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Recently I rolled across an article at the Guardian about pop-princess Rihanna. She said something at the end that caught my eye: “The American way is a fantasy. All they care in life is bling and luxury cars.” I thought this was odd, considering she was in Europe, and Europe practically gave America luxury: from cars like Mercedes to brands like Chanelle. And the German government buys S-Class cars for its officials, which are absolutely decadent!

Then I did some more reading though, and it seems her opinion is not the only one on the same lines. From Japan to Singapore, Chile to Costa Rica, Capetown to Dubai, Istanbul to London, that seems to be a consensus of sorts: Americans only care for “bling” and expensive things. We are a country of funless wrecks with money on our minds and poor grades.

I know there are people like that in America, and hip hop culture (by extent therefor, American culture) does give off that aura. Yet here I sit, one of millions of American college students
who is flat out bored all the time not because I do not like to have fun but because all the old people have made any form of partying practically taboo. I strive for good grades, and would like to do fun things if not for restrictions made by law.

And to say that America is pre-occupied with wealth and “bling” I think is stupid. Maybe in hip hop culture sure, but I am not the only college student in America! I am not the only one who has seen pictures of Dubai, London, Prague, and Caracas! There to you find people who drive Porsche, wear Armani, and have big houses too!

I think the part that hurts is where I see that critism coming from. Rihanna is rich, wears expensive clothing, can afford to travel to Europe and eat at Da Silvano, yet complains about us being preoccupied with wealth. In France it strikes me how some of the critics of America drive a Mercedes and wear Chanelle.

What are these critics on about?
Ok, this was not about other cultures emulating America: if you look at our history, we, like everywhere else, are a mixture of cultures that come together in a pseudo-unique style.

No, what I am asking is where does the perception that America is pre-occupied with wealth come from? Is it just that we supposedly have it? Is it because what is actually a common class difference, even one that can be overcome, is seen as a cultural set?

It might also be a good idea to ask what other people truly consider to be the United States. I think most American intellectuals realize this country is more or less one of the least stable experiments ever created by a world view, but what about the rest of the world?