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Romantic elements permeate our culture, arts, and views of the world. The Romantic movement spawned two great movements, the French and American Revolutions. Gone were the classical values, old-world traditions, and aristocratic modes of social strata and government. In their places, the individual reigned supreme, nature was worshiped, democracy hailed, and art became free from convention.
Revolutions continue to dominate world headlines. In Egypt, for example, a youthful spirit is calling for change, using mass technology to rally cries for individual freedom, denouncement of corruption, and a questioning of long-held religious values. Demonstrators take to the streets, mobile technology in hand, as they fight for their democratic ideals. Even though they might not admit such an association to a Western-styled movement, this revolutionary spirit is what echoed in the streets of Paris and Boston over two-hundred years ago.
On a daily level, one need look no further than commercials for glimpses of the Romantic spirit. Advertising uses powerfully emotional messaging (poetic-styled sloganeering, goddess-like models, transcendent landscapes, and idealized scenarios) to appeal to an individual's unconscious beliefs (and buying habits) that he too can change the world, at least his own. Few commercials are realistic; instead, they offer over-the-top, larger-than-life depictions of reality to appeal to our beliefs in individuality, freedom, and love of beauty. Other modern art forms do the same: mainstream rock and roll music, cinema, and superhero comic books. Recently, hour-long television has adopted movie-like conventions to create a "hot" medium for our living room big screens. Shows like "Downton Abbey" and "Game of Thrones" uses pageantry and panorama to Romantically stylize our nightly programming.
Finally, the American sports culture is Romantic in values. Just last night in the Super Bowl, in a contrast of styles, the passionate "Legion of Boom" Seattle Seahawks beat the logical old-guard, Peyton Manning. Each Seahawk player hoisted the trophy, flexed his muscles, and uttered many superlatives about his dreams of winning and beliefs in self-determination. In a sport played by gladiators, one must, after all, use such lofty language to validate the violence.
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