The Mother Country is not Mine?

Clark   Friday, October 03, 2003, 06:16 GMT
I was just writing in another thread, and it mademe think of a line Ray Romano said on his show, "Everybody Loves Raymond." He said something like, "Thanksgiving is for all Americans because 'our' Pilgrim forefathers wanted it that way..." I am not really sure what he said, but Ray Romano on the show and in real life is an Italian-American with all of his ancestors going back to Italy. If we go along with the idea that his forefathers were Pilgrims, his Mother Country would be England.

I think that this is interesting that a person can be one thing, but say they are something different. On one hand, there is nothing wrong with that because, in this case, anyone can be American. And on the other hand, Rays' ancestors were all Italian; not English.

I am just rambling I guess, but what does anyone thing about htis?
Jim   Friday, October 03, 2003, 06:22 GMT
So, perhaps a real Italian-American wouldn't say something like this ...

... and what about the Canadians? ... They have Thanksgiving too but on a different day to the Americans.
mjd   Friday, October 03, 2003, 06:27 GMT
As an American, Ray Romano identifies with American culture; therefore, he celebrates Thanksgiving and can relate to America's cultural holidays. The same situation would apply for Canadians only they would relate to Canada's cultural holidays, icons, etc.
sam   Friday, October 03, 2003, 06:53 GMT
Are you assuming that the real American are only from English origin ? After all who can pretend to be the real American as American nation is made of other nations-mostly European.
Jim   Friday, October 03, 2003, 07:03 GMT
I don't think Clark is claiming "that the real American are only from English origin". His questioning the use of the word "forefathers" by people for whom it isn't literally accurate. Perhaps people like Ray Romana think in terms of a broader definition of the term.

On the other hand, perhaps there aren't so many people like him. He isn't a real person but a character on a TV show. They write these shows with who knows what hidden agenda ... maybe none, maybe. I don't know about Ray, I've never watched the show and I couldn't call myself one of the everybody who loves Raymond.
Da Frogg   Friday, October 03, 2003, 08:06 GMT
The first post makes me think about something the children used to learn in France in the 40s' or so. The first sentence began with "Our ancestors the Gallics..." (and it went on with their long red moustaches etc.).

And that was taught to children in Metropolitan France as well as in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guyana, as well as in the (former) colonies of Africa and Asia (Senegal, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Vietnam etc.). Picture yourself a little boy from Togo or Benin saying "Our ancesters the Gallics..."
Of course, the stupidity of this thing has been often mocked in France (happily).

Maybe it also has to do something with education in the US?
Da Frogg   Friday, October 03, 2003, 08:08 GMT
Hmmm "has something to do ", of course :o)
Antonio   Friday, October 03, 2003, 12:20 GMT
What would have been of the Americas without the immigration ( Italian - mainly, german, Polish, Portuguese, Arab, Jewish et al ) ???

I disagree that americans ( talking about those of British origin ) are British at all. My opinion, of course.
Clark   Friday, October 03, 2003, 18:56 GMT
I am NOT saying that Americans who are not of British origin are not American; I am just interested in the bit about people whose ancestors (parents or grandparents) that all came from a different country, and the descendent [who would be full blooded what-have-you] says that his forefathers were the Pilgrims (if we are talking about America).

Anyone can be an American as I have said before; and as Antonio says, there would not be the present day America without all of the immigration that took place. And I am a great example of the immigrations to America; I have ancestors who were Puritans (1620s to 1670s), Palatine Germans (1690s to 1750s), Scots-Irish (1800s), Danish/French/Canadian (1850s/1860s) and then English in 1947.

However, I disagree about what Antonio says that Americans cannot be British. In terms of notionality, of course they are not American, but in terms of heritage/ethnicity, yes, they can be British (how many commas was that? ;-)

Jim, apparently, Ray Romano bases his comedy from his real life.

Once again, I just find it interesting that people whose ancestors are different from the country they are in, can talk about having forefathers who founght and died for their [adoptive] country.

We can also look at different countries, like England and France for example. There are French people whose ancestors came from Algeria and other African nations (former French colnies) and there are a lot of Indians/Pakistanis in England; and I am sure a number of these people will tell you first-off that they are French or English before they will say they are Indian, Pakistani or Algerian.
Tremmert   Friday, October 03, 2003, 19:36 GMT
Transferative culture? Maybe anybody in America can accept US customs like thanksgiving, Christmas and Halloween and justifies keeping them in some way to themselves even if they're not descendents of Puritans, Christians, or whatever ethnic group came up with 'all hallow's eve'.
Clark   Friday, October 03, 2003, 23:19 GMT
I meant, "In terms of nationality,..."
wassabi   Saturday, October 04, 2003, 03:07 GMT
we don't really have a culture, we just take from everyone else's
eg: americans have stereotypically french fries, burgers, etc
italians have stereotypically pizza and spaghetti
canadians just take everything from everyone...question to the outside world: does canada really have a defined culture? i don't think so (exclude mounties, if that's what your thinking)
Rugger   Saturday, October 04, 2003, 05:45 GMT
I found this interesting article on "About Canadian Culture - Does it Exist?" at:

"... how does one define Canadian culture? Well, Canadian cultural expression can be described in terms of the television shows and movies we watch and produce, the radio programs and music we broadcast and enjoy, as well as the books, magazines and newspapers that we publish and read. Through pictures, sounds and words, these communicate a uniquely Canadian perspective."
Jamie On   Saturday, October 04, 2003, 11:27 GMT
Wassabi - there is a distinct Canadian culture.
Clark   Saturday, October 04, 2003, 18:38 GMT
Every country has a culture. America has a distinct culture that, unfortunately, involves McDonalds and fast food, but also things like;

1.) open spaces (the spacing between houses for a great majority of the country)
2.) not getting too close to other people when in a line (or queue :-)
3.) the way a lot of Americans eat with knife and fork
4.) Thanksgiving and Independence Day
5.) Americans' sense of patriotic duty

I am sure there are so many more. And I am sure that many of you can or will refute these, but I am just trying to show that America has a distinct culture, and while it had its origins in other countries, it has melted down and evolved into a broad "American" culture. And then there are sub-cultures in America, and the biggest distinct culture in terms of geographics would be the Southern culture, which in my opinion is very distinct as the people themselves want it that way.