Tuesday, 26 October 2010


I have chosen a group that needs np introduction, this group was notiorious throughout America. Even now in a multicultural America this group is still remembered. The group I have chosen is the KKK. This group is now concidered to be 'outside the norm' of the AMerican contemporary thought. With extreme views this Party was extremely right wing and even advocated violance and even openly admitted to fighting for 'white supremacy' The group was strongest in the late 1860's and was mainly situated in the South.

The KKK are instantly recognizable from their forms of attire, they were the long white robes, face masks and the iconic pointy white hat. Although the group essentially died 10 years later in the 1870's small minorities of people continue to promote thier views across America.

In 2010 America could be concidered to be on eof the most Diverse countries in America. This mean sthat the country has and this must be stressed OVER TIME come to accept diversity and multiculturalism. Therefore rendering the KKK and thier right wing views outside the 'ideological norm'

On the KKK website 'www.kkk.com' the websites main aim is for 'POLITICAL POWER'. The website states how they aim to do this:

  • Become the leader of the White racialist movement
  • Strive to become the representative and driving force behind the White Community
  • Organize and direct white people to a level of activism necessary to bring about a political victory

To conclude this is a very small group and does not by any stretch of the imagination represent more than a miorties view of how society and race should be. The group is still exremly right wing and thier view and proposed legislation is simply a utopia and could never be made into legislation. However the group still gains publicity which rightly or wrongly still makes people aware of the group itself

I have chosen to look at the website of the programme 'Extreme Makeover Home Edition' to represent the exceptional and typically American. It is a television series providing home renovations for less fortunate families, created by ABC. It has stormed onto UK television, providing us with ideals of American life. Going from having nothing to everything, it shows how families that have had heartache and a troubled life can be turned around and brought happiness.

I think this programme relates to De Crevecouer's idea of the new and exceptional as typically American. A quote from De Crevecouer's letters from and american farmer; "He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his antient prejudices and manners, recieves new ones from the mode of life he obeys, and the new rank he holds.". The programme relates to the quote because it represents the families leaving behind all their troubles and bad memorys to start a fresh. Being given that chance of a new life, different from any other you have had previously and unlike any other you are likely to get.

I think this programme carries on this vision of America as new and exceptional because each episode creates a new beginning. It shows the people of the World the idealised vision of America and it also proves that America today still consists of the same values of hard work and labour for reward as stated in De Crevecouer's letters from an American farmer.     

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Accounts of Jacques Cartier


The account I found when researching is that of Jacques Cartier, a French explorer who claimed what is now Canada for France. In his account he writes that they departed from the port of S.Malo on 20th April 1534 with two ships and sixty one men in each one. He writes that on 21st May they hoisted sail North of Buona Vista to the 'Island of Birds'. He goes on to describe them in great detail and with such passion:"Some of the which are as big as jayes, blacke and white, with beaks like unto crowes". However, he then writes that in less than half an hour they loaded two boats full of them which they used for food, which seems strange because the way he writes about them is that they are fascinating creatures to be admired.

When travelling in the land of White Sand they came across inhabitants, of which he describes as: "there are men of an indifferent good stature and bignesse, but wildeand unruly:they weare their haire tied on the top like a wreath of hay; a put a wooden pinne within it, or any other such thing instead of a naile, a with them they binde certaine birdes feathers". He describes the natives in such detail and writes that they actually live on the mainland but they come out of the hotter country to catch the seals and other necessaties to live on. He describes the natives with such interest and fascination, obviously he would have never come across people like them before. Their traditions and how they look would have all been new to him and the way he writes about them is as if they are out of the ordinary and different, however he does not describe them as savages or animals but as inhabitants of the land. 

Through his account, he writes about the land in great detail, describing everything about it so that we can understand what he has seen. From what I have read they searched through much of the land not leaving any part untouched and interacted with the native people, exchanging gifts and learning parts of their language(some of which is translated at the end of his account). 

Contact with Native Americans: Schmid VS Indians

The account of first contact with the Native American Indians during the exploration of the new world is from Frederick Schmid who was one of the first German Lutheran pastor and his letters describe contact with native Americans, the account goes on to describe how Frederick Schmid took a alternate approach to the native Americans compared to the generalised European view of them as nothing more than savage animals.

instead Frederick Schmid's letters go onto describe how he found their culture fascinating and rather than fearing the native Americans he admired them. Frederick Schmid eventually became a pastor and took it upon himself to teach his congregation to admire the Native American in the way that he did after coming into contact with an Ottawa Tribe in Detroit.

despite Frederick Schmid positive encounters with the native American most of the time contact between 'the white man' and the native American ended in conflict. another account i have found is from the perspective of a native American who's village was burned down in front of him/her. the account describes how the 'white man' went from tent to tent burning all their possessions as the Indians were forced to watch. the account ends with the quotation "The White Man proved himself to be the savage one."

From this account we are able to establish the barbarity of initial contact with the native americans particularly from the perspective of a native american, this is important as we have not until recent years (1970+) seen the attrocities committed by the native settlers as we are often only given the portrayal of native americans as savages who are then slain by heroic cowboys in typical western movies and this is the amount of exposure alot of people will have to the events that occured in the early settlement of north America. Although i believe this account to be after initial settlement had began, when europeans had a firm grasp on the land and were interested mainly in the conquest of the Frontier in order to gain new land, this account does give us an alternate view of what happened during the genocide of the Native American indians to what we see in movies and their interpretation of this era.

http://www.artsofcitizenship.umich.edu/sos/topics/german/schmidinteraction.html - Schmid account.
http://www.artsofcitizenship.umich.edu/sos/topics/native/early.html#burning - Native American Account.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


This website tells us a lot about the German opinion of the American's, especially their view towards the American military and it's past choices as well as their opinion towards America's Presidents. It informs us that 48% of Germans think that the United States is more dangerous than Iran with only 31% believing the opposite. Young Germans in particular, with 57% of 18 to 29 year-olds, consider the US more dangerous than the religious regime in Iran.
With a reference to American President Bush in the photographic image on the page saying that "Bush Bashing" is something of a national sport in Germany helps us to see just how much the Germans dislike the United States or, more likely, President George W, Bush.
This site in question shows us that the German people genuinely see the US as a greater threat to world peace than Iran and references back to 19th Century authors in order to back this point up. They even refer to the Americans as "Inherently evil". The article that this website consists of hugely stereotypical views of Americans;

"For us Germans, the Americans are either too fat or too obsessed with exercise, too prudish or too pornographic, too religious or too nihilistic. In terms of history and foreign policy, the Americans have either been too isolationist or too imperialistic. They simply go ahead and invade foreign countries and then abandon them, the way they did in Vietnam and will soon do in Iraq."

This shows the Germans to have a very closed opinion of the Americans and shows they are not willing to alter these stereotypes they believe the Americans conform to at all.
However, when studying this site, we must look and consider that the article in question was published 29/03/2007. Therefore we must ask ourselves whether or not the opinions voiced will have differed in any way since this article was written 3 years ago, or whether 3 years is barely any time at all, and therefore can't have altered in the slightest.


The website i have chosen to discuss is www.aljazeera.net, made famous for its coverage of kidnappings during the 2003 Iraq war, the news site is often the first to receive any communications from terrorist groups such as the Taliban and Al Queda. The site is obviously very anti-American in many of its articles even to the point of having a tab on the home page devoted to the Americas. one of the articles i chose to read in order to get an image of this sites view of the USA and the general view of the USA from a middle eastern perspective was "Injustice in the age of Obama"

The article was written by an Iraqi reporter who was arrested for protesting the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. the article is quick to pin the blame for this "Injustice" on Barrack Obama as he is supposed to be a symbol of hope for the USA after the "Tyrannical" reign of George Bush and the columnist discusses how Obama as a former Law Professor should have had a healthy respect for civil liberties but his actions speak otherwise.

This website is able to give us a brief glimpse of the middle-eastern view of the USA and it is apparent that the occurrences of the much considered 'illegal' Iraq war is still hot topic in the peoples opinion and the injustice is still fresh in their minds especially with the ongoing Afghanistan campaign.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Kieran Reynolds Blog 3 Perspectives

The website I have chosen is that of the "Korean friendship association". www.korea-dpr.com. This is a joint website between the association and the North Korean government. North Korea is a highly secretive Communist state and was famously labeled as part of George Bush's "Axel of evil". It has been perceived as a possible threat due to its nuclear weapons programme. Relations between the two countries have been difficult and there is an intense hatred of the USA in North Korea. The North Korean government blame the USA for splitting up their country. There is also the obvious ideological differences. The website claims that USA dominates South Korea and keeps a large amount of solders there to avoid the union of the Korean people. They say that the South of Korea is still controlled by "imperialist interests". They say that no union is possible until the Americans leave Korea. They also claim that the Americans plan to invade the north and use this as the justification of their weapons programme. I personally cannot agree with these statements and believe that the North Korean stance on the USA is more ideological than anything else. North Korea is under a dictatorship and these claims have been made to create hatred of the USA and the capitalist way of life. The media in North Korea is state controlled and the penalties for those who defy the state are severe. Therefore this hatred of the USA is shared by the majority of its citizens.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Kieran Reynolds Blog 2 Map

This map of the USA is highly interesting as it is a strong indicator of the America's economic power. Each state on the Map has been labeled with a country with comparable GDP. What is quite striking is the about of powerful developed countries on the map. France for example has a GDP comparable to California. While California is a big state it is only a small part of America and really shows how powerful the American economy is. It is worth noting though that the map has not weighted for the country and states respective populations.

If Americans Knew

The on going conflict between Israel and Palestinain has occoured for over 60 years. This continuing conflict also brings instability to the world. America has also been diectly involved with this conflict for almost as long, and has been directly blammed for most of the desruction caused. This might be because the US gives more Aid to Israel than it does to any of Afriacn countries put togehter, this is the scale which the US is back Israel be it with Finance and more importantly military Aid. Figures indicate that the US gives over $7 Million dollas to Israel on a DAILY basis.

The websites main aim is to inform America and American citizens about the major 'significance' that is never in the media, the website finds this diffficult becuase the amount that America contribues is costing citizens in America over $15 million dollas a day. The website continues to state that it is there 'goal' to give American citizens the 'right' to make a balanced decision, opposed to the completely biased decision almost made for them by the media due to the compete one sidedness in facts reported by the media. The website continues to state that Americas continuing support for the Israeli government is infact putting America iself at war with the people whos lives are being reuined by American Support.

The website also has a variety or statistics and graphs to strengthen their arguments.

This image indicates the death of children. The red lines indicate the Palistinian Children compared to that of the blue lines of the Israeli children to have been killed.

This image is equally as shocking in terms of statistics as it indicates the amaount of homes destroyed by the conflict. Alarmingly over 25,000 Palisinian homes have been destroyed, compare that to a grand total of O of Israeli homes destroyed.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Criticisms of America and American Policies


This is a link to a website I found called Pajamas Media, the article is called: Anti-Americanism in Europe Fuelled by Ignorance and was written by Soeren Kern( a senior Analyst for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Strategic Studies Group) in 2008. As established from the title of the article, it presents european perspectives of America, showing their views and then providing statistics that prove otherwise. One criticism it makes is seventy percent of Britons think the U.S has done a worst job at reducing carbon emissions since 2000, which understandably you could agree with as we are continuously presented with images from America of unnecessarily big cars and vans riding around and never of someone using public transport. However, America's rate of growth of carbon emissions has decreased by ten percent since 2000, while that of the EU has increased by 2.3 percent.

Another criticism highlighted in the article is, the French are well known for scorn of American fast food,  which I think many people would say is the least favourable contribution from America. Seeming to cause increasing levels of obesity from it's cheapness, convenience and speed. However, an unknown fact about France is that one out of every two French people visit McDonald's at least once a year. More over, McDonald's is so popular in France that the country is now McDonald's second-biggest money maker in the world after the United States. In addition to this Spain ridicule Americans as overwhelmingly overweight, a recent study shows that two thirds of American's are overweight. However, Spain has more overweight people than any other country in Europe(except for Italy and Greece), with almost forty percent of Spanish adults being overweight and the Spanish Health Ministry says Spain is on track to overtake the U.S in the obesity department in less than ten years.

Finally it points out one issue that Europeans as a whole are quite ignorant about, with regards to America, and that is the Death Penalty. European elites like to portray the EU as being morally superior to the U.S and regard America as bloodthirsty. Obviously you can relate to this view, killing is morally wrong under any circumstance and should not be used as a means of punishment to any criminal no matter how serious the crime. However, in a poll from the French Daily Le Monde , regarding the execution of Saddam Hussein, it found sixty nine percent of British, fifty eight percent of French, fifty three percent of German and fifty one percent of Spanish people were in favour of the execution.

This ignorant view of America could be because, it is suggested 'those who know the least about America seem to hate it the most', therefore if Europeans have not visited America or maybe are reluctant to do so because of the views they posses, they cannot speculate about America and it's policies. All they know is what they have seen on the television and have heard from other people, they cannot judge what they do not know.           

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

White Christmas

This image is an interesting one as it shows us the different probabilities for
the different states when considering whether or not they will get a white Christmas.
This map tells us that the north , north-east and north-western regions have
the higher probabilities of having a white Christmas. Therefore , Maine ,
North Minnesota and Wisconsin in the north-east as well as Colorado , Idaho ,
Washington and Montana in the north-west are between 61 and >90 percent
likely to get snow at Christmas. The southern States such as Texas ,
Florida , Georgia , South Carolina , California and southern Arizona
have a less than 5 percent chance of snow at Christmas.
The northern states are closer to the Arctic Circle whilst the southern are closer to
the Equator , due to this these percentages are highly likely to be valid.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Hispanic population in the US

This map was used to show the percentage of Hispanic people that are situated in the US. America is now a culturaly diverse country, in a sense that the population is not souly dominated by the white men and women. The US has a variety of different cultural identities that range from the black communities to the spanish ones with equally vast amounts of people. Also America is no longer dominated by one religion there are a variety of practices that have become tollorated and even celebrated in the states. An example of this could be the vast amount of mosque that have been built in the US, this allows minority groups to practise their faith without discrimination. The president also claims that "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of it"

This is an interesting image for many reasons. The first being that it draws close attention to the fact that the US has an ever growing Hispanic population. On the map you can see that in the south and south western areas there on many occasions the population is atleast 50% hispanic. This population is this high for one reason and this reason is due the locality. Texas a state that is heavily populated by the Hispanic people shares borders with Mexico. Many of the population that now have taken refuge in the US have done so illegally. This means that they have crossed the borders from the US and Mexico illegally therefore making them illegal immegrants. Problems in states close to the border such as Arizona have caused many problems and one severe reaction taken by Arizona was to pass legislaion that means anyone in that state can be randomly stopped and asked to show or prove a form of ID. This evidence could also be confirmed as in the northern states there is a less that 6.O% of hispanic population.

This map is taken from the National Geographic Magazine, February 2007 issue. It shows the USA, the colours indicate where there are more single men or women(men in blue and women in red).  From the map you can see the largest male plurality is in Los Angeles where there is 40,000 more single men than women. In comparison, the largest women plurality is in New York where there is 165,000 more single women than men.  This could be interpreted in various ways, for one, there could be more single women in New York because of the idea of a woman living the high life in the Big Apple, falling head over heels with the shopping, sight seeing, bars and restaurants. Women are plugged with dreams of having their dream job in one of the leading fashion capitols of the world, indulging in some retail therapy and the idealised view of finding a big shot banker and falling in love. But in reality, this idea is wishful thinking, a dream that is unlikely for most women, presented to us from films and books.

The idea of the most single men living in Los Angeles could be because it is the world centre of business and international trade, it is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States. This can be seen as a leading attribute for any man when deciding where to live, it provides opportunity and potential. As well as this, Los Angeles is seen as the "entertainment capitol of the World", leading the world in the creation of motion pictures, television productions, video games and record music. Again, all these factors could interest say a movie mad guy or gaming obsessed guy. It could also be seen as the reason why there is such a substantial amount of single men in Los Angeles, they are all busy watching television, going to the cinema and playing video games to find love.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

US Images Kieran Reynolds

The Golden gate bridge in San Fransisco is one of America's most famous structures. I believe thCheck Spellingat it portrays America in a positive light. The bridge is one of the largest suspension bridges in the world and is symbolic of what America can achieve and the power and wealth the country possesses. It shows that the country is well connected and that even big gaps can be "bridged". You can tell how large the bridge is by the tiny size of the cars in comparison!

The image of an American holding a gun is highly controversial. Gun control being a very sensitive issue in the United States. However I personaly believe that is shows a negative issue of America. It shows both insecurity and intolerance. It could be said that the country is less safe due to the lack of gun control laws. Some may however see it as a positive as it could be seen as a sign of both personal safety and security. IF someone trespasses on your property. You have the free right to defend yourself!