United States of Smash!

I am consistently fascinated by the portrayal of America in foreign mediums. Sometimes, it honestly feels like some foreigners love America more than Americans love America! Obviously, that’s a generalization, but it’s genuinely a feeling I often experience. Here at home, when I used to read the news, I remember often seeing articles about protests or problems or complaints. I rarely read an article extolling the greatness of America. (Though maybe this is a common phenomena in all countries? I’m honestly unsure.)

But when I turn to foreign media, the representations of America are often positive and glowing. (To be fair, under the current administration, our shining star has dimmed considerably. But, believe or not, huge swatches of many countries actually love Trump, especially in Asian countries.)

Take, for instance, the fictional superhero character, All Might, from the anime, My Hero Academia. The above clip won’t make any sense unless you’re already familiar with the show/manga, but the gist is that he –a Japanese person– chose to name all of his attacks after American states (“Go go, Texas Smash!”).

The mythology of America, regardless of whatever realities, continues to perpetuate the world-over. The mystique of a country that is built on meritocracy, where anyone can make it as long as they work hard enough, are smart enough, and have a certain amount of luck, still remains strong. Despite all of America’s problems, I am personally still a big believer in American Exceptionalism. That said, I am also immensely happy that China, a communist state, is quickly coming online as a second superpower on the world stage. Competition makes everyone better and it’s time to share the spotlight. We are so lucky: This next century, we all have first-row seats to see that makes for a “model civilization.” Will western liberalism and democracy (“one person, one vote!”) continue to reign supreme? Or will a new challenger (“no votes for you!”) take the reigns? What a time to be alive!