We were in english today disscusing the american dream and this is what my friend had to say. “We think the American Dream is being rich and famous but its not. Like its before that. You achieve it before you get millions of dollars. Its like the chance everyone wants a chance just one shot, ya know. So the money and fame is just a bonus. So yeah you get it before.”
What do you guys think the american dream means and what does it mean to achieve it?
@simple7enigma, I have never, ever heard somebody use ‘American Dream’ with a straight face or in a serious context. Only ever in a sarcastic manner to laugh at those who think they deserve fame and money with the click of a finger.
For me, the American Dream encapsulates everything that is wrong with the American culture (and British); being famous and rich, no matter how you ‘earn’ the cash. In other words, consumerism and capitalism bundled together to form some narcissistic culture to be followed by those stupid enough to do so.
The American Dream should be about the poorer/less-educated/less-fortunate/refugees being given a fair opportunity and a fair chance in becoming more educated to result in a ‘comfortable’ (shelter, food) standard of living. Fame and masses of fortune should have nothing to do with it.
I am a Primary School Teacher in England and when I met my most recent classroom for the first time, I asked every single child what they would like to be when they ‘were older.’ I was shocked and appalled to hear some children, as young as 8, to hear that they wanted to be stars of a reality TV or a celebrity ‘like those you see on TV.’
I suppose the point I’m trying to make is the ‘American Dream’ means something different, depending on your situation. For those fortunate to have been brought up with enough money to do more than provide the necessities, their ‘dream’ would be to have more than they already have; to have more money, more popularity. For those who aren’t as fortunate, they may view the ‘American Dream’ as an opportunity to work in a foreign country to be able to provide the necessities which their ‘homeland’ couldn’t provide.
Which is why the ‘American Dream’, for me, is a load of bullshit. The term encourages the fortunate to become over-indulgent and selfish. And, on the other hand, it sends lies to the less fortunate as we all know the American system does as little as it can to help people make the step-up in class (the lower-class moving up to middle-class, for example).
Maybe that’s my cynical, naive view. But I hope it helps haha!
@simple7enigma, I think the American Dream is supposed to be that people have the opportunity to make a life for themselves, they way they see fit. This is something that is impossible in many countries due to political systems, excessive poverty, war, out of control disease, etc. The American Dream basically paints the rest of the world as a nightmare and America as the only place you have a shot at getting some peace of mind and life.
Is this a fair assessment?
I’m think this may have been true in the past, but I’m doubting whether America has as much to offer as it used to. It seems like now many people view the American Dream as becoming wildly rich, which says something about the direction our culture has been going….
I always thought the American Dream was about how in America, you don’t have to be extremely rich (or at least you didn’t use to have to be) in order to have a pretty good life here. You know, a house, car, family, vacations, etc. – the basics, like how most people think the ’50s were about. Like when most people were immigrating over here back in the day, they were moving from countries where people were either peasants or nobles, and over here we used to have the middle class. Guess that’s on the way out though. Also, the American Dream to me is about how, at least on paper, upward class mobility can happen here, as opposed to the older countries where you had to be born into the nobility or else you were stuck as pretty much a slave. I find it really ironic that so many of our leaders want to do away with the middle class, which is if you ask me one of our best successes.
Here’s an excerpt from a website i found:
The Origins of the American Dream
Historian James Truslow Adams often receives credit for first popularizing the idea of the American dream. In his 1931 book “The Epic of America,” Adams described “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.
In my opinion, the original vision of the American dream has vanished. Sure, America still has many ways that someone could “make it”, and probably more so than most places in the world, but we are not the top country anymore. Depending on what your definition of a top country is at least.
There was a vast amount of opportunity here because most of the land had not been touched by business minded people. The country was like an untapped resource of lumber, gold, etc.The people that started these businesses became immensely rich. Now that companies have taken hold of these resources, most of the great opportunity is gone. Think of America like a small garden. When it is only dirt, there are immense opportunities for any kind of plant to grow. Once a plant/plants have taken hold of the plot, the likelihood that a different plant can enter this plot greatly diminishes. There are a couple people who have made fortunes off of the American dream, but in my opinion there isn’t much room for any others to do the same.