September 29, 2013 7:19 AM Subscribe
With the global saturation of American culture I've gotten to wondering about a question relating to American identity that is surprisingly difficult to answer well, are there any Shibboleths that Americans today could use that would reasonably identify other Americans while also excluding non-Americans? During WWII GI's would quiz suspicious soldiers claiming to be American on baseball knowledge, as the sport gets more popular elsewhere and less popular in the US, is there anything left that Americans today could use? What would be culturally ubiquitous enough to reach everyone in the US without also reaching the world?
posted by Blasdelb to society & culture (135 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
For example, the ability to answer questions about Mr. Rogers neighborhood, such who King Friday XIII is, would be sensitive for detecting Americans as both PBS and Mr. Rogers are ubiquitous across the 50 states, yet at the same time specific to Americans as neither are really very culturally relevant elsewhere.
Football is also obvious, and excellently specific, but not necessarily so sensitive to less sport oriented Americans or those who live in places dominated by college ball or basketball.
Bonus points for not forgetting to include more than just middle class white Americans and even more for excluding Canadians.