is…

  • Its about freedom, to live as you want to eat as you want to and die as you want to.

    Its about opportunity…the son of an immigrant from Kenya can become the president…

    Lastly its about the democratic ideals that the founders of that nation described and laid down for them..which let a winning Obama declare on the victory podium what a great man Mc cain is and how he would like to work with him.

    That is the American way…these days its hated yeh but I have seen people go in that country from 0 to hero in 5 or so years with nothing to back them but their hard work and ingenuity. The country is diverse, accepting and safeguards its citizens security to the best of its abilities.

    So no i do not agree that it is empty, it has been misguided off late but its still pretty soul jarring stuff.

    Instead of criticizing the American way of life how’s about one of us write what the Pakistani way of life is all about…shall we examine that premise?

  • I think this insane behavior and attitude has something related with the age factor as well.

  • People,
    Calm down.
    Please try to read my post again.
    I never said anything bad about America, nor do I mean that it is empty. The country that has produced maximum number of Nobel laureates cannot be called one. I just pointed out that American appear arrogant to outsiders and by outsiders I mean people who live in other parts of the world and not the immigrant population that has made USA there home.
    I also stand by my argument that majority of Americans are insular, whether you like it or not but they always measure everything and every place with American standards. No one else in the world do that.

  • Cindy, I wasn’t talking about you. To be honest I didn’t even read your comment.

    I was talking about the American attitude in general. When ever the Americans do something that they think is good they stand united, when ever something is bad then it’s because they are a great diversity and we are not allowed see them as one unit. Still, the rest of the world is measured as one unit and is held up to American standards and thinking by Americans with no concern of the great diversity that exists in the rest of the world.

  • “I am sorta confused. What is truly the American way of life? Is it eating more fast food than the rest of the world, getting engaged in more fights (food fight as well as real fights that drains their economy and has a humongous collateral damage) than the rest or being more centre-right than the rest of the Western world?”

    No Tazeen you are not saying anything at all lol!!

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