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Question Of The Day

What's the Most American Way to Celebrate the Fourth of July?

"Being loud in a diner."

Being an American in London, an ocean away from all the usual red, white and blue hysteria, I took to the streets to ask people what they thought the most American way of celebrating the Fourth of July is. Because my favourite way of celebrating in solidarity with my family and friends across the pond is to have broad national stereotypes reeled off at me by strangers.

Alexandra, 29, street food vendor: Being loud somewhere. In a diner, I suppose. Being loud in a diner and talking about the greatness of America.

Annoncering

We are a loud people, I suppose.
Yes. Yes you are. But I’m half-Italian, so I get it.

Word association: when I say America, what do you think of?
Fast food.

Do you know anything about the Fourth of July?
I don’t know much about it, no.

It’s basically when we told you guys to fuck off 200 years ago. But now everyone just gets drunk and plays volleyball.
Okay, cool.

Emma, 23, artist: I don’t know. Running around the streets, yelling?

Do we do that? Is that our thing?
Well, I don’t really know how it’s celebrated. I just know they’re always like, “America is amazing!”

Do you find the patriotism obnoxious?
Yeah.

When I say America, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind?
McDonald’s.

Ouch. That’s not a whole lot of cultural clout. So, by your logic, I should be yelling in a McDonald’s for the Fourth?
Yes.

Greg, 22, apparel designer: I usually go to my aunt’s house and blow up fireworks for the Fourth.

Okay. Blowing stuff up sounds vaguely American. Any other ways to spend a typical American Fourth?
Yes. Beer and barbecues. And corn on the cob. There has to be corn on the cob.

Vivian, 22, apparel designer: Lawn chairs.

Lawn chairs? How does that work? No one has a lawn in London.
Well, I’m leaving. I’m flying back to the States.

Have you figured out a way to smuggle sparklers through Heathrow to celebrate on the plane?
Um, no. More like champagne. That’s American enough, right?

Geography isn’t my strong suit, but if you say so.
Yeah, I’m doing a road trip once I get off the flight to Yellowstone National Park. Seventeen hours in the car.

Wow. 

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