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Essay about Contemporary American Culture and Materialism

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Throughout the semester we have covered many different topics during our study of contemporary American culture. We studied topics relating to our everyday lives such as, relationships, life habits, work, and school. The various readings, films, and discussions during class have helped me reflect upon my life. I would like to elaborate and focus on the aspects of this class that directly influence the way I see the world today. Before I took this course my mental image of materialism, happiness, and love were entirely different. I have been exposed to a different perception of our world today that I would have never experienced if I had not taken this course. Our course material helped me analyze how materialism affects me, and it helped me develop a more clear understanding of the meaning of love and happiness.
Prior to studying modern American culture I was aware of my desires to buy things. Growing up as a kid you are influenced strongly by advertisements on television, as well as by your peers. You start to believe that in order to be well-liked in our society you must own expensive things. Our economy is dependent on commercial advertising. Some people in our society believe that the methods that some companies use to sell more of their product are immoral, however most people in our culture are willing to let absurd or ambiguous statements pass. The Federal Trade Commission is required to order business organizations to stop using deceptive advertising, yet I still see commercials on television that tell me if I buy their body spray women will attempt to rip off all my clothing to sleep with me. As Americans we are so use to the idea that every business will exploit the truth to sell more products. We become numb to the eff...


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... We must have independence from people we don’t like answering too. To be happy we also must be able to analyze things like death and illness. There is no question that being rich may make life easier, however no amount of money can buy happiness.
I have learned many valuable things in contemporary American culture, and this class has enabled me to view our world in a different light. I now know that advertisements try to make me believe they can sell me love and happiness. I now understand that a simpler life can bring me far greater joy than any item I buy in a store. Americans should not be ignorant to factors that affect their daily lives. Over the Thanksgiving holiday break I thought about what was really important in my life surrounded by friends and family, and I truly believe that nothing else in this world could compare with my relationship with my family.


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