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Tam Nguyen ANTH 211 9/15/2010

Assignment I
The Tea Party Jacobins by Mark Lilla. With the financial collapse of 2008, Americans fear of the future rose to an unprecedented level as millions lost their tangible and intangible valuables, mainly houses and jobs. With fear came an uncertain financial security for oneself and of ones family; trust in the government, more so with Congress, became scarce as rising number of Americans became independent homeschooling their children and treating their own health. And with uncertainties came along hopelessness and misguidance; thus the Tea Party movement formed. The populist movements purpose is to seek an unknown fear in the conscious mind of many individuals by opposing the government and any entity that does not conform to the populists messages. No doubt external parties are supporting the Tea Party and helping it expands by using technological advances, such as TV and radio, to deliver messages of despair and hopelessness. While the Party is continuing to express their frustrations to the government, it has no conclusive leader; therefore it will disband in the near future. Standing By by David Sedaris. As Sedaris waited in line at Denver airport, he spotted a kid with the words Freaky Mothafocka across the back of his shirt. An old lady standing in front of him insulted the kid and the kids family. Sedaris then gave a neutral reply because he did not know whether to side with the woman or not since he was not certain of her political view. Then two conservative men behind him started talking about the incompetency of the airline and other miscellaneous things; Sedaris ignored them for a while until they started talking about President Obama screwing up the country and his autobailout policy. The author started to be frustrated and wanted to scream out his thought of the anger he had to endure for the last eight years when Bush was President. But then he stopped and thought we all could possibly be angry monsters to the culture presented to us, and the airport is just a place to vent out the madness. Habits of the Hearts by Robert Bellah. This article concentrates on four interviewees and their perspective on a good life. Brian Palmer was following the American culture and believed working hard

was a way to satisfying success, but he later learned that family matters, and in the end it brought him happiness. Joe Gorman does not follow the modern American culture which identifies everyone as independent and private; he is a family man and a community leader. Margaret Oldham is a therapist who believes in hard work by taking pride and responsibility in it. Wayne Bauer was in the Marine Corps; now he is a community organizer for Economic Democracy with radical ideologies; he is more against something than for something, so his sense of justice is erroneous. With each of their own sense of a happy life: success, freedom, and justice, all three relate to three elements of American culture: biblical, republican, and modern individualist, which history created for us. Tea Party Jacobins, Standing By, and Habit of the Hearts, each has its own message(s) to convey to the readers, but the theme they all have in common is individualism. Individualism can be summed up as someones independent thinking on various issues. In Tea Party Jacobins, Lilla points out the frustration with American government, especially Congress, and the economy leading to independent thinkers, eventually leads to an organization of a leaderless movement known as the Tea Party. With Standing By, Sedaris did not follow the norm and vent out his anger toward two strangers as he should have. Instead he thought to himself that the culture we are living in makes us angry people, so he didnt yell out his anger. Habits of the Hearts entices people to think beyond our comprehension of culture and society, but what really stands out is the topic of individualism. All four interviewees find their own individualism through learning and experience. Brian, for example, did not let Americas meaning of success get to him, instead he follows his own meaning of it, and that is family. Another example would be Joe, who refused to let the modern society of private individuals let him down; he continues on with his individual values to organize festivities for the town to gather as a group and socialize. Following the culture that has been bestowed upon us by the existing society can show us our own individualism.