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Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication Critical Essay


The influence of the Western culture on the development of the modern society is difficult to overestimate. The western world has had a great impact on development of all countries on the globe. This impact has become a talking point and the discourse touches upon a variety of aspects of this trend. Thus, researchers, educators, official, celebrities of show business and the rest of the population of the planet are involved in the discussion.

An illustration of such involvement is the song by the American band Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication (“Red Hot Chili Peppers” n.p.). The very word “Californication” can stand for westernization and the song sheds light on the way people see it. The song reveals major aspects of the recent cultural impact of the western world.

First of all, it is necessary to note the song focuses on several aspects of Hollywood’s impact. These effects include the spread of beauty standards, case after fame and, of course, the American Dream (“Red Hot Chili Peppers” n.p.). The performers are singing about the way people try to preserve or obtain their youth and attractiveness. They also mention people’s desire to become famous even though the fame can be doubtful.

The song has a really wide audience as it appeals to lots of people. For instance, loads of people can relate themselves to the images revealed in the song as many of them dream about things mentioned. Though the band targeted at masses, the song can also be interesting to researchers in terms of the discourse of otherness. It is also important to note that the song was released in 1999 but it still remains timely.

In terms of the discourse on the otherness, the song is really suggestive. Thus, the performers admit that there are different cultures. However, they also stress that the final point of all aspirations is still the western part of the western country.

Interestingly, Eastern people note that their culture has also affected the USA and other western societies (Nair-Venugopal 4). Nonetheless, Red Hot Chili Peppers emphasize that those effects are insignificant compared to the impact of the western civilization.

More so, it is possible to state that the song is an anthem of otherness. Kastoryano stresses that it is natural for a human being to acknowledge his/her identities and otherness (80). The author also notes that people are often proud of their otherness (Kastoryano 80).

The song is an illustration of such a pride. Americans show off their otherness and stress that the rest of the world desires to share it with them. According to the band, westernization has affected the entire globe (“Red Hot Chili Peppers” n.p.). In other words, all people strive for becoming a part of the other (i.e. western) world.

However, the song provides only one standpoint. For example, the performers seem to be ignorant of the way other nations have affected the western civilizations (including California). As has been mentioned above, the performers are reluctant to agree with the otherness of the rest of the world, as they only praise their own otherness.

It is also important to note that ethical issues are also left out. The song does not contain only an instance of the performers’ ethical evaluation of the matter. They note that destruction can also create new life (“Red Hot Chili Peppers” n.p.).

However, the ethical aspect of the matter needs much more attention (Eckstein 134). For instance, Chouliaraki and Orgad state that the ethical aspect can help remain focused on humanness while considering the issues related to otherness (342). Being ethical helps people take pride in their otherness and respect other people’s identity.

Nonetheless, even though the song does not touch upon many aspects of the otherness, it still creates a whole universe shared by different people. The song communicates the ideas of western influences. According to the song, there is only one way relationship between the west and the east (“Red Hot Chili Peppers” n.p.).

The performers stress that the whole world follows the path made by the western civilization. Importantly, California is seen as a symbolic hearth of the latest trends in the western world.

In conclusion, it is possible to note that the song in question extends the discourse concerning the relationship between the west and the east. It makes people think about the role of media and the correlation between media and the idea of otherness. The song focuses on the way some Americans see or might see the relationship between the western and eastern worlds.

It creates an impression that Americans are glad they are so different and they are especially flattered as the rest of the world wants to be just like them. Admittedly, each person has to decide how he/she should perceive the idea of otherness.

However, such songs as “Californication” may make people think in a specific way. In fact, the song contributes to the creation of the image of a world divided in two parts, i.e. the west and the rest, who want to become a part of the world where the American Dream reigns.

Works Cited

Chouliaraki, Lilie and Shani Orgad. “Proper Distance: Mediation, Ethics, Otherness.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 14.4 (2011): 341-345. Print.

Eckstein, Lars. “Against an Ethics of Absolute Otherness, for Cross-Cultural Critique: A Response to Tammy Amiel-Houser.” Connotations 22.1 (2012/2013): 124-136. Print.

Kastoryano, Riva. “Codes of Otherness.” Social Research 77.1 (2010): 79-100. Print.

Nair-Venugopal, Shanta. “Sighting the Terrain.” The Gaze of the West and Framings of the East. Ed. Shanta Nair- Venugopal. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 3-29. Print.

. 2013. Web.

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1. IvyPanda. "Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication." July 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/red-hot-chili-peppers-californication/.


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IvyPanda. 2019. "Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication." July 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/red-hot-chili-peppers-californication/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication'. 15 July.

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