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The Chaser’s Guide to American Culture
On New Year's Day 2017, the iconic Hollywood sign was changed to say 'Hollyweed.' Yep, pretty funny.

America has more Nobel Prize laureates than Britain, more Baldwin brothers than China and slightly fewer shootings than Somalia. It’s a melting pot. Inside the pot you’ll find the Empire State Building, Moby Dick, orange cheese, the Lingerie Football League and that Beach Boy linked to the Manson murders. Also, outside the pot someone is holding up a ‘God Hates Fags’ poster. It’s not hard to see why American culture has often been successfully employed as a form of ‘soft diplomacy’. In fact, the US won the Gulf War purely with episodes of Roseanne.

MUSIC
America has produced many of the world’s greatest musicians like Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Aretha Franklin. They also produced Skrillex.

Blues
Blues music originated in the cotton fields of America’s deep south, used as a form of entertainment during manual labour, before the invention of the podcast. Blues music eventually made its way out of the fields and onto the stage, developing signature blues chord progressions and scales. With this musical backing, black performers like B.B. King and Howlin’ Wolf would express their sorrow about the oppression of their people, while white performers likeBill Haley would express their anxiety about rocking around the clock.

Every Monday night, Woody Allen plays the clarinet in an exclusive New York jazz bar. Free entry for minors.

Jazz
Jazz was invented by Ryan Gosling in late 2016, or by African-Americans in early 20th century New Orleans. No one knows for sure.

Hip Hop
There are five distinct elements to hip hop: rapping, DJing,break dancing, graffiti writing and getting shot. While groups like Public Enemy use their songs to spread awareness of racial inequality, rappers like Drake and Future spread awareness of needing some really big rings.

Broadway Musicals
Broadway is a place for out-of-work film actors to ‘go back to their first love’. Contrary to popular belief, Broadway isn’t just filled with homosexuals. It also has Jews!

FILM & TELEVISION
Hollywood
All movies that don’t have subtitles are made here. Hollywood produces over 500 films each year, yet only half of them star Nicolas Cage. California is ethnically diverse, home to a large Hispanic and Latino population. This diversity is reflected in the variety of roles open to actors from these backgrounds, such as drug dealer, drug runner and drug kingpin.

Did You Know?
US President Donald Trump has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which means you don’t need to be a Russian prostitute to piss on him.

America’s longest running prime-time sitcom is The Simpsons. It aired groundbreaking comedy for a whopping nine seasons. It is currently in its 30th season.

Television
According to Nielsen, 96.7 percent of American households own a television. So while over 28 million Americans don’t have health insurance anymore, they do have Dr. Phil. So it’s not all bad. In 1844, Karl Marx presciently described television as the opiate of the masses, nearly a century before it was even invented. Following the election of Donald Trump, television is now considered the crystal meth of the masses. With the rise of stream services such as Netflix, Amazon andHulu, and cable offerings such as AMC and HBO, American television drama is currently in the midst of a renaissance that has been dubbed the ‘Golden Age of Television’. Never before have so many high quality productions showed so many bare breasts. But even while drama thrives, factual news and current affairs networks such as CNN and MSNBC struggle against fierce competition from fiction-based rivals such as Fox News.

This article originally appeared in the Chaser’s Guide to America (CQ#6): buy it here. 


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