What Makes America Great (Pt 4/6): American Culture

One of the things that makes America great is its culture. American culture permeates life here and abroad.

From music to movies, from art to literature, from fashion to food, from television to sports, American culture has had a huge impact throughout the world.   

American Literature and Writers

Here is a partial list of some great and internationally recognized American writers, 12 of whom won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne 1804 – 1864 (Scarlet Letter, House of Seven Gables)
  • Edgar Allan Poe 1809 –1849 (The Raven, Annabel Lee, Tell-tale Heart)
  • Herman Melville 1819 – 1891 (Moby Dick)
  • Walt Whitman 1819-1892 (Leaves of Grass)
  • Emily Dickinson 1830 – 1886 (1800 Poems)
  • Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 (Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Roughing It)
  • Henry James 1843 – 1916 (Portrait of a Lady, The Ambassadors)
  • T.S. Eliot 1888 – 1965 (Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Four Quartets)
  •  F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896-1940 (Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night)
  • William Faulkner 1897 –1962 (The Sound and the Fury, Absalom Absalom)
  • Tennessee Williams 1911-1983 (Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)
  • Arthur Miller 1915 – 2005 (Death of a Salesman, The Crucible)
  • Joseph Heller 1923 – 1999 (Catch 22)
  • Ernest Hemingway 1899 – 1961 (The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms)
  • Toni Morrison 1931 – 2019 (Songs of Solomon, The Bluest Eye)
  • Flannery O’Connor 1925 – 1964 (Wise Blood, Violent Bear if Away)
  • John Steinbeck 1902 – 1968 (Grapes of Wrath, The Pearl, Of Mice and Men)
  • John Updike 1923 – 2009 (“Rabbit” series, Rabbit Run, Rabbit Redux)
  • Kurt Vonnegut 1922 – 2007 (Slaughterhouse Five, Cat’s Cradle)
  • Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) (Fahrenheit 451, Illustrated Man, Martian Chronicles)

American Art and Artists

Here is a partial list of great American artists:

  • Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828) (Portraits)
  • James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) (Tonalism)
  • Mary Cassatt (1844–1926) (Impressionism)
  • John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) (Portraits, Watercolors)
  • Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) (American Modernism)
  • Jackson Pollock (1912–1956) (Drip Painting)
  • Andy Warhol (1928–1987) (Pop Art)
  • Alexander Calder (1898-1976) (Sculpture)
  • Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) (Commercial Artist)
  • Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) (Cubism and Abstract Expressionism)
  • Edward Hopper (1882-1967) (American Realism)
  • Mark Rothko (1903-1970) (Color Field Painting)
  • Keith Haring (1958-1990) (Murals/Cartooning)
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat (1980-1988) (Neo-expressionism)

American Movies

Best Musical Movies Worldwide (American made):

  • Singin in the Rain
  • West Side Story
  • Wizard of Oz
  • Sound of Music
  • Mary Poppin,
  • The King and I
  • My Fair Lady
  • Funny Girl
  • Grease

Most Popular/Top Grossing Movies Worldwide (American made):

  • Avengers
  • Avatar
  • Titanic
  • Star Wars
  • Jurassic Park

Best Movies Worldwide (mostly American made):

  • Citizen Kane (1941)
  • Casablanca (1942)
  • The Godfather (1972)
  • Gone with the Wind (1939)
  • Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • Schindler’s List (1993)
  • Singing in the Rain (1952)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  • Star Wars (1977)
  • The African Queen (1951)
  • Psycho (1960)
  • The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • The Maltese Falcon (1941)
  • E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

American Television

Most Popular TV Shows (mostly American made):

  • I Love Lucy
  • Gunsmoke
  • Bonanza
  • All in the Family
  • The Cosby Show
  • Dallas
  • Seinfeld
  • American Idol
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
  • Friends

“Best” Television Shows (mostly American made)

  • The Sopranos
  • Breaking Bad
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Twilight Zone
  • The Simpsons
  • Seinfeld
  • Lost
  • The Office
  • Star Trek
  • The West Wing
  • All in the Family
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Friends
  • Deadwood
  • The X Files 

American Fashion

Most Influential Fashion Designers (many Americans):

  • Tom Ford
  • Donna Karan
  • Vera Wang
  • Diane von Furstenberg
  • Oscar de la Renta
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Halston
  • Calvin Klein
  • Tommy Hilfiger

American Fashion Innovations

  • Jeans
  • Nylons stockings
  • Leather jacket
  • Zipper
  • Sneakers

American Music

American Musical Genres

  • Spiritual
  • Blues
  • Jazz
  • Country
  • Rock and Roll
  • Hip Hop
  • Blue Grass
  • Rhythm and Blues
  • Gospel
  • Disco

Top American Musicals

  • West Side Story
  • Hamilton
  • Sound of Music
  • Wicked
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Grease
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Hello Dolly!
  • My Fair Lady
  • Hair Spray
  • Annie
  • Oklahoma!
  • South Pacific
  • King and I
  • The Music Man
  • Funny Girl
  • Flower Drum Song
  • Guys and Dolls
  • Annie Get Your Gun

American Composers and Song Writers

Partial list of some of America’s greatest and most famous composers (symphonies, classical, movie scores, musical scores), song writers (rock, country)

  • Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story, Mass, Candide)
  • John Williams (Star Wars, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
  • Igor Stravinsky (Requiem Canticles, Soldiers Tale, Symphony of Psalms)
  • Elmer Bernstein (Magnificent Seven, Great Escape, To Kill a Mockingbird, True Grit)
  • George Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue, Porgy and Bess, An American in Paris)
  • Aaron Copland (Appalachian Spring, Third Symphony, Of Mice and Men)
  • Charles Ives (Fourth Symphony, Holiday Symphony, Three Places in New England)
  • Stephen Foster (Beautiful Dreamer, Camp Town Ladies, Oh Susanna, Swanee River)
  • Bob Dylan (Like a Rolling Stone, Just Like a Woman, Mr. Tambourine Man)
  • Paul Simon (Bridge Over Troubles Water, Sounds of Silence, Graceland)
  • Irving Berlin (Puttin on the Ritz, Blue Skies, White Christmas, God Bless America, Annie Get Your Gun, Alexander’s Ragtime Band)
  • Richard Rogers (Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, Sound of Music, Flower Drum Song)
  • Henry Mancini (Pink Panther, Days of Wine and Roses, Moon River, Peter Gunn)
  • Barry Manilow (Mandy, Copacabana, Could It Be Music, Famous Ad Jingles)

The Top 15 Music Artists (Rolling Stone Magazine; mostly American*)

  • Beatles #1
  • Bob Dylan* #2
  • Elvis Presley* #3
  • Rolling Stones #4
  • Chuck Berry* #5
  • Jimi Hendrix* #6
  • James Brown* #7
  • Little Richard* #8
  • Aretha Franklin* #9
  • Ray Charles* #10
  • Bob Marley* #11
  • Beach Boys* #12
  • Buddy Holly* #13
  • Led Zeppelin* 14
  • Stevie Wonder* #15

American English Language

Because of America’s influence (economic, military, scientific, medical, cultural) the English language has become the predominant language of the planet. English is the most widely spoken language in the world ahead of Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. English is spoken in 101 countries, while Arabic is spoken in 60, French in 51, Chinese in 33, and Spanish in 31.

English has become the international language of:

  • business
  • diplomacy
  • science
  • medicine
  • aviation
  • navigation
  • international communication
  • Internet
  • Olympic games

American Sports

  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Lacrosse
  • Rodeo
  • Skateboarding
  • Snowboarding
  • MMA
  • Volleyball/Beach Volleyball
  • Handball
  • Kickball
  • Racquetball
  • Softball
  • Stock car racing
  • Surfing
  • Ultimate

American Foods

  • Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers
  • Hot Dogs
  • Philly Cheese Steak
  • Reuben Sandwich
  • Nachos
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • BLT
  • Barbecue ribs
  • Buffalo wings
  • S’mores
  • New England Clam Chowder
  • Popcorn
  • Baked Beans
  • Peanut Butter Sandwich
  • Fortune Cookie
  • Potato chips
  • Meatloaf
  • Chicken fried Steak
  • Biscuits and gravy
  • Jambalaya
  • Cornbread
  • Jerky
  • Fajitas
  • Twinkies
  • Pot roast
  • San Francisco Sourdough bread
  • Key lime pie
  • Tater Tots
  • Macaroni and cheese

American International Food Chains

  • McDonald’s has about 38,000 restaurants in 120 countries, which serve 68 million customers each day.
  • Starbucks, world-famous coffeehouse chain, has over 31,000 stores in 76 countries.
  • KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) has more than 24,000 KFC restaurants in over 145 countries.
  • Burger King operates over 13,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.
  • Wendy’s has more than 6,500 restaurants in 29 countries.

Conclusion

The breadth and depth of American culture is phenomenal. It pervades our lives and permeates the planet. No other country can compare. American culture is a source of entertainment, inspiration, and enlightenment. Because of American culture we are all greatly enriched. American culture is another reason why America is great.

(Other articles at: londonedition.home.blog or http://www.londonedition.net)

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