At the tail end of a long and fun party at our house, our friend Lisa showed us this video (I think it's from Ukraine. Can anyone verify?):
To be honest, at first I thought it was going to be a little cheesy/crafty, but as I sat with it, I saw it is a truly beautiful and astounding storytelling medium with an incredibly gifted artist at the helm. To do this requires genuine creativity, an appreciation for the principles of beauty, and a great deal of disciplined practice.
To be a little crass perhaps, this reminds of the first time I had a loroco pupusa. For those of you who aren't familiar with pupusas, they are kind of like a stuffed gordita from Ecuador. They stuffed with beans, cheese, pork, and often loroco flowers and topped with an amazing curtido (or cabbage salad) and mild red sauce. My first thought was sheer delight, but then I felt a little chagrined that my own people (Mexicans) did not come up with pupusas ourselves, since I have always felt that Mexicans had the corner market on great Latin American cuisine.
This video reminded me of those feelings. As our standardized test scores are surpassed by other nations, I think it has been easy to mollify ourselves with our supposed corner market on creativity. We believe this is our strength because of our individualistic spirit, independence, and free-market capitalism. Perhaps. My own experiences in fine art have shown me otherwise, and this video reinforces it: creative solutions of beauty and simplicity are coming out of cultures and circumstances very different from our own.
So where does that leave the legacy of American culture?