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Monday, September 1, 2008

The American Dream




The American Dream

I was inspired as I watched the interactive art zoetrope by Peter Hudson on the TV Free Burning Man site this morning. "Tantalus" so completely summed up what many Americans are feeling about their country. It was an eerie display of torsos and arms reaching for golden apples dangling enticingly out of reach. I wonder if we are the only nation that feels this way. I mean, we never hear about the Italian Dream or the Bulgarian Dream, do we? If we Google it, we actually have a wikipedia entry for the American Dream, while other countries do not. Go ahead and try it, I did. It was the theme of this year's gathering in the Black Rock Desert and Peter's deliberate use of only part of our Star Spangled Banner pushes the reality of unfinished business to a place where we cannot ignore it.

Hudson brought up good questions in his interview, what exactly is the American dream anymore? I know my vision may not match my neighbors, because of my religion, political leanings, age bracket, sex, and economic status. Is there just one dream we all share, is it simply freedom or is it something else? Is it possible that as we grow larger and more diverse that this utopia can never be achieved or maintained for a reasonable period of time? Do smaller groups that share a common ideal ever achieve their vision? I guess the Burning Man group might be able to answer that. Hudson's fantasy of people "experiencing each other" after his second trip to Burning Man may compete with someone else's mission to seek out budding artists for capital gain. The zoetrope that Peter created is made up of many arms reaching for many apples, some are closer to realization than others, and no two appear alike. Makes you think...

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