Well, another 4th of July has come and gone. I have now spent the U.S.A. Independence Day in five different countries, and it's always fun to gather with a few "fellow Americans" when in some far-flung spot on the globe and rustle up some patriotic feelings, or at least some hot dogs and beer. Actually, we rustled up fajitas for dinner last night, at one of Guangzhou's Irish pubs, in a gathering of folks that included nationals of the U.S.A., Canada, Scotland, New Zealand, and China. I suppose that in itself is very "American dreamy" in some viewpoint or other. I might add that I drank Dos Equis. Hey, I don't always celebrate the 4th in the land formerly known as Canton, but when I do...they are sometimes out of the Pure Blonde Ale that was actually my first choice order.
Earlier in the evening I had a small cup of Budweiser during our beer toast (!) to the U.S. at work, as I taught a little "4th of July hour" for the students. We had a bit of history (why 1776? why split off from England -- what's wrong with them? why are there 50 stars and 13 stripes? etc.), a little bit of vocabulary (eagle, Statue of Liberty, White House, basically a collage of U.S.A.-like images), a bit of totally differing perspectives (they don't think of Guam as anywhere near China and in fact said "But it's much closer to Japan than here" whereas I think of Guam as "about the same distance" from Hong Kong/Japan -- and I'm living closer to Guam now than I ever have before), and a little bit of arguing when I busted out the Budweiser. "That's not an American beer!" they protested. I mean, first of all, oh-so-appreciative students, you're welcome. Right?! Secondly, my boss just offered to get something simple for the 4th of July and I said, hey, why not Budweiser? But, see, they actually bottle some Budweiser right here in China. (Hence it being easily available without having to seek out a specialty store with a vast imported beer selection.) So my students were completely prepared to sit there and talk about how it's not an American beer. But, I mean, it is. Coca-Cola bottles stuff all over the world (they were among the first to "think globally, act locally") but it's still an "American product," no? Or McDonald's and KFC -- also everywhere, here. It was so weird. It's freaking Budweiser. I'm sure many people have accused Budweiser of many things, but I never thought anyone would ever accuse it of being Chinese.
It all makes you think, doesn't it, in this globally connected economy and internet of ours? What does it mean to be anything? I hate the co-opting of "American," which actually refers to two entire continents, so I phrase my question thus: "What does it mean to be United Statesian?"