The Dangerfield Effect

What are some of the most underappreciated icons in America? What things, people, or institutions most transcend our divisions and define us collectively as Americans? Forget the obvious relics like the Constitution, what are the most overlooked artifacts of our nation? What do we take for granted?

I’m working on something and I really need to know what you think here.


11 Responses to The Dangerfield Effect

  1. parks, state & national

    It takes a pretty amazing and mixed bag of taxpayers to set aside land for TIME OFF, something this society barely recognizes as important.

  2. Land preservation, in general is pretty amazing and often taken for granted.

    Clean restrooms and clean landscapes are pretty nice, too. Considering how many people live in this country, it’s amazing that we’re not swimming in more trash. And considering how much trash we buy and dispose of that’s even more remarkable.

    Right to education, too.

  3. What’s telling about this question is how hard it is to come up with icons that define us ALL. I keep thinking of people, places, or things that I strongly identify with, but immediately recognize the potential for hate in that direction. A road trip to a State or National Park with a clean bathroom sounds about right, but that’s a sparse offering.

    Maybe bread? Most everyone loves a wholesome loaf of bread. I’d say the Thanksgiving turkey, but then all the Food, Inc. folks would be squawking, and I don’t want to hear their homegrown asses droning on.


    But yes, you get my point exactly. What is universal? I think certain landmarks are universally appreciated, and maybe that is the answer, but not everyone wants to go camping, or even stand outside for very long.

    Let me put it this way. What are America’s trophies and most prized posessions?

  5. What are America’s trophies and most prized possessions?

    Land…but the “expression of” this possession differs: for some that means the environment, for some it means ownership of, for some it is the exploitation of.

    Celebrations…in whatever form, whether with turkey and sides or with fasting until dark or with spearing one’s chest and dancing until the rope breaks through.

    Community…if this can be considered a thing. Even those who live out in the middle of nowhere look toward others doing the same to see how it’s done.

    hmm…gotta be more….

  6. Las Vegas, Baby. And Elvis. That’s America.
    Not saying I approve.
    Or Eliza jumping over the ice as the dogs chase her? Or Madonna? Or Uncle Sam? Nah.
    Go look up Norman Rockwell. Or Jasper Johns or Patti Smith or Old Faithful or…wait a minute.
    Abraham Lincoln.

  7. Abraham Lincoln is a hit with almost everyone. There you go. Deconstruct ole Abe and you’ll have the recipe for absolute national regard.

    I’ll start with this: You’ve got to be powerful and tragic at the same time.