|American Dominance in Pop-Culture (Stage Magazine, 1939)|
The editors of Stage magazine were dumbfounded when they considered that just ten years after audiences got an earful from the first sound movies, the most consistent characteristic to have been maintained throughout that decade was the box-office dominance of American movie stars, directors and writers. After naming the most prominent of 1930s U.S. movie stars the author declares with certainty that this could not have been an accident.
"And the Movies: all them stories, all them fables, all them beautiful women,all them amazing children: Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney, Jane Withers, Jackie Searl,and the others. Even Europe in the movies is America. Even Charlie Chan is American. Even Mr. Moto is American. Even war in the movies is American, instead of neurotic. And the newsreels: the style of them,the energy and comedy of them: the imitativeness, the invention, and absurdity of them for the sake of comedy. America made these entertainers,and now, very naturally, they are making America."
America Vilified in the European Press (Literary Digest, 1928)
"Envy and admiration as well as ridicule and praise are found in the many articles the European press devoted to this country. Our big business astonishes them, our so-called lack of culture inspires thinly veiled contempt, while our homicide records lead some rather irascible English critics to speak of the United States as 'the Land of Liberty - for the murderer.'"
Yet for all their contempt there was one thing they couldn't live without: click here to read an article about how much the Europeans loved American silent comedies.
Things 'Americain' in France (Literary Digest, 1927)
Whether for good or for ill, the American people have left their thumb print on much of the French language - the liberal sprinkling of the adjective "Americain" was ever present in 1927, as it is today. This article seeks to explain the meanings and origins of such French expressions as:
•"Eleve a L'Americain",
•"Coup de Poing Américain"
•"Homard a l'Americaine"
•"Rase a L'Americaine"
•"Vol à l'Américaine"
-among other various phrases inspired by the free and the brave.
"Somebody has said, nations can be judged by the epithets they provoke..."
Gertrude Stein on America ('47 Magazine, 1947)
"What our most famous literary expatriate really thought of her country".
Americans Are A Strange People (Characteristically American, 1932)
The very funny Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock (1869 - 1944) diagnosed many of the character traits that make Americans what they are. Although written seventy-eight years ago, many of these observations are still true to this day:
"Americans are a queer people: they can't read.
They have more schools, and better schools, and spend more money on schools and colleges than all of Europe.
But they can't read.
They print more books in one year than the French print in ten.
But they can't read.
They cover their country with 100,000 tons of Sunday newspapers every week.
But they don't read them.
They're too busy. They use them for fires and to make more paper with.
They buy eagerly thousands of new novels at two dollars each. But they only read page one...
But that's all right. The Americans don't give a damn; don't need to; never did need to.
That is their salvation."