Like we Americans do, I tend to assume everyone the world over understands my cultural references…

Yeah, I know, I know…

It drives some of you bonkers when we Americans do that…

Just as I know that, thanks to the long-established American cultural propaganda machines of Hollywood, McDonalds, Levis, and Coca Cola, as well as the newcomers Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Starbucks, it drives some of you just as bonkers, if not more, that you do understand so many American cultural references.

(Not to mention the madness it causes Canada and Mexico and all the thirty some odd other American countries North and South to know that “America” has come to mean only one country out of all of them.)

Ergo, it is with humility that, in an effort to make amends for my all-too-often ignorant assumptions, I attempt to explain for those of you who aren’t an American “of a certain age” who just don’t get my cultural reference point for these “Ain’t That America…” posts that I’ve been posting lately…

So, it is for all of you who aren’t hip for whatever reason to American culture that I am pleased and proud present John [Cougar] Mellencamp’s wonderful song “Pink Houses”…


Obviously – #freddygray #ferguson #gunviolence #etcetera – there is a lot more to America than just apple pie Americana, all of which, I spend a great deal of time criticizing and complaining about – out of a deep true love, of course – some here but mostly on my @KurtBrindley twitter account.

But a lot of (United States of) America is apple pie Americana and when I find myself out and about and I come across something that makes me shake my head, smile, and say to myself, “Shucks, ain’t that America…,” I am happy to be able to take out my phone, take a photo of it, and share some of that down home American “Pink House” propaganda that I love so much with you all…

The world over…




11 Replies to “Like we Americans do, I tend to assume everyone the world over understands my cultural references…”

  1. …to understand America is to become immersed in the before and–most importantly–the after of its civil war. Also, I might add as an expat, one truly doesn’t understand the country until one kisses it goodbye (smile) which I did in October of 1968, that seminal year, when the violent ripples of the civil war once again lapped its shores. That said (thanks for the opportunity to say it like I mean it) I have always enjoyed John’s music, and thank you for posting it.


    1. Please don’t take this comment the wrong way for it is merely a reflective response to what you’ve said and is meant without malice or criticism toward yours or anyone else’s unique life experiences and choices:

      I guess if one is born a dual citizen it might make it a bit easier to kiss one country goodbye for another. But to me my country is singular and as much a part of me – the bad along with the good – as my family is. And though I suppose some can find cause to disown their family (both metaphorically speaking and not) – I cannot imagine ever finding cause to do so myself.

      And yes, John’s music is great. Lonesome Jubilee is one of my favorite albums. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, my friend.


  2. ‘cept I’m an American of that certain age and it amazes me when “Pink Houses” gets equated to “aw shucks” and the American Dream. Mellencamp told Rolling Stone, “”It’s really an anti-American song…The American dream had pretty much proven itself as not working anymore. It was another way for me to sneak something in.” The lyrics are dark, man.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Debbie Downer (another cultural reference), thank you for that buzz kill. Yes, Pink Houses may have been written as a diatribe against the failed dream, so to speak, but so was Born In The USA, This Land Is Your Land and certainly many more that we have grown to love. And yeah, most of us Mellencamp fans know he yearned to be the Woody Guthrie of our age; but, you know what, who cares what he or any other artist ever intended for his or her art to be or mean? What only matters is how their art is received and interpreted. Once it’s out there the artist becomes irrelevant for the art takes on its on voice and speaks for itself.

      Reread the lyrics. They are far from dark, especially in this day and age. They are simply an honest survey of American life, to include all of its warts as well as all of its Aw Shucksiness.

      I’m happy I was able to amaze you, my friend. Rock on.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Debbie Downer…..LOL!!!

    Good call with the “Born In The USA” comparison. I am a Springsteen worshiper and know full well how President Reagan attempted to use that song to procure democratic votes during his re-election bid. Reagan, like a lot of people at that time, was only familiar with the title & video of that song thanks to the immense popularity of the newly invented MTV channel. And seeing Springsteen in a conceivably patriotic outfit-dungaree jacket, red bandana-pumping his fist into the air each time he belted out the song’s title was an easy assumption to make. But had Reagan or one of his advisors taken the time to listen to the song just once things would have been different because what happens when you assume? Now we know in actuality the song denounced the government’s treatment of Vietnam Veterans who only did what was expected of them by protecting and serving America in an overseas war. So Reagan looked foolish and eventually was banned by Springsteen for copyright infringement. Now ain’t that America, when an artist can stop even the President from using something without proper permission!!! (Sorry, I had to, LOL!!!)

    My point is if someone does not know what something means they can find out. Not to get into a political or moral debate here, but just like living in this country should require that all citizens learn English as a sign of national pride for their newly adopted country, I think knowing or at the very least, learning something new like a pop culture reference, behooves us all. At the very least it would educate everyone, including home grown idiots to learn things that are part of our country’s history, whether good, bad or indifferent. When I do not know something, I Google it. It’s that simple. Between computers, smart phones, iPads, tablets, libraries and other ways to access the wealth of knowledge on the internet, there is no reason for not educating yourself on what’s going on or what people are talking about or referencing. It is a rite of passage of living in this wonderful and very wacky country!!! Maybe if people stopped playing candy crush just once a day they would have time for learning. But that is another rant LOL!!!

    I have several friends who told me I was the original Lorelai Gilmore (yes I did it, I made my own cultural reference LOL!!!) Since it was a “chick” show, you may not know that her character constantly made pop culture references from the obscure (a discussion about Asaad Kelada, who directed the bulk of “The Facts of Life” episodes) to the semi-known (Annie Sullivan at the water pump) to the infamous (Charles Manson chick Lesley Van Houten; the tannis root necklace worn by Mia Farrow in “Rosemary’s Baby”). I love that it is part of my personality to be aware of what’s going on. If it were not for pop culture references, late night TV & comedians would only be half as witty as they are. Moreover, SNL, the granddaddy of all pop culture shows, would propably never have been put on the air. And where would YouTube be without all the endless vlogs commenting on the pop culture world as we know it.

    So I think you should make as many pop culture references you want and when someone does not know what understand, tell them what my sixth grade teacher told me whenever I asked her the meaning of a word I did not know: LOOK IT UP.

    Word to your mother. ;)

    Liked by 1 person


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