I asked the authors of the MAKE blog what they thought made America great for this 4th of July holiday, here’s what they has to say (and please post yours in the comments, I’ll pick a few and send you out something awesome from the Maker Shed Store!).
What makes America great? One word…..Jell-O!
Here are my top 10 reasons, and projects, that make JELLO a great American invention:
San Fran in Jell-O.
Jell-O Shots (Caffeinated variety).
Stapler inside Jell-O.
Jell-O Shots (Alcoholic version).
Jell-O – Inside a banana.
The Jell-O Museum.
Flickr Photo Pool of Jell-O.
Jell-O Body parts.
Tons of Jell-O recipes.
Strawberry rhubarb pie,
recipe is from the Joy of Cooking, another American classic.
In his book, American Gods, Neil Gaiman wrote that in other countries, when people find what he calls places of power, they build temples, or cathedrals, or stone circles. But in the USA, when people find those places, they build roadside attractions. When I was thinking about what is great about this country, I was surprised to find that sometimes I really value our lack of tradition. At its worst, it leads to really shallow places in our culture, but at its best, it gives people the freedom to express their ideas and inspirations in really strange and wonderful ways. I love shrines and cathedrals, but I also love places like House on the Rock.
It’s the land of the weird. There’s some kind of strange current that runs through the soil, rocks, and water here. Stand on the soil, climb the rocks, drink the water, and you’ll be compelled to try something different.
You know that old saying: “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” It’s when I leave the U.S. that I start to really see, and admire, its character. And it’s the combination of the do-it-yourself, pioneering spirit, which I think is part of the very folk-soul of this country, with a sense of limitless possibility; that whole “land of opportunity” thing. You see a rather unfortunate side of this spirit during the tryouts for shows like “American Idol,” where people’s sense of “can-do” can seem downright delusional. And when they take polls in schools and a significant percentage of the students expect to be famous or supremely wealthy. But when you couple that almost Utopian sense of possibility with hard work, innovative thinking, and dogged determination, you get… well, you get America.
Cultural variety! From music to macramÃ©, this country’s diversity of culture is a blast to experience. From where I live I can walk to a Polish dance-club, a Mexican bakery, or an Italian street fair with twenty minutes!
America, for me, is a place where anyone can do what they love if they’re willing to work hard. Sometimes they’re entrepreneurs, business owners, hobbyists, makers – it doesn’t matter really, we have the freedom to create, build, succeed and even fail spectacularly. If we’re lucky we’ll do enough of each, it’s more fun that way.
Oh, and cheese sculptures in Times Square.
Makers, post up what you think makes America great and we’ll pick a few of the good ones and send you out some stuff from the Maker Shed Store!