It's Your Shout!; STARS and GRIPES
Byline: RICHARD PEARCE.
BIG MAC, Hollywood hype, rappers . . . and drugs. Where the USA leads we follow. Isn't it time we woke up from the American dream and got a culture of our own? Teenagers from Sidney Stringer Community Technology College, Coventry, give their views to RICHARD PEARCE.
HONUFA BEGUM, AGED 17 and FIRZANA CHATI, AGED 18
HOME: Honufa lives with dad Umor, a chef, mum Luthfun, sister Dilruba, 24 and brothers Saleh, 21, and Mushtaq, 19. She also has a brother, Sharif, 27, living in London.
EXAMS: Studying A-level English, biology, sociology.
CAREER HOPES/AMBITION: Media - advertising.
INTERESTS: Travelling abroad, theatre, visiting art galleries, sports and reading.
BEST THING ABOUT AMERICA: Money
WORST THING: Guns
HOME: Firzana lives with dad Abdul, who works at a hotel, mum Bilkio, a secretary, and brother Rafiq.
EXAMS: Studying A-level business studies, sociology, information technology.
CAREER HOPES/AMBITION: Travel the world. Become a PR specialist.
INTERESTS: Reading, cinema, visiting new places, meeting new people.
BEST THING ABOUT AMERICA: Keanu Reeves.
WORST THING: Gun culture.
HONUFA and FIRZANA'S VERDICT: The influence of America over Britain is evident through the media and entertainment, which convey American cultural values and beliefs. This influence is reinforced by the fact that American celebrities take on British roles in cinema, such as Renee Zellweger in the movie Bridget Jones's Diary. Furthermore, America's high value placed on the American dream, which is constantly portrayed through the media, leads people not only in Britain but all over the world to aspire to achieve and live this dream. But is it not just an illusion? How many people actually achieve this dream?
America's obsession with consumerism is taken to the extent that they will neglect the importance of other countries' values and beliefs, exploiting them to meet their own ends.
For example, Nike's ad to be placed in the Middle East shows Muslims prostrating to a woman in one of their brand jeans. Why do we allow ourselves to be domineered by American culture?
JOHN SNOWDON, AGED 17
HOME: Lives with mum Lorraine, a housewife, and brothers Thomas and Michael-John.
EXAMS: Studying advanced vocational certificate of education in information and communication technology.
CAREER HOPES/AMBITION: To become a network administrator or teach IT.
INTERESTS: IT, St John Ambulance, my education.
BEST THING ABOUT AMERICA: Disneyland.
WORST THING: The Americans.
JOHN'S VERDICT: I believe that the future of the world lies in the move away from the American cultural way of life.
Music is one way of achieving this.
Music is a tool to help convey messages that are not politically correct. An example is Eminem - he is only saying what people want to hear, and he challenges established American culture. People in Britain can relate to this. Music can say things we aren't normally allowed to say.
We are being influenced, but I think this independence helps to resist the American culture.
American food is another thing - deep frying and "bigger is better" is all wrong, because we will end up like the Americans, with the same health problems: obesity and heart disease. But we don't need to worry about becoming America Part II. We have a monarchy that is competent and highly beneficial to the country, and a government that believe that the people who vote them in are more important than Middle East talks - as America has been having - that have moved nowhere in years.
ELLA SPRUNG, AGED 17
HOME: Lives with dad Alan, a photographer, mum Maggie, a teacher, and sister Eppie.
EXAMS: Studying AS-level maths, further maths, physics, French, theatre studies. …