I was walking around a small town in Belgium last year, this town is in the south. They don’t speak english there, they only speak french. Yet, when I was walking around I noticed a few things, first, people under the age of 35 had tattoos. Second, I heard hip hop blaring from some cars. Third, the stores in this town had video games that I recognized, the movie theaters had American films showing. People were using Apple laptops, and wearing Airpods. I was surrounded by America even though I was in a foreign land. Far away. I couldn’t communicate with the people around me, because I don’t speak french. But they knew me, I didn’t know them. They knew what I grew up watching, what I listened to on the radio, the technology I used, and the products I and trends I consumed. Who are these foreigners? Just characters in a video games. They are hardly real. These people furiously running after the things that I never paid attention to.
Tattoos, Athleisure, etc
I never saw regular people with tattoos growing up. That was for sailors, gangsters or bikers. It was a costly in group signal. Then somewhere around 2000, I saw normies with tattoos and it just kept growing. Tattoos for aesthetics is a completely new trend. Sure, they have been around for thousands of years, but they were always a costly in group signal, never for purely aesthetics.
Now, tattoos are a big part of youth culture. You’ll see people walking around with tattoos casually. This started in America and spread throughout the globe. Same with Athleisure. Walking around in expensive sweat pants. That began in the early 2000s and it went around the globe. People never used to walk around cities wearing sweatpants and hoodies. Now they do. American culture.
George Floyd got murdered in Minneapolis. A city 90 percent of Americans won’t be able to find on a map, and a place 99 percent of anyone outside of the United States can pinpoint on a map. There were protests here, it was huge, and it’s still huge. One of the largest protest movements in American history. In fact, it’s shifted into a racialist cult that erupted during this pandemic. The history of plagues often includes new purpose-endowing cults. But it’s a very American situation. But something happened.
Huge, intense protests started breaking out in Britain, Iceland, Poland, and the Czech Republic, which all have small or miniscule non-white ethnic minorities? There were protests in Japan and New Zealand. Places with no history of any police/minority abuse. There were no local factors. Thousands and thousands of people marched all over the world for BLM, an extremely specific American movement that has no precedence outside of this country.
The History of American Influence pre-1999
America is a weird place. There really is no history here. Even immigrants come here, they have kids, and their kids assimilate hard and fast. It’s been going on for decades. You become a new human as an American, cut off from the sins of the old world. Stuck on this island trying to get rich or invent new things. It’s a wild place. After World War 2 America had the biggest military in the world, indeed, it still does. It also doesn’t have any hostile neighbors. Canada and Mexico are these sleepy countries, one wants to work, the other wants to be mostly left alone to read a book.
I don’t think there’s ever been a world superpower in history without enemies on the borders. Rome had the Gauls, the Germans, the Persians, and then later on the Arabs and Turks. China was surrounded by enemies, they had to build a great wall. Later on the French had Britain, and then Germany border them. Every empire or great power falls to its neighbor that borders it. America doesn’t have that issue. It hasn’t even fought a war on its territory in 150 years, and that was a war with itself. Yet it has the strongest and mightiest military ever known.
Not only that but its the richest country in the world. The biggest market. Every other country relies on the American Dollar as the reserve currency of the world. So not only is all the weapons here, there is also all the gold here. With no enemies at the borders. It’s also the size of a continent. Ever drive across America? It takes 70 hours. All you see is beautiful land. Forests, lakes, mountains, and all types of scenery.
In the 20th century America controlled much of global culture. There was a post war boom in the consumer economy and America beamed its influence around the world. Hollywood stars were global, television, radio, music, plays, you name it. Media broadcasted American influence.
American Influence post 1999
After 1999 the internet started getting big. You had all these tech countries pop up in the last 20 years. They all happened to start in one small part of America, Silicon Valley. The internet itself became a vehicle for American culture. Social media apps like Myspace, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon started dominating. The second great American revolution. The first was about TV, fashion, film and physical music. The second is about owning the internet and its culture. This was even bigger.
When we say “international culture” we mean American culture. influence goes one way. No one internationally is influencing America very much.
MeToo and BlackLivesMatter are essentially US culture issues which provide an effective identity for internationals of the progressive class. This usually skews young, and ties into youth culture. All youth culture is American culture. It’s the easiest demographic to consume the hot new product. However, that isn’t the case anymore. The demographic is getting older. American culture provides an alternative to their local situation. It plugs them in to a “global” culture where they feel they are part of something. It’s fake of course, it’s just American concerns.
A twenty-something European representative of the intellectual class feels like they are part of something bigger when they attend BLM protests. They are not just supporting American black people but becoming petite citizens of America, and acknowledging that America is truly the world culture. Localist concerns are not interesting to them. It’s not enough of an identity, for whatever reason. They want to be engaged “in the discussion”. And the discussion is whatever happens in America
I go on Twitter all the time and I see a lot of people who are not American citizens discuss Trump all the time. They engage with American politics like its a soap opera, or engaging television show. They get emotional. American politics dominates their local news, they seek out the daily outrages that our gigantic media infrastructure pumps out. Why? Because they want to be part of the international intellectual class aka talk about American stuff. China does terrible things, look at the Uiyghur camps. Way worse things than Trump has ever done. But who cares. China isn’t part of the global intellectual culture. It’s just a country. And no one really knows whats going on over there.
Women used to look different. Now the young attractive ones are starting to look the same. 1KYAE
People who live in other countries have no idea what trend will come out of American tomorrow to dominate their life, their ideas, their clothes, their culture and the way they look at society. It must be a weird feeling.
What does 1KYAE stand for? The one thousand year American empire. Because it’s a super power on an island, culturally, militarily, economically and technologically. It has no enemies at the borders. A completely unprecedented situation. It may be a thousand year American reign we are at the beginning of.